The small Foster Shop is seen looking northwest from the Foster Avenue bridge on November 11, 1969. Construction of the shop is nearly complete, and it will open for use just a few months later. For a larger view, click here. (Photo from the CTA Collection)

Foster Shop
Jefferson Park Yard

Foster Avenue and Avondale Avenue, Jefferson Park

Service Notes:


West-Northwest Route: Milwaukee

Quick Facts:

Address: TBD
Established: February 1, 1970
Yard Area: unknown
Rebuilt: n/a
Status: Demolished


Jefferson Park Yard is seen in this aerial view looking southeast on March 5, 1970. Foster Shop is visible at the bottom, with the sections of storage track divided by the Central Avenue bridge in the middle. For a larger view, click here. (CTA photo)

When the Milwaukee branch of the West-Northwest Route was extended from Logan Square to Jefferson Park in 1970, the old Logan Square yard and shop closed and a new yard and shop at Foster, north of the terminal, opened.

The yard and shop were small, constrained within the median of the Kennedy Expressway. The Jefferson Park Yard was more or less an extension of the two main line tracks beyond Jefferson Park station to Foster Street, a distance of approximately 0.6 miles, with a third middle track added in two sections. The first middle track began at a set of crossovers on the west side of the Milwaukee Avenue bridge over the expressway and yard and ended at a set of crossovers on the east side of Central Avenue bridge. This middle track, as well as each of the side tracks, held 18 cars a piece. On the west side of the Central Avenue bridge another middle track started at a set of crossovers and extended to the south side of the Foster Avenue bridge. Each track in this section held 16 cars, except for the western side track, which held 18 cars. At Foster, the east and middle tracks merged into the west track, which continued under the Foster Avenue bridge as the lead to the shop.

The Foster maintenance shop building was a small, narrow, rectangular, modern-style building set in the expressway median. Stylistically identical to the 98th Shop built at the same time on the counterpart Dan Ryan extension, the building had a tan brick exterior supported by a steel frame, exposed and painted white at the corners, along the roofline, and between sections along the sides of the building. A band of windows along the top of the side elevations provided some natural light inside. Inside, the small shop's single track could only accommodate two cars at a time, and included an inspection pit. This limited capacity meant that the majority of maintenance work was done at Desplaines Shop, at the other end of the line. (54th Yard still lacked an indoor maintenance shop at this time.)

A stair tower was included between the Foster Avenue bridge and the yard, descending to track level in front of the shop, to provide additional, convenient access from street level to the shop and north end of the long yard.

When the Milwaukee branch was again extended, this time to River Road, in 1983, Jefferson Park Yard and Foster Shop closed to make way for the tracks to be extended northwest. They were replaced by Rosemont yard and shops. The shop building was demolished, but much of the yard remained after the line was extended, since the yard was really nothing more than an extension of the main line tracks and some center storage tracks. As part of the extension, the switches at the north end of the yard were removed and replaced with an extension of the east side track as the northbound main line track toward O'Hare, new switches from the center track to each main line track, and a bumping post at the north end of the center track. This center track's access switches at both ends, at Foster and at Central, were interlocked, and the storage track was named Foster Middle Track with a storage capacity of 16 cars northbound or 12 cars southbound. Today, Foster Middle Track is commonly used to "short-turn" trains without blocking the main line, store bad-order cars temporarily to move them out of the way of scheduled service, or just to store extra cars for short durations. At the south end of the yard, the double-ended center track was truncated, with the switches at the south end near the Milwaukee Avenue bridge removed from service on June 13, 1983. A bumper was installed at the south end of the center track. The switches at the north end remained, with the yard's spring-and-stay switch machines replaced with rigid switches. This track was named Edmunds Center Track and has a capacity of 16 cars.


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The interior of Foster Shop is seen on November 11, 1969, as final construction and finishing is underway. The door out to the yard lead is at the end of the track. (Photo from CTA Collection)

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Looking toward the rear of the shop building, construction of Foster Shop is nearly compete in this view looking northwest inside on November 11, 1969. Scaffolds are set up for some final finishing work, but the facility is about ready to start receiving cars, which will first start rolling in a new months later. (Photo from CTA Collection)