Wednesday, March 23, 2016

B&OCT's Barr Yard, Turntable and Coaling Tower

(Satellite image is below)

(Update: Ashland and Halsted Yard Towers)

Steven J. Brown posted
Reading T-1 2101 in service on on the Chessie Steam Special is taking sand at the B&OCT Barr Yard in Riverdale, IL. June 9, 1978.
Paul Jevert shared
Sam Yacono: Garret, IN here we come!

Steven J. Brown posted
Chessie System power at the B&OCT Barr Yard in Riverdale, Illinois - Circa 1979.
Steven J. Brown shared
Dennis DeBruler I never realized how recently that yard was built. In a 1938 aerial, very little of today's yard existed. I found the tower in a 1974 aerial about here:,-87.../data=!3m1!1e3
The diesel fuel tank appears in a 1983 aerial. (I used that to help determine the location of the tower.)
The tower is still in a 1988 aerial, but it is gone by 1999.

Michael Brandt posted
Bernie Smiths rail pics, a great shot of the old coal tower in the Barr Yard.
Michael Brandt posted
The best shot yet of the old coaling tower in the Barr Yard. I could see this from my bedroom window, and it was really close too I'm surprised I never explored it, probably because it was in the middle of the railroad yard, I look at it now and wish I would have.
Michael Brandt posted
Bernie Smiths rail pics, Bernie in the Barr Yard.

Michael Brandt posted
A great shot of the Barr Yard with the old coaling tower in the background.
John Eagan posted, 1979, Flickr
Michael Brandt posted
Here is a great shot of the Coaling Tower in the Barr Yard from 1979 by John Eagan, all I had to do was look out my bedroom window for a great view of this, it really complimented lightning storms especially at night.
Michael Brandt posted again

Michael Brandt posted
What a great shot of the coal tower in the Barr Yard.
Michael Brandt posted
Check out this great shot of the old coaling tower in the Barr Yard.

Michael Brandt posted
A good shot of the Barr Yard.
[Some comments indicate that this view is looking Northeast, probably from the Halsted Street Bridge. The buildings and smokestacks in the background are part of Acme Steel before it was rebuilt.]

Kevin Piper posted
Western Maryland power would often show up in the
Chicago-area to liven things up a bit. This westbound is
arriving at Barr Yard on 1-12-80.
I've been waiting to post until I get a chance to take some pictures from the Halstead Bridge over Barr Yard. But Kevin's photo is a good excuse to post because the "from the sky" views of these big yards are more informative than pictures from a bridge. Plus I can always add any pictures I do end up taking.

The Western Maryland engine is a reminder that it was part of the Chessie merger along with the B&O and C&O. The second engine is so dirty that I could not read what it was. The second boxcar has the Chessie Cat logo. The BN Cascade Green cars are also another reminder of a previous era of railroading. In fact, that many boxcars in a train is now a rare site.

Satellite, Turntable
The yard was a lot smaller in 1938. That is very unusual. Normally yards shrink, not grow. Barr Yard is now the main interchange yard for CSX in the Chicago area.

1938 Aerial Photo from ILHAP
 It looks like they may have been strip mining coal south of the yard.

1938 Aerial Photo from ILHAP

Four pictures posted by Scott Griffith with the comment "Barr yard area."
Henry Freeman I'm not sure when Barr Yard was originally established, but the current yard is largely the result of a three-year expansion project, which was completed in 1948. When that work was done, Barr had East and West receiving yards holding 345 and 500 cars and East and West classification tracks holding 1,144 and 1,209 cars, respectively. Despite the improvements, it remained a flat switching yard and had a turntable, engine facilities, repair tracks and a stock servicing yard. It was the main yard for B&O road-haul freight traffic in and out of Chicago and the classification point for traffic handled by the B&OCT in intermediate switch. Barr Yard is listed in the B&O's 1935 Form 6, so it at least pre-dates that. At that time, the main yards on the East and West ends had capacities of 662 and 616 yards and there was an East End Section D yard with a 265 car capacity.
David Daruszka The yard was opened in 1886 by Chicago & Calumet Terminal Railway.
Henry Freeman  I found Barr Yard mentioned in a 1910 agreement on Transfer Service pay. Since the B&O didn't acquire what would become the B&OCT until 1910. Barr may have been associated with a B&O predecessor.




