Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Santa Fe's Chicago Coach and Grape Yards

(Satellite image below)

1938 Aerial Photo
Most of the railroads that used the Dearborn Station had their passenger yards along the Chicago and Western Indiana Railroad, which was the terminal railroad for the station, between 30th and 60th Streets. But the Santa Fe had their own yards closer to the station east of the 21st Street Crossing. The land the roundhouse used to set on in the northwest quadrant of 18th Street and Wentworth Avenue is now right field for a baseball park.

Edward J Burggraf Jr. posted
About 1962, Chicago.
Bob Davis Home of the steam-generator equipped FM and Alco diesels. They were sometimes used to transfer through sleepers from Santa Fe to New York Central trains, which meant going from Dearborn Station to LaSalle St. Station.
Mel Harrison Those H-12-44TS's were the only such models built and those three went to the Santa Fe.
Mike Croy Worked on many switch jobs at the coach yard. With the Chicago skyline as a backdrop, it was one of the most picturesque places I’ve ever been on the Santa Fe. Especially at night!
Bob Finan We were ecstatic to get the 2394 out here in SoCal!

Sam Bailey None were as bad as Emperor of the North but thought they were. Most old head conductors could be trusted to make a good decision but then there were those that used the power and made bad ones that really screwed up the works. Only when an engineer like myself got some good seniority could we stand up to them.
Robert Morrow Sam Bailey they might also take a drink.
Sam Bailey Robert Morrow That was part of the post war employee group for sure. Times changed with each new hire up until present day where one cannot even sniff a bottle and go to work.
Bob Davis commented on Edward's post
Moving forward to Sept. 1971, as I arrived in Chicago on what was then Amtrak train 18, but was still Santa Fe cars and personnel, I spotted these now idle passenger transfer units. One of them, 2394, had already had its steam generator removed and was assigned to Southern Calif. by then.

Bob Davis commented on Bob Finan's comment ("We were ecstatic to get the 2394 out here in SoCal!") on Edward's post.
I first encountered 2394 when it was working in the San Diego yard. A few months later it was moved to San Bernardino, where I got to run it (under the direction of a hostler) one night--from the west shop lead to the new "roundhouse" near Rialto Ave.

Dennis DeBruler commented on Edward's post
It looks like the photo was taken facing north from the roof of a building that was along 18th Street.

Sunny Dhillon shared
Richard C. Burnes Was there a wye for turning these train sets?
Robert Petit Richard C. Burnes actually there was a balloon track that went around the whole yard. You could turn the whole train without having to go on the mainline. Also, on the west side was the produce yard. All that is left of the Sante Fe is the commissary building.
Karl M Andrews The balloon track that was mentioned earlier reached its apex at the corner of Archer Ave,Cermack Rd(22nd st)and Wentworth Ave. a strip mall now occupies the area. While we didn't travel all that often through that intersection when I was a child, there was usually some sort of action on that balloon track that I could watch while we waited for our streetcar connection.
Robert Petit stated that this commissary building is the only building still standing.

Ron Sherman posted
Not sure on the location and date.
Complete A-B-B-A sets
Allan Gilbert: 18th Street ATSF coach yard. Year - 1948. Andreas Feininger photo.

The balloon track is the curved track down near Cermak.
1953 Englewood Quadrangle @ 1:24,000

Adding that track reduced the size of the grape yard.
1929 Englewood Quadrangle @ 1:24,000

TJ Coke shared
18th Street ATSF coach yard. Year - 1948.
Reverse Google search shows this as a Andreas Feininger photo for LIFE.

All of this is now abandoned and has been replaced by an expansion of Chinatown to the north.

Dwayne Weber posted two photos with the comment: "Now and then. Then was better."
Ted Fisk Can someone identify the location, cross streets? I have no idea where this is. Thx
Dwayne Weber Chicago ATSF Passenger Train Yard. Archer & Wentworth Ave. Amtrak used it until they went across the river to Union Station.
Dennis DeBruler Looking East. Ping Tom Park at the lower-left. Orange Line over CN/IC in the foreground. Red Line next to Metra/Rock+NYC in the background.


Mike Breski posted
Santa Fe 2401, a 1937 Electro-Motive model NW, switches heavyweight tourist sleepers in the road’s coach yard in Chicago. Special signs on their sides indicate the cars are assigned to the Chicago–Los Angeles Scout, which ceased to operate as a Chicago train in 1949. Classic Trains coll.
Unknown Photographer
Dennis DeBruler commented on Mike's post
This is probably looking southeast from 18th Street. I never realized there was so much industry east of Chinatown, but there was. A 1938 aerial photo.

