Sunday, November 5, 2017

IC Weldon (18th) Yard (including before 1890s, Shops)

(Satellite, this is north of the historic yards)

A nearby tower retained the Weldon name until it was decommisioned.

(Update: an index of IC's Chicagoland yards and roundhouses, see also 18th Street Yard)

Until the Burnside Shops were built in the 1890s, the Weldon Shops constructed and repaired locomotives and cars. The land has been repurposed as various generations of coach yards.
Bob Lalich commented on a post
I'm still trying to figure out if Weldon and 18th Street were two different names for the same yard or if one was intercity and the other was commuter.
Mark Llanuza posted
1972 18th yard Chicago IL
Louie Giometti Weldon Yard. I worked the second shift there stuffing pillows for the passenger train in the Material Department in the late 60’s
In this aerial photo, IC's Central Station is in the upper-left corner. So the yards here were used for long distance coach servicing. (In 1938, IC had lots of freight yards up north by the river and lake.) Central Station was closed around 1972 because Amtrak moved the remaining passenger trains that they continued to run to Union Station. So when Mark took his picture, it looks like the yard had been converted to commuter car storage. All of these yards, and the station, have been converted to real estate development. The current commuter car yard appears to be a little north of 18th Street.
1938 Aerial Photo from ILHAP
Cliff Downey posted
Around 1960 a pair of IC passenger trains meet just south of Chicago's Central Station. The unknown photographer is standing in the cab of an E-unit of a southbound train, looking at a northbound passenger train that will soon arrive at Central Station.
To the left is IC's Weldon Coach Yard. Once an IC passenger train arrived at Central Station and all passengers had departed, the mail and express cars were uncoupled and moved to a small building next to Central Station for unloading. The rest of the train was pulled to Weldon yard, where an army of workers would go through each car, cleaning and do any necessary light repairs (heavy repairs and rebuilds were done at the Burnside Shops at 95th Street, on south side of Chicago).
Once cleaned and ready to go, trainsets were taken some 8-9 miles south to Fordham Yard. The trainset went around a balloon track and then was taken back to Central Station. This process ensured that cars were orientated properly when the train left Central Station.
Unfortunately the photographer's identity is unknown, along with the name/number of the trains.
John Fitts Especially like the express reefers to the right.
Edward Jarolin shared
[I believe Weldon yard is in the left background.]

Dennis DeBruler commented on Bob's comment on David's post
The information on Weldon Shops was interesting in its own right. I knew there were two roundhouses down by 27th Street. But this documents that there were a couple up around the north end of Soldier Field. And that one of them was B&O's.

1889 Chicago Quadrangle @ 1:62,500

Steve Lewandowski posted
A beautiful image with a lot of action and spectacular track placement.
Dennis DeBruler Are we looking at Weldon or 18th Street Yard. Or is that two different names for the same yard?
Charlie Vlk The original Weldon was a little north oh 16th Street. The IC had shops there and their fist home built steam engine came from there. The Michigan Central and CB&Q also had roundhouses there but they were just south of the St. Charles Air Line junction.
Dennis DeBruler I know about the MC roundhouse. I don't have detailed maps old enough to show the CB&Q roundhouse.
[This is obviously a commuter yard. Note Big Stan being built in the background.]

Dick Bidwell shared
[Note that the caption describes where the Weldon coach yard was.]

William Shapotkin posted
When mention is made of Chicago's Central Station, it is only natural to think of the Illinois Central -- but other roads served that facility as well...
Here we see a NYC train (the slide mount specifically stated it was a "Big Four" train -- perhaps the JAMES WHITCOMB RILEY (?)) approaching Central Station from the south. John Kamacher photo dated 1955. Wm Shapotkin Collection.
[I've seen Weldon Yard referred to as the "intercity coach yard." That is obviously an intercity coach yard in the left background.]
Mike Bartels NYC's Michigan Central trains used Central Station too until the move to LaSalle Street, starting with the first departure at 11:59 p.m. Jan. 17, 1957. The blue and yellow sleeper in background was off one of the Big Four trains, through service with the C&O.
William Shapotkin Yes, I was aware of the MC trns also using that facility (although I thought they continued there until 1958 -- so I now know something I did not know before). BELIEVE that there are a few pix here of NYC (MC) trains as well, just happened to pick this one for starters...hang in there, tho -- there may be more!
The "Riley" continued operating into/out of Central Station into Amtrak. If I recall the date correctly, March 6, 1972 was when it (and the IC-operated Amtrak trains) were moved to Union Station.

