Yards - Switching

nw-mailing-list at nwhs.org nw-mailing-list at nwhs.org
Mon Sep 18 10:06:04 EDT 2006

John Rhodes:
It's a shame I don't have any hard figures I can offer you regarding heights
and lengths. Following are some estimates, but I'm a poor estimator.

The receiving yard at Bellevue, called the "A" Yard, had eight tracks about
1.5 miles long, so a crew shoving to the hump might have 150 car lengths.
Two hump crews worked each trick except Monday 1st trick (maintenance
day). The power for each hump jobs was an SD-40's and two slugs Because
the Ohio Route 4 overpass crossed between the "A" Yard and the hump,
these units were outfitted with a cab signal because a signal on the hump
wouldn't be visible. From the bottom of the hump to the apex - probably
10 car lengths. Height of the hump ? Sixty feet, give or take a few
feet. Longest bowl track - 8/10ths of a mile. There are 40-some tracks in
the bowl. On the bowl-side of the apex is a sensing pad. It measures
seven different factors and adjust retarders accordingly. SOME of the
seven factors are:

1- Length of car
2- Cars already in the track car is coded for.
3- Free roller ?
4- Wind.

Wind is a real problem at Bellevue because when the car crosses the sensing
pad, it may be bucking a 15 MPH head wind off the lake. The wind stops
blowing and the car sails into the track and makes a hard coupling.

Portsmouth - certainly not modern, as you specified. There were only eight
tracks in the bowl (as I recall), but then there weren't that many
to make going west of Portsmouth (when built before merger mania). Height of
hump - my guess is 20 ft. Classified only westbound time freight traffic
only worked one or two shifts/day. Usually humped Nos. 85 and 77 to make
Cincinnati's, Columbus's, Bellevue's, Chicago's, etc. Hump power ? i've

"Bowl" was a concoction of the Bellevue people - post NKP merger. We're
talking N&W people here - Winston Haynes, Glen Kilgore, B.J. Hoops.
They also concocted the name "Spike" -- not the nickname of Abe's father,
but a reference to an accumulation of "this and that" accumulating in
the old (original) NKP yard that was recycled to the ""A" yard for
Harry Bundy
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