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Chicago Transport

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Rob van Erp

on 27 September 2013

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Transcript of Chicago Transport

Transport before the railroad
Growth of US Railroad Network
In 1859 George Pullman began with converting railroad chair cars into luxurious sleeping vehicles.
Sleeping cars or 'Palace Car'
'The Pioneer' appeared in 1865
The company manufactured sleeping cars, boxcars, coal cars, baggage cars, chair cars, refrigerated cars, streetcars, and mail cars.
Early 1890s: 12,500 freight cars and 1,800 passenger cars per year.
Early 1920s: 100,000 freight cars and hundreds of passenger cars
First Rail Transport
Railroads Today

Massive growth of population
Growing commerce: limited in its geographic reach, dependent upon water navigation. 'A more flexible means of transportation is needed (...) one that would go where people, not nature, wanted it to go.'
Chicago Transport
Railroads and Chicago
Chicago as the core of the US Railroad System (1860)
US Land improvements (1870)
Chicago as the core of the US Railroad System (1890)
US Land improvements (1900)
Function of a selling and buying point: cheap to buy and profitable to sell.
Chicago as center of a network: Principal transshipment point between West and East.
By 1856 the city was the greatest railroad center in the world
Example: effect on Meatpacking Industy
Union Stockyards
Plank Roads
Galena and Chicago Union Railroad
A cause and an effect of urban development.
Enhance transport facilities:
waterways (I&M-Canal) connecting Lake Michigan to Mississippi River System - delay
'plank roads' (by 1850 seven such thoroughfares) - no succes
Pullman Palace Car Company
ca. 1855
Chicago Transport
Aviation and Chicago
The emergence of aviation

Lighter than air vs. heavier than air
Kitty Hawk, NC, December 17th, 1903
The World Wars facilitated development and mass production of better planes; first the propeller engine and later the jet engine's adaption to commercial use greatly decreased travel length after WWII
Chicago's central location turned it into an air traffic hub next to being the center of the railroads
Chicago Air Park was opened in 1923
Renamed in honor of the Battle of Midway in 1949, became world's busiest airport in the late 50's
Overcrowding led to shifting traffic away to a location that could still develop & expand
Plans date back to 1916, airfield realized on December 10th, 1948.
Built on Northerly Island, an artificially made island in the Lake
Mainly used for aeromedical transport and as VIP airport.
Closed in 2003 after Mayor Daley Jr. had ordered its runway destroyed
Meigs Field

Constructed in 1942/43 for Douglas as warplane manufacturing plant.
After the war became commercial airport, and was designated to relieve Midway's overcrowding.
World's busiest airport from 1962 until 1998, overtaken by Atlanta, GA
Currently modernizing its facilities to increase capacity and reduce congestion
'The Pioneer'
1880s Palace Car 'Royal Blue'
The so-called Lonesome Train to Springfield
Passenger transport and commuters
Galena & Chicago Union Railroad
1836: G&CU chartered
Only surveys reaching Des Plaines River *
1846 new railroad proponents took over the company (main-investor William B. Ogden)
Switched his loyalty from the I&M canal to railroads
Initially no capital was forthcoming *
"Bad for farmers and bad for hotelkeepers"

"When they built the Plank Road, it was left to Naperville whether or not they would have the Plank Road or the railroad. Surveys had been made by the railroad (now the Chicago & Northwestern) and if they had built it, they would have followed the present line of the Burlington to Naperville. But you know we had so much traffic at Naperville that the traders were afraid the railroad would take their business away from the[m], and finally decided that they would rather have the Plank Road than the railroad, so they let the Northwestern go [north through Wheaton instead] and took the Plank Road, expecting thereby to hold the traffic at Naperville, but they made a big mistake."

(Longtime Naperville resident Joseph Yackley)
Naperville was growing at the convergence of several roads. Amount of skepticism grew:
Soon lost its monopoly status:
Around 1860 eleven railroads to/from Chicago
According to 'boosters' "hundred trains daily served the city." *
So Ogden and his partner J. Young Scammon solicited subscriptions from the farmers and small businessmen whose land lay adjacent to the proposed rail.
By 1848, Ogden and Scammon had raised $350,000
- enough to begin laying track. *
Investors were wary of Chicago's reputation for irrational boosterism.
Chicagoans investors did not want to divert traffic from their profitable canal works.
Manufacturing Rails
A week later there was more business then the schedules could handle. *
Iron and Steel Industry since 1850:
Chicago's position
Demand for steel
Example: Joliet Iron and Steel Company - employed about 1,500 men soon after it opened in 1871. *

By the late 1850s, Chicago was home to several large railroad- and car companies.
Railroad employment:
1870: 2700 workers, about 9 percent of Chicago's labor force.
1900: over 15,000 Chicagoans
1930: almost 30,000 Chicagoans
Between June 1849 and May 1850 G&CU earned:

$22,529.89 from freight
$22,802.07 from passengers.

Operating expenses totaled $18,518.82
Which produced earnings of $ 26,812.14

It expanded reaching Coucil Bluffs in 1865, which would be the starting point of the proposed transcontinental railroad.
Illinois Steel Works in Joliet 1880-1901
Railroad Workers
The lot of the railroad workers was hard. Arriving at an unknown destination, they were sometimes attacked as "scabs," they found the wages and conditions of labor quite different from those promised, or it happened that they were put to work under armed guard and kept in a state of peonage. For twelve hours a day in all kinds of weather, the laborers dug and picked, lifted ties and rails, swung sledge hammers, under the constant goading of tyrannical foremen. Housed in filthy boxcars, eating wretched food, they endured this miserable existence for a wage which seldom exceeded $1.50 a day.

(Vecoli, R.J., ‘Contadini in Chicago: A Critique of The Uprooted’, The Journal of American History, 51-3 (1964) 411).
"Railroad work was cyclical as well as seasonal. In times of depression emigration from Italy declined sharply; many of the Italian workers returned to their native towns to await the return of American prosperity. Those who remained were faced with long periods of unemployment; it was at these times, such as the decade of the 1890s, that the spectre of starvation stalked through the Italian quarters of Chicago."

(Vecoli, R.J., ‘Contadini in Chicago: A Critique of The Uprooted’, The Journal of American History, 51-3 (1964) 412).
"Rairoad work was cyclical as well as seasonal"
Railroads and Chicago
Aviation and Chicago
19th century: Horse omnibus lines in the inner-city.
1880: commuter train service to suburbs in 15 directions. *
Commuter system what would become the Chicago 'L'

New businesses allowing passenger transport over long distances.
railroad freight density
in millions of gross tons
1 gross ton = 1 016.04691 kilograms
10 20 40 60 100
George Pullman 1831-1897
Over 200,000 miles of tracks
38% of all freight by trains
Amtrak sole survivor of intercity passenger transportation
30,186,733 passengers in 2011
Future modernization through high-speed rail
The mess that is Chicago
Quarter of all rail traffic passes through Chicago
A train from LA can reach Chicago in 48 hours, but then can take up to 30 hours to pass the city eastbound
$3.2 billion project to improve traffic for the 1,300 trains that pass the city on a daily basis.
US Air traffic visualization
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