Steven J. Brown posted
Leased Precision National ex-UP GP9 208 and ex-Frisco GP7 621 working the Amtrak ex-Santa Fe coach yard at 21st Street in Chicago - April 4, 1977. Amtrak would buy both later that year, 208 became 763 and 621 became 761.
Larry Bafia posted
[The Canal Street RR Bridge allows me to find a comparable street view today. Update: I see a new building has been built that now obscures the bridge towers. Another way to identify this location is that Walgreens is now on this land.]
Robert Daly posted
Santa Fe's "Grape Yard," Archer & Cermak, March 1974. The name was literal--SF sold fresh grapes wholesale at this location. Site is now part of Chinatown's expanded commercial district.
Dennis DeBruler shared
Robert Portner CNW 40th St yard also had wine grape sellers every fall.
[Note that both of these team track yards are in passenger train yards. I assume grapes are time sensitive and were shipped on passenger trains instead of freight trains. Chicago had the Potato Yard and the Chicago Produce Yard for less time sensitive produce.]

Bill Molony posted
Chicago & Eastern Illinois Railroad EMD E7A #28, southbound on the Chicago & Western Indiana Railroad tracks at 18th Street with C&EI train #3, the Danville Flyer back in June of 1969.
The Danville Flyer was equipped with reclining seat coaches and a buffet lounge car, but did not handle checked baggage.
Kevan Davis Santa Fe El Capitan cars it their coach yard.
Dennis DeBruler To the east of the passenger cars there appears to be a coal tower north of two sand towers in Santa Fe's engine servicing facility. That is the first view I have seen of that coaling tower.
NOLA Rails posted
ATSF doing a little switching at Coach Yard at Chicago IL, circa 1949.
Norm Anderson The heavyweight Sleepers are assigned to Trains 1 and 2, The Scout (the train's name appears on the red-colored square placards just below the windows). The Scout was retired from the timecard in 1949. Despite their "aged" appearance next to the streamliner behind them, it is a sure bet that these cars are immaculately clean inside and well-maintained.
Rob Hentschel shared
Dennis DeBruler That is the first time I have seen those two bridges from the southeast. It shows the B&OCT's truss was higher than the St. Charles Air Line even though the St. Charles initially had a longer span.
Classic Streamliners' post
Postcard photo of Santa Fe cooks preparing food on the platform at Chicago in 1942. Courtesy Chuckman's.
Brandon McShane Modern day restaurant operators would be horrified by the lack of refrigeration for the meat.
Kevin Leahy Lon E. Walker They did use ice.
Kevin Leahy This is how it was done for years at the ATSF Commisary in Chicago. Even in the summer of 1972 (one yr into Amtrak). The single level diners all used ice boxes to refrigerate the food. 300 lb blocks of ice that we hand chipped with an ice pick. It took a lot of provisions to stock a car for the trip to CA. So, the chef probably kicked everone else (3rd & 4th cooks) to the platform so the foods could be stocked in precise order (by him & the 2nd cook). Meat first...then other refrigerated food. Last, staples. It certainly wasn't left on the platform very long.... It all had to get loaded somehow....

Michael Riha shared a Bob Chaparro post
Chuckman posted this photo on the Industrial History blog and commented, "Postcard photo of Santa Fe cooks preparing food on the platform at Chicago in 1942."
Ray Weart They're not at all preparing food in this photo. Supplies are being loaded onto a diner prior to the train being doubled up for it's trip. Bob Wundrock, there is no food stuffs exposed to the elements. Everything is held in containers, which can be plainly seen in the photo, and thoroughly protected for their trip from the commissary to the train yard and the diner that stuff was going to. Note how food was handled in this NYC 20th Century Limited film from the 1930's. I believe the scenes in a train yard were filmed in Chicago.
[Another comment speculated that this was a PR photo. I see a lot of exposed food: tomatos, pork loins, lettuce? in the back, something green in front of the two guys doing something with their hands, white eggs? in a crate in front of the guy looking at a door. Another comment indicated the locomotive is an E1.]

Two of these three photos are repeats, but I include them because I think David digitally enhanced them.
David Daruszka commented on Bill Molony's posting
NOLA Rails also posted
From train day celebration, Men are loading up the "Santa Fe" train with supplies before they take-off. Chicago, IL, July 1948 - Photographer: Andreas Feininger.

