A pivotal moment in railroad history shaped Midway and the Belt

It’s not uncommon to see a Southwest Airlines jet glide over the yard and into Midway International Airport.

Nearly 100 years ago, such a jet might have had to cross over some train tracks.

According to Dr. Neil Gale, a blogger and historian who compiles information for major newspapers, the growth of Chicago Air Park into Midway could never have happened if not for the relocation of railroad tracks running across what are now runways.

Tracks being moved north of 55th Street paved the way for Midway and the Belt as it is seen today to take shape. The project was a major undertaking and wasn’t finalized until 1941. It took even longer — due to extensive negotiations with Chicago and Western Indiana Railroad — to get the old tracks removed.