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Western Railroad Discussion > BNSF Interbay Roundhouse...going..going....GONE!


Date: 08/19/21 17:03
BNSF Interbay Roundhouse...going..going....GONE!
Author: Texican65

Well,

I know there's been talk about the roundhouse and servicing facility at Interbay in Seattle shutting down for years now. Well, it's not just talk anymore. My inside sources just communicated to me that the Interbay Roundhouse will close down permanently within the next year upon completion of the new servicing facility in Vancouver, Wash. And also that Sound Transit has/or is in the process of purchasing the property. The buildings and turntable will be torn down/dismantled.

First shift employees (the only shift left)...were informed that they will be required to exercise their seniority elsewhere in the coming year.

We on the TY&E side dont understand how this is going to work. The Interbay Roundhouse does A LOT of work on various locomotives on a Daily basis. All the yard switch engines and local units are serviced there, Z and Q consists, Interbay Grain consists, Stacy St. consists bound for the far east...and not to mention Everett sends a HUGE amount of their power down for servicing...things like fresh sand, fuel, oil, cooling water, brake shoes, dumping of toilets, random preventative maintenance and corrective maintenance. This is all supposed to happen in Vancouver now? I guess they plan on paying Cab Condition claims for full toilets on the outbound Z's and Q's now.

Anyways...get you pictures now while you still have a chance.

Built in 1929 for the Great Northern...I believe she's one of the LAST combination Roundhouse/repair facility w/ turntable still in operation.




Date: 08/19/21 17:05
Re: BNSF Interbay Roundhouse...going..going....GONE!
Author: Texican65

First photo circa 1960

second...gotta be 70's or 80's

Third...more modern aerial...








Date: 08/19/21 17:24
Re: BNSF Interbay Roundhouse...going..going....GONE!
Author: MEKoch

And some MBA knucklehead will get a big promotion for scrapping Interbay..............



Date: 08/19/21 17:50
Re: BNSF Interbay Roundhouse...going..going....GONE!
Author: TAW

That happened once already. The Frisco Folks decided that there should be only one place to service and repair locomotives. Of course, guess where that place was (hint- it's the Frisco shop). Yup, Springfield!

Portland, Vancouver, Interbay, Pasco, Parkwater, and Havre were relegated to being gas stations. Seattle, Vancouver, and Parkwater got locomotive servicing trucks that would drive around fueling, sanding, and watering. Fixing anything? Nope.

So what did these geniuses have us do when an engine went rip? Well, they bought a fleet management system from United Airlines...and used it to ship dead engines to Springfield (along with all the rest of the power management)! Of course, we had to reduce tonnage from trains to accommodate the dead engines, because we weren't allowed any extra power to move the train.If you had a 7000 ton train that needed 1 HPT,  That's 7,000 HP. How do you do that with late 80s power?
  • 3 SD40s? Nope, too much, you get two and reduce the train.
  • 2 SD40s and a GP38? Nope, 2 SD40s and reduce the train.
  • 4 GP38s? Nope, too much. You can have three and reduce the train.
If this sounds familiar to 21st Century folks, Frisco --> EHH --> PSR

Fortunately, they weren't ambitious enough to sell the facilities (it was surely not because they were smart). It took two years of painful stupidity, but all the facilities were re-opened.

TAW
 



Date: 08/19/21 18:36
Re: BNSF Interbay Roundhouse...going..going....GONE!
Author: NWRail

Texican65 Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
 I guess
> they plan on paying Cab Condition claims for full
> toilets on the outbound Z's and Q's now.

"CC declined account locomotive is not at a location that has the capability to service the locomotive."



Date: 08/19/21 19:58
Re: BNSF Interbay Roundhouse...going..going....GONE!
Author: Texican65

NWRail Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Texican65 Wrote:
> --------------------------------------------------
> -----
>  I guess
> > they plan on paying Cab Condition claims for
> full
> > toilets on the outbound Z's and Q's now.
>
> "CC declined account locomotive is not at a
> location that has the capability to service the
> locomotive."

