Re: Freight Yards and Economic Downturns


--- In STMFC@..., "Kurt Laughlin" <fleeta@...> wrote:

What is the thinking on how a frieght yard would look during a period
of economic downturn? Would there be more cars, less cars, or no



I am not sure how the yards would look, but over my years living in the
mid-west I have noticed in rural parts there often are unused passing
sidings or other such long sidings that would use for storing freight
cars. In the early 1960's, I found a string of B&O boxcars in
Caseyville, Illinois. They all appeared to to "Bad Order" awaiting for a
better economy when they would be repaired. Many appeared to require
"heavy" repairs. The Washington Indiana Car Shops were active at this
time, which would have been the closest repair facility for the B&O on
their St. Louis Division. During a visit to the Car Shops a few years
later, the B&O was actively scraping and rebuilding boxcars. There was
not enough sidings to store many cars. None were in the active yards,
but were stored everywhere else on spurs around the shops awaiting

As recently as the early 2000's I observed TOFC configured flat cars
inactive and stored in the Danville, Illinois area. The cars sat on
sidings near the city, but not in the active yards. They remained there
for several months before they disappeared.

I would speculate that for Class 1 railroads, the space in active yards
is too valuable to store Bad Ordered cars. If there were car repair
facilities near by the railroad would bring cars in to be shopped as


Bob Witt
Indianapolis, Indiana

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