Discussion related to commuter rail and rapid transit operations in the Chicago area including the South Shore Line, Metra Rail, and Chicago Transit Authority.

Moderators: JamesT4, metraRI

  by theseaandalifesaver
 
First: while riding the Orange Line, in between Rosevelt and Halsted, I noticed what looks to be an unused subway tunnel underneath the OL tracks. Any idea what that is?

Also, does CTA have any connection to the U.S. Rail Network?
  by doepack
 
theseaandalifesaver wrote:First: while riding the Orange Line, in between Rosevelt and Halsted, I noticed what looks to be an unused subway tunnel underneath the OL tracks. Any idea what that is?
That tunnel connects the Green line elevated with the Red line subway. It was in active revenue service when the south end of the Green line was routed to Howard St. via the State St. subway (the old Englewood/Howard and Jackson Park/Howard lines) until 1993, when a service revision and realignment occurred, and old line names were replaced with today's color coded designations. Except in special circumstances (i.e., emergencies, or major construction projects that require temporary service alterations), the tunnel isn't used regularly anymore, and is instead relegated these days to equipment moves, work trains, or shop transfers.
theseaandalifesaver wrote:Also, does CTA have any connection to the U.S. Rail Network?
At one time, lower 63rd St. yard, on the East 63rd St. branch of the Green line used to have a spur that connects with today's NS Chicago line (might have been the Lake Shore & Michigan Southern then, not sure...). Don't know if it's still there...
  by Passenger
 
So how is new rolling stock delivered?

On trucks?
  by EricL
 
yup.
  by Tadman
 
Last I heard they were restoring the 63rd yard connection to NS. There was also once a connection to C&NW's Weber line in Niles from the Skokie Swift but that siding is gone as is the entire C&NW line. This was all pulled up perhaps in the 1990's. Way back when, there was also a connection from CTA to MILW's Kingsbury/Lakewood branch near Wilson, but that is long gone.
  by ryanch
 
Tadman wrote:Way back when, there was also a connection from CTA to MILW's Kingsbury/Lakewood branch near Wilson, but that is long gone.
That was a surprise. I've wondered what that berm along the cemetery south of Irving was. I thought it was somehow connected to old-time Evanston Express service. It never occurred to me that it was a direct line to the Bloomingdale. Just traced the right of way north from Finkl and was shocked to realize that it seemed to go right past Wrigley. When was that portion abandoned? I believe before my earliest Wrigley memories, which would be about 1971/72.

The Lakewood Branch website has a schematic map that shows industries served, and #1 is something called the "Waveland team track". I pondered that 15 minutes ago wondering what industry or business was the Waveland team, deciding it was some sort of railroad maintenance team. After my sojourn on google maps I now wonder whether it was a track to deliver teams to Wrigley. Although #30 "Dickens team track" doesn't make much sense that way.

I'm old enough to remember forklifts carrying crates of live chickens outside the Elbow Room at Lincoln/George. I think the track was still there but no longer in use (circa 1989). I'm surprised that I never noticed that Lakewood cut away from Belmont on a curve. That might have tipped me off that there'd been a right of way there.
  by Tadman
 
The Lakewood line was open for business up to Diversey until the candy factory closed in 2006. I lived a few blocks away 2011-2015 and the tracks are still in the road, but there's mega mansions where the candy factory was. I also lived further south near Finkl 2004-2006 and 2009-2011 and would occasionally catch CP or MILW bandits switching. There was also a last trip up the railroad with PV Caritas. Here are some good pics:

https://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected] ... 188/?map=1" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

https://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected] ... 410109252/" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

http://railpictures.net/showphotos.php? ... C%7C%7C%7C" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

Ryanch, I didn't know you were a north sider. I love the area and move a bit further north every few years. I figure I'll retire when I get to Waukegan... I'm still mad at myself for never making it to Muskies burger joint, I figured they'd have a really good chili burger. I left that neighborhood 3/1 this year. Now I'm in Lincoln Square and I enjoy exploring the ex-CNW branches into the industrial park adjacent to Rosehill Cemetery.
  by Tom Tancula
 
The Waveland Team track was right next to Wrigley Field. I remember as a youngster going to the ball game with my father (a Milwaukee Road employee) and watching the crews switch a box car there. The one I remember was full of bricks. Oh and my dad did know the crew and they had a conversation or two about work and of course about the Cubs.
  by Passenger
 
EricL wrote:yup.
Delivered on trucks.

