Friday, August 18, 2017

Metra+CP/Milwaukee Galewood Yard

I had never heard of Galewood, then I read about it twice in one afternoon. The first time was in the caption of a Marshal W. Beecher photo on page 33 of Trains Magazine's Special Collector's Edition: "A westbound Canadian Pacific train passes through Galewood during its complex trip across Chicago in August 2009." I can not reconcile the curve in the tack and the Willis/Sears Tower in the background with a satellite image. But the map on page 18 of that issue shows it is along the now Metra tracks between the BRC junction and Tower B-12.

The second time was when I saw this Facebook posting:
Steven J. Brown posted
Soo Line 1003 is at Hanson Park heading to Metra's Western Avenue yard from Galewood after a charity event for the Chicago Shriner's Hospital for Children - August 12, 2017.
I found the silos, but it is not clear what they are (or were) used for. Like the CP+Metra/Milw Bensenville Yard, Metra owns the mainline tracks past the yard and Canadian Pacific owns the yard tracks. Like many rail yards that existed to serve industries before trucks and roads were developed, this yard was a lot bigger in the past.

1938 Aerial Photo from ILHAP
There are still industrial buildings in the area and some of them have the telltale signatures of rail service such as road crossings and curved buildings. Below is a tree-filled curved-bulding signature of another industrial spur.
An industrial building has been replaced by an elementary school, but the curve in the parking lot probably reflects the different ownership of an industrial spur. This rail yard probably also served the industries along the Bloomindale Line and fed the yard on Goose Island.

I see this yard also served a branch that went north and served industries west of Narragansett Avenue including Radio Flyer and these industrial spurs (below). (One spur went all the way over to Normandy while the curve of the building in the middle indicates a branch spur went down the middle of the block.)

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Metra/Milwaukee Western Avenue Yard

(Satellite, Street View)

I had my daughter drive me around the Chicago area so that I could take pictures of bridges, etc. We went up Pulaski Road past UP/C&NW's 40th Street Yard, but it was elevated and my view was bad. We headed east again on Chicago Avenue. Because of cars on Grand Avenue waiting at the traffic light, this is the best shot I got of Metra's Western Avenue Yard.

20150502 0583
I see I did catch a sand tower, something I've recently started labeling after someone asked why do engines need sand. We can also see the western bridge in this yard that provides power hook ups to the commuter cars when they are parked in the coach yard. I discussed these bridges in detail in BNSF/CB&Q Aurora Commuter Train Yard.

This was the first view I got that made me realize that we were passing the Milwaukee yard that Metra got when it bought the Milwaukee tracks in the Chicagoland area when Milwaukee went bankrupt. The big Metra sign on the relatively new engine service building was a big clue that I was passing their yard. Below are some street views from Grand Avenue.
Street View
Street View, zoomed
[So this is where they keep their cute little switching engines.]
Looking at a satellite image, I wondered if that big parking lot south of the Metra yard used to be part of the Milwaukee yard. This 1938 aerial photo shows that the parking lot land was indeed part of the Milwaukee yard. (The rail yard just south of the parking lot is the UP/C&NW California Yard, and it also stores and services commuter trains.)

1938 Aerial Photo from ILHAP

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

BNSF/GN Bridge over Columbia River near Rock Island, WA

(Bridge HunterSatellite)

Photo taken by Aaron Hockley, License: Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike (CC BY-NC-SA)
From Flick from Bridge Hunter

Jim Kleeman posted
In the early morning a partially dressed BNSF 4837 strides across the Columbia River at Rock Island, WA. The dispatcher referred to the Seattle - Chicago intermodal as the "Sea Chicken" when it left Wenatchee a few minutes earlier. Someone has a sense of humor early in the morning. 740 AM 9/13/1998
That appears to be a really massive pier in the middle of the river.

