Monday, October 27, 2014

IH: IN: Illinois Northern Railroad

Update: I discovered that David Daruszka also has a posting on this railroad. So does DHKE, which has a couple of maps. Brian Morgan posted a history.

This railroad was owned by International Harvester and served its big plant north of the Chicago Sanitary & Ship Canal.

Doug Kaniuk info:

ForgottenChicago: Swing Bridge
INR was a switching railroad that goes north of Corwith Yard across the Sanitary and Ship Canal with a swing bridge. They had 6 Alco S4 switchers. (Update: Eddie has a picture by Marty of a couple of those Alcos. And a 1984 picture of a Sante Fe locomotive on the line.)

According to a Surface Transportation Board decision:
The 2.38 miles of Chicago area trackage was formerly trackage of the Illinois Northern Railway (INR), a switching carrier owned by International Harvester (IH). IH sold its capital stock in the INR to a group of railroads, one of which was The Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railway Company (ATSF). Later, ATSF (now BNSF) acquired all of the former INR interests in the Chicago area.
A detailed 1930 map in the Shortlines Club page indicates that the International Harvester plants (30, 33, and 38) were around the intersection of 26th/Blue Island and S Western Ave.

And from a comment on the TrainBoard, we learn:
Joe I do know that the INX would switch a cut of cars to the Elsdon Yard via the Corwith Hump on tuesdays and fridays and during the remainder of the week perform switching tasks from Corwith into the western part of the Central Industrial District East of Kedzie Ave and west of Elsdon Junction and North of the IHB/Belt Rwy/GTW tracks. I know for certain the INX use to switch the old Peter Pan Peanut Butter plant at 48th Street between Saint Louis and Drake.
In the above referenced 1999 Surface Transportation Board petition to abandon, two industries actively used the railroad and two wanted to preserve the option of using it. BNSF claims the 16 crossings need to be upgraded as well as the track. But they did not note any maintenance costs of the swing bridge as an issue. I need to find the Western Ave. team tracks that BNSF references. They are the only existing team tracks I know of.

On April 23, 2001, Central Illinois Railroad assumed operations of the IN trackage. But its owner went out of business and operations ended August 9, 2010. The BNSF is once again abandoning the line and plans to remove the bridge.

Update: I have read that the route has been abandoned and the track and crossing gates have been removed.

Edward Kwiatkowski posted
The Atchison, Topeka & santa Fe railroad's "I.N" ex
Illinois Northern Railroad industrial branchline local
at work. Photographd near West 28th Street east of
South Kedzie Avenue, in Chicago's Little Village
neighborhood. Chicago Illinois. June 1984.
This portion of the I.N branch north of Corwith Yard,
has since been abandoned and the tracks removed.

Ed has a Flickr photo of a Santa Fe engine working the IN route.

