Tuesday, January 12, 2016

B&OCT's Homan Avenue Yard

1938 Aerial Photo from ILHAP

A major function of this elevated yard was to serve the Sears Complex along its north side. It appears from the trees that they removed parts of the elevation. If so, that is the first time I have seen a Railroad do something to approve their appearance in a neighbor hood. There are no tracks left in this yard. Just the mainline running along the south side.

As comments to a Henry Freeman posting, David Daruszka provided Sanborn Maps of the east end.

David Daruszka comment
David's comment:
West end of Homan Yard on the Altenheim Sub. It appears to be an engine switching out Sears in the distance. Photo from the Barringer Collection.
Scott Griffith comment 
This would be the spur that the B&OCT used to serve the trainshed that is between the two "legs" of Sears' Mail Order Plant.
Dave Durham posted
Area of Homan Ave. IRR&WC Report, 1898, unknown photographer.
Dennis DeBruler I had assumed this was B&OCT. They used to have a yard over Homan Ave. that served a big Sears complex just north of the yard, https://industrialscenery.blogspot.com/.../b-homan-avenue.... But I see C&NW also crosses Homan Ave at 90-degrees. Since the girders extend above the bridge deck, I conclude this is a C&NW elevation project.

Henry Freeman posted three photos with the comment:
To Les Wuollett and others. I hope you and your families are well and we all get through these difficult times unscathed. I was wondering if you might have some insight on how Sears on the Altenheim Branch was switched. I can see from photos and track plans that the Merchandise Building was switched on two levels. It looks easy for a switcher to access the low line by the ramp, which is still there and used today by kids riding bikes. It's the high line (and the power house) that makes me curious about how cars were spotted. I see in the ETT that both of these bridges had weight restrictions for cars with gross weight exceeding 220,000 lbs (110 tons). Were reacher or idler cars used for these locations? Or, did Sears have a plant switcher, such as a 70-tonner, for these moves? Were cars at Sears spotted to specific doors? Were 50-foot or longer cars spotted at the Merchandise Building or was it mostly 40-footers? Any thoughts you or others might have on the rail operations at Sears would be appreciated.
Les Wuollett Homan yard was 2 yards (east & west). We would line up the cars for the low line on the 2 parallel leads between east & west yards because the low line had an east & west spur so when going down to spot the low line we had cars on both ends of the engine. The head man would stay at the switch to protect from any traffic or stray car that might come down trk 7 in the east while the conductor and hind man did the spotting. The high line was switched from the west yard and the B&OCT did all the switching. I'm pretty sure the box cars were 40 footers when I worked there (1957 to abt 1962) and they were spotted at specific doors. I think the switch engine went on the high line without idlers. How much does an 8400 weigh?
William Kruspe It weighed125 ton.
John P. Pisciotto You had the Soo Line, the Chicago Great Western, the B&O, and the B&OCT, all swtiching their own cars. There was no reciprocal switching agreement for Sears.
John P. Pisciotto You had the Soo Line, the Chicago Great Western, the B&O, and the B&OCT, all swtiching their own cars. There was no reciprocal switching agreement for Sears.
Henry Freeman John P. Pisciotto Did the Soo and CGW do spots as well as work the yard? Does that mean they would move a B&OCT spotted car and then respot it if that was needed to place their car at the proper spot? Thnx
John P. Pisciotto You know I don't know. I haven't been able to find out if they had specific doors to spot their own equipment at. I also don't know if they were allowed to move somebody else's equipment out of the way. There have been reprints of the Great Western Industries in the Chicago area, and it showed that serious did not have a reciprocal switching agreement between the railroads. My dad worked at that plant, and I wish I knew more.
Bob Lalich Henry Freeman - according to the Chicago Switching District Directory of Industries, B&OCT, B&O, CGW and Soo Line had switching rights for Sears.
John P. Pisciotto Yep. But they only switched their own equipment. When was billed to the Baltimore and Ohio, it was switched by the Baltimore and Ohio. the other railroads couldn't touch it.
Les Wuollett I never saw a foreign crew in Homan Ave yard doing any kind of work.
John P. Pisciotto The books i reference were from 53.
Henry Freeman Les Wuollett Les, thanks. This is why it so valuable to get information from those who were there working the job. I have a copy of the "Directory of Industries in the Chicago Switching District", effective Dec. 24, 1956. In the listing for the Sears facility at Homan Ave., it lists the B&OCT, B&O, CGW and Soo Line as a "Terminal Carrier". However, with the exception of the B&OCT, all the others include the Note (2), If you look in the back of the book, (2) indicates "will not switch for connecting lines", which seems to mean in this instance only the B&OCT would switch for connecting lines. Also under the column "Terminal Carrier's Station or District" it only lists Robey St. These two things indicated to me that it was likely the B&OCT did the switching at Sears, although I wasn't 100% sure. The years you worked this job (1957-62) are the ones that interest me the most. Thanks for the information you have provided.



One of many neat photos in Chicagology
Merchandise Building
From the Southwest

Lou Wuollett posted

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for this post. I've always wondered about this Yard.