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IAIS/CSX Routing into Chicago via old Rock Island Main

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IAIS/CSX Routing into Chicago via old Rock Island Main
Posted by Sawtooth500 on Sunday, November 29, 2009 6:07 AM
So for IAIS or CSX trains traveling into Chicago via the old Rock Island main, where do they go after Joliet? I know that there is a connector at Blue Island to transfer to the IHB Main which can take them to the Clearing Yard, but beyond that is just the very small Blue Island Yard, a connector to the BRC/NS Mains (which I really don't think CSX uses), and then beyond that you've got another connector pretty close to downtown Chicago that goes to NS trackage, and then you're practically at LaSalle St. Station (not including the connector to the CN St. Charles Air Line, which I know isn't used by freight). So where do IAIS and CSX go?
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Posted by CSSHEGEWISCH on Sunday, November 29, 2009 6:53 AM

Both IAIS and CSX use trackage rights over Metra to Blue Island.  At that point, both lines will use a connecting track to pick up the IHB/B&OCT at Blue Island.  IAIS trains will then back into IHB's Blue Island yard for interchange and CSX trains will back into Barr.  Freight service on Metra lines north of Blue Island is provided by Chicago Rail Link.

The daily commute is part of everyday life but I get two rides a day out of it. Paul
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Posted by Sawtooth500 on Sunday, November 29, 2009 7:07 AM
How did the Rock Island deal with their freight back in the day when they still existed?
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Posted by MP173 on Sunday, November 29, 2009 8:34 AM

A few years ago, Trains had a cover story on the Rock Island's "Fast Train".  My magazines are all packed away downstairs, so I cannot access them at this time.  If I recall, the Rock actually had an advantage, according to the author (a Rock employee) due to their southern exposure in Chicago.

Interline freight from eastern carriers such as NYC, PRR, and others did not have to travel thru Chicago to access CNW, CBQ, and others.  There was a yard at 95th street.  The Belt Railway of Chicago (BRC) map in old Official Guides show the yard as "South Chicago Yard" and "CRI&P South Chicago Yard".  Does that mean the yard was a joint yard operated by both railroads? 

That yard would have provided excellent interchange from both NYC and PRR.  Remember that for a time NYC ran trains to the Rock Island on the Kankakee Belt, exchanging west of Chicago and avoiding the mess.

A detailed look at the Rock Island's Chicago freight operations would be interesting.

ed

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Posted by Sawtooth500 on Sunday, November 29, 2009 8:43 AM
Yeah, that makes sense, I know there was a yard on BRC around 87th street that is gone now, and from satellite photos I can see where the 95th street yard probably was.
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Posted by CSSHEGEWISCH on Sunday, November 29, 2009 10:13 AM

The RI and BRC South Chicago yards were separate and side-by-side.  They ran just north of 95th Street from about Stony Island to Commercial.  They were on an embankment and if you drive on one of the streets that pass under the yards you will note that there are concrete pillars under the RI yard and steel pillars under the BRC yard.

The daily commute is part of everyday life but I get two rides a day out of it. Paul
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Posted by Sawtooth500 on Sunday, November 29, 2009 10:16 AM
So now only a BRC yard remains there, correct? NS doesn't use that yard, they use their own 103rd St. Yard just south of there, right?
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Posted by MP173 on Sunday, November 29, 2009 1:06 PM

The 95th Street yard is still in use.  It can be seen from the Skyway Bridge. 

Did BRC take over the CRI&P portion of the yard?

ed

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Posted by Sawtooth500 on Sunday, November 29, 2009 7:08 PM
I think the Rock Island portion may be torn up... not totally sure though.... there's a lot of open, empty space just west of the BRC yard and north of the mains, I'm guessing that's maybe where the Rock Island yard was?
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Posted by CShaveRR on Monday, November 30, 2009 9:27 AM

 What was Burr Oak Yard used for?  Perhaps interchange with IHB and GTW?