Brian Morgan comment in Ed's posting
Brian Morgan If you can find a map of the Illinois Northern you will notice that that line was Santa Fe's Original Routing to Dearborn before they built thier present route alongside the North Bank of the old I&M Canal present day I-55.
Mark Leininger I remember the IN tower off Western Ave. Used to visit the tower operator when working midnight....
Edward Kwiatowski posted two photos with the comment:
Heres 2 photographs from the defunct Illinois Northern Railroad.
This little railroad, switched the once numerous industrial
railroad spur sidings, in Chicago's Little Village neighborhood.
The Illinois Northern Railroad, was a shortline subsidiary railroad of the former Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe, and also the International Harvester Corp. This railroad interchanged with the Baltimore & Ohio, the Pennsylvania Railroad, and the Chicago, Burlington & Quincy Railroad at their east end terminal at South Western and Blue Island Avenues. The line proceeded west crossing South
California Avenue, and passed a run around track along the north
side of Chicago's infamous Cook County Jail on West 26th Street, between South California and Sacramento Avenues. Curving southwest, this railroad line crossed the former Illinois Central Railroad's Iowa Division Mainline at West 33rd Street, proceeded south across the Chicago Sanitary And Ship Canal, The Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe Railroad's mainline, the I 55 Stevenson Expressway, the former Gulf, Mobile & Ohio Railroad mainline, and finally entering the Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe Railroad's Corwith Yard facility in Chicago's Brighton Park neighborhood, where it interchanged freight cars with the ATSF.
During 1972 after the International Harvester Corp had left the city of Chicago Illinois, the ATSF purchased the former Illinois Northern Railroad outright, and operated it as their "I.N" industriial branchline.
The Santa Fe served this line Monday through Friday, with a switching local originating from their Corwith Yard facility south
of the I 55 Stevenson Expressway.
In 1995, the ATSF and the Burlington Northern Railroad merged,
and became todays BNSF Railway. The old I.N branch had fallen
on hard economic times, as many industries had closed or left Chicago. The BNSF Railway operated this line until 2001, when
it leased the line to shortline operator "Central Illinois Railroad."
with very little business left on the old I.N branch and much defered
maintenance, the Central Illinois Railroad switched whatever on line business was left strictly as needed, finally going defunct in 2010.
The BNSF Railway abandoned the old I.N branch, and eventually
removed the remaining tracks and railroad crossing signals.
The former Illinois Northern, was my old neighborhood railroad,
that I had grown up with in Chicago's Little Village neighborhood
back in the day.
Doug Kaniuk info: (was
Joseph Tuch Santucci Never knew a great deal of the history if the line other than it was part of the Santa Fe and where it operated. On occasion we'd see their job cross us (IC) at the automatic interlocking known on the IC as the IN. A few times I saw the train in a Little Village. Nice bit of information.
Bob Lalich A good portion of the IN "mainline" was the original Grand Trunk route into Chicago.
Joseph Tuch Santucci When and why did that change?
Bob Lalich The arrangement did not last very long and changed due to the Grand Trunk buying in on the C&WI. The first GT terminal was somewhere along Blue Island Ave well outside downtown. The latecomer railroads were having difficulty gaining suitable terminals from the city. Another part of this story is that at least part of the GT west of Thornton was originally built by C&EI prior to C&WI as their route into Chicago. The history is very convoluted - several paper railroads chartered for construction, etc.


Edward Kwiatkowski posted
The Illinois Northern Railroad.
Partly owned by the Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe Railroad. This industrial shortline railroad, switched the once numerous industries in Chicago's Little Village neighborhood prior to 1971. During 1971...the ATSF purchased the I.N outright, and operated this line as their own.
After the 1995 ATSF / BN merger that created the BNSF Railway...service was greatly cut back. The line was eventually leased to the shortline railroad " Central Illinois Railroad. " with only one rail served industry left and just switched when needed...owner NSF Railway abandoned this line, and removed the trackage.
Paul Schlichting IN had a tower and a small round house at 26th east of California were it crossed the CJ, BOCT and the Panhandle line.. Not saying the area was rough but there was a rifle hanging on the wall.
Andre Kristopans Back in the late 1800s this was the Grand Trunk Western's north end to their Chicago terminal near 26th and Western. When GTW got access to Dearborn Station and built the line along 49th to the Western Indiana, they sold this portion the IN, which was joint Santa Fe and International Harvester. After IH closed Deering Works at 26/Western ended up Santa Fe only. In last years worked by a job out of Corwith until CIRR took over. They ran from a "pen" at 31st and Homan, servicing a fuel dealer near there until the fuel dealer closed. The the track east of Western was connected to CIRR's ex Burlington Lumber District Line to keep serving the sugar place at 31st and Western and the wine distributor at 27th and Western. Eventually CIRR gave up and BNSF took back the Lumber District, which now has a couple of scrap yards at Wolcott and the Sugar Refiner as last customers as far a I know.
Thomas Mackowiak My father, Julius Mackowiak worked for the Illinois Northern Railway for 40÷ years until his retirement in 1972. He was an office clerk for most of the time but also worked an occasional weekend as a switchman when a regular switchman called off. I worked as a summer yard yard clerk in the summer of 1967. In 1967, the IN had a two track engine house at 26th & Western in the southwest quadrant of that intersection. At that point the tracks of the IN were elevatef in order to cross the Pennsylvania and B&OCT tracks that ran north/south through 26th Street crossing. The IN had a yard at ground level on the west side of the north/south tracks. In 1967 the IN served a number of industries east and west of Western Avenue including a still opened International Harvester plant southwest of the PRR/B&OCT tracks. Each day that I worked I had to check and record the reporting marks of the cars in the yard, plus cars at the IH plant. If there were cars parked on the tracks west of California Avenue. I had to walk down by Cook County Jail znd and tecord the car reporting marks and numbers. That was always an enjoyablr walk down to County Jail under the satchful eyes of the guards.
Tom Skowronski Illinois Northern was exclusively west of the B&O C T at 26th St. It ran along 26th after coming down from the crossing. It primarily served International Harvester and the other misc. industries south of 26th back when we had industrial jobs in the City. It connected directly to the Q's Lumber District, which then ran northeast along (close to) Blue Island, turning east at Ashland, then running along Cermak east to Lumber. THEN it went northeast along Lumber. At one time it actually connected to the CUS tracks at Lumber St. The main connector to the Q main was north from Cermak along Peoria. Now but a memory.