BNSF/Santa Fe Bridge over Illinois River at Chillicothe, IL

(Bridge Hunter, no Historic Pictures, Satellite, RailPictures)

Birds-Eye View
It is interesting that Chillicothe has a rail bridge, but no road bridge. Looking north of the current bridge on a satellite image, it appears that at least two other bridges used to cross the river. You would think they would have turned one of those old rail alignments into a road across the river. Long embankments across the flood plain were used so that the bridge is high above the river. This means that the main span does not need to be movable.

A video of an eastbound BNSF double stack crossing the bridge. (source)

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Old Crown Brewery in Fort Wayne, IN

A couple of years ago I was trying to remember the name of the brewery that used to be north of State Street between Spy Run Avenue and St. Joseph River. This photo answers that question.
Mark Deprey The old Centlivere Brewery on North Clinton st also made old Crown Beer

Great Memories and History of Fort Wayne, Indiana posted
John Hamm commented on the above posting
 I still have one of their old heavy-heavy cardboard beer cases from the 60's. Wonder if it is a collector's item now. This has been a general tote in my garage for decades.

Santa Fe Bridge over the Vermilion River near Streator, IL

(no Bridge Hunter, no Historic Bridges, 3D Satellite)
Jerry Jackson posted
Westbound by timetable out of Streator, IL back in 1988.

Several dereks on top were used to build the Empire State Building

In addition to a page on the construction of the Empire State Building, there are pages on the construction of the Statue of Liberty and Eiffel Tower (1889).
The New York Public Library from DustyOldThing

Monday, August 14, 2017

Matteson Crossing: CN/EJ&E vs. CN/IC


Kevin Piper posted
Action at Matteson. EJ&E 305 is making a set out at the IC interchange yard, while a State Line coal empty with run-through GM&O GP35's for Joliet, and an IC transfer job with GP9 9015 waits in the clear. Today, all three railroads are a part of CN, and the junction here is a big new multi-directional connection. 4-16-67. LOUIS CERNY PHOTO
Michael Steffen Matteson siding, like the one at Chicago Heights, was located between the eastbound and westbound mains.

Kevin Piper posted
This is the elaborate junction buiilt by CN to connect EJ&E to the old IC at Matteson, IL. Looking south.
James L. Ludwig CN has put the new connections on a railfan's diet-the north wye is designated as CP Swede and the south wye is CP Lowe. Sweet & Lowe.
Gregg Wolfersheim In the upper right of the pic is Harris. This takes you south to Stunkel. Speed limit on the "loop" is 15MPH.
Mark Hinsdale posted three photos with the comment:
Canadian National Inspection Train
For the second consecutive day, a company inspection train has visited Chicagoland. Yesterday, Union Pacific ran one through on its northbound trek; today, CN came south with one on its journey from Stevens Point WI to Champaign IL. Here are views on the Matteson IL "cloverleaf."


Google Satellite
Somebody, Park Forest?, built an elaborate railpark on the south side of the rail embankment. Looking at a Google satellite image, it was added after the junction was finished. This is the first time that I have seen a Bing image that is newer than a Google image. Google claims a 2017 copyright for the image, but the viewing platform was built before 2017.
Bing Satellite
The Birds-Eye View is old enough to show the lay of the land before the cloverleaf was built.

Birds-Eye View
I have a separate posting on the railfanning aspects of this junction.

Sunday, August 13, 2017

Pennsy/GR&I Bridge over Pigeon River near Howe, IN

Dennis DeBruler shared Rural American History Captured's photo.

CN/EJ&E over BNSF/CB&Q Crossing near Eola, IL

Jake Jones posted
Aurora IL. July 1999
Liberty St .. Coming out of BN Eola yard with a full coal train.
Sometimes they would stop at the top of the ramp. Which never made sense to me, maybe a crew change or waiting on a signal??
Kevin Piper Had to line the mainline switch?Mike Schattl They probably needed to get a track warrant and didn't want to trip the grade crossing signals....
Note that the connector is a ramp because it is going between the grade level Eola Yard and the elevated EJ&E.

