Wednesday, May 27, 2015

C&NW's 40th Avenue Yard and 1915 Smoke Abatement Maps

(Satellite, only the southern part is still used by the railroad. It does still have a diesel locomotive service shop.)

In terms of the yard name, I believe Pulaski used to be 40th Avenue, and Cicero used to be 50th Avenue.

I have moved the photos of the two coaling towers to a separate page.

(Updates: Doug Kaniuk has a couple of pictures taken from an airplane. John Smith has a Sanborn map and photos of a turntable. The 40th Street Ramp in the southeast corner of this yard has its own posting and the streamliner ramp in the southwest corner has its own posting.)

While studying Chicago swing bridges, I discovered some detailed 1915 maps of Chicago starting at page 300 of Smoke abatement and electrification of railway terminals in Chicago: Report. (Update: I find the  .pdf copy is easier to use.) The roundhouses in this map caught my eye.

Free eBook, Fig 118, p. 332

As expected, all three roundhouses still stood in 1938.
1938 Aerial from IHLAP

David Daruszka uploaded, p14, 1959

So I looked at a satellite map of the roundhouses area. Evidently Crawford has been renamed as Pulaski in honor of Casimir Pulaski. Many Chicago city resources, including the public schools, public libraries, and government offices close on Pulaski Day. (ChicagoTribune)

I added a red circle to a satellite image to highlight where I think the top 360-degree roundhouse was located. The line is outside the footprint so that you can see were the shade of the soil changes. Evidently the roundhouse had a dirt floor and the darker earth is from greese and oil droppings. (Update: see the 40th Street Ramp for much more information about this area of the yard.)

Satellite plus Paint

Although the yard is significantly reduced in size from its steam-era days, it is still an important engine servicing facility. Below is a picture taken of the west side from Kilbourn Ave that I took during a field trip to follow the Belt Railway Company of Chicago (BRC) north through town.

20140928 0121, west side of UP engine service facility
On the east side along Pulaski Road, because of the grade separation between the road and the tracks, I could not get a good shot of the yard facilities.

20150502 0574c

But I was able to get the UP sign.

1942 Jack Delano Photo
"Workers perform maintenance on a Chicago & North Western Class E 4-6-2 (what appears to be #1646, a 1921 product of Alco)"

Carl Venzke also posted
Cort Rydberg Bad place to work, asbestos, solvent fumes, boiling lye vat, etc etc. Carman job outside much better, just don't get old and let the Railroad Doctors get ahold of you. I wouldn't let the Railroad kill me.

Joe Dunlap I've been looking at these pictures for decades, and I never cease to be amazed at the utter filth inside the old steam railroad engine facilities. In addition to all the things Cort mentioned above, just look at the dirt on the floor! You have to wonder how in the world anything of precision was accomplished in that kind of environment. That those guys did it and kept the locomotives out in service and meeting their schedules is nothing short of miraculous!

Jim Ronchetto posted a different exposure of this photo
1942 Jack Delano Photo

Doug Kaniuk -> Chicagoland Railfan
Aerial photos of C&NW 40th St Yard, spring 1969

Doug Kaniuk posted

C&NW 40th st yards aerial photo 1969
From a Metra car by David Luyster in Facebook
1942 Jack Delano photo
American Rails comments:

Chicago & North Western Class J-4 2-8-4 #2808, a 1927 product of Alco, is under repair at the 40th Street Shops in Chicago during December of 1942. On the next track over can be seen the open smoke box of 0-6-0 #2635. Jack Delano photo.

John Smith posted pictures of the Galena Division turntable in Facebook. He has another posting of pictures of that turntable. Mathan Mackey indicated in a comment that it was the last of the three turntables to be filled in. " Metra still gets the F40's serviced there on weekdays."
Bob Ciminel -> Railroads in Black and White
Bob's comments:
The Chicago & North Western locomotive backshop in December 1942. That's a trailing truck booster engine in the lower left. They were a maintenance headache for the little bit of tractive effort they provided, but they could really help getting a train started when journal boxes were frozen in cold weather. They were usually cut out around 10 mph.
Bob doesn't indicates which yard this back-shops is in.  Looking at the aerial photo above, the 40th Ave. yard certainly had extensive back-shops. So if this building was in this yard, some of the buildings in this yard would do similar repair activities.
John Smith >> Real Abandoned Rails