Ramon Rhodes posted 11 photos with the comment:
The Illinois Northern
A Smurf unit with a switch job slowly creeps along on Illinois Northern trackage in Chicago. When I first saw this track, I thought it was abandoned, but boy was I wrong! I have now seen two trains on it. The Smurf was in 2010, the Heritage unit was in 2013.
This industrial branch was once accessed by a bridge over the Chicago Sanitary & Ship Canal from Corwith Yard. That trackage was torn up several years ago and now the branch is accessed only from the former BN triple-track to the north.




4 (John George copied to Facebooked)








Kwiatkowski posted a link to a Flickr photo of a Santa Fe locomotive with the comment:
The Monday thru Friday Atchison, Topeka & santa Fe
Railroad's "I.N / former Illinois Northern Railroad" industrial
branchline switching local at work. Chicago Illinois
circa 1984. ( Gone. - Abandoned. Tracks removed.) 
The ATSF served this line 5 days a week, switching
the once numerous industries, in Chicago's
Little Village neighborhood, with a switching local
freight train operating out of Corwith Yard.

Marty Bernard posted five photos with the comment:
The Illinois Northern, Part 1
Since I'm posting my and still some of Roger Puta's Santa Fe slides let me post the little known subsidiary of the Santa Fe, the Illinois Northern, a long gone short line railroad in Chicago.
Here is a short history:
Incorporated 3/15/1901, road completed in 1902. Leases property from International Harvester and 0.79 miles of track from AT&SF. On 2/7/1950, leased additional 5.22 miles of track from AT&SF. On 1/4/1950, the AT&SF purchased controlling interest from International Harvester. Ownership: 51% AT&SF, 25% CB&Q, 12% PRR, and 12% NYC. Ownership changed to 51% AT&SF, 25% BN and 24% PC. Ownership changed in Aug 1971, to 68.4% AT&SF, 31.6% BN. AT&SF acquired full ownership on 11/23/1971. AT&SF fully absorbed the Illinois Northern on 2/16/1975.
Please access the link above because Marty has added a caption to each photo.

David Daruszka commented on Marty's posting
Marty Bernard The freight station to the left was called McCormick Station. We are at 26th Street looking east on 26th Street..
[If that is 26th Street, then the building in the background is not the International Harvester plant south of 31st Street.]

Joe Usselman posted
Old Santa Fe bridge north of Corwith in 2018. It was abandoned about ten years ago or so.
[Additional comments are in IN Bridge.]
Ramon Rhodes Marty Valaitis Santa Fe's original main line into Chicago to Corwith Yard crossed that bridge before the line along the Sanitary Canal was cobbled together by buying up several smaller railroads. That's why the bridge exists and is double-tracked.

e that Corwith Yard is perpendicular to the current BNSF (and former Santa Fe) main line.

Illinois Northern also once had a small interchange yard on the west side of the bridge that was used to set out and pick up cars destined for the Santa Fe.