Marty Flickr photos: interchange trains 1, 23.

CB&Q Eola Yard

(Satellite) I was going to add my pictures. But I have so many, during various stages of construction, that I have decided I will make a later posting with them. The important thing for yards and towers is the satellite location.

Mike Wyatt posted
Eola yard looking east, 1990. Brad Schultz photo.
William Bauer I liked it when the yard office was in the middle of the yard. It was a better setup for the crews

Marty catches a Zephyr flying through the yard in 1964.

Satellite before the yard lead extension construction. Unlike most railyards in the 21st Century, this yard is being expanded because it now handles carload traffic for the Chicago area since their old freight yard, Clyde, has been converted to an intermodal yard. Clyde does still do engine servicing.

A closeup of the roundhouse scar.

John Smith posted five pictures of the turntable.

John Smith posted 30 pictures from 2006, many of the turntable.

2017 3D Satellite showing a Santa Fe Warbonet, this is strange because I have never seen it on the Racetrack, but I have seen a locomotive still in Cascade Green.

Saturday, August 12, 2017

Western Avenue Bridge over CS&SC in Chicago, IL

(Bridge Hunter, Historic Bridges3D Satellite)
MWRD posted
Historical Photo of the Week: The Western Ave bridge over the Chicago Sanitary and Ship Canal, looking north, showing the laying of timber for paving on February 13, 1925.
[Note the streetcars. The canal level off to the right looks rather high.]
Bridge Hunter indicated the current bridge was built in 1940 and rehabilitated in 1942. I was wondering had to be fixed just two years later. It turns out the bridge was not the problem, World War II was the problem. As discussed earlier postings, the bridges on the canal were made movable during WWII so that submarines from Manatowic, WI and landing craft from a shipyard on the North Branch of the Chicago River could go to New Orleans because the east coast shipyards were considered too vulnerable to Nazi submarines.

HAER ILL, 16-chig, 163--1 from il0605

1. LONG VIEW LOOKING EAST FROM SCISSORS BRIDGE - Western Avenue, Sanitary & Ship Canal Bridge, Spanning Sanitary & Ship Canal, Chicago, Cook County, IL

West End Bridge in Pittsburgh, PA

(Bridge Hunter, Historic BridgesSatellite (95+ photos))
Heinz History Center posted
August 1941: The West End Bridge was designed by George S. Richardson and built by Allegheny County in 1932. The bridge is 1,891 feet in overall length. From north to south, there are four Warren Pony trusses and the main span that has a 778-foot tied arch. When it was built, the vertical clearance was 73 feet, and today it is 66 feet. The bridge connects the North Side and the West End neighborhoods of Pittsburgh.
Today's #throwbackthursday image is from the Allegheny Conference on Community Development Photographs, Detre Library & Archives at the History Center.

Friday, August 11, 2017

Leighton Junction: CN/WC/SOO/WC vs. CN/EJ&E

(CRJ, Satellite)
Chicago and Northern Indiana Railroad Interlocking Towers

Flickr photo

I learned about this junction in a posting about how much train traffic runs through Round Lake Beach on the former Wisconsin Central route. The answer is enough trains run on the route that CN is planning to double track some of it. But the trains now transfer to CN"s EJ&E at this Leighton Junction so the WC route south of here is not used much. In fact, the southern most part of the WC is out-of-service.

In a satellite image, you can see the former connector as a water line and the newer connector. The new connector is double track and has a longer radius (more gentle curve).

IHB Burnham Yard

B&OCT Map 
First of all, this yard should not be confused with the nearby South Shore Freight Burnham Yard. Secondly, some railfans call it the IHB State Line Yard.

Unlike many yards in the Chicagoland area, I see from the satellite image that this yard still has all of its longer tracks.

Some switching moves at IHB state line yard, late afternoon Thursday July 27 2017.....#1 and #2.