Ha! Good one. That’s sick isn’t it.

They’ve even started cutting the CC in Wenatchee, where there “IS” a roundhouse…

How rediculous.

Posted from iPhone



Date: 08/19/21 20:52
Re: BNSF Interbay Roundhouse...going..going....GONE!
Author: Q-GP30

“CC denied as locomotive came from a service location “.This is what they told us when they declined our CC’s at West Quincy MO on power that came directly from Galesburg with full/ overflowing toilets

Posted from iPhone



Date: 08/19/21 21:08
Re: BNSF Interbay Roundhouse...going..going....GONE!
Author: miralomarail

Maybe the BNSF will issue the so called  " Toilet Bags " as used on the NS



Date: 08/19/21 21:11
Re: BNSF Interbay Roundhouse...going..going....GONE!
Author: Texican65

Q-GP30 Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> “CC denied as locomotive came from a service
> location “.This is what they told us when they
> declined our CC’s at West Quincy MO on power
> that came directly from Galesburg with full/
> overflowing toilets
>
> Posted from iPhone

Fraudulent and criminal. If we lied like that…we’d be terminated immediately.



Date: 08/19/21 21:47
Re: BNSF Interbay Roundhouse...going..going....GONE!
Author: NWRail

Why bother servicing the toilets when the plan is to someday have unmanned trains?



Date: 08/20/21 03:37
Re: BNSF Interbay Roundhouse...going..going....GONE!
Author: oneblock

miralomarail Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Maybe the BNSF will issue the so called  " Toilet
> Bags " as used on the NS                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                             NS has not had those in well over twenty years.      



Date: 08/20/21 09:02
Re: BNSF Interbay Roundhouse...going..going....GONE!
Author: wyeth

This is interesting news (about Interbay, not the toilet bags! LOL).  Interbay roundhouse has been the primary locomotive shop in the Pacific Northwest for everything from 92-day inspections to moderate repair work.  It primarily handles (handled (?)) the army of local and switch engines in the PNW, while the Havre MT primarily handles the army of GE's (it used to be one of those shops with some GE personnel oversight, don't know if that's still the case?).

So that begs my question, where is this work going to be done now?  Is it going to be similar to UP in the PNW (where UP shut down it's shop and now sends bad order power to either Roseville CA or North Platte NE); BNSF sending bad order power to Alliance NE or Barstow CA?  I'm sure the huge shop at Allinace has extra space now with the decline of coal, but that's still a long way to send bad order local and switch engines.  Over the recent years, BNSF has essentially closed what limited shop personnel were in Spokane WA at the former NP Parkwater roundhouse (long since demo'd, but a number of old, brick shop buildings remain standing).

In addition, is BNSF closing down the locomotive servicing fueling facilities located just east of the Interbay roundhouse?

The original poster said something about Vancouver WA getting a new shop facility; this seems kinda odd to me as there isn't a whole lot of space there, and it's off the beaten path for locomotives to get serviced (only a few trains operate in or out of there - though very many pass by; but it's very congested train wise so not a place to do locomotive set outs and pick ups).  If BNSF is going to construct a new shop facility, I suppose my guess would be at the hump yard facility at Pasco, as there would be ample room there.  Or maybe they'll just use UP's now closed relatively new large shop facility at Hinkle...LOL. 

Oh, and just a bit of clarification on the photo above with the labels:  The yard to the left of the photo is technically called "Balmer Yard", not "Interbay yard".  Interbay is located where the roundhouse area is, so the locomotive facilities have always been called Interbay.  Balmer Yard is the yard facility with the small hump yard and is located west of the main line.  Recently there was word that BNSF had closed that yard and hump, though now I have heard that maybe it's back open???



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 08/20/21 09:11 by wyeth.



