• South Philadelphia area

  • Pertaining to all railroading subjects, past and present, in Pennsylvania
Pertaining to all railroading subjects, past and present, in Pennsylvania

Moderator: bwparker1

  by OCtrainguy
I have a question concerning the area around South Philadelphia. In particular, South Philly Yard, that’s what is called now if I remember correctly (formerly Greenwich Yard) and the tracks along South Columbus Blvd. I have been down to that area twice within the last month, and since it’s been a while, I am definitely not up to speed on what may be going on.

The first thing that I noticed on Saturday was how empty the yard looked when traveling along South Columbus Blvd (coming from the stadiums). I know that the Q190 had probably already left by the time I got down there, which was about eleven o’clock in the morning, but there were no intermodal cars awaiting to be loaded or already loaded. I didn’t see any trucks waiting to enter the yard either. I know the Canadian Pacific train runs three times during the week too. Is that all of the intermodal traffic coming into/out of the yard?

The second thing I noticed is that the car lot on the left-hand side of the road was completely empty. In the past, I remember seeing some autoracks and lots of cars in there. Did that operation cease?

Last but not least, was that I did not see the Canadian Pacific yard engine anywhere. I have numerous photographs of Canadian Pacific GP38-2 7309, and even saw the D&H 7303 once, sitting on the tracks along the road. I didn’t even see any freights cars sitting on the tracks there, with the exception of three empty stack cars. I drove up further, to where the tracks run along the middle of the road, to see if it may have been switching their customers, but didn’t see any sign of it. (I also was in shock in the amount of retail build-up in that area now.) Is it possible that the engine is being kept in the yard, or was my timing off during my two recent trips?

Any information on this area would greatly be appreciated.

  by kevikens
That Greenwich yard is still very busy but little of the traffic comes down to Columbus Blvd. ( Delaware Ave.). On weekdays the area is humming with truck traffic and some rail activity including CP which shifts the industries of Delaware Ave well north of the yard. I have seen this CP shifting in th early PM and CSX shifting about daybreak. If you park on Delaware Ave near the yard on a weekday you should see some activity. On weekends there is a little traffic and I have seen remote control locomotives making up trains come all the way down to the Avenue and the occasional switching job but there appears to be no rhyme or reason to the timing. Early AM to about noon has good light for photography. About a month ago a Customs official policeman asked what I was doing parked there. I showed him some of my pictures. He was gentlemanly and just asked that I not point the camera at the port facilities.

  by OCtrainguy
Thanks for the information. While it's not often when I get down there, I was just surprised to see how empty and quiet it was. I am used to seeing the CP engine parked somewhere. So not seeing it in the two weekends I was down there recently was something I wasn't used to seeing.

  by RDG467
The CP engine is now kept inside the 'Navy Yard' property and is not normally visible from outside of the Base. It's not all Navy property anymore, but guards are still stationed at the main gate.

There's also a CP caboose (or van, if you prefer) stored inside as well. It also used to sit along Delaware Ave.

There is also a CP bulk transfer facility and a lumber transload customer inside the fence. I think CP also switches the flatcars loaded with steel for the Aker shipyard.

  by OCtrainguy
Thanks for your information. Parking the CP engine and caboose within the old Navy base would explain why I did not see them or any cars that are usually parked along Delaware Avenue.

I remember reading that NS was supposed to move into that area as well, I think into part of the old Navy base by the CSX yard. This was about 1 - 1 1/2 years ago. I guess that never materialized.

  by RDG467
The CP yard is to the west of Broad St. If you continue south on Broad underneath I-95, you can see the yard off to your right. If the CP geep is switching the yard, you can see it from here. I don't know if you can see anything from FDR park, which abuts the tracks on the north side. That might be worth a try.

The large brick building closest to Broad St. was the locomotive shop for the railroad that used to serve the Naval Shipyard. There used to be a transfer table on the east side of the bldg, but the pit was filled in a few years ago. The bldg is now used for crane repairs.

The NS yard is on the east side of Broad, south of Greenwich Yd. It's only 3 or 4 tracks, and I don't know if NS has used it yet, since the teamsters went on strike for some reason near the time the yard was supposed to open. You can see most of it from the bridge over the yard leads, but I don't know how the guards and the Phila. Police would react to picture-takers. (There's a police substation in the old Pass & ID bldg at the Main Gate).

You can park near the Greenwich yard throat, as there's an entrance off of 11th St., which runs between the Linc and (whatever bank it is today) Center. A small dirt area, mostly underneath I-95, provides a good view of trains entering and leaving the yard. If you are coming north on Broad from the tracks, turn right on the road (Terminal Ave. ) underneath I-95 (just past the NB onramp) and follow that down to the bend in the road. Just after the bend is the area where you can park.

Regarding the car lot, the operators ceased importing vehicles about 2-3 years ago. Guess they weren't making much money. I mostly remember seeing VW's in that lot.