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Old April 24th, 2006, 07:23 AM   #41
ChicagoSkyline
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Illinois hustle bustle — Part 1

A commitment to the customer and the schedule keeps BNSF’s Chicagoland intermodal yard at Willow Springs humming with activity.
by Matt Van Hattem

Complete article

TRAINS Magazine visits Chicago, the Railroad Capital, in its July 2003 Special Issue. You'll see how, and why, Chicago captures one-third of America's rail traffic on a given day. Featuring blow-out photos, detailed maps, and in-depth articles covering every aspect of Chicago railroading!

Below, learn more about how Chicago has cemented its status as the nation's railroad intermodal hub, by going inside a busy intermodal yard.

You can feel the heat rising from the asphalt beneath you on this humid summer evening. But your attention is directed elsewhere, at two men in reflectorized vests who—without saying a single word to each other — lift a 40-foot truck trailer into the air and place it squarely on a nearby railroad flatcar.

From inside the small control room welded to the bottom of a towering overhead crane, the operator watches the subtle hand signals of his partner, who’s standing directly underneath the swaying that’s trailer slowly dropping toward him. Watching the trailer’s descent, the groundsman gestures to his partner, and the crane operator swings the trailer over ever so slightly. It comes to rest perfectly on the narrow spine car. The groundsman confirms the trailer is in place and secures it on the flat.

Well done. But while that nice piece of choreography took place, a small truck drove beneath the crane, past the groundsman, and unhitched another, identical-looking 40-foot trailer.

And so it goes at Burlington Northern Santa Fe’s Willow Springs Intermodal Facility in Hodgkins, Ill., where every 80 seconds a trailer is lifted on or off a flatcar.

Situated in a broad valley on the west bank of the Des Plaines river, 17 miles southwest of Chicago, the yard stretches a little over two miles, yet it’s only one-third of a mile wide.

On an average day, 950 trucks drop trailers off at Willow Springs, with an equal number of units leaving.


A groundsman watches while an overhead crane lowers another truck trailer onto a flatcar at BNSF’s Willow Springs intermodal facility.


The Willow Springs terminal stretches over two miles in length, with space for 3,000 trailers.


BNSF GP35 No. 2579 drills a cut of flatcars at the east end of the Willow Springs yard.


Inbound train Z-KSKWSP9 pulls through the Willow Springs running track, where it will drop off its TOFC loads.


A Willow Springs crane operator keeps an eye on the signals from a nearby groundsman and a hand on the controls.
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Old April 24th, 2006, 07:41 AM   #42
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Illinois hustle bustle – Part 2

I found this issue quite interesting, because I used to work in UPS's Hub in Hodgkin near Chicago!

At Willow Springs, BNSF and United Parcel Service hand off shipments like runners passing the Olympic torch.
by Matt Van Hattem

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The sense of urgency is almost tangible.

The air is warm from the heat given off by giant machines. There’s an underlying din, punctuated by a rhythmic ka-CHUNK, ka-CHUNK from the endless stream of packages clattering across rollers, riding swift conveyor belts, and sliding down chutes into the hands of eager trailer loaders.

The impression you get when you’re inside United Parcel Service’s Chicago Area Consolidation Hub — or CACH — is that you’d best stay out of the way, because these bundles wait for no one.

Meanwhile, across the street, the feeling of urgency is no less palpable at Burlington Northern Santa Fe’s Willow Springs Intermodal Facility. A procession of trucks marches in and out of the gates, while operators working the overhead cranes maneuver trailers on and off railroad flatcars with the finesse of a puppeteer balancing the strings of a marionette.

It’s no coincidence these two busy operations are located right next door to each other. Half of the million-plus packages sorted each day at UPS’s CACH facility come in by rail through BNSF’s terminal.

“The original plan was for a joint Santa Fe and Conrail facility to serve UPS,” says Alan Copeland, the senior manager of Hub operations at BNSF’s Willow Springs terminal. “UPS knew we were going to build here when they started, and we knew they were going to build when we started.” Both facilities opened in 1995.

Here in Hodgkins, Ill., 17 miles southwest of Chicago, the railroad and customer coordinate their plans to make sure that impressive sight streaking across the Mojave Desert at 70 mph two days later all comes together.

To UPS, BNSF is more than just a customer. They’re a service partner. “They’re part of the whole UPS chain,” explains Mike Johl, the Community Relations Manager at CACH. “They understand that every package in every trailer on every train that they move for us is guaranteed. And we work in partnership with them to make it happen.”