Marty Valaitis Thank you Ramon I did not know the early history and I worked on the Santa Fe in the 70s and 80s. I will add to some of the comments that my father spoke many times about ship and submarine traffic coming down the river during the war. He had a buddy that lived on the side of the river. They knew when a sub was coming thru as MPs would show up on Harlem Ave bridge. No cameras allowed. My favorite of his stories was that of a large ship he thought was some type of troop ship that was a little too big for the swing span bridge that carried old Route 66 across Lawndale Ave in Summit. As it squeezed through it tilted the bridge a few degrees off center and they could not close it. Took the engineers a while to get that straightened out. I remember that bridge well and played under Harlem Ave bridge many times. I know Harlem still had its lift controls back then.
Mark Bilecki Sr. Actually that bridge is part of the Chicago Danville and Vincennes which followed South thru Corwith and Elsdon down thru Thorton jct to Danville and Vincennes Ind.
Ramon Rhodes Mark Bilecki Sr. Before Santa Fe was able to cobble together a new mainline into the city along the Sanitary Canal, the mainline came in through the bottom end of Corwith Yard and cross that bridge.

This is why Corwith Yard is perpendicular to the current mainline.

David HersrudDavid and 41 others joined Chicagoland Railfan within the last two weeks. Give them a warm welcome into your community! the southern end of CORWITH was actually owned by the CR&I and the santa fe leased it for 100 yrs...
Mark Simmons The Illinois Northern. When I was a kid it was a treat to see the Santa Fe on that line. It was cool. All trains ran at night. Im talking 1970s into early 80s
David HersrudDavid and 41 others joined Chicagoland Railfan within the last two weeks. Give them a warm welcome into your community! Ya I remember when they replaced the power to santa fe FM switchers if I recall?

John George appears to have posted my map as a comment
Tom Skowronski And then at the upper right, at Blue Island and Western Aves. it crossed the "Western Ave. corridor," where the I N. engine house was located, and connected to the west end of the Q's Lumber District. Always thought that would make for a heck of a model railroad.
Ramon Rhodes commented on Joe's posting
Fred Van Dorpe what is "Big 4" and how the crap did all those railroads listed under 1 connect with the Illinois Northern?Dennis DeBruler Fred Van Dorpe Big Four had a route that went from Indianapolis through Lafayette to Kankakee where it joined the IC to gain access to the Chicago market. That is why it connected at 3 because it would use IC's branch to Freeport. Note in John George's map that the South Branch used to extend west of the turning basin. That was filled in quite a while ago which is why these older maps are not consisten with current maps. DeBruler As far as Chicagoland is concerned, Big Four also had a route that went from Cairo through Danville and on up to Northwestern Indiana. It was called the Egyptian Line. DeBruler I just checked a 1938 aerial photo, there is/was no connection in the northwest quadrant at 2. So I don't think the IN could connect with what is listed at 2.
Dennis DeBruler  commented on Joe's posting
For 1, my current theory is that they would continue east on the CB&Q industrial park track along Cermak until they got to the wye that connected to a track going north that then connected westbound on CB&Q's mainline. Note on the satellite image that we can still see the landscars of this north/south track.

Going west, they could either go up to C&NW tracks or down to Chicago Junction and B&OCT (B&O) tracks. They could then take the Chicago Junction through Ashland Yard to either the C&WI (Eric, Wabash, C&EI) or a little further to Rock Island (and NYC). The Chicago Junction was originally the terminal railroad for the Union Stock Yards and it ran further east for a connection with the IC mainline around what is now William-Davis Park. From the CB&W's mainline, they could also go north onto the Pennsy Panhandle and make the connections listed under 2 using the through tracks on the east side of Union Station to get to P.FT.W.&C.RY (the main Pennsy, as opposed to the Panhandle).

The track along Cermak was removed just this year.
David Hersrud commented on Joe's posting
Edward Kwiatkowski posted
How many people, remember the former Illinois Northern Railroad?
This little shortline Railroad, switched the once numerous industries, in Chicago's Little Village neighborhood.
Dennis DeBruler I never had a chance to see it.
Doug Kaniuk info:

Gary Sturm posted
Illinois Northern #32 at the Santa Fe Corwith Yard in Chicago in 1972.
[Some comments describe the activity of trains on the IN line back in the 1960s-80s.]

Fortunately, this posting is in a public group, because it has too much info and photos for me to take the time to copy them here.

Another view of this area

1 comment:

  1. BNSF apparently brought Pure Asphalt 1 car in 2011. Pure Asphault received no cars in 2010(CIRY transferred their locomotive over to the Lumber District in early 2010) and I think they only recieved 1 or 2 cars in 2009