An aerial view of the Swift station. Its namesake Swift and Company packing plant is behind it, while the Libby, McNeill & Libby plant, another "Packingtown" factory, is ahead near the curve at the corner of Exchange and Packers avenues in the upper right corner. Trains operated in one direction around the Stock Yards loop, necessitating only one platform at each station. (Photo from the Krambles-Peterson Collection.)

Swift (4200S/1400W)
42ns Street and Packers Avenue (Swift & Company packing plant), Union Stock Yards (New City)

Service Notes:

Stock Yards Line

Quick Facts:

Address: TBD
Established: April 8, 1908
Original Line: South Side Elevated Railroad, Stock Yards branch
Previous Names: none
Skip-Stop Type: n/a
Rebuilt: n/a
Status: Demolished


Many of the stations on the Stock Yards branch -- and three of the four in the yard itself -- were named not for streets but for the meat packing companies whose plants they were near and served. Swift was no exception, serving its namesake firm Swift & Company, whose cattle often grazed below the platforms.

Since trains operated in a one-way loop around the yards, all that was required at each station was one side platform. Swift's wood-decked side platform was covered by a peaked-roof canopy of steel supports down the middle of the platform with a gently-curved bracket and intricate latticework supporting a hipped corrugated metal roof. This was usually supplemented by a small, simple station house, as was the case at Swift.

By the mid-1950s, it was becoming apparent that falling ridership and increasing deterioration of the Stock Yards line and its cousin, the Kenwood line, would require some sort of immediate action. Plans were formulated for how to continue service, but no agreement could be reached with the lessor Chicago Junction Railway (from whom CTA rented some of the property on which the Stock Yards and Kenwood lines were located). Other factors also sealed the Stock Yards branch's fate: Due to changes in the meat packing industry, the Union Stock Yards became redundant and outdated. Now with its main purpose waning, the Stock Yards branch, and Swift station, closed October 7, 1957 and was demolished thereafter.


Congestion, a big problem in the Union Stock Yards, came not in the form of cars, but rather cattle. Most of the terminating loop of the Stock Yards branch was above railroad tracks and loading docks where live stock often grazed. The Swift station is seen in this pre-World War I postcard. (Postcard from the Bruce G. Moffat Collection)

Swift_1954Jan23a.jpg (145k)
Stock Yards workers are boarding a #9 Ashland-Stock Yards bus on January 23, 1954 at the boarding area in the Swift plant parking lot at 42nd and Packers used for Stock Yards special buses. This same lot would be used for the #43 Stock Yards Limited buses four years later when they replaced "L" service. The Swift station is seen in the upper left. (Photo from the CTA Collection)