Carl

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Posted by rrboomer on Monday, November 30, 2009 6:06 PM

How the Rock Island interchanged with the B&OCT, IHB and GTW at Blue Island:

Most inbound (to Burr Oak/Blue Island Yd) freights from Silvis would have a interchange block on the rear end.  A switch crew with an engine and caboose (transfer style) would be waiting in the clear on north side of main track and have their caboose shoved in the clear on the IHB (north)  or GTW lead (south).  The switch crew would go out on the north main track, grab the road caboose and block of interchange cars, then pull west to where they could shove toward the yard caboose.  after making joint and shoving east with the transfer cut, the switch engine would tie the road caboose onto the remainder of the road train and that train would then proceed into BI yard.  The switch engine then went back against their transfer train and when got enough brake pipe air pressure would shove toward dwarf signal at Cal Sag Canal bridge controlled by Grand Trunk Tower (now called Blue Island Jct).  When the Grand Trunk operator saw Rock Island shoving toward/or stopped at signal he would then notify IHB dispatcher at Gibson.  The time at the dwarf signal was the Rock Island's interchange time with whichever carrier train was going to.  IHB dispatcher would instruct GT operator to either hold RI at signal or to line them into either the "Long Track" (next to IHB main) or "Industry Track" (next to Clark Refinery).  Both of these tracks came together before connecting back into IHB eastward main track just short of 127th St.  The RI crew would shove west until engine was past signal by the tower to go to IHB or B&OCT.  The go to GTW one would shove out the GTW lead and shove toward canal.  Then would head into GTW BI yard using hand throw switch near Vermont Street.  All these moves were done without radios using air valve on caboose and/or hand signs.  Transfer to the three roads could and did come right out of Blue Island Yard and not take a block off of a road train.

To go to BRC the transfer crew (aka Yard crew) train would come out of Blue Island Yard and head north (timetable east) toward Gresham Tower.  Gresham would line them toward "Wall Track"  (because it went down along west side the Rock Island elevation) which went down to BRC track level at 80th St  At bottom of hill track became BRC's to Belt Jct.  When got signal at Belt Jct would head toward Clearing Yard East Sub and into east receiving yard.  Your track number would be displayed on a board at Hayford Tower.  At Belt Jct one could also go straight into Wabash Landers Yard.  Never heard of a RI crew doing that while I was there.

At South Chicago Yard (which is all gone except for one or two tracks used by Chicago Rail Link) most all the road trains would go into yard.  Interchange was made with NKP by shoving west past Pullman Jct and then head into NKP Calumet Yard.  Rock Island delivered to EJ&E and PRR by going east out of Rock Island Jct and then up hill toward PRR Main Line Bridge and on to Colehour Yard or crossover BRC/B&O main tracks and head north toward Elevator D and into EJE Yard at Steel Mill.  Any BRC interchange would head east at RI Jct and back into BRC South Chicago Yd.  The C&O (Pere Marquette district) trains picked up and set out at the RI So Chgo Yard.  For at short period of time there was a run through train to the EL at Hammond.  The RI road and yard crew change was made at Pullman Jct.  South Chicago interchange with the CWP&S was made at 103rd St on Irondale line.  CSL came right into So Chgo yard with RI cars and took their cars out with them.  CNW Iron- dale interchange (only cars destined to Irondale) was made by RI at CNW's Iron Dale Yard.  The CNW crew did not leave that yard as far as I know.  Interchange with IC was made at Port Yard (end of Pullman Railroad at 130th St.  Interchange with CSS&SB was made near where the Chicago Sanitary Dist Plant is right now.  IC interchange was limited to cars for Port or Pullman areas.

 

 

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Posted by MP173 on Monday, November 30, 2009 8:48 PM

rrboomer:

That was an incredible amount of information.  I understood about 25% of it (not your fault).  Train Watchers Map of Chicago by John Szwajkart will probably help.

The entire proceedure you outlined at Blue Island, without the use of radios is pretty amazing.

Thanks for sharing.

ed

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Posted by MP173 on Monday, November 30, 2009 9:16 PM

rrboomer:

Ok, your descriptions are beginning to make more sense.  The key is to have a 1970's map on hand.

You mentioned "Irondale line" (interchange with CWP&S) and the "Iron Dale Yard".  Are these on the same line?  Is the "Irondale line" the track splitting off of the Rock Island at Pullman Jct and heading due south?  If so, it passes underneath I-94 and currently is an NS yard.  Is that the location of "Iron Dale Yard"? 

It seems that Rock Island interchanged with BRC both at Clearing and at 95th Street (South Chicago Yard).  Is that correct?  Why two interchange locations?  South Chicago Yard would have been ideal for PRR interchange, but was NYC interchanged at Blue Island Yard with the IHB? 

As Carl asked earlier, what was the purpose of Burr Oak Yard?  Was it a support yard for interchange with IHB, GTW, and BOCT? 

Looking up Chicago West Pullman and Southern, it was owned in the 1960's/1970's by International Harvestor.  Was there a IH plant in that area?  They show about 10 miles of trackage rights.  Do you recall which lines they had trackage rights.  It appears on the map there were two segments separated...Ashland and 120th Street and the north south line which was by Torrence Avenue.  How were those connected?