Anybody got pictures? :wink:
  by ryanch
 
Tadman wrote:The Lakewood line was open for business up to Diversey until the candy factory closed in 2006. I lived a few blocks away 2011-2015 and the tracks are still in the road, but there's mega mansions where the candy factory was. I also lived further south near Finkl 2004-2006 and 2009-2011 and would occasionally catch CP or MILW bandits switching. There was also a last trip up the railroad with PV Caritas. Here are some good pics:

https://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected] ... 188/?map=1" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

https://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected] ... 410109252/" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

http://railpictures.net/showphotos.php? ... C%7C%7C%7C" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

Ryanch, I didn't know you were a north sider. I love the area and move a bit further north every few years. I figure I'll retire when I get to Waukegan... I'm still mad at myself for never making it to Muskies burger joint, I figured they'd have a really good chili burger. I left that neighborhood 3/1 this year. Now I'm in Lincoln Square and I enjoy exploring the ex-CNW branches into the industrial park adjacent to Rosehill Cemetery.
I particularly like the shot where the Caritas is waiting for the tow truck to clear the track. I had to meet somebody at the Lakeshore Athletic Club once on train day, and sure enough, there was one car parked across the tracks. Of course I think the parking restriction was all day, though the train only came through twice, so maybe that particular car was out of the way when it mattered.

They should've put cowcatchers on the front of their locomotives and just pushed cars out of the way.

I was an off-and-on north sider - till I was 7 back in the 70s, then again in recent decades. We lived a block from the Ravenswood station till a year and a half ago, when my second daughter sized us out of our condo. Now we're near Evanston Central, so I ride through and ogle the station I would've been using.

By the area adjacent to Rosehill, you mean that area to the west of the tracks, south of the cemetery (and east of the other wing of the cemetery?) Where the Montessori school is? Or is there another area covered? Do those tracks still get used, aside from as a siding for the track crews? I'd ride my bike that way sometimes, but never really saw back in there much.
  by Tadman
 
That's the area, and I just found out the spur is disconnected so I guess nobody uses it.
  by Milwaukee_F40C
 
Nobody explained what a "team track" is. It's just a rail to truck transfer siding for shippers who don't have their own siding to pick up or drop stuff off. The term 'team' comes from when teams of horses were used. That's also where teamsters got the term.
  by Milwaukee_F40C
 
Locomotive L-202 at the Fox River Trolley Museum, which is on this year's museum calendar, was used to pull freight cars full of railroad ties and things like that in from the connection at the 63rd Street Yard. Before that, it was a locomotive on the streetcar system.

Meanwhile, IRM has a locomotive that pulled freight from Wilson, which was delivered to actual customers like a coal yard.
  by ryanch
 
Milwaukee_F40C wrote:Nobody explained what a "team track" is. It's just a rail to truck transfer siding for shippers who don't have their own siding to pick up or drop stuff off. The term 'team' comes from when teams of horses were used. That's also where teamsters got the term.
Thanks!
  by ryanch
 
Tadman wrote:That's the area, and I just found out the spur is disconnected so I guess nobody uses it.
I could be misunderstanding again. But at least for a short way, the spur seems to be connected. Briefly a month or two ago it was completely disconnected while they moved the northbound track. But it was reconnected, and for a time there were a couple coal cars with ballast on it. Google maps satellite view shows the track going nearly to Balmoral, but that may be outdated. The Montessori school has done a lot of construction since that photo. And it's tough to see from the train now that there are leaves on the trees. If we'd had this conversation two months ago, I'd've had a better view.

My guess is that you knew about the short-distance connection, but meant that the spur no longer curves off into the rest of the industrial area as it once must have.