Thursday, January 7, 2016

CB&Q's Clyde (Cicero) Yard and Roundhouse, La Vergne Tower

(see below for satellite images)

Steven J. Brown posting
Power move in the Burlington Northern Clyde Yard
at La Vergne Tower. Berwyn, IL - June 4, 1991.
Clyde Yard is BNSF/BN/CB&Q's big yard in Cicero, IL. I have driven past it, but they have put up a fence around it and posted the parking lot as No Trespassing. Judging from the satellite image below, I could try walking on Laramie Ave. bridge and get shots of the east side. But all I would get is shots of yet another intermodal yard. The satellite image is much more interesting. In fact, I see there still exists a 4-stall roundhouse! So I also got a closeup of the engine servicing facilities. A 1938 aerial photo indicates the round house used to be 180-degrees.
One of two photos posted by Richard Koenig
Despite being some of the worst negatives I happen to have saved, here’s some commuter action on the CB&Q racetrack. The bi-level train is outbound just west of Cicero, Illinois, at what is now called LaVergne. And I think I'm going to catch hell from you all, but here goes...
Both images are made from the Illinois Central Railroad overpass. As I look back at this—the act of trespassing on an active railroad bridge to gain a vantage point simply for a photograph—I’m astounded at the foolhardy nature of this dangerous act. I have no memory of doing this or how I came to be atop the bridge. It is a wonder that I was not arrested (as one would be today, very quickly) or killed (which could also happen very easily).
Two images by Richard Koenig; taken in the mid- to late-1970s, then but a reckless teenager, apparently thinking that he was immortal.
John Mann Tower was tall to see over the IC tracks. This was the west tower of Clyde Yard right off of Ridgeland in Berwyn.

Bird's Eye View
1938 Aerail Photo from ILHAP
eyepilot13 Flickr 1989 Photo
CY Laramie Br 3 4-21-89
4/21/89: Another view in the series of Cicero Yard before it became an intermodal terminal...Here is a west facing view from the Laramie Ave. Bridge showing the yard office and hump tower (long gone) as well as a BN bus! Note the GT open topped auto-rack! 
An EPXIII quality negative scan!
[One of 116 photos of the yard in a Flickr Album. Note the wheeled gantries in the left background. That part of the yard has already been converted to intermodal service.]

Curtis Froscheiser-Roh posted
View from the Burlington Hump Tower in Cicero. Looking eastward. 1979
Curtis Froscheiser-Roh posted
BN Cicero classification yard as viewed from the Hump Tower. 1985.
Fred Lewis: I started yard mastering there in 86. The building to the right is the retarder tower built in 1958. There was a room on the lower level of the retarder that contained the computer to run this “state of the art” hump yard. The computer had vacuum tubes in it! I have a story about something that happened there in my book.
Thoughts From the Conductor's Desk: And Other Train Wrecks
Karl M Andrews: I put in some time there! In fact I worked the hump job on the night before the last night it was a hump yard and was changed to flat switching.
Rob Conway: Did my time in that yard. I remember a cut of cabooses getting away from a switchman on the North Rundown. I and two or three others bolted out the door of the tower and started cranking hand brakes. We got em stopped without any major problem. Then there was the time the guys at East End Tower found a kitten and sent him to the Hump Tower through the pneumatic tube system (at least a quarter mile)! East End Tower is visible in the photo way in the distance, about 3 O'clock in the photo.

Mike Wyatt posted
BN 2288 parked on the front side of the hump. BN 1590 on the South Rundown. Spring 1995.
[I saved this photo because it provides a closeup of the tower.]
Mike Wyatt posted
Chris Keating: When did they convert it to an intermodal yard?
Mike Wyatt: I wanna say 1997.

David M Laz posted
The famous BNSF Cicero yard
[Pierre Brooks Metoyer also posted this photo.]
James Ashby posted
BNSF Cicero Yard (Chicago Area) from the air in March 2006. This image is looking West (Bottom) to East and was captured from a commercial flight taking off, from nearby Midway Airport. The road passing over the yards is Laramie Avenue.
Joe Skorupa The yard was probably created to serve Western Electric, Hawthorn Works that made switchboards & employed more than 25,000. They lost more than 800 employees when the SS Eastland rolled at the dock on the Chicago River, July 14, 1915.
Dennis DeBruler This yard served all of CB&Q's Chicagoland customers. It used to serve 500 industries east of Aurora. Of course, WE was one of the bigger ones. WE had its own railroad, Manufacturers Junction:

Marty Bernard posted two photos with the comment: "Two CB&Q Gems from Roger Puta's Reject Box
These aged slides needed considerable coxing. I doubt either were very projectable. The captions are Roger's."
Marty Bernard shared
Timothy Leppert I remember turning locomotives on that table when I first hired out at 18. You can put 3 of the those SW's on the table at one time.....The foot-boards hung off the end, but cleared the rails.
1. CB&Q Clyde Roundhouse showing assorted Geeps and switchers. The tenders of 4960 and 5632 are at the right, Cicero, Illinois on August 22, 1962.

