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
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
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
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.