Date: 08/20/21 10:01
Re: BNSF Interbay Roundhouse...going..going....GONE!
Author: Texican65

wyeth Wrote:


> In addition, is BNSF closing down the locomotive
> servicing fueling facilities located just east of
> the Interbay roundhouse?
>
> The original poster said something about Vancouver
> WA getting a new shop facility; this seems kinda
> odd to me as there isn't a whole lot of space
> there, and it's off the beaten path for
> locomotives to get serviced (only a few trains
> operate in or out of there - though very many pass
> by; but it's very congested train wise so not a
> place to do locomotive set outs and pick ups). 
> If BNSF is going to construct a new shop facility,
> I suppose my guess would be at the hump yard
> facility at Pasco, as there would be ample room
> there.  Or maybe they'll just use UP's now closed
> relatively new large shop facility at
> Hinkle...LOL. 
>
> Oh, and just a bit of clarification on the photo
> above with the labels:  The yard to the left of
> the photo is technically called "Balmer Yard", not
> "Interbay yard".  Interbay is located where the
> roundhouse area is, so the locomotive facilities
> have always been called Interbay.  Balmer Yard is
> the yard facility with the small hump yard and is
> located west of the main line.  Recently there
> was word that BNSF had closed that yard and hump,
> though now I have heard that maybe it's back
> open???


Hello there,

I am the original poster. I've worked for BNSF out of Interbay for the last 13 years. I've switched at Balmer Yard almost my entire time here, which is also referred to as "Interbay" by yard and road crews...because that's where it is located...it's not one or the other, but both....just for clarification. I also have spent several years as a hostler's helper/pilot and spent numerous hours over at the roundhouse with the shop personal...so I'm in pretty good with those guys. My information is first hand and creditable....just to let ya know where I'm coming from.

The 2 million gallon Diesel fuel tank and oil spur due west of the roundhouse has been drained over the last few days, and a contractor is pumping the sludge out of the bottom of the tank now. It will all be dismantled.

The roundhouse buildings, turntable, and servicing pad due east of the roundhouse will all be dismantled within the coming year.

Vancouver, as I type this, is having a locomotive repair facility being constructed. it will in no way shape or form resemble the current roundhouse in Interbay. It will however be capable of doing routine maintenance. How this is all going to work out for the crews and trains in the PNW....nobody knows...but I can speculate....NOT very well.

Balmer Yard has never been closed. The hump yard there was briefly, however, it is back open again and sorting cars. BNSF would like to close Balmer Yard in order to facilitate implementation of a new "Super Pool"...but....that is not allowed under the current union agreements. It is currently being arbitrated in a court of law. Who knows...maybe in a few years Balmer will be gone...but for now...it's still a very important rail yard handling a lot of very important rail traffic.

Let me know if you have any other questions....I'm always happy to answer fan mail.

Tex



Date: 08/20/21 12:08
Re: BNSF Interbay Roundhouse...going..going....GONE!
Author: NWRail

MEKoch Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> And some MBA knucklehead will get a big promotion
> for scrapping Interbay..............

I'll bet you that the soil under the entire facility is contaminated from decades of diesel and engine oil spills, plus who knows what else.  I'm guessing that Sound Transit (via the taxpayers' money) will be the ones paying for any toxic cleanup.  That MBA probably got a bonus and a trophy made of etched glass & walnut to put on display in their office.



Date: 08/20/21 12:44
Re: BNSF Interbay Roundhouse...going..going....GONE!
Author: boxcar1954

Texican65 Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------

> Let me know if you have any other questions....I'm
> always happy to answer fan mail.
>
> Tex
Thanks for this info, Tex, Interbay was one of my very first exposures to big time railroad terminals and servicing facilities. 
Was wondering what the breakdown is of over the road trains travelling Stevens, Stampede and the River route, and thus, where the locomotives needing service are being 'generated'?
It would seem Everett also would have been a contender for a service facility...
I should think fuel, sand etc and stocking (AND toilets!) of units can be done by on highway equipment close to where the units are used. Do you know if BNSF plans to implement on highway services for the day to day, and limit the dislocation to bad orders?
Having said that, I recall the days when running bad order units around the railroad was a frowned-upon waste to be minimized. Now it seems to not even enter the equation. Vancouver just sounds really out of the way. Different labor agreements there?
Thanks for posting!