2. CB&Q O5-B 4-8-4 5632 and O1-A 2-8-2 4960 with SD24 freight unit in the Clyde roundhouse, Cicero, Illinois on August 22, 1962.
Don Crimmin Note that 4960 was still in her "dolled-up" state with the whitewall tires and silver running board edges. I rode behind both engines on November 18, 1962 and the "bling" had thankfully been removed from the old freight hog by that time. And her smokebox had been properly graphited.

Edward Kwiatkowski posted
The former Burlington Northern Railroad Clyde Yard in Cicero Illinois. June 1985.Mike Croy When I was a switchman at Corwith, I would occasionally catch the job that made a nightly delivery to the “Q” at Cicero yard. The train was generally short, consisting of LCL boxcars released of of the freight houses. It sure was a busy place in those days.
Timothy Leppert This was called the valley, a classification yard. Eastend Tower is still there, but the Ogden Avenue bridge is gone.
John Davis I noticed, no graffiti on the box cars!
I zoomed in on the Ogden Bridge.

Dave Creighton posted the following two photos.

The Clyde Roundhouse back when it was part of the C B & Q.

Taken at Clyde.
There is a Facebook Page for Clyde.

One of the photos posted by Dave Rogers

The following screenshots are from a video posted on that page with the comment: "While you were sleeping. .... we were spinning motors on our 100+ year old turntable!"

Screenshot from video
[Note they don't bother to center the motor. In fact, it is mostly on one side. There is a man in front that is "driving" the turntable.]

Screenshot from video
[From a satellite image, you can see they now have four usable stalls. It looks like they used to have 29 stalls.]

BNSF Railway's World Famous Clyde Roundhouse posted

BNSF Railway's World Famous Clyde Roundhouse posted
BNSF Railway's World Famous Clyde Roundhouse posted

BNSF Railway's World Famous Clyde Roundhouse posted
Steven J. Brown posted
BN 9906 westbound at LaVergne Tower, Berwyn, Illinois - June 4, 1991.

Dave Creighton shared two photos from BNSF Railway's World Famous Clyde Roundhouse's post with the comment: "First one we've seen so far here in Cicero."

Mike Wyatt posted
Mike Wyatt It was the day of the Cubbie parade downtown.
Joseph Robert LeMay I know! I remember passing the train in the yard on my way downtown and positing that it was in the yard to make sure Main 3 stayed open east of Cicero for the extra dinkies.

Andrew Urbanski posted two photos with the comment: "CICERO Yard, 3/13/2014."


Rob Olewinski Cmraseye posted
Milwaukee 261 on the east end of Clyde Yard, Cicero, IL on 8/29/98, sliding under the Ogden Ave. overpass being dismantled. K64
Also a comment by George on his post
George Panattoni posted five photos with the comment:
I was raised crossed the street (Ogden Ave) from the CB&Q Clyde Yard in Cicero, IL and used to sit and look out the front window of my my mom's tavern and watch the old steam engines work the yard. I have some vary rare photo's of that time period. That's me back in 1949 with my mom, we were headed to Navy Pier to see the Chicago RR Fair.
Timothy Leppert Is that Laramie Av bridge?
George Panattoni Yup! Laramie and Ogden Aves. The state bought my mom's tavern to build the Cicero Centennial Bridge in 1956. She had owned the tavern since 1936. Her tavern was called "Over the Hump" named for the bridge, later the "Q" did build a Hump Yard and people get confused, but the "Hump" was built long after the Laramie Ave bridge was torn down.🙂




George commented on his post
Dismantling the old Laramie Ave bridge in 1955😢

George commented on his post
Ogden Ave Bridge over the East side of the Clyde yard.

George commented on his post
View from inside the East end of the Clyde Yard with the Ogden Ave bridge in the background

Jerry Bragiel posted two photos with the comment: "Look what I BNSF formerly Burlington Northerns Cicero, Illinois Yard. Fully functional turn table,and 6 stalls of the formers round house..."

