LAYOUT AND TRACKS
Railroad yards, it has often been said, are natural bottlenecks
in the movement of freight from one geographical area to another. In
theory, at least, cars may enter the receiving end of a yard as fast
as they arrive. In practice, however, they can depart only as fast
as the yard forces can inspect, repair, classify and switch, and
double them according to their setoff order.
Depending upon the
density of traffic, the number of rail lines, and the geographical
location, a yard may be one of three types: a divided, a progressive,
or a combination.
Each of these has certain characteristics and
facilities that distinguish it and, to a great extent, determine its
characteristics and facilities, are discussed in this chapter in the
1.2. DIVIDED YARD
Most railroads with a double-track main line divide and
designate their yards according to the direction of movement of
trains in either direction.
This is called current of traffic, and
is usually specified by timetable.
Since many railroads run in an
east-west direction, typical divided yards are east and west yards.
Freight moving in a westerly direction enters the west yard;
eastbound freight is handled in the east yard.
Freight arriving or
originating in a yard opposite to its direction of travel is switched
to the opposing yard by yard crews. Terminals located on a single-
track line may not have separate yards; however, usually a section of
yard tracks is used for westbound freight and a similar section for
1.3. PROGRESSIVE YARD
An ideal arrangement at busy terminals is a progressive yard
with a further division of both east and west yards. Each is