Saturday, May 21, 2016

Chicago Junction Roundhouse and Railyard (NS Ashland Yard)

(Update: NS now owns the yard and it is called Ashland Avenue Yard.)
Chuck Edmonson posted, cropped
The Chicago Junction Railway Co. roundhouse on a Sunday afternoon. Probably around 1920.It was the Central Manufacturing District's and the Chicago Union Stock Yards own switching and terminal railway. I believe the roundhouse was located near 43rd and Ashland. Now owned by the N&S.
Chicago Junction was one of the names of the first belt-line in Chicago, which was built in 1865. NYC gained control of the CJ and Chicago river  & Indiana even though other railroads strongly objected because it gave it a monopoly for access to the Union Stock Yards. That is why this post is labelled rrNYC.

1938 Aerial Photo from ILHAP

Zoomed in on the roundhouse
[Today it is Norfolk Southern's Yard.]

Brian Morgan posted
[He describes the Central Manufacturing District.]

I spent a lot of time studying the following photo because I wanted to learn where "CJ" yard is. It turns out that CJ is an old name for Ashland Avenue Yard. "CJ" stand for Chicago Junction. As mentioned already, Chicago Junction was the railroad that built this yard. [CONRAIL]

Rob Conway posted
We're on our way back from the only hole above ground... Barr Yard, and are stopped at Brighton Park.
The Chicago Central and Pacific was always good for providing interesting, if not consistently painted, locomotive consists.
Here is an example of one of their trains arriving the CJ (Conrail) yard in Chicago in 1990. Hope nobody needed to identify the lead unit at speed during the trip!
In the background, I think the tower we see peaking above the Orange Line is on the Campbell Soup Co. factory. (Currently satellite images don't show the 1929 plant. It ended production in 1988. [HighBeam] Note that the water tower used to be painted like a can of soup.)

I think Rob's comment is wrong. If a train was coming from Barr Yard, it would be going geographically northish. This train is going geographically southish. I believe that it has come off the CC&P (ICwest) line at Ash Street Crossing and it is passing through Brighton Park Crossing. The lead engine is here. It is on the easternmost track of the Western Avenue Corridor so. after it leaves this bridge over Western Avenue and Western Blvd., it will curve into CJ Yard.

Mike Breski posted
Chuck Zeiler
CR&I Lima-Hamilton A-3170 8410
Chicago River & Indiana Railroad ( CR&I ) Lima-Hamilton ( L-H ) Specification A-3170 ( c/n 9496 built May 1951 ) 8410 at about 43rd Street near the Stockyards in Chicago, Illinois on June 13, 1965, Kodachrome by Chuck Zeiler. As far as I can tell, L-H did not have model numbers for their diesel-electric locomotives, but used a specification number. Some references make use of a LS-1200 model, but I believe this is might be diesel spotters handiwork.

The CR&I was a subsidiary of the New York Central ( NYC ), it is seen in the Chicago Junction ( CJ ) Yard, a railroad company leased by the NYC for 99 years starting in 1922, the same year the NYC purchased the CR&I. Both the CR&I and the CJ were switching railroads and effectively controlled access to the Chicago Stockyards.

The CR&I had the distinction of being the world's only all Lima-Hamilton powered railroad when the NYC replaced the steam power with diesel. Starting in 1949, the NYC placed an order for six 1000 hp switchers ( #'s 8400-8405 ) of similar design ( A-3170, the specification number did not change when the horsepower was increased to 1200 ). Following the merger of Baldwin and L-H in November 1950, the NYC placed another order for ten 800 hp switchers ( spec. # A-3171, CR&I road #'s 9800-9809 ), and in May 1951 ordered ( L-H order # 1219-DE ) six 1200 hp A-3170 switchers, CR&I #'s 8406-8411. The 1200 hp A-3170 weighed between 120-125 tons, was powered by a 8 cylinder inline turbocharged Hamilton T89SA diesel driving a Westinghouse 499A main generator, with four 362D traction motors. It was classed as DES-15b by the NYC.