Thursday, August 10, 2017

NS/Pennsy Bridge over Monongahela River at North Versailles, PA

(Bridge Hunter, no Historic Bridges, Satellite)    The name is the Port Perry Bridge
AltoonaWorks posted
6/2017 - For now, double stacks and autoracks are not permitted through the station in Pittsburgh due to clearances. There is a plan in place to finally eliminate these clearance problems, but for now, doublestacks and autoracks take a detour around downtown Pittsburgh on the Port Perry Branch and Mon Line. Here we see one such doublestack train rolling north across the OC Bridge about to meet up with the Fort Wayne Line.
Ian Bowling commented on the above posting
Here’s a picture of an Eastbound double stack about to head into the Port Perry Tunnel

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

GM&O Corwith Tower: CN/GM&O/Alton vs. BNSF/Sante Fe

(Satellite) I'm assuming from the name of the tower that it was where the Santa Fe crossed the GM&O to enter Corwith Yard.
Roger Holmes posted
In August of 1971 I was working on the Gulf, Mobile & Ohio's extra board as a leverman, operator and relief agent and found myself at Corwith tower in Chicago. Passing is a transfer run powered by a pair of ex-Illinois Terminal ALCO RS-1's en route to Glen Yard. My only regret is that I didn't shoot this in color. The second unit is still in IT colors and the contrast with the green and yellow and the freshly painted GM&O, well, it looked like a circus! In fact this transfer job earned the nickname, "Circus Train"! More that once would I receive a phone call or hear on the radio inquiring where the circus train was. Someone on the C&O spoiled it when he got ahold of some bright blue Chessie paint and painted "Circus" on the side of the green and yellow loco. It was soon repainted into the solid red. © Roger A. Holmes.

Ground Storage of Grains

I've noted some elevators that have used ground storage to help handle the bumper crops of corn we have had 2014-16 in the Towns and Nature blog such as

My motivation for this posting is two examples referring to ground storage within a day of each other.

Ken Bryan posted
Open-air wheat storage at the Conrad, MT United Grain elevator last week.
Jan Normandale I've never seen this before...!Terry Selle I've seen a lot of elevators do this while work with UP.Ken Bryan This is fairly common here, particularly on years with large harvests and when rail service is backlogged - neither of which are in effect this year. But this is a relatively small elevator, so I assume it is SOP for this location.
Edwsard Duke shared NebraskaTV
Mark Olson Actually around here in corn country - they pile a lot of it outside on purpose when the harvest is going strong - you don't want to know what they do to your food before you get it. I am sure they will salvage 90% of that. What they can't salvage for human will go to animal feed.

Agriculture: Temporary Grain Storage Solutions

CRL/Rock Island South Chicago Yard

Both the BRC and RI had "South Chicago Yards." It looks like the BRC still has something. But the CRL/LS&BC/Rock Island yard is gone.
Bob Thamsen posted
<caption was wrong>
William L. Brushaber With all that high H.P. power, this is #57 leaving So Chicago yard west for Council Bluffs -UP. The Rock island transfer from BRC-Clearing enters at Gresham Jct at 87th St. and Vincennes Ave. and goes to Burr oak yard.
Harold J. Krewer Not to mention the BRC yard "over by dere" as we say in Chicago is Commercial Ave., not Clearing.
Four big burners and the time of day (noonish) tells me Brush is right on, this is 57 launching out of South Chicago.

Ingrid Drozdak 1300 horse power must have been a long train.
Harold J. Krewer 13,200 to be precise, Ingrid! There was probably going to be a GTW block tacked on the rear at Burr Oak with the train stopped on the main. Also by this late date I'm sure the power desk wanted to make sure there was enough HP to maintain 60 MPH to the Bluffs even if a unit shot craps.

