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Views from a Metra Train

  • Posted by tom burke
  • on 29 August 2005
  • 7 images

Photos of the river west area from a Metra commuter train. From June 11, 2005.


This view looks southwest towards Blommer Chocolate\'s factory from the window of a Metra coach. It's a sweltering Saturday afternoon so the air-conditioned cars are appreciated. The Blommer upper level spur has an interesting consist of a Trackmobile and two freight cars loaded with what appears to be gravel. Perhaps UP was parking them here temporarily in MOW service. Normally pressurized hoppers are parked here for Blommer. At this point the former C&NW West Line and North/Northwest Lines diverge. Blommer Chocolate is served off the West Line. Below the West Line viaduct is the "Say Goodbye Gallery" which has depicted vanishing wildlife since the 1970s in mural fashion.

Another view of the Blommer upper level spur which is reached from the UP (former C&NW) viaduct. A lower level spur is also in place at street\r\nlevel but trucks normally crowd the area.


Here's a look at the spur which once served several industries along Elston and Magnolia Avenues in Chicago, including the massive Proctor & Gamble plant along North Avenue, a scrapyard, and Morton Salt. Today just Morton Salt is served by rail as the other two industries are now gone. The track on Magnolia was rebuilt in 2004 as part of a street reconstruction project. Just enough was put in place to serve as a tail track for backup moves in the Morton Salt complex. Note the curved brick building to accommodate the track which was more typical of another era.

The CP Rail MP15 which services the former Milwaukee Road lines is parked at the North Avenue yard of UP. CP taxis crews in to work this job since the connecting track was removed where the Bloomingdale line crossed the UP's North Northwest Lines.


Farther north, another UP locomotive and caboose are parked in the North Ave. yard awaiting their next assignment. UP successor C&NW referrred to cabooses as "waycars."

UP MOW equipment is parked at the North Ave. yard. It wasn't that many years ago that the North Ave. yard was stuffed with freight cars which could be seen from the Kennedy Expressway. The biggest customer today is the Chicago Tribune Freedom Center printing press.


This view looks northeast towards the spur into the Sipi Metals complex. The two gondolas on the spur were spotted there earlier by a CP Rail crew. At one time this track continued east along Wabansia and crossed Elston, serving a US Steel plant and later P&G along with C&NW. Parts of the track are still visible in Wabansia west of Elston.