Re: MTY's breaking the N-G distribution model

John Barry


Barstow was more than a Division Point Yard even during the Depression and WWII.  No, it wasn't the major classification yard that it became with the hump, but a lot of trains made up and broke down there.  At the time of Delano's 1943 photograph it belonged to the Arizona Division and was the Division Yard between the Mojave and Needles districts.  The Los Angeles Division's First District over Cajon began there and terminated in San Bernardino.  It was the point that traffic bound for LA points on Santa Fe trackage was interchanged from the UP (LA&SL) which had come on to Santa Fe tracks at Dagget, 8 miles east.  As I understand it, it was mostly block swapping, where traffic to/from the UP was cut into and out of trains.

The Santa Fe trains for the Valley Division ran in reverse block order on the LA First District and any blocks for the east were cut off and any blocks for NorCal dropped by West bounds before going over Cajon were added.  An Arizona Division engine took the place of the LA Div way car as an AZ Div way car went on the former head end where the LA Div engine had cut off.  Dwell times for LA to SF manifest freights like the NCX and EFX were on the order of two hours per System Circular 231, Freight Train Schedules, Nov 42 - May 44.  When the swap to/from connecting trains was complete, the NCX would pull westbound out of Barstow onto the Mojave District in proper block order for the Valley Division.  

Barstow was also the location for significant passenger train switching where the Scout, California Limited, and Grand Canyon would set out and pick up through cars, including express STMFC, for the northern sections of those trains.  The passenger depot was adjacent to CASA DEL DESIERTO which was active during the war.

John Barry
ATSF North Bay Lines 
Golden Gates & Fast Freights 
Lovettsville, VA


PO Box 44736 
Washington, DC 20026-4736

From: "devans1@... [STMFC]"
To: STMFC@...
Sent: Saturday, September 2, 2017 6:10 PM
Subject: Re: [STMFC] MTY's breaking the N-G distribution model


Agree most yards collect empties for repair and assignment, but then they are usually not located in what appear, in the photo, to be either arrival or departure tracks. For the Major roads, most WWII era yard photos I have seen set the repairs apart from the rest of the yard.

I'll wait for an ATSF expert to weigh in, but using Google Earth and a 1952 historic aerial, Barstow yard was much smaller than it is today (less than 1/3rd the size) and does not look like a classification yard. Not big enough. The aerials make the case that Delano was standing on the southern span of the road bridge spanning the west end of the yard and photographing to the east. The passenger train area was further to the left (beyond the trees) - was there a major Harvey house in Barstow? The 1952 aerial shows what may be eight passenger tracks with platforms, and a significant building just north of those tracks - about as far away from the engine facilities and shops on the south side of the yard as they could get.

The aerial suggest Barstow was too small for any significant classification during WWII - it looks more like a division yard with relay tracks for through freights. 16 tracks at most for freight, and no evidence of any significant yard leads or drill tracks. Just looks like a division point where locomotives and cabooses could be changed out and brakes tested. Assuming ATSF was right hand running at Barstow, the trains in the right foreground are EB, and with the significant traffic (load vs MT) imbalance that happened on both coasts during WWII, a string of ATSF MT's heading east makes a lot of sense.

But full disclosure - in defense of your view that these home road cars have been set out for loads, is that Yermo was one of three major war department staging areas for west coast shipments of material into the Pacific theater during WWII (the depot remains today). Yermo consisted of two depots, one about 5 miles RR east of Barstow, and another 8 miles RR wast of ! Barstow.

So all of those ATSF box cars would be empties waiting to pick up a load for the ports into LA, or, they could be loads coming out of the depot about to head for the ports. Either way, they would represent a train movement with box car consist significantly diverging from the N-G theory, if you are inclined to apply the theory to each train (as opposed to characterizing the average for a major route over a period of time - which is how I intend to apply it.)

This does remind me of the Delano photo of one of the Chicago yards with a long string of at least eight wooden box cars with big white X's painted on the doors - which indicated ammo (making it clear not to hump, and to park them away from people and critical facilities) - that string was 100% CNW.

Dave Evans

---In STMFC@..., wrote :

Almost any large rail yard will have strings of home road cars. They
could be (1) awaiting repairs or (2) awaiting assignment. They park them
together to keep them away from cars in transit. They are NOT a consist.

Tim O'Connor

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