Monday, July 16, 2007

Eastbound CTA Orange line train leaving the South Pulaski Road station. Chicago Illinois USA. June 2007.

This is a photograph of one of the many changes that has taken place after I graduated from Chicago's Curie High School back in June of 1981.

We are looking west toward South Pulaski Road near where West 51st Street ends. Seen on the elevated embankment to the right, is the Chicago Transit Authority's Orange line rapid transit to Chicago's Midway Airport.

Prior to the official December 1988 decision to formally abandon the line, the land that the elevated embankment stands on today, was originally the very poorly maintained Indiana Harbor Belt Railroad's Stock Yard branch, also known in past years as the Chicago, River & Indiana Railroad. I witnessed many slow moving IHB switching locals behind old 1950's era EMD SW and NW series diesel switchers, painted in black and white Ney York Central style livery, with a jade green transfer or boarded up cupola caboose attatched. It was a 1950's style industrial branch line railroad operation during the late 1970's and early 1980's. It was vintage.

In December of 1988, the IHB abandoned this branch, and demolition of the right of way began in January of 1989. The CTA orange line officially opened for business in October of 1993.
The CTA provides frequent service on this line today between downtown Chicago, and the Midway airport station at West 59th and South Knox Streets on Chicago's southwest side.


tlee169 said...

The Chicago River and Indiana was successor to the CJ, Chicago Junction Railway which had 120 jobs in the steam days when the Chicago Union Stock Yards was alive and well, and still had 20 or more into the 1960's. While the CR&I and the IHB were both under the thumb of the NYC they operated seperately.

Eddie said...

The Chicago River & Indiana was long gone by the time I enrolled at Curie High School, and was being operated by the Indiana Harbor Belt during the 1970's.

The IHB back then looked very New York Central like with black and white engines, and jade green cabooses.

What color scheme were the C,R & I locomotives and cabooses painted in? Did they operate steam locomotives over this line in earlier times, and what type?

I miss railfanning this ricketty old branchline. It was very 1950's like back in the 1970's and early 1980's.

Thank You.

tlee169 said...

The color scheme was the same with EMD first generation switch engines. The only steam I can remember in daily use was on the IC south where it could be easily seen from Kankakee southward as the highway (54 & 45) ran just east of the main line. Sixty car coal trains at 60 miles and hour circa 1956-58.