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 Passenger
 
Parallel to (and just east of) Canal Street. A good view of them from the south pedestrian walkway of Lake Street bridge.

http://maps.google.com/maps?f=q&source= ... 7&t=h&z=18

The westernmost of the parallel tracks is under the alley and loading dock behind the building on Canal.

There seems to be the remains of a platform or a walled off platform down there.

Was there ever a station? Or freight delivery?
  by Milwaukee_F40C
 
Amtrak uses this track to park work cars. I think it used to be the Railway Express Agency platform for express freight shipped on passenger trains. The loading dock doors are filled up with cinder blocks and the building is obviously condos now. There are more freight only platforms in the cave at the south side of Union Station, under the old post office area. Amtrak used these tracks for loading and unloading mail box cars before that was discontinued. Last year there was still some Amtrak box cars parked down there, and there are some old baggage carts and pallets and junk laying around that can be seen from trains. One of the buildings next to Congress Street above the Union Station tracks still says something like "Chicago & Alton Freight House".
  by EricL
 
That track on the north end is still technically in service and signaled, but I've never seen anything go in there. I always just assumed that the building there used to receive freight shipments.

Interesting tidbit: There's a little fenced-off dog walking/relieving area, complete with poop-baggie-dispenser, near the north end of the CUS South mail dock. Never seen anyone in there much less any dogs. It's definitely not a public area. Still kind of perplexed about this.
  by lstone19
 
EricL wrote:That track on the north end is still technically in service and signaled, but I've never seen anything go in there. I always just assumed that the building there used to receive freight shipments.
I know this is from two years ago but if this is the track I think you mean (far west track separated from the rest by a low wall / columns), I was shocked this morning when 2208 used it to get to Track 5.
  by F40CFan
 
I was on 2220 one morning a while back and we used that track also. Its a pretty tight fit. I remember the conductor saying, "I don't know where the hell we're going."
  by eolesen
 
I've seen that track used infrequently (maybe every two weeks or so?).

IIRC, the building above it used to be the CNW's second office tower and warehouse (since converted to condos), so the docks may have been used for receiving.
  by lstone19
 
A bit more I've learned about this track:

I've seen reference to it as the "Butler Brothers" track. Butler Brothers was a Chicago-based wholesale supplier and the original franchisor of the now mostly gone Ben Franklin stores. I'm gathering they did a lot of rail shipments in their day.

As presently configured, station tracks 1 through 9 can reach it but on the west end, only main track 3. In the last month, 2235, departing off station track 3, has gone out it twice (I only ride 2235 once or twice a week).