Sunday, May 22, 2016

Chicago Heights, IL, industry uses a lot of steel

Kevin Piper's history and photos: Part 1 and Part 2

A posting of an orange locomotive photo had a couple of comments:
Joseph Tuch Santucci Eastbound 660 at Euclid Ave in Chicago Heights in 1979. They were still interchanging around 100 cars a day with the MoPac and L&N at that point in time. Seems like there was always cars in the west yard in those days.
Richard Schwanke Hated switching there, Euclid right in the middle of the yard and having to switch holds from the west end then run around the whole lot and shove each track out from the east end to your train sitting up to a half mile back of the west end of the yard. The "night crawler" was the usual job that had the fun there switching for three or four hours after midnight then going on into Gary. You also got to fill on the "Hill" too at the "Heights" that also had a road a crossing at each end of the yard, State St.on the East end and Wentworth Ave. on the West end. 
It appears the EJ&E West Yard still has some of its tracks.

But what caught my eye was the industrial spur going south to Esmark Steel Group. This company receives master coils of steel from a rolling mill and does the following value added operations.





ESG Transportation
It then delivers the product to the customer's factory using its own fleet of trucks. It has the capability to ship more than 100 outbounds a day.

ESG is also buying a cold rolling mill in Yorkville, OH, and half interest in a tin plating facility in that Yorkville complex. (ESG News)

ALCO Spring
The more I looked at the map, the more steel processing I found in Chicago Heights. Between West Yard and ESG is ALCO Spring which heats up steel rods then winds them into springs.

From their flip-book
Founded in 1908, ALCO Spring is a global leader in the manufacturing & distribution of industrial, transit, railroad & commercial springs.
Roger Durfee on Facebook
I knew Chicago Heights had a Ford plant. When I discovered it was a stamping plant, that plant may justify receiving unit trains of steel coils. Normally, coil cars have a cover on them.
Mark Hinsdale on Facebook
In this Tim Geithner tour, I focused on what was in the background, not the suits. JD "Tuch" Santucci describes the rail service for the Ford plant. They eventually had 3 tracks for hi-cube auto part boxcars, one track for incoming steel, and one track for gondolas taking baled steel scraps out of the plant. Every once and a while, the steel track would be used to carry dies that were being replaced.
Aerial Photo from EJ&E Aerials
[Looking West with the EJ&E right-of-way along the left side.]

CHS Rail Steel
Chicago Heights Steel does value added operations:
  • Roll used railroad rails into other shapes to allow the high-grade steel to be used for other applications.
  • Creating tee posts that are used to hold chain-link fencing.
  • Creating sign posts.
  • Custom designed products using rail steel.

Sugar Steel stockpiles many types of steel products and has the equipment to customize those products. It does appear to be rail served. This was Plant 2 of the Thrall Car Manufacturing Company.

Voestalpine Nortrak makes products for the railroad industry. They have several locations. The plant in Chicago Heights is the Signaling Division.
Nortrak Overview

Nortrak Special Trackwork
Chicago Heights Processing scraps rail cars and other "large objects." It "uses" steel in the opposite direction. That is, rather than make things with steel from a mill, it ships scrap steel to mini-mills that use electric-arc furnaces such as Steel DynamicsFlat Roll Division. The industrial spur from Chicago Heights Terminal Transfer tracks that go into the building is in bad shape. It is buried in dirt. When I first looked at the satellite image, I did not think the building was rail served. There are a bunch of cement trucks in the satellite image because that is one of the products that they scrap.

JDM Steel takes coils of steel and runs them through red machines to make plates that are very flat and coils that are clean and shiney.

If Greenbrier Rail Services  (select Wheels & Parts and then zoom in) makes all of those wheel sets that I saw on the satellite image, then they also use steel.

If you zoom in, you can see the "lines" are a bunch of wheel sets packed together.

Update: I discovered the Bar Processing Corporation while studying the engine service facilities of the CHTT. But it is not rail served. It is one of 6 BPC locations and it can:

Morgan Li uses metal along with wood and acrylic.
• Metal tubing (Slotting Laser Cutting, TIG/MIG Welding)
• Metal (CNC Laser Cutting, CNC Bending, Punching, Welding Wire-forming, POP Displays, Prototyping )

 (MorganLi) I do not like their web site design. It keeps telling me that they make their stuff with quality, but not what they make. I finally found a page that shows the type of displays they make. There use of metal is on a small scale so, even though the CHTT goes right by the  west side, they don't have rail service.

Rail Exchange would use steel rods and bars to make grab irons, hand rail supports, etc. And they would need sheet steel to make box car doors and ends.

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