The 8839 to the right was an Indiana Harbor Belt ( another NYC subsidiary ) SW-7 built in January 1950 ( c/n 8130 ) and eventually PC 8839..
Jerry Cramer I took many trains to the CJ Ashland Avenue Yard.John Uhlich You and me both, Jerry! The most memorable was probably the shortest. It was about one or two 5-packs. They had us yard the train and a swarm of gumshoes (and apparently G-men) climbed all over the train checking seals or what have you. And for good reason: It was a shipment of something from the US Treasury or US Mint...can't remember which. Never did find out what was in those containers but you can bet it was valuable as all get out!Mike Breski Pic taken june 13th 1965 near 43rd st.Bob Lalich The building in the top photo was a shop building. The lettering proclaimed Chicago Junction Ry, like the old yard office. The shop was adjacent to the old roundhouse. Damen Ave was extended over the yard and the site of the roundhouse in the early 1960s. The shop building was immediately east of the Damen overpass. Here is a Bob Bruns photo from 1965.

John Uhlich Cool! That bldg. is long gone! I think Damen Ave. bridge is gone too, isn't it?Bob Lalich The Damen Ave overpass was dismantled around 2000.
Dennis DeBruler commented on Bob's comment with the Flickr link on Mike's post
The shop building exists in 1962 and 1972 aerials. It does not exist in the 1973 aerial. I marked up an old aerial to show where the Damen overpass (red) and shop building (yellow) were. The building behind 8839 is also on the 1962 aerial. Given your comment about the overpass being dismantled in 2000, I checked the accuracy of the aerials. Sure enough it exists in 1999, but does not exist in 2002.
Mike commented on his post
Ashland Ave yard office
Conrail's Ashland Avenue Yard office in July 1983, originally built for the Chicago Junction Railway Company. This is why folks sometimes still refer to the line around here as the CJ even though this building no longer exists today(2010). Doug Davidson photo

Michael Weyhe posted
One of the railroads my father worked for . Somehow his railroad kept changing hands and ended up Conrail . It looks to be late 70's ? Is the building still there ? Not even sure where this building is . AD 1912 .
Erick Roman That's Ashland Ave Yard on the South side of Chicago. The building was torn down in the 90's I believe. The Chicago Junction Railway sign/stone's was saved and turned into a memorial in front of the yard. I haven't been in the area for years, hoping it's still there.
Carl Giudici This building was up the hill on 41st and Ashland it is now torn down for about ten years or so replaced with a new building that also remotes Brighton crossing.
Brian Kaempen These letters are still the little building on the west side of Ashland south of Pershing? Anyone have a photo of them currently? [I used street view to look for the letters, but I could not find them.]
Howard Kirschner The Chicago Junction railroad was originally owned by a family in the meat packing business, and serviced the stockyards from its connection to the Illinois Central. It was involved in a court case similar to the one involving another short line the Brooklyn Eastern District Terminal Railroad over not publishing tariffs which was required by law. Both lines claimed their lack of length exempted them from publishing them, but the courts thought otherwise, and they lost. Few people probably know this history.

Art Gross Flickr 1960s? Photo of a tower surrounded by switchers     (source)

Dennis DeBruler commented on Art's post
That building looks like it was a yard tower. So that raises the question of where was this tower. On this 1963, 12000 scale topo map, I put a yellow rectangle around what look like towers in a 1938 aerial photo. But none of them have tracks that curve to an elevated crossing.
Steven Cobb With the sand tower in the background it may have been additional sand storage to feed the sand tower. It doesn't appear to be a yard tower, no windows, no proper roof line and the way it has been braced it seems that is what it is...sand storage.
Dennis DeBruler Thanks. It makes sense that a big yard would need a lot of sand. This is the first time I have seen such a structure.

Dennis DeBruler commented on Art's post
So I studied the 1938 photo some more. I provide this extract as context.

Dennis DeBruler commented on Art's post
Zooming into the engine servicing area, I put a yellow rectangle around where I think it was built.

Richard Stephen posted
Two of my favorite photos from my collection. From 1987 to 1997, I worked near the Ashland Freight Yard on the Southside and would often photograph railcars there on my lunch break. At that time it this was Conrail's main freight yard in Chicago. One day, circa 1995, I spotted a MOW car still in Penn Central markings, which in itself was fascinating. As I approached it I noticed the PRR logo still visible through the fading yellow paint. A once in a lifetime photo opportunity.

1 comment:

  1. Sad to see the industrial decay. The yard is less than half the size it used to be.