Transco Railway Products
(Former Chicago Great Western Yard) Oelwein, IA
June 29, 2004

The Chicago Great Western Railroad ran through several northern and midwestern states, and was headquartered in Oelwein, IA, where it had a major classification yard. The Oelwein yard was the hub of the entire CGW system, giving Oelwein its nickname of "Hub City". At one time, the car and locomotive shops in Oelwein employed over 1,200 people. When the CGW was merged into the Chicago and NorthWestern Railroad in 1968, the CNW eventually sold the yard and shops to Transco Railway Products, a railroad car rebuilder, which now uses the shop facilities for car rebuilding and the yard for car storage, while Oelwein has preserved the yard tower as part of a railway museum. These photos were taken during a visit to Oelwein on June 29, 2004.

Oelwein Yard
The preserved Chicago Great Western yard tower and office are at the corner of the business district in Oelwein, and are located at the northwest entrance to the yard. Oelwein opens the tower to the public on special occasions.
The yard office is now the Hub City Railway Museum.
This former CGW SW1 switcher and two cabooses are located next to the museum.
The cabooses, close up.
The museum also has an array of signal and lineside equipment on display.
This sanding tower is right by the yard entrance.
These large buildings, also across from the yard entrance, appear to be the old CGW shop facilities, although they were not well marked as to what they are being used for now.
Looking northwest from the tower. This is the former CGW main line going northwest. A UP line from the west intersects it just past the yard - past the junction, however, the main is abandoned, making the UP line the only connection to the yard.
Looking southeast from the tower into the yard.
A side road leads you to the middle (more or less) of the yard, where you find the former CGW roundhouse. The stalls are now being used as large paint boothes!
Lots of parts lined up next the roundhouse, like a full-size scrapbox.
Turntables? We don't need no stinkin' turntables!
An old water tower next to the roundhouse.
Some freshly painted hoppers. Notice the CMO (Chicago, Minneapolis and Omaha) reporting marks! (The CMO was merged into the C&NW many years ago)
A derelict piggyback car lies in the weeds.
Looking northwest from the roundhouse. To the right, you can barely make out the yard tower just below the treeline.
Looking southeast at the rest of the yard and the car repair shops.
The southeast end of the yard. Just past this point, the tracks have been pulled up, relegating this one-time major classification yard to be essentially a stub-ended yard!


Last modified: June 29, 2007