PRR's Freight Houses

(WHOOPS, I did not mean to publish this. But I don't see having the time to clean it up in the foreseeable years, so I'll let it be. (I learn about subject matter when I write. The only thing I learn during editing is how many mistakes I make. Also, the early part of this writing is in a style that is now obsolete.) I remember writing about it being torn down for an electrical switchyard, but I can't find that work now.)

The freight house dominates the background of an American-Rails photo.

Ryerson-Burnham Digital Archives, SAIC, Forgotten Chicago


Chicago, Ill.
Freight house, with molded keystone. West end has been added onto since railroad ownership. Constructed 1920? On Peoria St. [Richard Wallis]Older (1884), curved, brick freight house is still standing, and is now offices of Braun Bottle Co. Inside curve of approach tracks to CUS, between Clinton and Canal Sts., partially under C&NW viaduct. [Richard Wallis]


David M Laz posted
GULF MOBILE AND OHIO passenger train leaving Union station, 1960's
Turk Meyers Damn. That 312 W. Polk building or whatever it's called is really cool!
Screenshot from a video montage. Given the bridge on the right, I think this is of the south end of the freight house. In this area of the video, he switches between some Union Station and Central Station shots before moving on to C&NW, Bensenville, etc. For example, an overview of the CB&Q+Pennsy yards.
A photo from a video montage. Given the bridge on the right, I think this is of the south end of the freight house. He switches between some Union Station and Central Station shots before moving on to C&NW, Bensenville, etc.

Bill Molony posted
Bill's comment:
Pennsylvania Railroad EMD E7A's, easing an eastbound PRR passenger train out of Union Station on the afternoon of June29, 1957.
My interest in this picture is not the trains, but the building in the background --- it is a Pennsy freight house.
David Daruszka posted
Another postcard image of the area south of Union Station. The massive Pennsylvania freight house in the background was demolished.
I include David's copy as well because it looks a little better. And more comments give me more insight.]Marty Bernard Fantastic picture. Obviously shot from the Roosevelt Road Viaduct with at least 5 PRR E7As and Bs before they had radio antenna on their roofs. Green REA cars. Wonder what those tanks by the closest E7A are?Bob Lalich I believe those cylinders are air resevoirs. The interlocking was electro-pneumatic.David Daruszka The postcard is listed as the 1960's.James Nelson I'm in agreement those are air tanks; no apparent filling/pumping equipment around them, and most of CUSCo was electro-pneumatic. 

William Brown posted
The BN's Afternoon Zephyrs last run April 30, 1971. Leaving Chicago Union Station. An EBay postcard.
MWRD posted
Historical Photo of the Week: The Pennsylvania Company property on the west side of the South Branch of the Chicago River looking south from Madison Street on September 29, 1903. Construction to widen and deepen the river in this area began in 1906. #TBT Chicago River Friends of the Chicago River
[This must have been their PFW&C freight house before they built the big one.]

Sean Gulden shared
A Pennsylvania Railroad publicity photo featuring train #48, the "General" (Chicago - New York), departing Chicago Union Station. The Pennsy's massive freight terminal can be seen in the background (gone today).
[But evidently a poor scan of the photo.]

An American Rails photo of a B&O train leaving Grand Central Station has a view of the PRR freight house on the left side.

> Apparently there are/were 2 Pennsylvania
> freight houses in Chicago, an 1884 and one
> from the 1920's. The one you refer to would
> be the older of the two. A brief description
> of each is here:

> ... ml#freight

> A picture of one of the freight houses is
> here:


The PRR had more than one freight house prior to 1920. The Panhandle and the Ft. Wayne both had in-bound and out-bound houses. The Ft. Wayne had several of each since traffic grew, but the available land didn't. The house on the curve was the Panhandle's, which operated into the north side of Union Station. An 1884 date would be about right for this structure, as Union Depot was built in 1881 and the Panhandle managed to kick out the C&EI, which then had a small depot on the curve. That depot had no tracks and C&EI trains loaded on the Panhandle main. The C&EI helped form the C&WI and moved its trains to Dearborn Station.
After about 1900, most Panhandle passenger trains used the south end of the Union Depot by running over the Bernice cutoff. The north side was still used by commuter trains to the Union Stock Yards until the Depression, but in addition to the use of the tracks by the Milwaukee, the line was convenient to the PRR for receiving the trap cars which ran between the various railroads' freight houses. The erection of the giant Polk Street house eliminated the need for all of the PRR's prior facilities.

