Monday, May 2, 2016

IC's Markham Yard and Woodcrest Diesel Shop

(Update: the Woodcrest shop building has a transfer table inside the building.)

Greg Garcia posted
Woodcrest yard. Homewood Illinois 1926 according to the date on the pic.
Peter Gergel If memory is correct, the roundhouse burned down in the early 60's.........I think there were actually a couple of steam locomotives inside when the fire occurred

1938 Aerial Photo from ILHAP
In 1917, the IC's board of directors authorized the construction of a "green field" classification yard between Harvey and Homewood, IL. The project was delayed until 1919 because of the war, and it was completed in 1926. It was named Markham Yard to honor the company's president.

Zoomed in of Photo
For both north- and southbound traffic it had receiving, classification, and departure yards. It was 3.5 miles in length with 650 acres and contained 113 miles of track with a capacity for 9,000 freight cars. (Illinois Central Railroad by Tom Murray, pp. 67-68) The plan for each receiving and departure yard was 20 tracks. The plan for the northbound classification yard was 74 tracks and for the southbound classification was 40 tracks. The capacity of each hump was planned as 150 cars per hour or 3,600 cars per day. Evidently retarders had not been invented yet because extra tracks are added to the bowl so that riders can be brought back to the hump using speeders. A rider should be able to handle 2 loaded cars (generally, northbound) and 3 or 4 empty cars (generally, southbound). Each hump has a scale that can weigh the cars in motion. (AREA Vol 23, p. 82)

There was a car repair facility between the north- and southbound yards and an engine service facility, "Woodcrest", in the southeast corner of the yard. It was converted to servicing diesel engines. (Update: David Wilson has a couple of 1990 photos: 1 and 2.) Another function for this yard was to terminate steam powered trains so that freight cars could proceed into town with electric locomotives. (During the first half of the 20th century, the New East Side Neighborhood and the string of parks Millennium, Maggie Daley, and Peanut where tracks, grain elevators, and freight houses.)

The yard was rebuilt as a double hump yard in 1950. The southbound hump was closed in 1989, and the northbound hump was closed in 1990 because trains became much longer than the tracks in the yard. "By 2000, much of the yard had been converted to intermodal." (EarthLink) CN is moving all of its classification work in the Chicago area to Kirk Yard.
Dave Durham posted
Aerial view of Markham Yard facilities, 1920-1929, Newberry Library, Chicago and the Midwest.
Chicago Daily News photo, Chicago History Museum
Jack Delano   LC-DIG-fsa-8d23233

Chicago, Illinois. South classification yard seen from retarder operators' tower at an Illinois Central Railroad yard

Martin G. Sorenson posted
November 1942. Chicago. "Wheels and axles outside the locomotive shops at an Illinois Central Railroad yard." Medium-format nitrate negative by Jack Delano for the Office of War Information.David Daruszka Markham maybe. Hump is on the right.
From Player With Railroads, 1953
A posting by Mitchell Horn provided a link from Track Diagrams to a higher-resolution JPG file.
Illinois Central Railroad Scrapbook posted
IC's Woodcrest Shops in Homewood, IL, opened section-by-section between 1970 and 1972. By 1974, the date of this photo, these tracks on the west side of the shops were already coated with a thick layer of diesel fuel, oil, and sand. Woodcrest did have an indoor wash rack, but you'd hardly know it by looking at these locomotives. Photographer unknown, Cliff Downey collection.
John Linge That's a photo shot from Woodcrest Tower. I worked as Shop Coordinator for a number of years. Yes, we had loco's with oil leaks, but thanks to the FRA we tightened things up. I remember we sprayed bacteria bugs on the oily spots to eat up the oil . It worked. I retired in 2006.
Blair Benjamin Carmichael EPA would be all over us at the BNSF if we had spills that extensive!
Brent Stevenson Actually I believe that it was something sprayed down to keep the dust down.
Louie Giometti I was the supervisor of the Material Dept during the entire conversion of the old Markham Locomotive Yard to this modern Woodcrest Shop. When it was complete my District Material Superintendent moved from the Burnside Shops to Woodcrest.
Randy James I spot 3 u30b's, a gm&o gp38 & a guite a few gm&o green fleet 50ft. box cars, which dates the photo post 1972 merger.
John provided a picture of the tower from which the photo was taken.

John P. Kohlberg posted
John Linge, who worked in the Woodcrest Tower? General Yardmaster? Diesel Control?
Robert F. Schramm It was a clerks position assigned to the Mech. Dept.,The clerk kept all the locomotive inspection records for all locomotives assigned to Woodcrest as their maintainance base. I trained on the job but never worked it as I had a bump coming and bumped a different job back in the towers instead.

Mark Tracy posted
Took this photo yesterday at woodcrest enjoy [Oct 19, 2017]
Jonathan Struebing I remember pulling light engines in there and having them fueled full and brakes changed in about 20 milutes.

Mark Tracy posted
Took this picture today [9-7-2019] at woodcrest enjoy
[The big deal is that it still has an IC "Death Star" livery instead of a CN paint job.]
Bobby Carreon Yea Mark , what's up the crummy?
Mark Tracy That’s one of the PTC cabooses ex ic one plus there’s a story behind that one tell you later.
James Patterson Mark Tracy I know the story. We did the caboose in centralia.

Curt Danielewicz shared
Kyle Korienek CN contracts all paint out now. No paint at Homewood or Centralia.Jerry Riddle She left untouched

Chuck Edmonson posted
The IC's Green Diamond 121 being towed backwards into a Chicago yard 1939.
James Nelson Diesel was still unreliable at that time; good ole steam to the rescue, yet again.
Zoomed in of Photo
The photographer was intending to take a picture of the train. But I noticed the coaling tower. Because the cut of boxcars in the background indicates it is an IC yard with lots of tracks, it would have to be Markham Yard. I repeated the aerial detail at the top of the posting but added a red rectangle where the coaling tower is in the engine servicing facility. If you look behind the coaling tower in the "Green Diamond" picture, you can see the outline of the roundhouse.
Raymond Storey posted
The IC Homewood Ill

Bill Molony posted
Bob Lalich I believe the crane structure is part of the ash pit for locomotives.
[Bob points out that you can see the structure in Raymond's photo above.]

Dennis DeBruler commented on Bill's post
When they built the Woodcrest facility, they pretty well erased traces of the old facility. (Woodcrest is a combination of the Homewood and Hazel Crest names because at the time it was built, it was between those two towns.)

I can correlate the roundhouse and two rectangular buildings with Raymond Storey's photo provided by Bob above, so I think the rails for the overhead crane are in the red trapezoid.

This rather significant structure now makes me wonder how the other big yards handled ash. As we have seen, unlike the roundhouse and coaling tower, the smaller structures are hard to find in the old aerial photos.

Rob Olewinski Cmraseye posted
Markham Yard 1975
Jeff LewisGroup Admin Looks like a drone shot
Denis Johnston Shot from the yard tower. Went up there with friend in the early 80's
Kevin Hennessy This area of the yard is now the site of the Markham Intermodal Terminal
Paul Flaherty Look at all the now long gone open car carriers
Steven Jameson Is that a cow and calf unit?
Steve Kraus Yes.
Denis Johnston Can't find a shot of the hump yard tower, (now demolished) but here's some history. [The comment got two likes and a love.]
David M Laz posted
David Daruszka Markham

Arturo Gross Flickr 2000 Photo showing WC and GTW as well as IC. Obviously, the IC has been bought by CN.

Arturo Gross Flickr 2000 Photo showing IC death stars.

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