Sunday, April 10, 2016

IH: CWP&S: Chicago, West Pullman & Southern

Kevin Piper posted a history and several photos.
Franklin Campbell: I remember reading an excerpt of an old Railway Age issue about various railroads being miffed with IH for utilizing the Chicago, West Pullman, and Southern and also the Illinois Northern Railway to pocket the fee for originating cars for IH.

David Daruszka posted the following two pictures with the comment:

Chicago, West Pullman & Southern traces its history to the 1880’s and the growth of Chicago industry. Cyrus McCormick, having founded International Harvester, wanted to grow his business by also controlling his suppliers. High grade Steel was vital to the production of the “reaper”, Harvester’s primary product.
As a part of that strategy, McCormick gained control of the predecessor of Wisconsin Steel, located in South Chicago. The Chicago, West Pullman and Southern Railroad was founded by McCormick, to transport steel between Wisconsin Steel and Harvester’s plants.
Any remaining steel production was sold to McCormick’s good friend, George Pullman, who ran the huge Pullman Works on Chicago’s South Side. A reliable and controllable Railroad was needed to economically provide timely deliveries, so the Chicago West Pullman and Southern Railroad was born and built to serve these two 19th century giants.
In 1983, Chicago West Pullman LLC was formed and bought the Chicago West Pullman & Southern from the bankrupt estate of Wisconsin Steel, which had been spun off by Harvester and left to flounder.

Bob Lalich commented on the above posting
Here is a CWP&S map circa 1915, courtesy of the Southeast Chicago Historical Society collection. West Pullman was quite an industrial area at the time.
[North is on the left side.]
Paul Petraitis also commented
Here ya go...West Pullman in 1892, industrial park west of Halsted, workers housing east to Normal Ave, fancy shmantzy houses east of Normal aka Stewart Ridge, built amidst the rolling hills of Andrews' Woods...West Pullman got the ICRR to build their Blue Island Branch through town ...the Calumet Electric St Ry ran west from Michigan Avenue along the northern edge of town as far as Morgen (1000 W)
David provided a link for a late-1900's real estate brochure published by the West Pullman Land Association.

Paul Petraitis It looks like they began putting this project together about 1890...chose the name because of the great reputation the Pullman name had at that time...the crash of 1894 hurt everybody AND the Pullman Strike of May 1904 kinda made the Pullman name "box office poison" for many....

Their South Deering Yard was just north of Wisconsin Steel. CWP&S used to have the Irondale Yard.

"In 1902 Deering merged with the McCormick Harvesting Machine Company to form the giant International Harvester Company. Deering owned the Wisconsin Steel Works on the Calumet River, and, by 1924, International Harvester operated at nine different sites throughout Chicago. (The Chicago River An illustrated History and Guide to the River and Its Waterways, 2nd Edition, 2006, David M. Solzman, p.81)

Kevin Piper posted several photos with the comment:
Chicago West Pullman & Southern Railroad was a small but fascinating operation on Chicago's southeast side. It started in 1909 as an industrial railroad to serve Wisconsin Steel and International Harvester's Plano Works. In 1983, Chicago West Pullman Corp. was formed and bought the CWP&S RR from the bankrupt estate of Wisconsin Steel, which had been spun off by owner IH. Through the 1980's, the by then obscure CWP&S RR survived by moving scrap from the dismantling of Wisconsin Steel and freight car storage. Down on its fortunes, and nearly devoid of business, it was again sold in 1991 to OmniTRAX of Denver, and then finally disappeared into today's Chicago Rail Link in 1996.
As a young boy, I rode my bicycle along 119th Street, and east of Ashland Avenue to watch red and white CWP&S locomotives working in the IH foundry area. The CWP&S main yard and office was just off 104th & Torrence. CWP&S accessed the West Pullman industrial area via trackage rights over the Rock Island and Illinois Central. Today some 50 years later, only memories remain.
Marty Gatton shared
Tom Judge My Dad spent some time as a switchman there. He told me the company nickname was "CWP&S: Chicago We Push and Shove."
Ken Rehor commented on Kevin's post
I took this on March 14, 1980 in Forest View, IL on the Chicago & Illinois Western. The car is marked "NEW 1-80"
Paul Jevert One of my grandmother's ex's was a switchman on the CWP & S, Harry [Slatt's] Leek back in the 1920' & 30's ! I also knew a Yardmaster who lived in Hudson Lake IN and who rode the South Shore Line to work. I also worked these C&IW assignments out of Crawford Ave. Wobbly yard off the I.C. Yard Engineer's Xtra Board in the 1970's & 80's ! The photo shows a CWP&S 50 ft. gondola in a Wobbly yard job going out by the MS District drying beds were there was an adjacent scrap yard in which we set mtys in and pulled loads for shipment. I may have worked this Hodgkins Industry job this day of the shoot !

Kam Miller posted
Kam's comment:
This is another line I was partial to back in the day. Loved those red and white locos as I would see them in transfer use at the IC Homewood yard while taking the old rattan-seat single deck mu's to Chicago. I got some decals from a South Holland hobby shop that moved to Wisconsin and made a couple CWP locos myself.
Kam Miller posted
Note in the above photo it is moving slag cars. A reminder that it was an industrial railroad to serve Wisconsin Steel and IH's Plano Works.

Mike Rusnak Got a ride on one those back in the 60's. Was working the IH plant near 121st and Racine.

Dennis DeBruler Mike Rusnak, what did they make at that IH plant? Was it where there is now a field of solar panals?

