Wednesday, September 28, 2016

CIRY: Central Illinois Railroad

(Shortlines, Reporting Mark: CIRY/DRSX) In this blog, searching with the keywords "Central," "Illinois," and "Railroad" produces a lot of false hits. So I'm now including the reporting marks.)

Birds-Eye View
Please follow the "Shortlines" link above for a description of this railroad. Central Illinois operated CB&Q's 1860s industrial park between 2000 and 2010.

Ed has a Flickr photo of their EMD switchers sitting in their yard. His comment taught me that their headquarters was at 918 W. Cermak Road. If you look at a recent satellite image, you will not see a yard. But once again we can use the birds-eye view as a time machine and see where the yard was.

As part of my trip to get pictures of the Fisk Generating Plant before it is torn down, I took quite a few pictures of the BNSF/CB&Q track that is still left in this area.
20150705 2566, the fork north of Canalport
I added photos following the west fork from Canalport south across Cermak and then along Cermak.
The branch of the eastern "yard track" that sharply angled to the east with crossing signals and went along Cermak as the Lumber district is now gone.

Birds-Eye View
But the part of the eastern "yard track" that crossed Cermak into an industrial area still exists. However, the crossing signals have been removed and the flangeway has filled up in stretches. Satellite images show the area between the two forks and between Canalport and Cermak to be a storage area. But when I was there in the Summer of 2015, it was vacant land.

Edward Kwiatkowski posted
The Central Illinois Railroad (Shortline) at
work switching a former C,B & Q
industrial branchline, in Chicago's
Pilsen neighborhood near Cermak
Road and Canalport Street.
Chicago Illinois. Friday, October 31st 2008. (Defunct.)
Dennis DeBruler In 2015 I took six photos of the line that Ed's train was on. I started shooting from Canalport and walked south across, and then along, Cermak. The fancy rubberized crossing shown in Ed's photo is gone. But the main crossing still existed including the crossing signals. Also, even the smokestack of the old Fisk Power Station exists even though its boilers have been cold for many years
Franklin Campbell That track led to a lumber yard that received centerbeams until 2007. The CIRY later stored their parts locomotive on that track. It remained there after the BNSF takeover. Once the locomotive was sold and moved off the line, the track was pulled up.

These are the six photos I took of the route that Ed's train is on.
From Canalport Avenue looking southish

The turnout for the left fork we saw above is gone as is the crossing in Cermak Road.

The right fork continues to cross Cermak and the crossing signals still exist. Note that the smokestack of the Fisk Electric Power plant still stands even though the boilers have been cold for years.

That fork curves west to follow along the south side of Cermak.

Fisk could also receive coal from barges on the South Branch, so I don't know how many coal cars it used to receive.

I walked along the track by Cermak and then turned around to get this shot of weeds, brown rail, filled in crossings, and turnouts for industrial spurs that go nowhere.
They were putting these Blackhawk figures up because we had just won the Stanley Cup.

By the time I was done taking pictures of the old BNSF/CB&Q tracks, they were almost done.

Edward Flickr photos: coupling onto a 2007 freight train     two locomotives parked at headquarters  (source)   It looks like the headquarters was here.

Update: a couple of comments on a posting by Shad Steve Vargo indicate these rails were regularly used in 2005 but are now being torn up.
Ray Carl I was just west of damen last night, looked like the rails have had some use recently. East of Ashland is being torn up.
Matthew James Goss I find this funny that you asked about this, I was just wondering today what had happened to this line. When I started off as an EMT in 2005 I used to see these trains along Cermak. I enjoyed watching them switch from the Steak N' Eggr by the old Fisk power plant.

A Flickr Album of 28 photos (source, they have now [March, 2018] torn up the track along Cermak east of Loomis.)

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