Friday, January 29, 2016

CSL: Chicago Short Line and South Chicago & Indiana Harbor

20160504,21 3255
(CSL Shortlines; SC&IH ShortlinesSatellite)

SC&IH bought CSL. SC&IH is owned by Arcelor-Mittal.

Please access the CSL link above for old and new maps of the railroad.

Mike Anderson's posting of a Chicago Short Line engine motivated me to try to figure out where the CSL runs (ran?). Mike's comment is "95th and Ewing," so which of the three crossings in that area is he at? It turns out he is at the Ewing crossing because it has those two solid white lines and an extra thick yellow line. In 2003 CSL became South Chicago and Indiana Harbor (SCIH) (Wikepedia)
The detailed B&OCT Map I use of the Chicago area shows just a couple of very short CSL lines on either side of the Calumet River. So how are they connected? The answer will turn out to be trackage rights.

Specifically, SCIH/CSL now owns very little track but has quite a bit of trackage rights, relatively speaking. Their yard is northeast of their headquarters. For additional information and some maps, please see CSL and SCIH.
Fred Van Dorpe posted
Chicago Short Line #30 SW1500 and #29 SW1001 lead their train West after running around it and coupling on at Front St. Grade Crossing on 9/27/14
[The coil cars indicate that there is still some viable steel manufacturing in the Chicago area.]

Marty Bernard posted four images with the comment: "Chicago Short Line   Sold to South Chicago & Indiana Harbor, April 9, 2002.   Captions with photos"
Marty Bernard shared
Marty Bernard shared
Ean Kahn-Treras: I smile every time an oldie CSL post pops up. Still a miracle that customers, ownership and territory served has change a bunch of the years, but the maroon and yellow scheme has remained. Very cool look back, Marty.
Chicago Short Line SW9s 25 and 27 at South Chicago Yards on April 7, 1966
Trent Blasco: anyone notice the tell tails above the hopper car?

Chicago Short Line SW1500 30 on November 26, 1975
Bob Lalich: On the ex-PRR, delivering to Colehour Yard.
[Commints confirm that is the Falstaff Brewery in the background.]

Chicago Short Line Caboose 5 at 97th Street on April 21, 1965
Mike Del Vecchio: Former Lackawanna wood caboose. Looks in good shape. How many did CSL have?

1925 Map

John David Larson posted
Someone will have to help me with this one ... location unknown, the date is 1992.
J.R. Valderas CP 509, South Chicago, Illinois.
Mark Losiniecki The Chicago Short Line going west bound on the Conrail Main going over the Little Calumet River in the East Side neighborhood of Chicago Illinois.
John Eagan This was quite a move they had to make to come off the River Branch and zig zag across the lift bridge at CP509 to get to their home rails after the B&O drawbridge was hit by a boat.
[Comments have more nice pictures of the Skyway and Falstaff. Since 9/11 you can't stand here anymore.]
Thomas Nall posted a picture of their cabooses. Note that Jerry Jackson provided a better picture in the comments.

I wonder how he got high enough to get a picture over the concrete embankment.
I did get a clear shot of the caboose in one of my bridge pictures.

Bill Urbancxyk posted two photos with the comment: "Not the best angle - Chicago Short Line SW1001 #29 and SW1500 #31 passing the Hammond Amtrak station in the fall of 1990."

Kevin Piper posted
One of Chicago's classiest rail operations, the Chicago Short Line, makes a move at 95th & Commercial on 3-25-91. Rumor has it that they regularly paste-waxed their locomotives.…/South_Chicago_and_Indiana_Harbor…
Kevin posted again
Nhat Quan V. Do Is that the skyway above?
Dennis DeBruler Yes, but with a different paint job The truss portion of the Skyway must start just out-of-frame to the right.!3m6!1e1!3m4!1seMQQmZ...
Dennis DeBruler Kevin took this on elevated railroad property, so I can't check out the current view. This is an example of where SC&I/CSL removed their own tracks in favor of using trackage rights on a parallel route.
Joe Zeller posted
I was hoping the trucks would've shown up better. #5 had a pretty old set. Looks like the CSL had 2 crews switching at the old LTV Steel plant.
Paul Brewer commented on the above posting
Nate Carpenter posted two photos with the comment: "South Chicago & Indiana Harbor transfer caboose #4 heads a coal train shove-move @ CP502 in East Chicago yesterday. I never knew that this operation ran further east than the canal..."
Edward Dolle Is the old Inland Steel plant even in use? I know that the old LTV Steel plant is running again.

