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Ask Trains: What is the Chicago-area yard that rhymes with ‘Marks’?

By | October 10, 2019

Published: Oct. 10, 2019

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Illinois Central locomotives lead a train at Chicago's Markham Yard.
Illinois Central locomotives lead a train at Chicago's Markham Yard.
A Canadian National train with Illinois Central-painted locomotives departs Chicago’s Markham Yard in 2017.

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Jacob Metzger
Q: When I was in the second grade, we took a field trip to what was then the largest freight yard in the country. That was over 50 years ago, when I lived in a Chicago suburb. I recall the name was Marx or Marks train yard. Do you know the yard I visited? — Alice Thompson

A: Your tour was likely at Illinois Central’s, now Canadian National’s, Markham Yard which spans Harvey, Hazel Crest, and Homewood, Ill., on the south end. While Markham was, and is, a big yard facility, it’s not the biggest one in the U.S. nor in the Chicago region. The former Chicago & North Western, now Union Pacific, Proviso Yard in the Chicago suburb of Northlake is one of the biggest in the U.S. and the Chicago Terminal along with Belt Railway of Chicago Clearing Yard which spans Bedford Park and the southwest side of Chicago. — Ray Weart, locomotive engineer, historian

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