Wednesday, December 4, 2019

CB&Q Freight Houses and Team Tracks with Gantry Cranes

The CB&Q had "Central Warehouses" south of Union Station. These notes examine the evolution of CB&Q's support freight houses.

In 1929, the team tracks went all the way between Union Avenue and Canal Street south of the east end of their Western Avenue Yard. And I note that rail service still went south of 16th Street into the Schoenhofen Brewery.
1929 Englewood Quadrangle @ 1:24,000

Erie had a terminal with CB&Q so CB&Q's freight facilities show up on Erie's map.



By 1938, the freight house on the right was removed to move the Jefferson Connection further south to expand the CB&Q Commuter Coach Yard. The freight facilities above the St. Charles Air Line embankment were owned by C&NW.
1938 Aerial Photo

By 1941, a gantry crane was added to transload heavy shipments between trucks and freight cars.
79., 1941, cropped
CB&Q tracks (left) - CB&Q freight houses -16th and Union sts.) (far left)

By 1948, a gantry crane was also added to the west side of the Western Avenue Yard.
Gary Hosek commented on his post
Lou Gerard All the suburban Pacifics!

Gary Hosek posted
Coal piles - Western Avenue yards - Chicago - May 1948 - Russell Lee photograph.
Dennis DeBruler This photo confirms that CB&Q had a gantry crane west of the coaling tower. The May 1948 date indicates the crane existed after WWII.

This gantry crane also appears to have been built after the 1938. The long east/west building near the center of the top half of this aerial of the west side of Western Avenue Yard has been removed by 1948.
1938 Aerial Photo

Also by 1948, CB&Q had replaced some rail serviced industries with a newer freight house southwest of the western end of the Western Avenue Yard.
Gary Hosek posted
Freight cars - Western Avenue rail yards - Chicago - 1948 - Russell Lee photograph.
Dennis DeBruler It shows the top of the round CB&Q coaling tower near the left of the background.
Rick Aylsworth Less-than-carload freight terminal. The boxcars are spotted with their doors aligned so planks can be placed across between cars, allowing all cars to be reached from the dock.
Raymond Barr Took a strong back to push freight from track 4 to the dock ..

Dennis DeBruler commented on Ean's comment on Gary's post
There used to be some railroad served industries there.
Looking at USGS Englewood quadrangles, the 1953 map still has the 1938 bildings, but the 1963 map shows the new freight house buildings that Lee's photo shows existed by 1948.

The 1953 topo map still shows the old rail-served industries, but...
1953 Englewood Quadrangle @ 1:24,000

...the 1963 topo shows the industries, and roundhouse, are gone. Not only does it show the freight house in Gary's photo, it shows the roundhouse was replaced by a freight house.
1963 Englewood Quadrangle @ 1:24,000

In fact, the freight house that replaced the roundhouse is still standing!

But the weeds indicate it has not been used recently. I wonder if the roundhouse, ash pit, etc. contaminated this land so that now it can't be used without a lot of cleanup expense after they tear down the freight house. That would explain why the freight house still stands as a monument to when trains, not trucks, hauled non-bulk freight.
Street View

BSNF still claims that they have an intermodal yard here. But it is obvious that it is now just a parking lot.
Street View

More details concerning the freight house in Gary's photo above.
David Daruszka commented on Ean's comment on Gary's post
From the Sanborn maps.

They have torn down the buildings, but they haven't bothered to remove the concrete floors and paving.

I happened to take a photo of this vacant lot when I heard a commuter train on the BNSF mainline. Is this land also contaminated?
20180812 3488
Looking North from 19th Street west of Western Avenue.

The land used by the freight houses on the east side is now an expressway and residential units.
3D Satellite

The 1963 topo shows the buildings have been removed between 19th and Cullerton Streets. I took this photo of the building on the south side of 19th Street because of the two water towers. That building has had the windows remodeled, but I don't think it was built since 1963.

And we can still see railroad tracks for an industrial spur in the lower-left part of that block.
3D Satellite
I can believe that the building on the east side of that block was built in the 1960s.
3D Satellite

Marty Bernard posted
Looking Out Union Avenue Tower's East Windows
Union Avenue Tower was at the west end of the wye south of Chicago Union Station. It was a CB&Q tower. This photo from August 1, 1963 is looking through the east windows of the Tower. We see the Dan Ryan Expressway above the tracks and Union Avenue below, going under the tracks. The rolling stock left to right is Train 123's Motor under the Dan Ryan, Train 133 heading west, Train 23's Motors (the Afternoon Zephyr) and GM&O Train 2 (the Abe Lincoln). "Motor" is what a diesel was called by the tower man and the dispatcher. Trains 123 and 133 were Dinkys. The Abe Lincoln is being turned on the Wye. Above Train 133 you can see the St. Charles Air Line taking off.
My guess "motor" was to distinguish diesels from steam. Union Avenue Tower is long gone. It was the start of the Q's Racetrack.
[Mark Hinsdale pointed out the freight house on the right side of this photo.]

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