1, cropped

2, cropped
Rodney G. Skinner posted
1956 Fruehauf trailer
Chicago, ILL.
Flatcar built 1930 is marked 45 foot, semi trailer must be a 35 footer
[I'm guessing this photo was taken at Clyde Yard.]
Bill Molony posted
An eastbound Illinois Central passenger train passing over the Chicago, Burlington & Quincy main line in Berywn - circa 1965.
Nick Hart posted
One for the Burlington Northern fans!
Switching duties at the east end of Clyde are handled by two units that are most definitely familiar with this yard. GP38-2 2286 is in charge of a string of piggybacks, while SD60M 1461 handles stacks. Pretty neat to see two Cascade greens in the same scene on separate trains. It's been nearly five years since I shot an SD60M in BN paint.
Cicero, IL   04-09-19

These are a couple of several photos of the west throat of the yard that I took when I visited LaVergne.
20161017 6476

Dave Creighton posted
Where the really really old meets the old: The Historic Clyde Locomotive Roundhouse Shop. The remnants of the original roundhouse structure are on the left complete with original glass windows and the newer but still pretty darn old diesel shop is to the right. Image taken from the 805 lead north and east of mechanical limits. Images taken on 7/8/19 @ 1645 CST.

Halsted Pazdzior posted
Persistence Pays Off. After almost giving up and going home, K16119 with a SD70AC in charge enters the east end of Cicero Yard.
Cameron Applegath What are those pads for?
Thomas Truschka They grease the flanges to cut down squealing as the train moves through turns.
Matthew S. Smith Halsted Pazdzior When we hand trains off to the BNSF, we change at Kostner Ave./Cicero B/Hole in the fence at the east end of Cicero, not quite to the yard.
Halsted Pazdzior Matthew S. Smith appreciate the info because I was looking everywhere for this train.
Matthew S. Smith Halsted Pazdzior No problem. Sometimes it will sit for a while, and others there a BNSF crew there shortly. Bad thing is not a good spot for photos.

Tearsa Vee posted, cropped
[See operates everything except the side loaders.]

Three of the photos posted by Nathan Leonard.



Dennis DeBruler commented on a post to a BNSF link about turntables
Jim Walsh 41°50'15.7"N 87°45'56.3"W
I see the four longer stalls that were added to the roundhouse are still standing. I've tried to check it out in the past, but the tall fence around the yard is opaque.
(I was going to had a topo map image that shows the original roundhouse, but I discovered that I'm not allowed to add photos.
1928 Berwyn and 1929 Englewood Quadrangles @ 1:24,000)
Curtis Froscheiser-Roh posted
Westbound Dinky as seen from the Cicero Hump Tower. House 9 in background where the terminal offices were located and East end Dispatchers. Still running cabs at this time.
Fred Lewis: Thoughts From the Conductor's Desk: And Other Train Wrecks
Rick La Fever: I used to haul piggyback trailers and containers out of House 9 from 1988-96. Someone asked me why it was known as House 9, but the building that was the freight dock was gone at that point. So I said there used to be a building where we were standing used to swap freight from boxcars to trailers and local delivery trucks and vice versa.
Railroaders seldom change the name of things even after that building or whatever is gone.
Dennis DeBruler shared

