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Nostalgia & History > TRRA Tuesday: A Busy Madison Yard Hump

Date: 09/14/20 22:17
TRRA Tuesday: A Busy Madison Yard Hump
Author: ironmtn

As hump classification yards become fewer and fewer, and carload traffic becomes a smaller part of the railroad freight traffic picture, it's interesting to look back on busy hump yards in years past. Madison Yard of the Terminal Railroad Association of St. Louis (TRRA) at Madison, Illinois, northeast of downtown St. Louis is, along with Alton & Southern's Gateway Yard at East St. Louis, Ill., one of two large and very busy hump yards in the St. Louis region. These views are from a hazy Saturday afternoon in March 1976, and Madison Yard is briskly handling traffic gathered from or for various transfer runs with other railroads, as well as classifying road trains, particularly for Penn Central / Conrail (which at the time originated or terminated several trains here), and also some N&W traffic.

The view is from the Broadway bridge across the yard's north throat, looking south. The sidewalks on both sides of the four-lane overpass, also sometimes called Madison Ave. (which technically begins at a curve at the bridge's eastern end) were always a great spot to catch TRRA action. There are not many places where one could, as here, stand on a sidewalk right over a yard throat and look right ahead to the hump. There's a lot of interesting detail in these images when carload traffic was still so prominent.

And there's even the former Illinois Terminal Venice Trestle (also known as the IT Venice Hi-Line), running across the yard left to right in the distance. This rather incredible, mostly wooden trestle, also with the two truss spans and some steel trestle sections as visible here, carried IT trains from IT's McKinley Bridge over the Mississippi at Venice, Ill. (out of the frame to the right) down to ground level, and to a yard south of Madison Ill. (out of the frame to the left). The long timber trestle section to the west of TRRA's Madison Yard, by then out of service for some years, burned and partially collapsed in the 1990s. The truss spans seen in these images were removed in 2008.

Link to an an excellent writeup on the IT Venice Trestle from Bridgehunter.com -- be sure to click through the photos, which even include views from the cab of IT engine crossing the trestle: https://bridgehunter.com/il/madison/bh38168/   Also coordinates for maps of Madison Yard for orientation in your favorite mapping tool: 38.663342, -90.1611

Thanks for looking.

Muskegon, Michigan

Edited 4 time(s). Last edit at 09/14/20 23:16 by ironmtn.

Date: 09/15/20 04:50
Re: TRRA Tuesday: A Busy Madison Yard Hump
Author: refarkas

Two first-rate photos from a unique location - Well done!

Date: 09/15/20 06:28
Re: TRRA Tuesday: A Busy Madison Yard Hump
Author: CCDeWeese

Great pictures.  I worked for the TRRA 1970-1978.  Would love to get a framable copy of the first one.

Date: 09/15/20 08:15
Re: TRRA Tuesday: A Busy Madison Yard Hump
Author: gcm

That certainly was a busy morning.
Very nice !

Date: 09/15/20 20:18
Re: TRRA Tuesday: A Busy Madison Yard Hump
Author: CCDeWeese

It was what we hoped every monring looked like.

Date: 09/15/20 23:05
Re: TRRA Tuesday: A Busy Madison Yard Hump
Author: jgilmore

Great shots of an overlooked area with heavy freight railroading. JG

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