What a fascinating complex world of railroading existed on the South Side of Chicago back in the 1970's. 

ed

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Posted by rrboomer on Tuesday, December 1, 2009 12:58 AM

Will try to answer in pieces with So Chgo/Irondale first:

My Bing Maps list of places

http://www.bing.com/maps/default.aspx?v=2&cp=41.72279660195691~-87.56087623536587&lvl=17&sty=h&cid=30B418398414F8AF!123&rtp=adr.~adr.&rtop=0~0~0~

Click on the star lower left and hopefully will bring up about 14 push pins.

To the west of yard office was "B" yard of 13 tracks.  Plastics outfit still at west end was right next to switching leads.  "A" yard to the east has 8 tracks and had a lead east toward RI Jct.  If the RI ever had a roundhouse at So Chgo I don't know where it was located.  During my time they had a track south of A8 just east of yard office could hold maybe eight units, plus one other short track..  Aeriel photo shows small pond dig out with oily water in it.  That is about where it was

BRC-RI interchange at So Chgo was minimal, usually grain that got routed to wrong area elevator.  I only remember going to their 95th St yard twice.  PRR did interchange at South Chgo.  they brought their transfer to So Chgo and RI took their transfer to PRR Colehour Yard just over the Indiana line on south side of PRR main where it makes a jog to north .

Tracks going south just to west of Pullman Jct are the ex Pullman Railroad which RI took over in '40's(?).  First yard was called 97th St.  Sherwin Williams had large plant at 103rd St on east side of track.  where it makes the loop over Dan Ryan and heads north was Port Yard.  Two large grain elevators located for lake boat loading.  RI also switched around south side of port.

I'll answer about Burr Oak tomorrow, it's getting past the dog's bedtime so we can't stay up either.

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Posted by MP173 on Tuesday, December 1, 2009 7:58 AM

rrboomer:

Thanks for the Bing link.  I didnt get the 14  push pins.  Perhaps you can try again...if you cannot or it doesnt work, that will be ok.

As long as you want to discuss the geographical South Side of Chicago railroading, I am interested and will probably bombard you with questions.  That whole area is interesting now, and only a fraction of what it must have been.

It would be very interesting to compile a database, if you will, of Chicago operations before all the mergers and before all the industry left.

I am familar (somewhat) with the line heading south from 97th street.  I have a customer in Pullman and have developed an interest in that line.  BTW, it is all welded track now.  Port Yard makes sense (Port of Chicago).  Did RI deliver much grain there?

Ed

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Posted by mudchicken on Tuesday, December 1, 2009 9:38 AM

Chicago Rail Link (OmniTrax)

The engine facility at Irondale is still very much there and in use.

Mudchicken Nothing is worth taking the risk of losing a life over. Come home tonight in the same condition that you left home this morning in. Safety begins with ME.... cinscocom-west
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Posted by CSSHEGEWISCH on Tuesday, December 1, 2009 10:12 AM

A couple of corrections and clarifications:  CNW Irondale was an isolated section just off of 118th and Torrence that switched Cargill and Continental Grain elevators at that location.  I remember a CNW SW1200 routinely assigned there.

On the Pullman line, the Sherwin Williams plant was located at 115th Street, easily verified by one's nose when the plant was still operating.  EMD had a fabrication plant at 103rd Street, just east of Gately Stadium.  Pullman-Standard was north of 111th Street.

Chicago West Pullman & Southern was indeed owned by International Harvester, it switched a plant at 120th and Halsted on the IC Blue Island Branch and also switched the Wisconsin Steel Works, which was IH's own steel mill.  The two segments were connected by trackage rights over BRC and IC.

The daily commute is part of everyday life but I get two rides a day out of it. Paul
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Posted by rrboomer on Tuesday, December 1, 2009 11:35 AM

MC:

The engine facility at Irondale was never the Rock Island's  Sorry if I gave that impression.

CSSH:

Indeed the Sherwin Plant was at 115th St, I never knew about 120th St on the IC branch.

Try the Bing map again, PLEASE let me know if it doesn't work this time::

http://www.bing.com/maps/default.aspx?v=2&cp=41.72279660195691~-87.56087623536587&lvl=17&sty=h&cid=30B418398414F8AF!123&rtp=adr.~adr.&rtop=0~0~0~

Dick

 

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Posted by rrboomer on Tuesday, December 1, 2009 1:38 PM

CShaveRR asked: "What was Burr Oak Yard used for?  Perhaps interchange with IHB and GTW?"

