Freight service on UP NW east of Deval Crossing ...

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Freight service on UP NW east of Deval Crossing ...

Postby Passenger » Fri Aug 24, 2012 9:42 am

About freight service on UP NW east of Deval Crossing and west of Clybourn.
Is there any?

What I know from direct observation:

1) There is a significant amount of freight traffic on the line west of Deval Crossing.

2) There are freight sidings which appear to be maintained, but I have never seen freight traffic.

Thanks for any enlightenment.
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Re: Freight service on UP NW east of Deval Crossing ...

Postby doepack » Fri Aug 24, 2012 11:08 pm

There's not a lot happening as far as freight traffic on UP/NW east of Deval, and what little traffic there is tends to run at night. A transfer run between North Ave. yard and Proviso, plus a local customer just east of Irving Park that receives ingredients used in making concrete are among the only regular runs; and even these are sporadic. Until recently, there was a lumber yard located in the vicinity of Mayfair junction on the very south end of what used to be CNW's Weber sub that received cars, but I think that was discontinued a couple of years ago...
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Re: Freight service on UP NW east of Deval Crossing ...

Postby neroden » Sun Sep 09, 2012 9:47 pm

This leads me, with curiosity and ulterior motives, to raise followup questions:
- what is there in the way of freight south of Clybourn on the UP-N/UP-NW lines, if any?
- what is there in the way of freight east of Western Ave. junction on the UP-W line, if any?

I am not-so-secretly wondering how much UP cares about the approaches to Ogilvie. And also how much it cares about the line which used to cross the drawbridge west of the Sun-Times building ("Kinzie Street railroad bridge") and run in a tunnel under the Merchandise Mart. (I know the line is abandoned from the drawbridge east.)
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Re: Freight service on UP NW east of Deval Crossing ...

Postby doepack » Mon Sep 10, 2012 4:49 am

neroden wrote:This leads me, with curiosity and ulterior motives, to raise followup questions:
- what is there in the way of freight south of Clybourn on the UP-N/UP-NW lines, if any?
- what is there in the way of freight east of Western Ave. junction on the UP-W line, if any?


UP and shortline Chicago Terminal Railroad operate out of North Ave. yard just south of the Clybourn depot. UP primarily uses this yard as a staging area for its transfers to/from Proviso, while CTM serves a handful of customers in an industrial/manufacturing area north and west of downtown; would say roughly just west of the Chicago River between Division and Grand. Both carriers serve The Blommer Chocolate company, located just west of OTC, and can receive cars either on the lower (street) level or upper level. CTM switches the lower level periodically, while the spur on the upper level is a bit more actively switched by a UP yard job (usually by a switcher that also works either at OTC or Cal. Ave. yard switching bilevels to and fro) and is located on the UP/W segment just west of the approach curve to OTC, along the south side of the ROW. This pretty much sums up the freight activity east of Western and south of Clybourn for the UP/Metra lines.

neroden wrote:I am not-so-secretly wondering how much UP cares about the approaches to Ogilvie. And also how much it cares about the line which used to cross the drawbridge west of the Sun-Times building ("Kinzie Street railroad bridge") and run in a tunnel under the Merchandise Mart.


For the latter, I suspect not much. Not sure what you mean by the former; I think UP cares very much about the approaches to OTC in terms of maintenance and such, or are you thinking in terms of freight viability? As stated, there just isn't a lot there anymore...
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Re: Freight service on UP NW east of Deval Crossing ...

Postby Passenger » Mon Sep 10, 2012 11:01 am

Not to derail my own thread, but about that drawbridge.

The track is all blocked off and unused for a while, but is the bridge itself in operating condition?

The question is whether there is some thought of ever using the bridge again or merely do not wish to spend the money to take it down.
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Re: Freight service on UP NW east of Deval Crossing ...

Postby CHTT1 » Mon Sep 10, 2012 12:28 pm

Is the bridge even in operating condition? UP probably just doesn't want to spend the money to tear it down. There's certainly no prospects for freight service east of the North Branch of the Chicago River.
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Re: Freight service on UP NW east of Deval Crossing ...

Postby byte » Mon Sep 10, 2012 4:04 pm

Will UP make money by tearing the bridge down? Probably not, so they're not going to touch it. Same reason the old B&OCT bridge (next to the St. Charles Air Line) across the south branch of the river remains in the "up" position and connected to no track on either side. CSX still owns that bridge but there's no financial incentive to remove it.
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Re: Freight service on UP NW east of Deval Crossing ...

Postby SlowFreight » Mon Sep 10, 2012 10:24 pm

The bridge is lowered/raised annually to comply with regulations for movable bridges, but freight is never coming back.

The most info you'll find on these lines is at www.chicagoswitching.com.
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Re: Freight service on UP NW east of Deval Crossing ...

Postby E Runs » Tue Sep 18, 2012 1:18 pm

Passenger wrote:Not to derail my own thread, but about that drawbridge.

The track is all blocked off and unused for a while, but is the bridge itself in operating condition?

The question is whether there is some thought of ever using the bridge again or merely do not wish to spend the money to take it down.

I remember reading the ROW was left intact under/through Trump Tower when it was built on the off chance traffic were to ever be run. Every now and then there's chatter about a rail link to Navy Pier and I believe this ROW is mentioned.
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Re: Freight service on UP NW east of Deval Crossing ...

Postby Passenger » Thu Sep 20, 2012 2:31 pm

I saw a freight going west through Des Plaines early this morning.
Mixed freight with four locomotives in UP livery.

So it does happen after all.
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Re: Freight service on UP NW east of Deval Crossing ...

