Wednesday, March 9, 2016

C&NW's Passenger Yards (California Yard and Streamliner Ramp)

C&NW ran the pink (UP-W), yellow (UP-NW) and green (UP-N) commuter routes
C&NW's passenger service was so big at the beginning of the 20th century because it ran three commuter routes (see map), as well as intercity trains, that it had three yards to support passenger service.

The Erie Street and Grand Avenue yard serviced the locomotives for the scoots (C&NW's nickname for a commuter train) while California Yard (described below) serviced the commuter coaches and intercity coaches except for the "City" streamliners, which were served in the Streamliner Ramp (described below). For the intercity trains, the power was serviced in the 40th Street Ramp.

When Amtrak took over the passenger trains, Erie was sold, California handles the commuter coaches, and much of the 40th Street Yard was sold. The 40th Street Ramp has been rebuilt to service diesel instead of steam locomotives.

California Commuter Coach Yard

The postings on Erie Street and 40th Street facilities include 1938 aerial photos. Here is the one for the California Yard.

1938 Aerial Photo from ILHAP

David Daruszka uploaded, p20

Marty Bernard shared his post
C&NW ladder, east end of the Coach Yard at Western Ave., Chicago, IL on August 21, 1989.
Jeff Lewis: It's interesting how the switches overlap by a couple feet, making necessary an additional frog. Those switches have since been eliminated and replaced with the simpler, more standard type turnouts.
Bob Lalich: Jeff Lewis - there were several yards in the Chicago area with ladders using lap switches like this. EJ&E Joliet Yard and CJ Ashland Ave are two off the top of my head.
Junior Farmer: The South Yard , across the main from Call Ave had this type of arrangement at both ends .

I added the above 1938 aerial and track diagram as comments to Marty's post. I also added:
Dennis DeBruler commented on Marty's share
Zooming in to the east ladders of the North and South Yards. This is at the resolution of the aerial photo. How much room did a worker have to walk between cuts of cars?

Steven J. Brown posted
One of my many regrets is not making a better effort to capture images of the pre-rush hour power parade from 40th Street yard to the coach yard and depot on the CNW. Just before rush hour, individual units started leaving the shops at 40th street and followed each other to their train in the California Ave Coach yard or downtown at the station. It was an intriguing sight seeing all those headlights lined up into the distance. In this image, at least three F40PH's can be seen heading east to the depot while a F40 is about to leave the frame pushing its consist. The cab car of another depot bound train is emerging from the California Ave coach yard. April 12, 1988.
Mark Simmons The march of the F40PHs continues today.
Steven J. Brown Really!! I gotta get back there!
Dan Marinellie Every single one of these is still on the Metra roster and work regularly!
#100-149 have been rebuilt by Progress Rail and have EM2000 computers in them now.
Since diesels need far less servicing than steam locomotives did, the switch to diesels caused the Erie Street Yard land to be sold and the 40th Street Ramp to be rebuilt as a diesel locomotive servicing facility.

The California Yard is one of the few yards in Chicago that is as big now as it was in 1938 because Metra was formed to keep a viable commuter service running in the Chicagoland area. (The rail yard north of the California Yard is the Metra/Milwaukee Western Avenue Yard.) Metra pays UP to run a commuter service on its tracks.


Michael Riha shared the Grève des trains - USA - 1946. album. The captions show the photo number in that album.
25, corrected
This photo is of the Milwaukee Western Avenue Yard, but it catches the California yard in the upper-right corner.
David Daruszka View east towards downtown Chicago along the C&NW's Illinois Division tracks. The yard in the center is the California Ave. Coach Yard. The Milwaukee Road tracks branch off to the left of center.
Harvey Kahler Downtown skyline changes; and so have the trains!
Timothy Pitzen David Daruszka, if I remember correctly, the yard to the right, or south, of the C&NW main was the Pennsy coach yard. Also, the haze may be exaggerated by the old style film which was more sensitive to blue wavelengths which tends to accentuate haze.
Dennis DeBruler I always wondered where the Panhandle yards were.
David Daruszka The Sanborn maps show Panhandle freight yards as being in the area between the Rockwell Jct. wye. There were also yards closer to downtown adjacent to the Milwaukee Road tracks. The Panhandle had a freight house at Sangamon Street.
Doug Smith Tower A-2 is just about dead center.
Lance Grey Brach's Candy 1/3 up from bottom?
Dennis DeBruler No. Brach's was west of C&NW's 40th Street Yard on the north side of the C&NW tracks.
40th Street Yard:
[Note the smoke haze.]