                                      **************************************************

Burr Oak Yard had two sides, the "Infreight" on west side of yard, tracks 1-22.  "Outfreight" tracks 24-47.  I recall some old times saying it had a 48 or 49 track at one time.  Track 23 was accessed from both leads and had track scale under 127th St bridge.  Tracks 1-5 were the long receiving tracks for road trains and departure for long transfers going north (such as Clearing or South Chicago) and/or west to GTW, B&OCT, IHB with crossovers just north of 127th St all the way across,  Tracks 43-47 were the long Outfreight receiving (Transfers) or road train departures and had crossovers all the way across.  The infreight yardmaster's office was ground level in the Prairie St building, trainmasters, superintendent, clerks were on 2nd floor. Outfreight YM was elevated on 127th St bridge, switchman's shanty and clerk were located right under him connected by the pneumatic tube or yell real loud system.

The infreight lead job switched from the south (west) end and outfreight lead from the north (east) end.  The whole yard was slightly descending to the west, so the outfreight field man had to be vigilant keeping his tracks tied down to prevent roll out.  Outfreight also had another engine switching at west end of 24-47 called the "York St".

Burr Oak also had a Rip Track north of Prairie St to about big storage tank at roundhouse that ran parallel to eastward suburban line main track.  The wrecker pocket was next to rip track under bridge and coach yard was between Prairie St and York St next to suburban line.  

The infreight yard classified inbound cars destined to connections (GTW, IHB/NYC,B&OCT) and those served by other transfer jobs such as:

 Westside job handled traffic to 47/51st St, CR&I/CJ at Ashland Ave Yd, Chicago Produce Terminal, Wood St Produce Terminal (spuds, onions). The day job retraced it's steps and picked up at same places, the night job went straight to CPT and Wood St to make the morning auctions, then often made it's way from Wood St to 12th St and brought a piggyback pull to Blue Island to be added to the westbound morning fleet.

South Chicago transfer: took train to S Chgo and returned with train. Other transfers were Englewood job 1159PM which went first to Gresham Yard located just north of 95th St extending to the south leg of So Chgo wye at Gresham.  There were several industries there plus it did both sides of main line and Team track at Englewood, there was an occasional car interchanged to PRR.  This job also interchanged freight with the (very seldom) CWI at 81st St.

The Outfreight classified cars received from GTW, IHB/NYC, B&OCT, Clearing, So Chgo, West Side, 12th St, etc for outbound road trains, plus made up fills to be added to both ends of road trains originating at South Chicago. Trains originated here were "Redball Pickup" (thru local to Silvis), No 45 to Peoria, No 97 hotshot for Texas, No 93 deadfreight to Texas, and "Kansas City Star" (started in '66 was auto parts to KC) which became "The Big Train aka #57" to Omaha in later years. 

The piggyback road trains from 12th St did not normally stop at Blue Island to get a fill.  When #55 was running they often stopped for the Special Agents and Rin Tin Tin to capture the looters picked around 22nd St.

Forgot to mention when I started in '66 some of the freight house tracks (just east of roundhouse) had been converted to piggyback loading. this didn't last but a few years.

Burr Oak Yard was always busy!

 

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Posted by MP173 on Tuesday, December 1, 2009 4:47 PM

Ok, a few comments/questions:

Is it correct that Irondale Yard was (is) north of 104th Street?  Bing shows a decent sized yard there.  Who current owns/operates that? 

There is an engine facility at 104th which is Omni.  I have been there on business and there are always a number of first generation switchers, geeps, etc in various stages of repair.  Was that CWP&S's engine facility?

Ok, help me out here.  There was an Iron Dale which was CNW yard?  Paul, you said it was "isolated."  How did CNW move freight there?  By rights?  Why would they have had a yard there?  It doesnt seem to fit into their system. 

The map which is being referenced shows the BRC and RI yards on 95th as follows...RI yard (South Chicago) is the located on the southern and western part, while BRC's yard is northern and eastern.  Is this correct?  If so, did BRC purchase the RI yard and then abandon most of their old yard?  It appears in aerial photos that the North and western portions are now gone.

Hope that makes sense. 

Boomer, again, thanks for your descriptions of terminal ops.  You might have covered this earlier...but how did RI and EL interchange?  Was there much interchange between the  two? 

Finally, for now, is it safe to assume that Burr Oak Yard was the center of operations (freight) for the Rock Island in Chicago?  It seems so, based on your descriptions.

 

ed

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Posted by rrboomer on Tuesday, December 1, 2009 5:34 PM

I see the last map didn't show pushpins, this is my 3rd strike, lets see if this works:

http://www.bing.com/maps/?v=2&cp=41.72312491756933~-87.55740009248256&lvl=15&sty=h&cid=30B418398414F8AF!123

 

Pan south to Calumet River to see all of pins.

