Burnham (Hegewisch)

Burnham (Hegewisch)


Located along Brainard Avenue, Burnham is in the far southeast Chicago neighborhood of Hegewisch. To get there, take I-94, the Ford (or Calumet) Expressway, and exit at 130th Street. Head east for about a mile to Torrence Avenue. Take the first right after Torrence; the road then curves left and becomes Brainard Avenue. Continue one mile to the junction and the Hegewisch commuter station. The junction is at the station. Incidentally, State Line Crossing is about a mile further — turn right at Dearborn Street.

Burnham can also be reached by taking a South Shore commuter train to Hegewisch from Randolph or Van Buren Street stations in downtown Chicago. Randolph is where South Shore trains terminate and is now officially known as "Millennium Station."

The Railroads

The Chicago, South Shore and South Bend electric, the last surviving interurban, and Norfolk Southern's ex-Nickel Plate main line parallel Brainard, heading northwest into Chicago. They are crossed here by a north-south single track line known as the South Chicago & Southern (sometimes called the "Bernice Cutoff"). At one time, it was a Pennsy line (later CR, now NS) that connected their Panhandle route to the south (at Bernice Junction) with the Fort Wayne main line near Lake Michigan (Colehour Junction). Both the north and south ends of the SC&S have been abandoned — as has the Panhandle itself — but the middle segment, running from Hegewisch south to Calumet Park, is still in operation. This line sees only occasional traffic; Norfolk Southern and Indiana Harbor Belt locals use it to access NS's River Branch serving several industries north of here along the Calumet River. In 2016 IHB restored another branch line that will likely reduce traffic on SC&S even more. Before the north and south ends were torn up, Amtrak trains from Indianapolis used the SC&S, but when Conrail insisted on abandoning it, Amtrak reluctantly agreed.

Until the early 1980's, the Chicago & Western Indiana route that carried Erie, C&O, and Monon trains into Chicago was sandwiched between the South Shore and NS, but those tracks have been removed. However, the NS main line has been realigned and now runs on the old C&WI right of way. Apparently this was done to provide more space for Norfolk Southern's auto rack loading facility west of Hegewisch. The South Shore's Burnham Yard is just east of the junction and is easily seen from Brainard Avenue. Hegewisch station has been remodeled since the photographs on this page were taken, with high level boarding platforms installed.

NS is relatively busy, but the top player here is South Shore with its commuter trains that feature handsome stainless steel coaches that run frequently during rush hours, and which offer regular service seven days awake; see the South Shore website for current timetables.

A tower once stood at the crossing. It burned down in the 1970's and was replaced by a trailer which inexplicably lasted until 1995. Burnham is now remotely controlled.


CSS&SB: 161.010, 161.355
NS: 161.250


There is plenty of parking space at the station. Trespassing is not a problem if you stay on the station platform. However, photography is difficult since the station is north of the tracks. Southbound movements on the SC&S are awkward too.

For more on Norfolk Southern (ex-NKP) junctions, see Wayne / Spriggsboro Junction, Hohman Avenue and State Line Crossing. See also the Other Northwest Indiana Junctions page for Van Loon and Osborn, and Other South Side Junctions for Pullman Jct.

For more on the South Shore, see State Line Crossing, Willow Creek / Burns Harbor, and Miller and Ogden Dunes station on the Other Northwest Indiana Junctions page.

For more on the South Chicago & Southern, see the Calumet Park listing on the Other South Suburban Junctions page.


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