Mike Rusnak The West Pullman International Harvester plant made a lot of bearings, engine, axle and transmission parts. I worked there for awhile in the mid 70's and my mom worked there during WWII making bomb components. Haven't been back there in many years. Front of the plant was along 120th and ran from Racine to Peoria. The back fronted the Blue Island branch of the ICRR electric line.

Keith Rieger Sr. commented on above posting
 Blue Island about 1974
Bill Molony posted
Chicago, West Pullman & Southern Railroad 0-6-0 #25 was steamed up and ready for a day's work when this photograph was taken on April 18, 1939.
Bob Lalich I believe the only CWP&S roundhouse was located at the south end of their 100th St Yard. It was accessed with switches rather than a turntable.
Bob Lalich commented on Mark Hinsdale's posting

Here is a portion of a 1952 map showing the West Pullman industrial trackage of the CWP&S, and the connections to the PRR and IC.
Dwayne Stegner posted
Chicago, West Pullman & Southern RR.
February 12, 1978 finds Chicago, West Pullman & Southern Railroad's Unit Number 46, and EMD SW-8 Switcher, working a slag train at Chicago, Illinois
Wayne Evans posted
Chicago-West Pullman & Southern dumping cinders from Wisconsin Steel open harths about 1968 or so. East of Torrance at 104 street in Chicago.
Mark Losiniecki My grandfather was a CWP switchman on the slag trains out of Wisconsin Steel.Wayne Evans Worked on them slag trains and in the coke plant because I was low man on the call board. Two shitys jobs in the plants. INH owned the CWPS. Good times even if the work was shitty.

Steven J. Brown posted
Chicago West Pullman and Southern EMD switcher dumping slag near Pullman Junction, Chicago, IL - February 12, 1976.
Steven J. Brown Irondale
Mike Dore Between 103rd and 106th east of Torrence
Gabe Argenta no more mountains of slag nowadays

Marty Bernard shared
CWP&S SW9 51 at 104th and Torrance, Chicago, IL in January 1963. Rick Burn photo
Ken Schmidt commented on a post
This was shot in S. Chicago around 1988. Not the best shot. It used to have a blue and white livery.
[This is green and white.]
Rob Olewinski Cmraseye posted
I have what I need to model one of these in HO...and I want to do the Sanitary District and a Manufactures Junction units as well. So much cool stuff in the 'old' days. Rail Link yard off of Torrance in '90.

Stan L. Maddox posted
I came across this unusual track arrangement in front of the CWP&S Roundhouse in Chicago, IL, circa 1947. Note how a slip switch is utilized to align the track geometry to the stalls (see Bob Lalich’s comments and photo below). Has anyone ever seen this type of solution before? Sanborn Map Co. Vol. 48, 1947, p24.
Bob Lalich commented on Stan's post
Sanborn maps are not 100% accurate representations of railroad tracks. They were drawn for fire insurance purposes so most of the attention is paid to buildings. This 1939 photo appears to show a slip switch in the track leading to the fourth stall of the CWP&S roundhouse. Photo courtesy Blackhawk Chapter NRHS.

Dennis DeBruler commented on Stan's post, photo resolution
I confirmed that the resolution of a 1938 aerial is not good enough to determine the track layout.

Dave Arganbright posted
Wisconsin Steel was shutting down in 1980, but their little CWP still looked great at this time. What's left of CWP *(primarily the Torrence Avenue corridor) is now operated as part of the Chicago Rail Link. My photo.
Rod Truszkowski The ones the raillink use now are junk.

Jeffrey Smith posted
Chicago West Pullman Southren Cab Chicago IL
5/1981 ( Alan Gaines Photo ) .

John Smatlak shared a Flickr
Andre Kristopans Eventually it was dragged to up by 100th Street. Scrapped finally around 2005?
Barry Matthews What does it look like now?
Bob Lalich There is a truck parts operation just east of the location in the photo, and an asphalt plant on the south end of the former WSW property. The rest is vacant.
Paul Fortini 12d 
I used to go down that way in the late 1980s. By then CWP was making money by hauling out the remains of the steel plant and by storing freight cars & locomotives. I remember seeing about six or seven of their locomotives in the yard (was it at 99th street or so?).
Marty Bernard posted
Chicago West Pullman and Southern 49 at 104th St., Chicago, IL on March 31, 1964. A NW2 built 9/48.
James Deeds: Ex DTI 910
Interstate Railroad was subsidiary of the Southern

Marty Bernard shared
Dennis Stanczak: Wow, I’ve never seen that paint scheme.
Andre Kristopans: This was in 1960s and before. Red came late 60s, blue very near the end. At least 43 in its last days was green and white but still lettered CWP


Marty Bernard posted three pictures, each with a different paint scheme, to a public group.

Sam Carlson posted a couple of pictures of their engines in a blue and white scheme.

Bob Lalich provided a Flickr album of engines.

Marty Bernard posted yard and switcher photos. And Part 1, Part 2 and Part3.

4 photos of locomotives


  1. What is there a photo of a Interlake Steel GE locomotive on this site. It has nothing what so ever to do with the CWP&S and Wisconsin Steel. Also the caption is incorrect, the locomotive is not having an engine replaced, it's just parked outside the shop.

    1. Thanks for the correction. I had missed the word "almost" in a comment. The photo has been removed.

  2. My Dad was a switchman and was there until the end, 22 years. I was 11-12 and got to ride in the locomotive on his midnight shift. We did a slag run but my Dad said he wished we could've went into the mill.