Bill Molony posted
A Pennsylvania Railroad A-B-A set of Baldwin DR 6-4-20 sharks in Chicago on January 25, 1953.
Each unit was powered by two Baldwin 608NA 8-cylinder diesel engines rated at 1,000 horsepower each. 
These PRR units were the first shark-nose Baldwins, and the only A1A-A1A sharks ever produced.

1939 Aerial Photo from ILHAP

David also supplied this HubPages link in another posting.

Redo this with the "Tracks South of Union Station" content

Ted Lemen posted
Two CB&Q commuter trains rush south from Union Station, or perhaps one is backing in to load, while Amtrak languishes in the background.
Mike Daniels posted
My K64 original
[Torn down after 333 Wacker built?!]

Bill Molony posted
Pennsylvania Railroad class E7s 4-4-2 Atlantic-type #8588, leaving Chicago Union Station with the local to Valparaiso, Indiana on the afternoon of August 4, 1929.
Bill Molony posted
Amtrak train #5, the westbound San Francisco Zephyr, departing from Chicago Union Station in September of 1973. 
This train operated just three days a week, and it was routed over the Burlington Northern between Chicago and Denver, the Union Pacific between Denver and Ogden, and over the Southern Pacific between Ogden and Oakland.Patrick McNamara The Pennsylvania RR Warehouse - a.k.a. Western Warehousing Company, was built in 1915, completed 1918, demolished 1973.
This is also a nice view of the Chicago skyline. I see the tall bank building is now owned by Chase.]
ATSF, Chicago, Illinois, 1971
Santa Fe Railway switcher backing Amtrak passenger train no. 15, the Texas Chief, into Union Station in Chicago, Illinois, on July 4, 1971. Photograph by John F. Bjorklund, © 2015, Center for Railroad Photography and Art. Bjorklund-04-05-03
John Morris posted
GM&O's "Abraham Lincoln" is snaking it's way out of Union Station as it starts the ritual early evening trip to St. Louis. Based on the three heavyweight coaches up front, it looks like an extra heavy passenger load on this trip. As an aside, I never paid much attention to the massive Pennsylvania Railroad freight house building in the background...until it was gone of course. This photo dates from the mid-1960s and was taken from the Roosevelt Road overpass...always a favorite spot for rail buffs.
Tim M. Hickernell Agreed. That PRR freight house must have been one of the largest warehouse buildings of its time. I always wished I could have seen it before it was torn down.Randy James yep, I believe it was a combination pennsy & railway express agency freight house, I read somewhere that it was the largest rr freight house in the country.Brandon McShane Actually, Railway Express had its own terminal along Canal Street out of the frame to the left.Randy James notice the grey baggage car, it was one of a handful of Delaware & Hudson baggage car that was acquired by the gm&o in the late 50's for increasing need for baggage express cars, with associated head end traffic via the mopac connection at st Louis that was coming out of Dallas ft. worth, they were re lettered but never painted into gm&o paint scheme.
[I'm not the only one that noticed the freight house.]

Bill Molony shared's photo. A comment provided a link to "Will Price's Pennsylvania Railroad Freight Terminal, 1918."

Bill Molony shared a sharing of Paul Enenback's Fickr Photo.
Dennis DeBruler This is one of those historic pictures where the more you look, the more you see. The Pennsy freight terminal in the background got my immediate attention. It looks like US Mail used containers on flat cars a long time ago. And you can see AT&T microwave horn antennas near the upper-right corner. I'm still trying to figure out what those building on the east side of the South Branch were.