Scott Griffith posted
Henry Freeman I would guess 1948.
Candy Lachman Birkenfeld posted
Jose D Nevarez IHB Blue Island on the left and CSX Barr yard on the right
Scott Griffith posted seven photos with the comment: "Diesel shop at Barr yard." Some of the photos show the coaling tower or the turntable.







Steven J. Brown posted
CSX manifest with SD40-2 8423 (built 1966 as WM SD40 7472) arriving Barr Yard in Riverdale, Illinois - January 16, 2006.

Joe Zeller posted two pictures with the comment: "I absolutely love my job. Especially today, when I cut and installed glass in a forklift at the Barr Yard. I hope to do more flat-glass there, thanks to Mike at the car repair shop."



Two of the nine photos posted by Scott Griffith with the comment: "Steam Locomotive B&O ROAD power at Barr Yard, im pretty sure these have never been seen before."

2: selected because of the coaling tower
7: selected because of Halstead Avenue Tower before Halstead had an overpass
This is the first time I have seen a tower skunked by steam instead of a train!
Kevin Piper posted
CSXT 2590 and 4201, Riverdale, IL, 2-19-90.
Kevin posted again
Michael Buckley Was a big yard for the CSX in Chicago . Hunter Harrison closed it and runs there traffic thru th BRC what a waste .

Bill Edrington Great shot of some wretched-looking power. CSX must have been saving its pennies to buy its 42% of Conrail.

Charles Scherer Was not the BRC the most powerful, with the most leverage overs all RR in and through Chicago. Amazing to me in such a large market, didn't they have trackage rights around and through most of Chicago?
James C Bradley posted
Ex Erie Lackawanna F unit at CSX Barr Yard today! Man am I glad I went to Barr today.
[This shows me that Barr Yard doesn't have a fence and that it may be worth visiting to get pictures.]

One of five photos posted by Scott Griffith.

Scott Griffith posted
1947 Barr Yard
Kevin Piper posted
For many years, one of my favorite haunts was the old B&OCT Barr Yard in Riverdale, IL. There was always something to see at the engine facility. I witnessed the late B&O years with the coming of Chessie System during the 1970's, then the colorful early CSX period. I haven't been back in about 25 years. This was a typical day at Barr on 3-9-89.
Donny Albertson posted
It's the blue grey era on CSX at Barr yard with a line of GP15T's and a B36-7 still in SBD paint on 24MAR1990.

Steve S Czajkowski posted two photos with the comment: "Barr yard Riverdale with B&O Chicago Terminal steam locomotives lined up under the coaling tower .spring 1953 Same coaling tower Sep. 76 .Halsted st bridge in background."
Michael Brandt posted
What a cool picture of the coaling tower in the Barr Yard.
Daniel W Baldwin: B & O rail road engine

Crew Heimer posted
Barr Yard Offices 1977
Jeff Barks posted, increased contrast and lowered brightness
IHB Blue Island and CSX Barr Yard.
[Barr Yard is on the right (North) side.]