BNSF’s Copeland agrees. “It’s teamwork, it’s communication, it’s coordination. Keep everybody informed and everybody shares in the good fortunes we have.”


A United Parcel Service trailer is loaded onto a flatcar at BNSF's Willow Springs Intermodal Facility. Some 745 UPS trailers are transloaded here each day.
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Old April 24th, 2006, 07:48 AM   #43
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WANCH
Freight capital? Definitely Chicago
Hey, WANCH, HK is the busiest intermodal hub in the world follow by Singapore and Chicago!

Last edited by ChicagoSkyline; April 24th, 2006 at 08:03 AM.
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Old April 24th, 2006, 07:50 AM   #44
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ChicagoSkyline
Does your comment regarding to freight rail at all?
It would if this thread actually had a discussion. This thread feels like your here to post everything possible that deals with Chicago freight. So change the thread title to Chicago Freight or stop spamming the the tread.
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Old April 24th, 2006, 08:02 AM   #45
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Quote:
Originally Posted by EdZed
It would if this thread actually had a discussion. This thread feels like your here to post everything possible that deals with Chicago freight. So change the thread title to Chicago Freight or stop spamming the the tread.
Please, I said post anything realted to the freight rail of the city that you consider as capital of the world on the first page of this thread, Did you also miss that too?

BTW, I am just trying to support my views with some facts. I hope that you would too if you have another city in mind!
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Old April 25th, 2006, 07:26 PM   #46
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A couple of Google Earth images of London Yards...

Harlesden

[IMG]http://i3.************/wgxkz9.jpg[/IMG]

Neasden (Mostly LUL depot, but some freight facilities)

[IMG]http://i3.************/wgxn2p.jpg[/IMG]

Old Oak Common / North Pole

[IMG]http://i3.************/wgxnaw.jpg[/IMG]

Stonebridge Park (mostly freight, but also bakerloo Line depot at north end of site)

[IMG]http://i3.************/wgxngp.jpg[/IMG]

^
All 4 within about a mile of each other in NW London
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Old April 25th, 2006, 07:32 PM   #47
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Some others...

Hither Green, SE London

[IMG]http://i3.************/wgxqqc.jpg[/IMG]

Hornsey, N London

[IMG]http://i3.************/wgxr0y.jpg[/IMG]

Temple Mills, E London

[IMG]http://i3.************/wgxr7q.jpg[/IMG]
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Old April 25th, 2006, 08:17 PM   #48
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Hamburg Maschen Yard, the biggest hump yard in Europe.

It was opened in 1977, It is 7km. long and 700m. wide it has a capacity of marshaling 8000 wagons a day.




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Old April 26th, 2006, 01:42 AM   #49
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Actually, I hate to rain on the parade, but...

Kansas City is expected to surpass Chicago in interchange traffic, if it hasn't already. The collapse of the CREATE Plan (Canadian National pulled out) only means continued growth for KC.
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Old April 26th, 2006, 01:51 AM   #50
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MattDEN
Actually, I hate to rain on the parade, but...

Kansas City is expected to surpass Chicago in interchange traffic, if it hasn't already. The collapse of the CREATE Plan (Canadian National pulled out) only means continued growth for KC.
I'm not surprised, though I thought Nebraska had the upper hand on Kansas.
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Old April 26th, 2006, 02:24 AM   #51
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That yard in Hamburg looks HUGE

Surely it surpasses anything in Chicago?
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Old April 26th, 2006, 05:28 AM   #52
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According to the data about all rail freight shipments (2002) in USA published by Department of Transportation, inbound shipments were 195311 and 179651 thousand Tons for Texas and Illinois respectively and outbound shipments were 112756 and 116462 thousand Tons respectively. This data shows that Texas is very active about rail freight transportation as much as (or even more than) Illinois. Then it is very possible that several cities such as Houston and Dallas handle freight rail transportation as much as Chicago. Anyway as I wrote before in the original thread, freight rail transportation networks serve for nations rather than locals. The best description should be that USA has the most extensive rail freight transportation network in the world and that there are several key transportation hubs in Illinois, Texas, and so on.
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Old April 26th, 2006, 05:31 AM   #53
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Quote:
Originally Posted by strandk
According to the data about all rail freight shipments (2002) in USA published by Department of Transportation, inbound shipments were 195311 and 179651 thousand Tons for Texas and Illinois respectively and outbound shipments were 112756 and 116462 thousand Tons respectively. This data shows that Texas is very active about rail freight transportation as much as (or even more than) Illinois. Then it is very possible that several cities such as Houston and Dallas handle freight rail transportation as much as Chicago. Anyway as I wrote before in the original thread, freight rail transportation networks serve for nations rather than locals. The best description should be that USA has the most extensive rail freight transportation network in the world and that there are several key transportation hubs in Illinois, Texas, and so on.
Illinois has only one large city; Texas has several. Not one Texas city matches Chicago in volume, but after the "Port of Dallas" (a titanic truck/rail intermodal terminal) is complete, DFW may claim the crown.
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Old April 26th, 2006, 06:37 AM   #54
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China has current world largest freight rail transportation in tonnage. The reasons are very simple and straightforward.

