Saturday, July 14, 2018

Team tracks continued to be important until Interstate Highways were built

I have already discussed the importance of team tracks back in the horse&wagon days. In fact, you could get a feel for the size of a town by the number and length of its team tracks. Many little towns had a short track near the depot called the house track. This was effectively a small team track. Big cities not only had several team tracks in a yard, some railroads had team tracks in more than one yard. For example, C&NW had Kinzie Street and Clinton Street team tracks near the downtown. (Below we will see that C&NW also had team tracks at Proviso.) And some team tracks were dedicated to a particular product and those tracks were shared by all of the Chicago railroads. For example, C&NW had the Potato Yard, IC+Santa Fe had the Chicago Produce Terminal, and Santa Fe had the Grape Yard.

But spotting an overhead gantry crane in an IC railyard near their freight houses taught me that transloading from rail to truck was important for heavy and/or oversized loads until the Interstate Highways were built.

Dennis DeBruler shared a comment in a posting by Paul Petraitis
[Note the gantry crane spanning tracks and a paved area in the center of the photo.]
Tom Szerencse News to me that the IC came all the way north to the river at one time.
Bill Archer Milepost 0.00 on the ICRR Mainline is the center of the Chicago River.
Patrick McNamara commented on my share
Patrick McNamara Dennis - cranes of this type in various sizes were used at major terminals all over's one outside the C&NW's Proviso LCL Freight House, photographed in 1958 during deconstruction of the large shed...the crane is visible bottom center, at the Team Track area.

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I suspect the tracks in the lower-left corner of this photo are team tracks because the yard did have freight houses further to the left off the photo. If there is a gantry crane, it would be at the end of these tracks off the bottom of the photo.
Mike Croy posted
Here is an overview of the "new" Corwith Yard as seen on the cover of the Santa Fe's 64th. annual report.

Dennis DeBruler shared
The Milwaukee Road tracks on both sides of the North Branch Canal is obvious railroad history. For decades Goose Island was just railroad yards and industry.
The piles of coal is an example that retail coal dealers were one of the reasons there were so many industrial spurs throughout the Chicagoland area during the horse&wagon days. (We recently saw a photo of coal dealers across the road from Wrigley Field.) Every house and business was heated with coal until natural gas became available in the 1950s.
The canal itself started out as a series of clay pits dug by brick manufacturers in the 1800s. When the pits played out, William B. Ogden did the additional digging needed to make a canal so that he would have more river-front property to sell. The Coast Guard required that the bridges be movable until 1954. The bridge shown here is one of the first-generation trunnion bridges designed by Chicago. 10 were built before they switched to a newer design. The round members at the ends have rack teeth in them. I include closeups from East Division and Cortland to show the rack teeth.
But my motivation for posting this photo is the two trucks in the lower right corner. This is another example of team tracks still being used before Interstate highways were built and piggyback service was developed.
Copyleft (CC BY-NC-ND, Copelin Commercial Photographers,
"Bridges, viaducts, and underpasses: Ashland Ave. and Belmont Ave., Image 7",…/uicdigi…/6959466619/in/photostream/
James S. Parker and Chicago Photography (University of Illinois at Chicago)
Bob Kalal goose island 1938 click on the link below
Brandon McShane In the 1940s and '50s some houses were built with fuel oil furnaces, and "modern" ones had electric heat, but by the 1960s natural gas had become pretty much universal.

Dennis DeBruler Thanks for reminding me of fuel oil. I'm sure electric heat was very small. Our 1921 house was converted from coal to a forced-air fuel oil furnace and new duct work in the basement. The fuel oil furnace was converted to gas. Someone added a humidifier to that furnace. We added a cold-air duct to the second floor and central air to the furnace. Later, we replaced that furnace with a high-efficiency furnace and a better air filter. The gas company has converted their service from low pressure to high pressure and moved the meter outside.

Coal was burned in a "gravity furnace." There was no blower. The house is two stories and the living areas were kept near the center of the house because just the convection of the heated air is what spread the heat throughout the house. Who would have thought there was so much history in a topic as simple as home heating.

John Mann I believe the bridge design was called a Scherzer Rolling Lift Bridge. It was invented in Chicago and many still exist over the Chicago River.
Dennis DeBruler The bridge is a trunnion bascule design. Chicago designed them to replace the Scherzer rolling lift bridges that the sanitary district built. The Sanitary District payed for the construction, but Chicago had to pay for the maintenance. The rolling bridge requires two long foundations to remain level. The foundations were a maintenance headache (expense) in Chicago's swamp. So Chicago developed their trunnion bascule design to be free of other's patents and replaced every rolling bridge except Cermak, You can tell Joliet is built on dolomite limestone because it still has its rolling bridges.
Team Tracks near Kinzie Street has excerpts from terminal maps that shows C&NW, Milwaukee, and PRR had cranes of 10, 25, and 20 tons, respectively.

CB&Q had two gantry cranes, one on each end of their Western Avenue Yard.

I looked at my notes for the CP/Milwaukee Bensenville yard, but the aerial photos were of just the hump yard or of the wrong time period.

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