Postby spatcher » Tue Sep 25, 2012 9:11 pm

byte wrote:Will UP make money by tearing the bridge down? Probably not, so they're not going to touch it. Same reason the old B&OCT bridge (next to the St. Charles Air Line) across the south branch of the river remains in the "up" position and connected to no track on either side. CSX still owns that bridge but there's no financial incentive to remove it.



The 16th st bridge is still in place because it shares the counter weight with the St Charles Air Line bridge. The B&OCT bridge can not be torn down without some HUGE modifications to the SCAL bridge.
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Re: Freight service on UP NW east of Deval Crossing ...

Postby Passenger » Thu Sep 27, 2012 1:25 pm

spatcher wrote:
byte wrote:Will UP make money by tearing the bridge down? Probably not, so they're not going to touch it. Same reason the old B&OCT bridge (next to the St. Charles Air Line) across the south branch of the river remains in the "up" position and connected to no track on either side. CSX still owns that bridge but there's no financial incentive to remove it.



The 16th st bridge is still in place because it shares the counter weight with the St Charles Air Line bridge. The B&OCT bridge can not be torn down without some HUGE modifications to the SCAL bridge.


That's the 18th street bridge? How much traffic does it see?
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Re: Freight service on UP NW east of Deval Crossing ...

Postby Milwaukee_F40C » Tue Oct 02, 2012 7:43 pm

Both carriers serve The Blommer Chocolate company, located just west of OTC, and can receive cars either on the lower (street) level or upper level. CTM switches the lower level periodically, while the spur on the upper level is a bit more actively switched by a UP yard job


The lower level track of Blommer Chocolate is part of the Chicago Tribune and old Navy Pier trackage. I don't think Chicago Terminal has taken this over from Union Pacific.

According to the Chicago Switching web site, the upper level track at Blommer receives powdered sugar in covered hoppers, while the lower level track receives corn syrup in tank cars and cocoa in covered hoppers or bagged cocoa in boxcars. That's just how the production process was designed to take advantage of the plant's location next to both railroad lines.
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Re: Freight service on UP NW east of Deval Crossing ...

Postby Milwaukee_F40C » Tue Oct 02, 2012 8:09 pm

I remember reading the ROW was left intact under/through Trump Tower when it was built on the off chance traffic were to ever be run.


Trump might only own the air rights over the ROW and not even the land that is part of the ROW, although if that is the case Trump could still own the land on either side of the ROW. Even if Trump owns the land on the ROW itself, if the ROW is railbanked or some other type of easement exists, they would not be allowed to build anything blocking the ROW.

If the Navy Pier line east of the river is railbanked, part of the railbank status might even depend on the existence of the Kinzie Street bridge.

The 16th st bridge is still in place because it shares the counter weight with the St Charles Air Line bridge.


Due to the arrangements when the bridges were built, CSX even still provides the operator.
http://www.historicbridges.org/illinois ... il-157.pdf
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Re: Freight service on UP NW east of Deval Crossing ...

Postby SlowFreight » Wed Oct 03, 2012 12:06 pm

If no formal notice of abandonment has been approved by the STB, then the developers of Trump Tower would be in violation of federal statute if they removed track and didn't restore it. For an inactive line with no customers, this would be the only reason that anyone would spend money on repairing/rebuilding the track. Given a choice, most developers would rather rip it out because it makes construction easier, but if UP hasn't filed an abandonment petition there's not really a choice.

Look at the Chicago Terminal and Whole Foods on Kingsbury. The developer wanted to remove the track and had to file a notice of adverse abandonment over the railroad's protests before it could dismantle the track. In this case, there had been no business for years so CTRR didn't have a real defense, but it still required the STB to approve the petition before the developer could remove the track.

I have not heard any explanation from UP as to why it hasn't filed to abandon this line from the bridge east, but you can be sure sentimentality is not a factor. I think even in the 90's, most folks realized the line was living on borrowed time until the Sun-Times printing plant left...that was pretty much a guarantee because the plant was old and the land prices were going nowhere but up. Even the Tribune plant will probably move in 10 years. Now it's printing the Sun Times, Tribune, WSJ, and a few others. When property development in the near north side picks up again, the plant will probably relocate what's left of its business into the now-closed Sun-Times plant on the south side.

Soon enough, Finkl will be gone. UP has no traffic left on the North Line, the old Weber line is gone, and what's left of the Cragin sub has one bakery a few blocks north of the old crossing of the MILW. Not sure if Lee Lumber gets any cars at Avondale, and IIRC UP lost all the Beloit sand business to Avondale. Meyer down on the river has been getting stone by barge for decades. Sipi Metals doesn't really do anything with CTRR or UP anymore. About all that's left besides the bakery is Morton Salt, the Tribune, Big Bay, Blommer, General Iron, and possibly Metra for diesel fuel. Finkl is going to the south side. Aetna moved to a bigger facility on the west side, still on CP. UP fired the last customer on the Weber spur that hadn't gone out of business. Akzo became a redundant facility. I don't know what happened to the stone traffic at Avondale. The rest of the businesses just died off one by one.

In less than 5 years, you'll probably see UP lease everything at Clybourn to CTRR if CTRR doesn't give up first. If you look at what developers do with empty land and facilities down there, this trend is not recoverable. UP won't solicit traffic, and CTRR has such a poor property they've been unable to develop any new traffic. CTRR fought to keep its track on Kingsbury and Lakewood, but in fighting developers and the city, lost soundly on all counts because they couldn't demonstrate any traffic potential.

Urban railroading is a tough business.
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