Sunday, September 21, 2008

The Bone Yard

Pielet Brothers Scrap Iron & Metal Company, McCook, Illinois, September 16, 1989. We’ve all heard stories about places where elephants went to die. Pielet Brothers scrap yard in McCook, Illinois was a place where locomotives went to die.


My late wife Patti and I had been invited by the Chief of Security to come to Electro Motive Division (EMD) at McCook enjoy the 50th Anniversary celebration of the “Diesel That Did It!” – FT 109. We were very excited as we flew out of Portland to Chicago. Indeed, those were the days in which air travel was actually “fun!” For the both of us, this would mark the first time we had gotten beyond the airport terminal transiting through Chicago!

We stayed in McCook, so it was an easy task to secure a rental car, and make our way to 55th Street, home of EMD. As we approached the plant, I noticed these derelicts rusting away in the brush just off the road. At the time, I had no idea where I was at, but what a sad sight to see these magnificent machines suffering a painful and worse – a public death, just blocks from a factory full of the excitement that surrounds the birth of a locomotive!

Organized in the 1940’s, Pielet Brothers was the exclusive scrapper used by the General Motors Electro-Motive Division when they started their locomotive trade-in program in 1954. Pielet Brothers owned a group of associated companies, the most famous of which for locomotive fans was the salvage yard located at Joliet Road and 55th Street in McCook, Illinois, adjacent to EMD's LaGrange plant.

It was said that at the McCook yard, two men were capable scrapping a single locomotive in a single day. This location was the final resting place for thousands of locomotives traded to Electro Motive Division.

Over the years several ownership changes and environmental concerns resulted in the last “company” operating in this location, known as B&B Scrap, was closed and abandoned in February 2000.

2 Comments - Click here:

SDP45 said...

Bob,
Neat subject. I have heard of this place, but never have seen any inhabitants. Thanks for the peek.

Dan

mathue said...

A possibly interesting shot of the C&NW GP7 all in pieces in better days.

http://www.rrpicturearchives.net/showPicture.aspx?id=102156

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