John Nowakowski posted
Locomotive repair building. Chicago and Northwestern Railroad, 1942. (photo - Jack Delano)
Guillermo De Leon posted
Chicago and Northwestern Railroad, 1942. I found this on Twitter.
[Now we are left with the question of which copy was altered and which was Jack's intention.
Or did he make multiple exposures with different settings?]
Jack did take several shots from that perch up near the ceiling. This looks like a different one.
bill Molony shared's post
A bird's eye view inside Chicago & North Western's 40th Street Shops (Chicago) depicts a busy scene in December of 1942. Note 4-6-4 #4001 (E-4), in particular, receiving attention. This Hudson was one of nine received from Alco in 1938. They wore handsome streamlining and were quite similar to Milwaukee Road's legendary F-7's,…. Jack Delano photo, Daruszka This was C&NW's heavy servicing and refurbishing shop in Chicago. I believe it was superceded by Olwein, IA when the North Western took over the CGW. 40th Street was downgraded to a diesel shop for the Suburban service power. More about backshops on my blog:

Frank Smitty Schmidt posted
Boiler repairs at the C&NW 40th St shop in 1942.
Delano / OWI photo.
Wayne Hudak posted
A good candidate for mesothelioma.
A Chicago & Northwestern shop worker at the 40th Street shops in Chicago spreads an asbestos mix on a locomotive boiler, December 1942.
OWI Photo
Ron Mlejnek Nobody knew anything about the connection between lung cancer and asbestos when steam locomotives were running. Even when they were scrapping steam locomotives in the 50's they let the lagging spread all over the ground while they cut them up. 
David Daruszka commented on the 23rd photo in  the Grève des trains - USA - 1946. album
[The  two Wisconsin Division roundhouses are gone and the Illinois Division roundhouse is torn down. The new diesel shop has been built.]
Denise Ozga Schodowski posted
Thanks for the add! Does anyone have any information on the building shown in this picture taken about 1930 in Chicago? That is a C&NW train car. I believe this picture was taken on Goose Island near North Ave and the Chicago River. My grandfather is in the picture. He rolled steel hoops for boilers and I’d like to find the name of the building/company because I believe that’s the building he worked in. Thanks for your help!
Patrick McNamara It's the M-1 Building at 40th Street - the Machine Shop.
Patrick McNamara commented on Denies' posting
1946 aerial photo looking East shows the Galena Division Roundhouse and M-1 building (with the dormers that show in Denise's photo) lower left.
Denise Ozga Schodowski posted
Here’s a photo from rail (photographer unknown) that shows the building in Chicago I’m trying to identify. I posted a picture yesterday of my grandfather at this location. Thanks!

Jack Delano Photo from LC-DIG-fsac-1a34606
Section of a locomotive frame, which will be welded to replace a broken locomotive frame, Chicago, Ill. Workman is indicating what place must be cut. At the 40th Street shop of C&NWRR [i.e. Chicago and North Western railroad]
David Daruszka updated
[The Pioneer is getting some tender loving care.]

Dwayne Weber posted
Old caboose and old commuter cars sitting in Chicago.
Dwayne Weber Pulaski & Kinzie.
Dennis DeBruler commented on Dwayne's post
Thanks, a remnant of the C&NW's 40th Street Yard. That smokestack is interesting.,-87.../data=!3m1!1e3

Bill Molony shared Sophia Jerrett's post
December 1942. "40th Street Shops (Chicago & North Western locomotive shops at Chicago)." 4x5 Kodachrome transparency by Jack Delano for the Office of War Information.

Dennis DeBruler commented on Bill's share
C&NW used to own all of the land between Kinzie & Chicago and BRC tracks & Pulaski, and they had it full of railroading. In addition to engine servicing facilities for the Galena and Wisconsin Divisions (over 2.5 roundhouses and two big coaling towers), they had extensive engine repair facilities.
I have yet to figure out which of these buildings housed the backshop. I put a yellow rectangle around my current theory. Note the smokestack of the boilerhouse west of this building and the transfer table east of it.

Most of the land has been turned into a rail-served industrial park. Ed taught me about the industrial spur that serves the west side.

John Smith posted his map for the yard.

Michael Riha shared the Grève des trains - USA - 1946. album. These comments were on the 21st photo in the album.
Dennis DeBruler I see that there were two yards along the mainline. [And I included the 1938 aerial extract. The west yard was the Streamliner Ramp.]

Bob Lalich The CNW packed a lot into this relatively small space! Three turntables and roundhouses, two wyes, transfer tables, shops, several sub yards within the freight yard portion - fascinating operation!
David Daruszka Packed in best sums the place up best. The yard tracks were pretty close together and it was a dangerous place to work when I was there. No lights at night and packs of roaming feral dogs!

1 comment:

  1. I just found this weblog a week ago.
    I can't believe how much information I have learned from it. {Hi, Bill Shapotkin!}
    My dad worked in this C&NW yard for a long time. He was still alive when this blog post was made. I would have loved to give this URL to him. (He had recently asked me about how to sign up for F**ebook, and I was compelled to tell him I was not going to sign up for it, and he should not either.) [He died on 14 October 2015.]
    Yes, this weblog is going on my regular bookmark page in the Travel rubric the next time I revise it. Now, please excuse me while I continue forward in this weblog.