John Eagan posted, 1974, Flickr
Evie N Bob Bruns posted
Here's a view of Barr yard looking west from Halsted Street bridge 10/3/1982. My memory of yard letter is bad, a little help?
Henry Freeman commented on Evie's posting
This might help with Barr Yard orientation. The date is 1977.
Bob Lalich Thanks for the map Henry Freeman. What is the purpose of G yard - the equipment conditioning yard?
Scott Griffith G yard was a old auto loading yard, now primarily used for M&W equipment
James C Bradley posted
Surprise catch in April of this year! On a clear and sunny day, CSX 4012 (SD40-3) leads a westbound manifest with CSX 8094 (Ex L&N SD40-2) trailing as they slowly come off the CSX Barr Sub and enter Barr Yard in Riverdale, IL. Taken: 4-19-18
[Because of Perry Avenue, this view may be legal. I'm going to have to check out Perry, Acme, B.W.H. Marsden, Halsted Bridge, and 134th in this area.]

Erick Kruse posted
CSX eastbound with 7567 CW40-8 leading with a leased GATX SD40, prepares to depart Barr Yard in Riverdale, Illinois. - December 12, 2003

Steven J. Brown posted
CSX/B&OCT Barr Yard in Riverdale, Illinois - July 1991
[Another view with the coal tower.]
James C Bradley posted
CSXT 6918 (Ex C&O GP40-2) is the “mother” of the slug set that has an odd set up of double ditch lights, trailing is a CSX GP35 as they head into a ever so desolate CSX Barr yard with train Y123 from CN’s Kirk yard. Once a busy yard in the B&O days, you can see the engine facility which for once was completely empty, along with the yard it’s self that wasn’t as full as it once was. Taken: 6-4-19
Nick Justice Dont let the yard fool you, there are days its its nut to nut full!
James C Bradley Oh yes, trust me I’ve seen it when there’s 4 yard jobs working at once and just trains every where. There’s days when it’s empty and then the next it’s full.
Ian Cole To think I passed here two years ago and the place was hopping. Shell of its former self.
Tanner Wical CSX wants it closed and everything shifted to the BRC Clearing yard.

Steven J. Brown posted
Chesapeake & Ohio GE U30B 8202 at B&OCT's Barr Yard in Riverdale, Illinois - June 14, 1978.
Dennis DeBruler I had to look up the Chessie date of 1972. So this is a six year old slow paint job.
Dennis DeBruler It looks like the coaling tower is photobombing the orange boxcar.

Thomas Bowers posted
Family Lines and Chessie System units at Barr Yd. Riverdale, Il. April 1987
Dennis DeBruler The "C" and "S" of CSX. I read that the "X" was supposed to be just a placeholder until they thought of a more appropriate letter. Unfortunately they did not think of Transportation until after they started using CSX. Their reporting mark is CSXT because a common carrier cannot have a reporting mark ending in X. "X" is reserved for non-common carriers such as leased equipment companies (e.g. GATX) and private railroads (e.g. PVTX,

Michael Brandt posted
A great shot of the Barr Yard turntable.

Two of the three images posted by Bob Kalal with the comment: "Riverdale Illinois, CSX Turntable."


Thomas Bowers posted
CSX Barr Yd. Riverdale, Il. 1989
[I was going to pass on this photo until I saw the coaling tower in the right background. Note the Seaboard Lines locomotives.]

Francis Otterbein shared a link to a public group with the comment: "A single GP15T is seen from the Ashland Avenue Control Tower pulling a cut of cars west out of Barr Yard. Note the strings of retired first-generation diesels on the north end of the yard. (Jim Mirabelli photo.March 21, 1985)"

A Flickr photo of the west yard tower from the cab of a switcher.

Aug 10, 2017: CSX has laid off half (60) of the workers in this yard. I've already read complaints of CSX trains parked in the south suburbs blocking crossings because they did not have yard space for the train. Are other yards such as BRC Clearing Yard that much better at handling trains than Barr Yard is? This also assumes that other yards in the Chicago area are so underutilized that they will still have capacity to handle CSX's traffic as the economy heats up.

John Eagan Flickr 1979 Photo of the coaling tower.

1 comment:

  1. Very nice job on presenting the Barr yard. I used to ride hobo style and passed through the Barr yard on the Sea Land stack train eastbound back around 1992.