Friday, March 2, 2018

UP/C&NW Cragin Yard and Alpha Bakery

Satellite, west (rail) side of Alpha Bakery
We just saw that a bakery, Newly Weds Foods, is still rail served. Thanks to a posting by Doug Kaniuk, I learned that Alpha Baking is not only still rail served, it is the only industry left along the UP/C&NW Cragin Industrial Lead that still receives freight cars. I saved the satellite image because it not only caught a hopper down by the building, it caught two more hoppers up on the mainline of the branch. When you are the only industry left, then you don't have to worry about tying up the mainline with your cars.

Cragin Yard was the now empty strip of land east of the BRC between North Avenue and Division Street. It is no longer needed because the industrial branch that used to run between C&NW's Northwest Main and C&NW's West Main now just runs from the north junction south to just past Armitage. The lead at the end looks barely long enough to hold a locomotive running around its train. The Grand and North Avenue overpasses still exist, just no track.
The empty overpass still exists over Division Street. It ran east of the existing BRC tracks.

The overpass at Augusta Blvd. looked wide and it has been "daylighted."
Street View
The branch ran over Chicago Avenue where it then became part of 40th Avenue Yard, which had a freight classification yard well past WWII.
Looking at the aerial below, I see BRC also had a yard next to the C&NW Cragin Yard. (Update: BRC West Chicago Yard) It now is a paved parking lot for junked cars. I included the western part of 40th Avenue Yard so you can see how the Cragin branch fed into the yard. I went far enough north with the aerial image to cover what is now abandoned.
1938 Aerial Photo from ILHAP
Because of the telltale curve in the building, you know that there used to be an industrial spur here.

The covered hopper makes sense for Alpha Baking. But why would there be two boxcars in that train?
box cars are for the Chicago Tribune
Matthew Ignowski
 I almost called them paper boxcars. Now I know that would have been correct.

Comments on a Feb 2, 2022, post indicate that the bakery gave up on rail service.

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