David Daruszka commented on Bill Molony's posting

David Daruszka commented on Bill Molony's posting
Brian Morgan posted
18th Street was the Santa Fe's Passenger Coach Yards and Engine Facility. Normally assigned switchers were assigned to the task of shuffling coaches in and out of the 18th Street Facility to Dearborn Street Station on a regular basis. Santa Fe was a tenent at Dearborn Street and hence they had to maintain and store their own cars and locomotives. The up side to this is that the Santa Fe facilities were much closer to Dearborn Street than the Chicago & Western Indiana facilities which were located at West 49th Street and South Wallace Avenue.
A different photo of the same event.
JR Ruiz posted
This black and white photograph shows an Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe Railway Company's diesel and steam locomotives at the 18th Street coach yard in Chicago, Illinois. The steam locomotive ,in the middle, is "Blue Goose" No. 3460: February 14, 1938...

Imbued with Hues posted
1938 - Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe Railway Company's diesel and steam locomotives at the 18th Street coach yard in Chicago, Illinois. The steam locomotive, in the middle, is "Blue Goose" No. 3460.
Michael Finnigan The diesel units are EMC E1 models, and each had 2 inline-8-cylinder 2-stroke diesel engines, each producing 900-HP for a total of 1,800-HP per unit. In 1938, there were only 8 of these in existence, so here you see one half of all of them. You'll notice the sloped nose on these locomotives; newer designs had a more vertical nose, as it turned out that the elegantly sloped nose had a bad habit of deflecting vehicles up toward the cab in a grade crossing collision.
Patrick McNamara Nonsense.
Michael Finnigan Patrick McNamara What part do you claim is nonsense? I can cite every detail in my comment, so bring it.

Rex Fermier Love the view of one of the towers from a vertical lift bridge!
Steve Rippeteau Clark Ellis, it was the mainline approach bridge for Chicago Union Station for the PRR, GM&O and transfer route to the Burlington Route. It crossed the South Branch of the Chicago River at 21st St. Hence the name of the tower that controlled the huge array of diamonds and cross overs, 21st Street interlocking. Santa Fe 18th St Coach Yard extended SW adjacent to the 21st St Tower. The bridge is skewed to the SW angle of the river. The double tracks were aligned N to S. This was one of my teenage mutant railfan hangouts and later working for ATSF 1965-2007. TMI?

Rex Fermier Steve Rippeteau have you got any photos to share?
Dennis DeBruler Rex Fermier This has some photos:
Near the top are links to 3D Satellite, Bridge Hunter, HAER, etc. that has more photos.

Russ Schneider shared
Jerry Hund What’s with those headlights?
Russ Schneider Jerry Hund I wondered the same thing. Also no number boards.
Alan Follett Santa Fe's eight E1 A units (as well as the earlier EA, operated only by B&O) had flush headlights.

John Shaw shared
Glenn J Nahrwold Santa Fe's finest. Just a shame that none of the locos pictured here were saved for preservation.

John Swiatek's post
Santa Fe engines wait in the 18'th St yards in Chicago. The one in the center was called a 'Blue Goose'.  ca 1938
Glenn Galen: They look faded. That's because the black and white photo was faded. And then colorized. But they were brand new paint and should have shine on them, and be bright red, not chalky pink.
Jack Franklin shared 

Steven J. Brown posted
Amtrak SDP40F's at the ex-Santa Fe coach yard in Chicago - April 3, 1977.
Georgie Li What's the unit on the far right
Steven J. Brown another SDP40F
Jim Satterwhite P30CH aka as Pooch.
Rick Malo I always loved these units, and the original paint scheme. Wish they could have stayed on the rails a little better.
Steven J. Brown posted
1977 - Epic photo FAIL! Shadow or poles, no way to win.

2018 - Hey that's kinda cool. Ex-UP PNC Geep and a SDP40F on the right even.

Gulf Mobile and Ohio F3 880B heading for Joliet with the Pulg at 21st Street in Chicago - May 11, 1977.
Dennis DeBruler The best view I have seen so far of the five smoke stacks on the Santa Fe power house.

Steven J. Brown shared
Illinois Central Gulf's transfer job with Gulf Mobile and Ohio F3 883A (built 1947 became MBTA FP10 1153 then Edaville RR 1153) passes the ex-Santa Fe coach yard where Amtrak Alco RS3 129 (built 1951 as NYC 8268 to PC 5510) is switching baggage cars in Chicago, Illinois - June 12, 1977.

Steven J. Brown commented on a post
Looking north from one of the service buildings in the abandoned Santa Fe yard April 1988.

