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Similar view as the previous picture, but closer to Franklin St. Note the L train paused at the Merchandise Mart station above the C&NW tracks. At this point the C&NW's tracks were apparently resting on a roadbed of mud-sometimes covering the tracks.
The C&NW tracks disappear into the gloom of the tunnel underneath the Merchandise Mart and the Apparel Center. Puddles over the tracks show the state of the roadbed, circa 1984. Yet the crews were able to get through to the Sun-Times despite the terrible condition of the tracks.
On a late afternoon in 1991 a Soo Line train leaves former Milwaukee Road street trackage on Kingsbury and heads west towards the C&NW interchange near the Kennedy Expressway. This spot is known as C&E Junction. On this particular day the train is extra long, necessitating a caboose for switching. The MP15 at the front appears to be a legacy Soo Line locomotive judging from the red-and-white paint scheme and four-digit number. The covered hoppers are empties from AKZO (International) Salt on Goose Island, while the boxcars came from perhaps Big Bay Lumber, Midwest Industrial Metals, the team track on Goose Island, or Midwest Zinc on Kingsbury. The empty gondola will probably be left behind for General Metals to fill. As recently as the early 1990s it was still possible to see trains of 20 or more freight cars.
The Kingsbury St. track was part of the former Chicago & Evanston, or C&E, while the track the train is turning onto was part of the original Chicago & Pacific, or C&P. These two separate railroads merged into what eventually became the modern-day Milwaukee Road but the old C&E and C&P names were retained more than a century later. Today C&E Junction is no longer accessible to the public though it still sees rail service twice a week. The City of Chicago vacated this section of Kingsbury to General Metals which operates a huge salvage business here. General Metals generates quite a few outbound loads of gondolas of scrap for CP Rail, especially given the recent, soaring price of scrap steel (2004). CP Rail crews working Goose Island to the south or north to Peerless Confectionary and Finkl Steel must first unlock a fence on Kingsbury.
The CP Rail MP15 in new paint backs onto the Chicago River swing bridge while switching out General Metals, a large customer which fills many gondolas with scrap steel for the railroad. General Metals is on Kingsbury St., just to the right (east) of this view. Note the pivot mechanism on this bridge which was featured in the April 2003 Railroad Model Craftsman.
It's a muggy June day in Chicago, and CP Rail has dispatched a bridge tender to operate the swing bridge over the Chicago River. The bridge tender shanty is on the left, while the trucks belong to CP Rail. A CP Rail person is dispatched via truck to open and close the bridge as needed for movements east of the river. In the background is the Finkl Steel complex, another important customer for CP Rail.
We're looking southwest at the point where the Chicago Transparent Products spur track leaves the UP/Metra North Line and begins its U-shaped arc to reach the factory. Across the tracks was the point at which a former C&NW branch ventured down from the viaduct, crossing Clybourn at grade, to access such industries as Cotter & Company (Tru-Value parent) in the Deering Industrial District. The C&NW even maintained a dedicated Deering yard near the location of this picture, off Diversey, to handle the many freight customers. Stewart-Warner Company on Diversey was a big shipper for the C&NW and Milwaukee Road which shared access to its plants. By the early 1980s the area began a transformation from industrial to retail use with strip shopping centers obliterating most traces of this former maze of industrial tracks and factories.
The radius on this curve is so sharp that only four-axle locomotives can handle the job, such as MP-15s, according to a UP crew. Note the unusual landscaping around an industrial spur with new condos and townhomes in the background.
A UP crew does some maintenance work on the track on this cold, winter day in Chicago, where a crosswalk connects the parking lot to the condos.
Another view of the UP Hi-Rail truck used in Maintenance of Way (MOW) service on this late December day.
This view looks north toward the new condos showing again the 180 degree turn the spur makes.
Hoppers, presumably loaded with plastic pellets, are unloaded at this spot by Chicago Transparent Products. At one time there were two, parallel tracks in use for freight cars.
We're looking northeast towards the factory. A mangled bumping post keeps cars from going too far. Perhaps one of the graffiti taggers was a fan of the 1990s English dream-pop band Lush!
A look at the front of Chicago Transparent Products on Paulina St. Further up Paulina, north of nearby Diversey Blvd., the C&NW crossed at grade to reach a Lakin facility and others close to Ashland Ave. Tracks are still in place as of the summer of 2003 but disconnected at Paulina from the main line by another condo project going up.
The train has just left the UP's North Avenue yard. Once it reaches the street trackage on Kingsbury St. the crew will back down south, throw the switch, then head north with the MP15AC locomotive in the lead.
After picking up a pair of empty cars at Peerless and dropping off the full tank car, using the runaround track by Wrightwood, the crew will double back to the UP yard and retrieve more cars for the other online customers.