• Who has the largest yard---and where?

  • General discussion about railroad operations, related facilities, maps, and other resources.
General discussion about railroad operations, related facilities, maps, and other resources.

Moderator: Robert Paniagua

  by chicagorails
chicago at one time had 2 of the largest yards in usa at same time
cmsp&p bensenville ill and c&nw melrose park,ill
  by jbeckley68
Until North Platte yard clearly took the title, many yards & RR claimed to have the largest at one time or another..

Here is a list of yards that have "claimed" the largest title over the past 100+ years...

Clearing yards (Chicago)
Enola yard

I am sure I am leaving some out??

  by pennsy
Hi All,

You might want to consider adding the Barstow, CA yards, and possibly the Colton, CA yards. Ogden, UT might also be in that group.
  by jbeckley68
When Barstow came about as a modern Santa Fe yard(I think 1970's) it was in top 15, but could never claim #1, (Conway, Proviso,Clearing yards,North Platte,etc were much larger)
Colton yard, when it was updated in past couple decades was/is larger than Barstow, but still just out of the top 4-5....

I can't remember what the last yard you mentioned.... but the yards I mentioned claimed to be # 1 at one time or another......
I think it is funny how the R.R's would compete for the title of "Largest yard"

Many claimed title at same time, example: Dewitt vs Proviso (Proviso claimed to have almost 10K more the car capacity, which wasn't possible when the acreage was compared) or Enola vs Dewitt in 1940-50's or even Conway wich claimed the title many times during the whole 20th century...

  by LCJ
Ho hum...
I think it is funny how the R.R's would compete for the title of "Largest yard"
Well -- it's not likely they ever set out to invest millions just for the purpose of being able to boast about the size. More likely it is PR people who insist on shouting "ours is bigger," while the financial folks groan about the use of capital.

Classification yards are a necessary operating expense. They are bypassed at every opportunity by smart operations guys. With heavy traffic, size brings economies/efficiencies of scale -- eliminating flow bottlenecks whenever possible, improving system velocity.

Freight cars sitting around for an average of 20 hours is like delayed work in progress -- or excess inventory that takes up space and wastes money.
  by jbeckley68
I am sure the PR people were putting out the "largest yard" statements...

I beleive as we get the 1960's is when you see the down-sizing of number of yards, and yard size to optimize efficiency.. Until then, most major (and middle size R.R's) seemed to have a abundance of yards..
Al Perlman being a name that comes to mind....

  by route_rock
Amen LCJ. To be a good railroad you have to keep repeating the opening lines of the song Rawhide. Sitting in the yard only slows up the yard, makes a shipper mad as hell, and just plain makes the industry look bad.

As long as we are saying largest lets toss in Argentine yard.That place is a monster!
  by jbeckley68
Yes, I beleive in top 3-4 in US currently..

  by TB Diamond
Believe that when the Lehigh Valley RR opened the Manchester, NY yard complex many years ago it was claimed to be the largest classification yard in the nation. Closed in 1969 and now completely gone, it was a huge operation.
  by jbeckley68
I remember seeing a site on this yard also. At first I thought that the R.R claimed largest class yard. Indeed, it was claimed to be the largest transfer yard in US at one time. Transfer yards were a different animal.

  by TB Diamond
Could be I put my foot in my mouth on the type of yard. Will dig out the referenence material. Do know that the LV had a huge L.C.L. facility at Manchester Yard. This stood until the early 1970s when the entire complex was demolished. There also was a large stock facility and icing facilities for reefers. The compressor was still in operation as late as 1969.

  by TB Diamond
Manchester Yard was a freight tranfer point as well as a classification yard. The transfer derived from the huge L.C.L. facility, which predated the 1920s expansion of the yard. Recall reading in a LVRR public time table from the mid-1920s a advertisement about the yard expansion and that it was now the largest such facility in either the U.S. or the northeast.