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Posted by rrboomer on Tuesday, December 1, 2009 6:05 PM

MP173 wrote in part:

The map which is being referenced shows the BRC and RI yards on 95th as follows...RI yard (South Chicago) is the located on the southern and western part, while BRC's yard is northern and eastern.  Is this correct?  If so, did BRC purchase the RI yard and then abandon most of their old yard?  It appears in aerial photos that the North and western portions are now gone.

*****************************************

Ans: RI and BRC yards adjacent to each other with BRC on north side.  To best of knowledge BRC did not buy RI So Chgo, but they did remove the northwest part of their yard along with enginehouse across from plastics outfit at west end RI yard.

********************************************

Hope that makes sense. 

Boomer, again, thanks for your descriptions of terminal ops.  You might have covered this earlier...but how did RI and EL interchange?  Was there much interchange between the  two? 

********************

Ans: EL and RI interchanged at Clearing.  about 1970-71 they started a Silvis-Marion run thru pooling power and cabooses.  RI road crew Silvis to Pullman Jct, then a RI yard crew to Hammond.  The train was supposed to set out/pick up at Hammond then thru to Marion.  The EL it was found out was cutting off the RI units, using them for switch engines and then a later train to Marion.  After a picture appeared in Trains of the EL turning a RI unit on the IHB wye the RI stopped the run thru and yard crew brought RI power and caboose back to So Chgo.  Don't think the RI let those EL units sit untouched at Silvis either.

When EL closed Hammond the RI started using a yard crew to take transfer to EL at 51st St Yd and cab hop back. After  a change in working agreements a EL road crew would bring train to Blue Island and cab to 51st St Yard.  The RI had a 359PM yard crew use the EL power and take RI train to 51st St. leave the power and taxi home to Blue Island.

*********************************

Finally, for now, is it safe to assume that Burr Oak Yard was the center of operations (freight) for the Rock Island in Chicago?  It seems so, based on your descriptions.

**************************************

Ans: Burr Oak was the center of the universe as it was then known.

Dick

 

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Posted by MP173 on Tuesday, December 1, 2009 9:36 PM

Dick:

That was an amazing job with the Bing map and the push pins.  It all made sense. 

Perhaps someone can fill me in on why CNW had a yard so far removed from their system?  My guess is that BRC moved the cars for them. 

Another question regarding Chicago and Western Indiana...Moody's indicates it was equally owned by NW (NKP?), GTW, C&EI, EL, and L&N (Monon).  It appears their main function was tracks from around State Line Tower to Dearborn Station.  What became of the track after Amtrak made passenger trains downtown a nonissue?  Looking at the Bing map, one can make out the C&WI right of way south of Calumet Yard.  Did it run adjacent to Calumet Yard, and did NW assume ownership of the tracks?

Finally, B&O passenger trains entered Chicago on their mainline, crossed the PRR/NYC tracks and made a station stop at South Chicago (near the yard).  Did they then use BRC tracks to Forest Hill (75th Street Tower) and then head up the Western Avenue corridor to the loop?

Ed

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Posted by CSSHEGEWISCH on Wednesday, December 2, 2009 10:24 AM

The Omnitrax facility near 104th and Torrence was originally the CWP&S shop and corporate offices.

CWI was owned by N&W (Wabash), Monon, EL, GTW and C&EI.  It operated Dearborn Station and provided a Chicago entrance for its owners.  Monon and EL ran on CWI from State Line, C&EI picked up at Dolton Crossing, Wabash ran from State Line (line from Montpelier OH) and 75th Street (line from Decatur) and GTW came in at 47th Street.  CWI had a separate line along Calumet Yard.  CWI continued a separate corporate existence until fairly recently.

B&O and C&O (Pere Marquette) did have a convoluted route to Grand Central Station.  They used the B&O main to about Commercial Avenue, used the RI South Chicago branch and Suburban Line to about 89th and Damen, and picked up the B&OCT at that point to get to Grand Central.  When B&O/C&O switched to North Western Station in 1969, trains picked up the C&NW Rockwell Sub at about 18th Street, used that route north to the West Line and took that route into North Western Station.

The daily commute is part of everyday life but I get two rides a day out of it. Paul
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Posted by MP173 on Wednesday, December 2, 2009 12:44 PM

Any ideas on why C&NW was on the far south side, isolated from their other lines?

Thanks for info on the CWI.

 

ed

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