Sounds of silence

An eerie silence descended in the northern environs of Historic Northeast last week as the sun set on the Union Pacific rail yards after an over 100-year history.

For the first time in roughly thirty years of residence here, there were no train horns sounding, no metallic brakes squealing, no coal cars banging knuckles during the entirety of our early morning runs through the neighborhood.

It brings a bit of melancholy to this NewsDog’s world.

The Union Pacific (UP) railroad shuttered the yard last week with only a two-day notice, laying off over 200 workers who called the Neff hump yard home.

The UP is transferring operations to the Armourdale yards in Kansas City, Kansas as part of their 2020 unified, streamlining plan.

By last Wednesday,  the once bustling and noisy rail yard was a ghost town.

Being one of the largest rail yards in the region, the Neff hump yard can effectively switch between 1,500-2,000 rail cars per day.

The Armourdale yards have no hump and can only accommodate between 700-900 cars per day, which makes this critically-thinking pooch wonder why the move was made to begin with—corporate talking-head psycho-babble aside.

This Dog will actually lose sleep over the move. Moving to Northeast from downtown Parkville in 1990, trains were and are part of the audio and visual landscape in both communities.

There’s something comforting about hearing the tonality of the different train horns at the various crossings in the East Bottoms.

Knuckleheads Saloon at the Prospect and Montgall crossings built its whole persona on its proximity to the rail line that often had crossing trains interrupting music events at the venue.

Owner Frank Hicks actually built a catwalk above the memorial caboose so that Knuckleheads customers could maybe catch a piece of the rail mystique vicariously through a blaring Union Pacific air horn and the deafening chugging of a locomotive powering up.

This Dog can’t think of a better interruption to a blues show than a train horn. Robert Johnson, Johnny Cash, and David Allen Coe would be in agreement here.

Throughout the night hours, it was easy to tell when the switch engines were pushing strings of cars over the hump as large, metallic booms would follow—a sign that another car had been added to another train bound for a far-flung destination.

Sadly, the chugging sounds of the switch engines, the squealing of brakes and all the wonderful industrial noises associated with living above a rail yard will cease to be.

Want Northeast News articles sent straight to your inbox each week? Subscribe below!
Enter your email address and click on the Get Instant Access button.
We respect your privacy

Comments are closed.

  • Celebrate HNE

    November 6th, 2019
    by

    In lieu of an opinion column this week, this civic-minded News-Dog would like to take a moment to recognize some […]


    Election Homework Part Duex

    October 30th, 2019
    by

    On Tuesday, Nov. 5, Kansas City voters will have an opportunity to right a horrible wrong perpetrated last year by […]


    Illegal Dumping Update

    October 16th, 2019
    by

    Followers of the News-Dog will remember back in our September 18th edition we caught an illegal dumper in our alley […]


    A rigged game

    October 9th, 2019
    by

    Welcome to Jackson County, where the game is rigged and winning is next to impossible. The Jackson County Board of […]


    Recognized for Excellence

    October 2nd, 2019
    by

    As the curtain falls on another annual Missouri Press Association convention, our team here at the House of News was […]


  • Hot Tax Mess

    September 25th, 2019
    by

    County politics can be an adventure to say the least. One look at the hot mess that’s taken place across […]


    Illegal Dumping 101

    September 18th, 2019
    by

    Illegal dumping is an ever-increasing issue in the Historic Northeast community and this “clean-up-after-yourself” Newsdog has fully had enough. Yesterday, […]


    Hope is not an effective means

    September 11th, 2019
    by

    Last week, newly-elected 3rd District Kansas City Councilwoman Melissa Robinson was quoted saying she “[hopes] the Council makes an informed […]


    Time for the Parks Department to step it up

    September 4th, 2019
    by

    It’s been quite a while since the city’s Parks and Recreation Department has been in this Dog’s crosshairs, but that […]


    Tipping Point

    August 28th, 2019
    by

    The Dog has reached her tipping point. Call it critical mass, call it a population explosion of vagrants, but this […]


  • Faces Of Northeast


  • Postcard

    P&L building lights up KC

    November 6th, 2019
    by

  • Remember This?


  • retorts illustrated by bryan stalder


  • Want articles sent directly to your inbox each week? Subscribe below!
    We respect your privacy and will not distribute your information.