Mark Llanuza posted
Its 1982 with GM&O train near Chinatown at the former Santa Fe car shops and yard and facility .I went back in 2013 and Chinatown has taken over everything but the two track main line of the CN.
Thomas Manz posted
Dennis DeBruler The two freshly ballasted mainline tracks are the IC tracks beginning the climb of their embankment. The tracks in the foreground are C&WI. The ladder of Santa Fe tracks includes the leads to the Grape Yard.
[Taken from the top of a tower of the South Branch Bridge.]
David Daruszka updated
Bob PoortingaBob and 54 others joined Chicago Railroad Historians within the last two weeks. Give them a warm welcome into your community! Location is Santa Fe coach yard just east of 21st interlocking where Ping Tom Park is.
Patrick McNamara commented on David's update
Here's a photo William Ranke, the photographer of David Daruszka's main shot, also took that day that ended up in a Santa Fe advertisement...you can see some of the Yard behind the power...

David Wilson posted
Amtrak was a year old. The AT&SF coach yard still seemed to be active.
Bob Lalich The ATSF coach yard was used by Amtrak well into the 1980s.
Brandon McShane It was shut down in 1981 when the lease ended and the current coach yard was completed.
Bob Lalich Brandon McShane - thanks for the clarification. I remember the ATSF coach yard in use in the spring of 1981 but don't recall exactly when Amtrak stopped using it.
Brandon McShane It took about nine years after that to complete the sale of the property because it was seriously polluted.

Lawrence Smith look at the sad condition of that CWI track. About to sink into the mud. Old pics show those tracks sitting on at least 1-2' of manicured ballast.
Joel J. Sieracki Only the one Norfolk & Western commuter to and from Orland Park was using the 4-track C&WI main at this point.

May 1929
[The roundhouse is in the lower-right corner. The yards are further south.]
William Shapotkin posted
We are standing on the 18th St Bridge over the C&WI in Chicago and here comes the N&W (ex-WABASH) N/B BLUEBIRD from arriving from St Louis. View looks south on April 12, 1966. Wm Shapotkin collection.
Dennis DeBruler The boxcars on the left are on the beginning of the IC embankment that went up and turned east to the Rock+NYC crossing at 16th Street Tower. The passenger coaches in the background are in Santa Fe's passenger yard. The boxcars in the right background are probably for the Grape Yard. The only tracks left are the CN/IC tracks. The land this side of the CN tracks is now the Ping Tom Memorial Park. The Santa Fe tracks are now part of the "new Chinatown."Bob Lalich The boxcars on the left are occupying what was referred to as the GM&O track. In this time frame, the track dead-ended short of 16th St and was used for storage. Originally, it connected to the SCAL and CRIP/NYC tracks at 16th St. For some reason, the N&W train is using track #3 rather than the normal inbound main #1, two tracks to the left of the train.
Dennis DeBruler commented on William's posting
So it would be the tracks past the GM&O track that continued on and joined the SCAL (St. Charles Air Line) tracks across Rock+NYC and to go to the passenger station and the IC freight yards up by the Chicago River. Back then the east end of SCAL had a connection going north instead of todays connection going south. These tracks are still part of the CN/IC route to the west through Rockford and Freeport to Galena. During one of my trips to Ping Tom to take photos of the bridges, a CN train travelling northish on the Freeport Subdivision came through the park. I still don't know the CN timecard directions for this east/west route.
Santa Fe first used the GTW tracks to gain access to its passenger yard. It then tried building north creating what became the Illinois Northern route. This 1897 maps shows both of these routes. Note that the Santa Fe is north of the canal during this period.
Dennis DeBruler commented on a posting
This 1916 map shows the final passenger train route. Note that it now comes into this area on the south side of the canal because it crossed the canal further west.
Dennis DeBruler commented on a posting
The comments on Stuart Pearson's posting has a lot more pictures and information.

Marty Bernard posted a photo of a couple of Amtrak switches pulling a Santa Fe caboose in 1977. You can see the north tower and part of the span of the Canal Street RR Bridge in the photo. A comment indicates they are setting on a lead of the Sante Fe Coach Yard. Loren Hatch in another posting of the same photo by Marty provided the info: "The coach yard was closed in 1981 after Amtrak completed the rebuilding of 12th Street. It was later sold (ca. 1990) to a Chinese American development company which built the current shopping center and residences. The ATSF commissary building survives."

Paul Enenbach caught the roundhouse in the background.

Bill Molony posted
Bob Lalich The train is inbound at 16th St interlocking Bill. The stacks to the immediate right of the locomotive were from ATSF's powerhouse at their coach yard.

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