David Daruszka C&NW California Ave. Coach Yard. Milwaukee Road tracks and yard to the left. C&NW's Rockwell Branch is above the Coach Yard.
Harvey Kahler Both Rockwell and Panhandle (PCCC&StL) head off top right (south).
David Daruszka This was also the route, for a brief time, for the B&O passenger trains when they left Grand Central and moved to the C&NW's Madison Street Terminal.

Dennis DeBruler So Rockwell was the name of the segment that got C&NW to their Potato Yard, That yard is now part of Global 1.
David Daruszka Yes.
Doug Smith That yard in the legs of the wye is South Yard. The tracks on this side of the main are still called North Yard, but South Yard is long gone.
Dennis DeBruler So the South Yard was part of C&NW's California Yard and not a Pennsy/Panhandle yard?
David Daruszka As best I can tell from the Sanborn maps the yard north of the C&NW main was the California Ave. Coach Yard. the tracks south of the mains were the Panhandle Yards. The Milwaukee Road had a freight yard north of the coach yard. I only see passenger coaches in the Cal. Ave. yard. I think any passenger trains on the Panhandle line did not run this route but went south out of Union Station. The Panhandle may have operated trains out of the north end of the old Union Station. Some Pennsy expert might know the scoop on that.
Dennis DeBruler This part of the Panhandle was originally built by the Chicago & Great Eastern Railway (C&GE), . Their passenger trains did come up here and joined the Milwaukee tracks after Milw crossed the C&NW tracks by Tower A2 to share access with Milw to the north side of Union Station. But when the Pennsylvania bought the Panhandle, they built the Bernice Cuttoff (South Chicago & Southern (SC&S)) so that the Panhandle passenger trains could go up to Pennsy's Pittsburgh, Fort Wayne & Chicago route into Chicago to avoid the painfully slow C&GE route because of all the railroads it had to cross on its way north to the Milwaukee tracks. (The SC&S was also built to tap the industrial traffic on the south side of Chicago.) So it makes sense that in the 1800s this was a passenger yard, but by WWII the Bernice Cutoff would have been built so this yard was converted to freight. In fact, when the Panhandle was abandoned, maybe C&NW bought the yard, and it became the South Yard. But that would have been after this WWII photo. The problem with studying history is that things change, and we have to be careful about the dates.
Dennis DeBruler Bernice Cutoff:

Harvey Kahler Both Rockwell and Panhandle (PCCC&StL) head off top right (south).

David Daruszka This was also the route, for a brief time, for the B&O passenger trains when they left Grand Central and moved to the C&NW's Madison Street Terminal.

Streamliner Ramp in the southwest corner of the 40th Street Yard

David M Laz posted
We have three Chicago and Northwestern E's being serviced at the California Avenue Streamliner Ramp in 1960.

David Daruszka updated
Michael Levin Is that a Delano?
David Daruszka No, its a C&NW company photo.
Michael Levin David Daruszka Thanks. I knew most of his C&NW shots were winter but the clarity here caught me.
Bruce B. Reynolds Note wartime hooded headlight on rightmost engine.
Paul Musselman streamliner ramp....still pretty busy in early 90's when I took pics here, after asking for permission...
Dennis DeBruler The Streamliner Ramp was in the southwest corner of the 40th Street Yard. California Yard, the west route commuter coach yard, was in the southeast corner, and the 40th Street Ramp was north of California Yard. And lots of backshops north of the Steamliner Ramp.