Denis Johnston Actually producing more steel, with less than half of the employees they had in the 70's.



Bill Johnson has a Flickr Album of four pictures, three of which include an industrial scene. Two switchers on the B&O bridge before it got hit. I remember this elevator as Falstaff, and a comment confirms it. I used to ride by it when I took the Pennsy from Fort Wayne to Union Station then walked to catch the "L" to Evanston when I went to Northwestern. A view from CR Tower looking over the CSL yard and buildings with the Stateline Generating Plant in the background.  There is a BN gondola peeking out behind a freshly painted Conrail hopper. An article about the CSL.

An Arturo Gross Flickr photo caught two locomotives between the buildings with the elevator and lift bridges in 1994. His photo shows that the second Pennsy lift bridge had been removed by 1994.
Nikki Burgess posted
CSL #31 West trundles along the CSX "Lakefront Line" in Hammond, IN. The short line has rights on the track, and interchanges coke trains here with CSX. The lakefront line is the last truncated remnant of what was once the B&O's high speed passenger main line into Chicago, Illinois.
Robby Gragg Flickr Photo taken 2017 Dec 04

The Short Line

CSL SW1500 31 leads a westbound coke train through Whiting, IN. This railroad is always a cool catch.

Jerry Jackson updated with a John David Larson Photo that shows the caboose end of a CSL train on the Pennsy tracks headed to the lift bridges.

Arturo Gross Flickr 2014 Photo shot from S. Ewing Ave. Bob provided the following photo in a comment:
Bob Lalich

csl100 ewing ave 3-20-58

Here is the Chicago Short Line in action servicing the old YS&T furnace plant at the mouth of the Calumet River, their main function before the plant was closed. The train is crossing Ewing Ave. I have had this photo in my collection for some time but unfortunately I did not note the photographer's name. If anyone knows who it was please let me know and I will give proper credit.

Nick Hart posted
Looking for something to photograph around East Chicago, Indiana, scanner chatter revealed NS Chicago West notifying the Chicago Short Line that it would be a few minutes at CP 502. Arriving at CP 502, I was quite surprised to see three units on the train. I've never shot the CSL with more than two.
SW1001's 29 and 28, along with SW1500 30, have their eastbound train rolling along at a slow pace, approaching the interchange with the IHB at Lakefront Yard. Had some sun to work with too, but it didn't last much longer. Hick Tower can be seen in the background, just to the left of the signal bridge.
East Chicago, IN
NS Chicago Line
October 19th, 2014
Art Gross posted a photo of a CSL train in Pullman Junction. Some comments are noteworthy.
Chicago Short Line SW1500 30 brings a cut of cars through Pullman Junction In Chicago (probably to or from Calumet Yard considering every car in view is N&W), coming up on 44 years ago Feb 1976. Original Kodachrome photographer unknown Art Gross Collection.
Rod Truszkowski Back then the CSL / NS interchange was at irondale in the old interlake coke plant.
Andre Kristopans CSL (the railroad) was owned by Youngstown Sheet & Tube. Main business was the mills at Indiana Harbor and Iroquois Landing and coke plant at Irondale.

Gary Sturm posted
Chicago Shortline in southeast Chicago in 1972.
Stan Stanovich: April 2002 they were purchased and became the South Chicago and Indiana Harbor (SCIH)!!!
Mark Egebrecht: What was that building for?
Seth Lakin: Mark Egebrecht engine house.

Dennis DeBruler commented on Mark's comment
The posted photo catches the southwest side of the building. The left side of this photo catches the northeast side of the building.

Fred Pajak posted several photos of a train working in South Chicago and engines in their terminal.

1976 Flickr of CSL train about to cross the Pennsy Calumet River Bridge.

Nick Hart posted three locos pulling a train out of the Indiana Harbor steel mill.
CSL was originally controlled by Iroquois Iron, then Youngstown Sheet & Tube. The corporate succession got complicated in the 1970s and 80s, resulting in LTV ownership by 1984.

Edward Weisensel posted six photos that include the caboose and SW1500 13.

Marty Gatton posted several photos and videos of yard work on Oct 31, 2021.


  1. dennis - i sent you an email with some exclusive CSL content for your site - enjoy!

    1. I haven't seen it. Since last Fall, I have had to use a different email server. Try sending the info directly to Thanks.