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

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  by Otto Vondrak
 
I was doing some exploring of the South Chicago Branch on the Metra Electric, and I came across what I thought was an abandoned lay-up yard, but then my friend looked at Google Earth and surmised that it was another line crossing here... Can someone here explain to me what we saw? You can see the abandoned catenary towers in this photo, 83rd Street Station is off to my left.

-otto-
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  by Otto Vondrak
 
Here's another photo... Did this once support a tower, or maybe a crossing watchman's shanty?

-otto-
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  by lstone19
 
From a not-to-scale map of Chicago in July 2003 Trains, that abandoned line coming from the Northwest was a B&O branch that ran into the IC mainline. It appears to have crossed the IC South Chicago branch at 83rd street and turned south parallel to all the way to the end of the IC branch. Also splitting off the B&O there was an EJ&E that continued east to the lake and then turned south.

Why what appears to be catenary supports? Looking at the area in historicaerials.com, it looks like IC might have had an M.U. storage yard there but it's hard to tell (not enough detail). As recently as the 1964 view, there appears to be rows of identical cars lined up there.
  by CHTT1
 
The area with the catenary was a storage yard for the South Chicago branch back in the IC days. Nowadays, I don't think Metra stores any cars along the branch at night or weekends.
  by justalurker66
 
lstone19 wrote:From a not-to-scale map of Chicago in July 2003 Trains, that abandoned line coming from the Northwest was a B&O branch that ran into the IC mainline. It appears to have crossed the IC South Chicago branch at 83rd street and turned south parallel to all the way to the end of the IC branch. Also splitting off the B&O there was an EJ&E that continued east to the lake and then turned south.
I have an old undated map of the IC that shows a trailing crossover just south of 83rd Street with a lead just north of 83rd Place following the curve of Railroad Ave and the alley behind the lots on Baker St (now Baker Ave). One track of the coach yard ran as far east as Brandon Ave, but most of the tracks ended at Bond Ave.

Two tracks running past the coach yard are labeled "I.C. - B.&O. - E. J. & E. Joint Tracks". These start as a one track lead off of the coach yard lead from the suburban line and a one track lead off of the B&O as it turned south along the IC. There is one industry shown on the map (The Illinois Slag and Ballast Company - between Bond and Brandon south of the longest coach yard leads). There was also an EJ&E yard running north-south just north of the intersection of 87th and Burley Ave. Both fed from the "Joint Tracks".

The large B&O yard was between Burley Ave and the IC line, which runs behind the lots on Baltimore Ave. There was a foot bridge down the centerline of 88th St between the end of the street east of Baltimore Ave and the edge of Burley Ave (where the street resumes for two blocks). There are several industrial spurs off of the IC into the lots west of the tracks but no connection to the B&O south of 83rd St. The north end of the B&O is also shown on my map ending just short of connecting with the IC at 70th St.

The "Tower" photographed above is marked on the map I have as a south bound signal location ... which would be just north of the crossover and coach yard lead.

(As for the date of the map, on the north end it shows "Eriksen Drive" where LSD currently runs, and Columbus Drive ends at Monroe. Obviously post elevation of the IC but before the north end yards were taken over by skyscrapers.)