China is much relied on coal as primary energy, it has 1/3 of worlds total production. it primarily relys on rail transportation to move from north and NW China to South and SE part of county, plus all other raw materials moving around in China, mainly rely on rails.

USA and europe do not rely that much on freight rail, comparing to China. they do more on roads and airplane.

last year in 2005, China has total rail freight transportation of 2.7 billion tons and rail fright turnover is 7832.98 billion ton-kilometer.

Zhengzhou is located at the center of Chinese rail network, especially fro coal transportation. HK/Shenzhen is nothing close to it.
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Old April 26th, 2006, 07:02 AM   #55
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FYI, the LARGEST freight classification yard in the world is in North Platte, Nebraska. It is Union Pacific's Bailey Yard, and is the town's largest tourist attraction.

Every large and mid-sized city has rail freight yards, to serve local industry and to build trains/take trains apart either for local customers or to send incoming cars to a new destination.

Chicago has historically been the railroad center of the US, but is slowly losing its title because the city has maxed out in capacity, many local industries and regional rust belt factories have been closed, and Kansas City has been gaining popularity as an alternative to Chicago.

Dallas is nowhere near being any sort of rail capital, no matter how big an intermodal yard they build.
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Old April 26th, 2006, 02:03 PM   #56
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Quote:
Originally Posted by General Huo
China has current world largest freight rail transportation in tonnage. The reasons are very simple and straightforward.

China is much relied on coal as primary energy, it has 1/3 of worlds total production. it primarily relys on rail transportation to move from north and NW China to South and SE part of county, plus all other raw materials moving around in China, mainly rely on rails.

USA and europe do not rely that much on freight rail, comparing to China. they do more on roads and airplane.

last year in 2005, China has total rail freight transportation of 2.7 billion tons and rail fright turnover is 7832.98 billion ton-kilometer.

Zhengzhou is located at the center of Chinese rail network, especially fro coal transportation. HK/Shenzhen is nothing close to it.
I'm not picking on China here, but I always try to read things critically, irregarless of where they come from.

If the figures above are correct (and I'm sure the Chinese railways carry vast amounts of freight immense distances) on average each tonne of freight transhipped by rail was moved almost 3,000 kilometres. I know China is a vast country, but that doesn't add up.

In my part of the world (Australia) the busiest freight terminals are no-where near large cities: they're at Hays Point Queensland, and in the Pilbara, Western Australia, where we load vast quantities of iron ore and coal onto ships bound for Japan, Korea, and the PRC.
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Old April 26th, 2006, 08:50 PM   #57
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Yardmaster
I'm not picking on China here, but I always try to read things critically, irregarless of where they come from.

If the figures above are correct (and I'm sure the Chinese railways carry vast amounts of freight immense distances) on average each tonne of freight transhipped by rail was moved almost 3,000 kilometres. I know China is a vast country, but that doesn't add up.

In my part of the world (Australia) the busiest freight terminals are no-where near large cities: they're at Hays Point Queensland, and in the Pilbara, Western Australia, where we load vast quantities of iron ore and coal onto ships bound for Japan, Korea, and the PRC.
A typo. it should be turnover 2073 billion ton-kilometer.

the fact still holds.
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Old April 26th, 2006, 09:55 PM   #58
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Quote:
Originally Posted by General Huo
A typo. it should be turnover 2073 billion ton-kilometer.

the fact still holds.

This reduces the average haulage distance to about 750 / 800 km which is still a bit much for China. Are you sure there aren't any other typos?

I haven't examined this thread in detail ... there may be other mistakes here. Quoting sources would make it easier to check.
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Old April 26th, 2006, 10:17 PM   #59
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Chicagoskyline has one heck of a hard-on for freight stats.
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Old April 26th, 2006, 10:18 PM   #60
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General Ho is never-the-less totally correct. China has four to five times the population of the USA (and fifty times the population of my country).

As he says, they move the freight by rail. Thank God! If China moved it's freight the way that this country does, not just my grand-daughter but my daughter would be up to her ankles in sea-water ... before she had time to think.
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