Tuesday, October 18, 2016

C&NW, Milwaukee, and PRR Team Tracks near Kinzie and Jefferson

Wayne Hudak posted a 1978 shot from the Sears Tower
I asked about the names of the yards with the north/south tracks and with the east/west tracks. Bob Lalich and Dave Daruszka added comments that pointed me to resources that answered that question. (The north/south tracks are the C&NW Kinzie St. Team Tracks, the east/west tracks were C&NW's Hubbard Street Yard and the facilities described below.)

One resource was a Chicago Switching's Engineering  Diagram for this area. The following is an excerpt from that diagram at full resolution.
Excerpt from Engineering Diagram
The more I studied that diagram, the more team tracks I found. This is another reminder about how important railroads and team tracks were back in the horse-and-wagon days. C&NW has Grand Avenue and Kinzie Street Team Tracks. Milwaukee has team tracks on the east side of the river near Grand Avenue and on the west side on Jefferson St north of Fulton Street. Penn's Panhandle also had team tracks in that neighborhood. (The Panhandle was the first railroad up the Western Avenue Corridor. It went north until it joined the Milwaukee tracks and went east to this freight complex. Passenger trains continued east and south to Union Station.)

In this map, we see C&NW had a third set of team tracks in the area: Clinton St. Team Tracks. Also note on the left that Milwaukee and Penn had big cranes to help unload flatcar loads.

Excerpt from 1952 Chicago Terminal District map produced by the Illinois Freight Association
It makes sense that the railroads would build team tracks here because their mainlines passed by here and the South Water Street Market was close. This market was probably extablished with river and I&M Canal transportation in mind. But the railroads soon became the dominate form of transportation to produce. These team track and freight house facilities would also explain why Fulton Street became another market area.

Update: a view looking southeast across the railroad facilities along Milwaukee Avenue.

Growing up in Chicago posted
1955 - Milwaukee, Kinzie, and Desplaines
Steven J. Brown posted
Metra F40PH action at Des Plaines Avenue in Chicago - February 8, 1991.
[Looking east from Des Plaines Ave. with the east/west Metra/Milwaukee road passing under the north/south UP/C&NW.]
This area is getting gentrified. You can can't see the south part of the UP/C&NW tracks now.

Street View

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