Fred Lewis posted
Railroad Relics
Time marches on! In no other place is that more true than the railroad. Today I was reminded of a piece of history going through some old photo I took years back. The photo below pictures several relics. Some I know for sure no longer exist others I have no idea. This photo taken in the early 90’s shows the venerable BN2288, one of the two dedicated hump engines in Cicero, Illinois. This locomotive had more patches and welds than a homade go-cart due to all the accidents it had been in! Also pictured on the South Rundown is the BN1590. The back side of the six story hump tower now long torn down. The tracks pictured all have been removed or reconfigured. 
What I want to talk about is the pneumatic tube system. Those rusty pipes in the foreground are not gas pipes but cylinders made to transport paper information from one place to the other. By the time I got to Cicero the only working parts left were from hump yardmaster to the hump forman’s station. Also from the hump yardmaster to the retarder. You could tell there were other locations where “The Tube” once went. I was told as they aged they began to leak water and prevent the tubes from reaching their destination!
These tubes were about eight by four inches. The tight seal lid rotated to open. You would open the heavy metal door, insert the tube and close the door. Push the button and you would hear a vacuum sound and hear the tube rattling through the tube to its destination! When you were on the receiving end a light would come on so you knew something was coming and you would hear the tube hit with a loud thunk! 
Since a standard 8.5X11 wouldn’t fit in the tube every yardmaster had his/her signature way to fold a list. Wadded up, rolled and folded or folded into small squares. There were many ways to do it.  Many times notes would be sent back to the yardmaster. Sometimes dead rats or lit firecrackers would be sent to the yardmaster. I’ve even heard in the early days it was used to transport beverages one level to another! 
The venerable tube system was replaced by the remote printer and fax machine! Time and technology march on!
Thoughts From the Conductor's Desk and Other Runaway Trains
Bob Tita: When was the hump taken out at Cicero? How long ago?
Leo Hochstatter: First time was 1997. Operating department changed their mind for a brief period of time. The final time was November or December of 1998. Jack Williams and his crew started loading the rail from the bowl in early 1999.
[The land was reused as an intermodal yard.]
Joseph Tuch Santucci: They used the tube system at BRC’s Clearing Yard as well. We used to send bills from the east and west receiving sub offices to the office and received our outbound paperwork paperwork as well.
Rob Conway: I remember the night a kitten was sent to the Hump tower from the East End tower, a distance of roughly a half mile. They stuffed the kitten into the tube and shoved the carrier up behind him. It had to be a wild ride and the kitten quickly jumped out of the receiver box the second the door was opened. He was never seen again as far as I know.

BNSF Nov 18, 2022, press release
This facility also needed more parking stalls, about half of which were placed in-service in October. The other half should be in service by end of November, for an additional 400 parking stalls just in time for peak shipping.
We’re also completing an in-yard overpass for trucks. The addition, part of a multiyear yard retrofitting project that will begin in 2023, means an existing mainline grade crossing will be removed. For trucks entering and exiting the facility, this will make operations much more efficient and safer as drivers will no longer have to cross three mainline tracks in a yard that has as many as 145 trains a day.
Cicero is southwest of Chicago, considered the nation’s railroad capital and where all major lines have operations, making it a hub of both freight and passenger trains.

A video of an engine going into the "house" and then some pans of the engines alerady in the "house." Then the engine that came in pulls out 6952 and 2008. With all of the radiators 6952 had on its side, I thought it was a Tier 4 engine. But The Diesel Shop shows it as an ES44C4 built 2-6/12.

A video of the hump yard in action. As the two tank cars go down, you can see container cars in the background. But then the background trains becomes boxcars. I spotted transfer engines from Conrail and GT. I could not figure out what the blue engine was. Is it a GM demonstrator? At -1:37 you see cars rolling to their position on multiple classification tracks at the same time.

Chuck Zeller took a photo of some PC and Conrail locos in Clyde Yard, but he caught a yard tower and a bunch of cabooses in the background.

Art Gross Flickr links of 1994 photos taken from Laramie Avenue overpass looking East and West. His comment: "A few years after this shot, BNSF closed the hump and removed most of the classification tracks from the east end of the yard, the Ogden Ave. bridge (in the distance) also came down making for a substantially different view."

Art Gross Flickr 1997 Photo of a CN freight with DW&P SD40 5906 on point. I had just learned from Arturo in a series of comments (CN train pulling out of Clyde heading south on BRC tracks to Clearing Yard) the day before that CN had haulage rights over BNSF to access Chicago directly.

Donald Haskel caught an 1965 overview of the hump and other facilities.
Dennis DeBruler So much history. Not only the hump and its tower; but refers; a tank car with a frame; running boards; and boxcars with a railroad name, slogan and/or logo on them.
Dennis DeBruler This must have been taken from the Laramie overpass looking west. The smokestack on the left was a little east of the roundhouse.

Art Gross Flickr 1994 Photo (source) of the East end when it still had its hump yard.
Art Gross Flickr 1994 Photo looking West from Laramie Ave. overpass including the wheeled gantry cranes in the part of the yard that had already been converted to intermodal service
Art Gross Flickr 1994 Photo looking East from Laramie Ave. overpass including the old Ogden overpass.
Art Gross Flickr 1997 Photo looking West from Laramie Ave overpass

Juice Junkie caught the wood coaling tower, a couple of truss spans and two smokestacks.

Joseph Clayton posted fourteen images with the comment: "The CB & Q Clyde Roundhouse in Cicero, IL. 4 stalls still exist right off Ogden Ave." [Some of the photo captions sounded familiar.]

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