Mike Bartels An April 24, 1955, NYC timetable shows the Riley arriving in Chicago at 1:10 p.m., No. 415, the Chicago Special at 2:40 p.m., No. 419 from Indianapolis at 5:40 p.m., the Sycamore at 8:40 p.m. and an overnighter from Cincinnati at 5:40 a.m. The Chicago Special had a sleeper off the C&O from Newport News and the Riley had one from Charleston off the Southern.
Jon Roma William Shapotkin, I don't remember the date when MC trains moved to La Salle Street, but you have the essence of the timeframe right. It should be understood that, even after the MC and Big Four (and Boston & Albany, etc.) came under the aegis of the New York Central, they were run as largely autonomous subsidiaries for quite a number of years.
By the late Fifties, the trend was to integrate these subsidiaries and eliminate redundant facilities. By moving the MC services to La Salle, all New York Central passenger trains would be using a common terminal and common yard and maintenance facilities.
This was followed by a lawsuit against NYC/MC by IC, charging breach of the 99-year contract for use of the Central Station facilities and IC main line to Kensington.
I don't remember who prevailed in the lawsuit, but it didn't change the removal of the MC services to La Salle St., and that's where they remained until Penn Central.
Of course, the Big Four trains remained at Central until after Amtrak.
Mitch Markovitz 1958 for the MC move to LaSalle.
Jon Roma We should also not forget that Soo Line trains 3 and 4 (the "Laker") used Central Station from about 1963 to 1965.

Mike Summa Question, Who Serviced the NYC and C & O trains? And where?
Mitch Markovitz It was a C&O connecting sleeper at Cincinnati that appeared on the Riley into Chicago. The Big Four trains were serviced at Weldon Coach Yard of the I.C. just south of Central Station. The C&O Pullman sleeper was serviced there by the Pullman people as was all the Pullman operated I.C. sleeping cars. In joint service Big Four (NYC) train crews worked from Central Station to Indianapolis. Illinois Central engine crews worked from Chicago to Kankakee and handed the trains over to NYC enginemen.
Jon Roma Mitch Markovitz, did the Big Four have their own portion of Weldon where their mechanical forces serviced their equipment, or did they contract the work to the IC mechanical department?
Matt McClure In June 1972, it took 9 hours to go from Indianapolis to Chicago. They had just switched to CUS. We mostly slugged it out at 10-25 MPH until we hit Kankakee then 85 to the SCAL.

The first formal contract for cars was made in May 1853 although a few had been delivered before on a verbal order to the American Car Company at Chicago whose works were afterward purchased by the Illinois Central Railroad Company and were used for many years as their principal car shops both for repairs and construction They were located at Twenty seventh street and the lake shore Chicago The contract was for ...The railroad company commenced building its own locomotives at Weldon shops Fourteenth street in 1862 and the first engine built was known as No 44 The original shops at Weldon were frame buildings for repair work and completed in 1853 The shops were enlarged and rebuilt in stone in 1855 These were burned in 1860 and rebuilt with the old walls They were abandoned in 1893 at the time the present Burnside shops were completed The latter are located about 12 miles from the central station on a plat of ground of 160 acres The locomotive shops at Burnside were erected in 1892 and 1893 the car shops in 1895 There are employed at these shops 2,248 men exclusive of engineers and firemen The capacity of the works is 27 engines per month for thorough and general repairs in addition to light and running repairs to engines and work for other departments The car shops have a capacity of giving general repairs and painting to CO passenger cars the construction of 130 new freight cars and the repairing of 3,000 freight cars per month It is considered one of the best equipped plants in the United States In addition to the shops at Burnside the company has 10 smaller shops at points where they are most needed When the road was completed in 1856 the company owned 100 passenger cars and 1,590 freight cars On December 31 1900 it owned 801 passenger cars and 41,136 freight cars The total number of men employed in the machinery department including engineers and firemen is 10,951 which is a greater number than was employed in all departments of the railroad in 1861 Notwithstanding this fact the company cannot longer manufacture any new locomotives all of the men and tools being employed in repairing the engines now used There are now in service on the entire system 1,008 engines A comparison of box ears shows that those first constructed had a capacity of 10 tons while the greater number now in use have a capacity of 40 tons The original coal cars had a capacity of 10 tons and the company Is now operating a great many coal cars of 50 tons capacity. [Google eBook: Railway Age, Feb 22, 1091, p138]


  1. The CB&Q had a roundhouse next to the MC roundhouse and a passenger station converted from ice houses that were used as a temporary terminal after the Chicago Fire destroyed Great Central Station. It was a stop on the CB&Q until the move to the Fort Wayne Union Station. I would be very interested in any photos or track arrangements in the area c.1860-1883 as I am working on a history of the CB&Q Aurora-Chicago service. I am also interested in the IC use of the CB&Q trackage rights to get trains into Chicago c.1852-1890s and would like to correspond with any IC early history buffs.

    1. This is what I have found concerning IC's earlier stations:
      You may want to add a request for info there as well. Although I don't have that many readers.

      I know that CB&Q also initially had its headquarters over there. But I have found it hard, in general, to find info from the 19th Century.

      I was not aware that IC used CB&Q. IC came from the south and built a trestle up the lake. But I do know that IC and CB&Q, along with MC and C&NW, jointly owned the St. Charles Air Line. Then IC bought out MC's share.

      You may want to join the "Chicago Area Railroad Historians" Facebook Group:
      It has a lot more readers than my blog does.