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Home > Archives > Yardmaster at Work in Chicago, 2010.

Yardmaster at Work in Chicago, 2010.

Color digital image showing an Amtrak yardmaster working in the tower overlooking the Chicago Yard.

Yardmaster at Work in Chicago, 2010.

From his lofty perch, Yardmaster Vashon L. Edmondson, Sr. manages the operations of the Chicago Yard south of Chicago Union Station. Chicago is the hub of the Amtrak long-distance network and is served by trains such as the Empire Builder, Lake Shore Limited and City of New Orleans. Skilled employees are responsible for maintaining coaches, sleeping and food service cars, baggage cars and locomotives used on all trains dispatched from Chicago. Trains are serviced, cleaned and stocked while locomotives are fueled and maintained on a regular cycle.

In 1981, Amtrak completed a five-year, $44 million project to upgrade the Chicago Yard and maintenance facility, which it had purchased from Penn Central in 1976. Amtrak constructed a new locomotive building that protected workers from the elements; a coach yard with servicing and storage tracks, platforms and electrical systems; a commissary; and other structures. Consequently, services previously spread over a half-dozen Chicago facilities were now consolidated, leading to annual workforce and operations savings.

This image is one of a set entitled "A Day in the Life of Amtrak" completed for the Amtrak 40th Anniversary celebration.

Photographer: Steven Ostrowski for Amtrak. From the Amtrak Corporate Collection.