 



Date: 08/20/21 13:46
Re: BNSF Interbay Roundhouse...going..going....GONE!
Author: Texican65

boxcar1954 Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Texican65 Wrote:
> --------------------------------------------------
> -----
>
> > Let me know if you have any other
> questions....I'm
> > always happy to answer fan mail.
> >
> > Tex
> Thanks for this info, Tex, Interbay was one of my
> very first exposures to big time railroad
> terminals and servicing facilities. 
> Was wondering what the breakdown is of over the
> road trains travelling Stevens, Stampede and the
> River route, and thus, where the locomotives
> needing service are being 'generated'?
> It would seem Everett also would have been a
> contender for a service facility...
> I should think fuel, sand etc and stocking (AND
> toilets!) of units can be done by on highway
> equipment close to where the units are used. Do
> you know if BNSF plans to implement on highway
> services for the day to day, and limit the
> dislocation to bad orders?
> Having said that, I recall the days when running
> bad order units around the railroad was a
> frowned-upon waste to be minimized. Now it seems
> to not even enter the equation. Vancouver just
> sounds really out of the way. Different labor
> agreements there?
> Thanks for posting!
>
>  

You’re welcome.

I’m not sure if BNSF will implement an on highway form of service pertaining to the items you listed….sand, oil, water, toilets…etc.

I do know that they had “in house” positions dedicated to that…called “goat chasers”. They would cover Everett to Tacoma, and all spots inbetween, in a service truck handling all those above mentioned items.

Those positions were abolished not that long ago however…which makes zero sense.

Perhaps a 3rd party contractor will be handling those needs soon…as that would seem most illogical…that’s probably how it will turn out.

Posted from iPhone



Date: 08/20/21 18:15
Re: BNSF Interbay Roundhouse...going..going....GONE!
Author: Q-GP30

Tex, surprised BNSF is building a new shop instead of out sourcing the work. They sure have a lot of work done at contract shops now a days.

Posted from iPhone



Date: 08/20/21 23:48
Re: BNSF Interbay Roundhouse...going..going....GONE!
Author: GN599

Ugh this one is hard to take for me. PSR- catch the fever! Here in Klamath Falls we lost our carmen, save for a couple guys on the rip track. Also lost the hostlers we had on every shift. The three they kept all work on days, in typical railroad fashion. Instead of maybe spreading them around. Like TAW pointed out though this is nothing new. Fortunately the handful of guys here that lost their jobs were able to place into other crafts or go up to Vancouver. While we're on this subject BNSF is going Roadforeman-less here on 9/1. There will be a handful in Ft Worth around the clock answering radio calls. So next time I stall out right before Halls Flat all I have to do is just dial them up and they will cure all of my trains ills!



Date: 08/21/21 05:32
Re: BNSF Interbay Roundhouse...going..going....GONE!
Author: Evan_Werkema

Roundhouse-shaped locomotive servicing structures largely vanished from the railroad scene decades ago, particularly on Class 1 railroads.  Supposedly this was because, while their shape was conducive to service steam, it wasn't so good for servicing diesels, where linear servicing buildings seem to be preferred.  What was "wrong" with the roundhouse shape, and how did Interbay overcome those issues to remain functional and relevant long after most other roundhouses were erased from the landscape?



Date: 08/29/21 19:31
Re: BNSF Interbay Roundhouse...going..going....GONE!
Author: pimin

Is there any fixed or regular schedule for humping cars at Balmer/Interbay?  



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