1938 Aerial Photo from IHLAP
Unfortunately, his comment was wrong. As noted above, the California Avenue Yard was for commuter coaches. The Streamliner Ramp was the western yard of two yards along the C&NW mainline in the 40th Street Yard.
Given the building in the background, David's photo is of the Streamliner Ramp.
Kevin Leahy commented on David's posting
Jack Delano photo from 1942 showing the 40th St shops complex just to the north of the Streamliner Ramp
David reposted a cropped version of this as his own, but a comment is of interest
Jim Kube Wartime blackout conditions. Must have been a very long exposure.

Glenn Miller posted
General view of yard and some of the locomotive shop of the C & NW RR at 40th Street. On the tracks on the right are three west coast streamliners, Chicago, Ill. (LOC). The C & NW has the distinction of running the first train out of Chicago. Photo by Jack Delano

Jim Arvites posted
Chicago & North Western and Union Pacific passenger trains laying over at the C&NW's 40th Street yard and facilities in Chicago in December 1943.
(Jack Delano Photo)
Lee JonesLee and 39 others joined Chicago Railroad Historians within the last two weeks. Give them a warm welcome into your community! Kind of reminds me of the old Electro Motive plant on South Chicago.
Michael Riha Is that a "Buy War Bonds" unit hiding in there?

Kevin Leahy commented on David's posting
Jack Delano photo from 1942 showing the 40th St shops complex just to the
Another previously posted C&NW PR photo looking west toward the Streamliner Ramp with the Galena mainline on the far left and the BRC overhead bridge in the distance.
[In the foreground is the washer that would wash an entire train. It appears to be on rails so that it can move sideways and cover all of the tracks. (Chuckman's collection, at 12:12 PM)]

David Daruszka updated
Francis Otterbein posted
The 40th Street yard serviced the Chicago and North Western's through passenger fleet.
David Garon C&NW was the UP's Overland Route passenger train partner from Council Bluffs to Chicago until October 1955, when the Milwaukee Road took over.
[I added this duplicate scene because I think this is a better scan.]
David Daruszka posted
C&NW's "Streamliner" yard, adjacent to the 40th Street Shops on Chicago's West side. Intercity passenger trains were serviced here.
Howard Keil Why is steam coming out the back of the car? heat?
David Daruszka Yes, the old passenger cars were steam heated. When they were run by steam locomotives the steam was part of the package. When they switched to diesels they had steam generators in the locomotives. One of the fireman's duties in diesel passenger was to make sure the steam generator stayed running. Guys I know who worked those jobs say the generators were finicky. Everything today is electrical Head End Power provided by a separate generator on the diesel locomotive.
Ben Burch Some of them had steam-powered air conditioners as well!
Steve McCollum Steam heating replaced coal stoves on passenger trains after a number of wrecks where trapped passengers burned to death when the stoves ignited wrecked wooden passenger cars.
Jim Richardson Steam heat lasted well into Amtrak about 1982, I believe. Amtrak's first locomotives, the SDP-40F all carried steam generators.

Gary Statkus also posted
The City of San Francisco passenger coaches at the Chicago & North Western 40th Street (Pulaski Road) passenger coach yards. The City of San Francisco was a Union Pacific sponsored train (hence the use of UP colors) between Chicago and San Francisco, jointly operated by the C&NW, UP, and the Southern Pacific. It ran from 1936 to 1971, although the Milwaukee Road took over operation between Chicago and Omaha in 1955. 
Dennis DeBruler A 1942 photo by Jack Delano that looks at the other end of the C&NW Streamliner Ramp.

Another image posted by Gary Statkus
[He added an arrow to show the view of the above photo.]

Marty Bernard posted
I took this next to the Western Ave. interlocking plant in Chicago where the Milwaukee Road tracks form Union Station cross the C&NW west line tracks and head north. This is all behind me to my right. The C&NW coach yard lead also enters here. My camera is pointed west and a little north. The evening commuter rush is in full swing. It's maybe 6:00 on August 21, 1989. The scoot to right is exiting the coach yard headed to the C&NW station. The scoot to the left whizzed by me a few seconds ago at track speed with commuters headed to the western suburbs. In between is a local freight job doing its thing. There are still a few commuter train sets in the yard. The interlocking is very busy this time of day. I bet it handled 40 trains an hour while I was there that perfect-weather late afternoon.
Marty Bernard shared

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