Thursday, August 17, 2017

Metra/Milwaukee Western Avenue Yard

(Satellite, Street View)

I had my daughter drive me around the Chicago area so that I could take pictures of bridges, etc. We went up Pulaski Road past UP/C&NW's 40th Street Yard, but it was elevated and my view was bad. We headed east again on Chicago Avenue. Because of cars on Grand Avenue waiting at the traffic light, this is the best shot I got of Metra's Western Avenue Yard.

20150502 0583

I see I did catch a sand tower, something I've recently started labeling after someone asked why do engines need sand. We can also see the western bridge in this yard that provides power hook ups to the commuter cars when they are parked in the coach yard. I discussed these bridges in detail in BNSF/CB&Q Aurora Commuter Train Yard.

Mark Llanuza posted
Milwaukee Rd coach yard in Dec 1972 along Grand Ave Chicago IL.
[This has a good view of the wash rack.]
James Wagner: The building where all the supplies for the passenger trains where kept.
William Lloyd: It had a walk in freezer the size of my first house.
Gerald Valinske: I still remember my 1st back up movement from there to the bumper in union station.

This was the first view I got that made me realize that we were passing the Milwaukee yard that Metra got when it bought the Milwaukee tracks in the Chicagoland area when Milwaukee went bankrupt. The big Metra sign on the relatively new engine service building was a big clue that I was passing their yard. Below are some street views from Grand Avenue.
Street View
Street View, zoomed
[So this is where they keep their cute little switching engines.]
Looking at a satellite image, I wondered if that big parking lot south of the Metra yard used to be part of the Milwaukee yard. This 1938 aerial photo shows that the parking lot land was indeed part of the Milwaukee yard. (The rail yard just south of the parking lot is the UP/C&NW California Yard, and it also stores and services commuter trains.)

1938 Aerial Photo from ILHAP
Mike Breski posted
Milwaukee Rd E-9’s Western Ave round house & turntable 1979, by Mark LLanuza on Flickr.
Milwaukee Road roundhouse, Western Avenue, Chicago.
May 1979
Photo by Mark L Lanuza
Dennis DeBruler Thanks for including the Flickr link.
I didn't remember where this roundhouse was, so I looked it up. It was by Chicago Avenue and Sacramento Blvd. It still shows in a 1984 aerial. But it is gone in a 1988 aerial.
[I included the above 1938 aerial in this comment.]
Michael Riha shared the Grève des trains - USA - 1946. album. The caption shows the photo number in that album.

25, corrected
David Daruszka Milwaukee Road Western Ave.Coach Yard and roundhouse.
Jeff Delhaye image is reversed.
Bob Lalich Here is the correct orientation.
Dennis DeBruler C&NW California Yard in the upper-right corner of the corrected version.
Dennis DeBruler The three smokestacks around the roundhouse caught my eye. Then the more I looked, the more smokestacks I found. The smokestacks are a reminder that the coaches were steam heated back then and that there was a coach yard.
Dennis DeBruler The coach side is still a coach yard, now owned by Metra. The freight side is now a parking lot for the Chicago Auto Pond.
Dennis DeBruler The overpasses for nine tracks over Sacramento Blvd. still exist. But the pair on the south side now support just vegetation.
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.
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.

Jeff Lewis shared
Metra's Western Avenue yard on the Milwaukee District. Shot from above during the evening rush on May 7, 2019.
Kićo Botić image, ©KB Digital

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 too 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

1 comment:

  1. As a high school Senior during the summer of 1963, I rode the Milwaukee Road commuter from Itasca IL to the Western Ave station and walked west to the Milwaukee Commissary building. For the summer, I worked in the liquor and soft drink cage, filling orders and servicing the Hiawatha and Empire Builder stream-liners. Pulling heavy metal carts, the club cars and diners would be filled with food, drink, and 50 lb paper bags of ice. After work, I'd hustle to the train and stand in the rear door with the brakeman as we backed down to Union Station. The rear observation cars were left there during servicing and were re-attached prior to their trip west. Often, our lunch would be leftover hams, turkeys, stews and other great foods from the returning dining cars. We'd eat on the roof and watch the activity in the Milwaukee and Northwestern yards. Fond memories. Thanks for the site!