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.

  • Follow the process

    September 23rd, 2020

    Diane EustonGuest Columnist I’m an historian who focuses on Kansas City’s unique and fascinating past who was one of the […]

    Time for action

    September 2nd, 2020

    We’re done. This News Dog is sick of the ongoing lawlessness and criminal actions of the vagrants who continue to […]

    Rearranging the deck chairs

    August 26th, 2020

    If you’ve driven by the intersection of I-435 and Winner Road/US 24/Independence Avenue over the last few years you’re more […]

    City council gone rogue

    August 12th, 2020

    If ever there was a reason for the Kansas City Missouri Police Department to remain under state control, your gone-rogue, […]

    And the cop hate continues

    June 30th, 2020

    This community-minded News Dog normally likes to steer clear of neighborhood politics and operations. As a former neighborhood association president, […]

    A Department Gutted

    June 10th, 2020

    Last Thursday, in a carefully orchestrated and timed bit of political theater, the Jackson County prosecutor and the Kansas City […]

    Another Blue Ribbon Commission

    May 27th, 2020

    Last Wednesday, Kansas City Mayor Quinton Lucas announced the formation of another blue ribbon commission deployed to “study” the upward […]

    When you’re on your own, we are there with you.

    March 31st, 2020

    This week, the Dog is yielding space for a much more important message from The Missouri Press Association and the […]

  • Support community journalism

    March 25th, 2020

    Over the last few weeks, this community-minded Newsdog has seen an outpouring of support on social media for local businesses […]

    I’ll take panic and hysteria for $500, Alex

    March 18th, 2020

    If anyone would have told this Newsdog a month ago that the United States would be living through what we […]

    Out of control

    March 11th, 2020

    Last week, the second fire in as many weeks broke out in a large transient encampment in the wooded areas […]

    Journalism, the Northeast News through an intern’s eyes

    March 4th, 2020

    Kalie StrainEditorial Assistant I made the decision to major in journalism on a whim and it has been a wild […]

    Cut, cut, cut

    February 26th, 2020

    The new City budget is out and, for all intents and purposes, it should have come with a pair of […]

    Community journalism, why it matters

    February 19th, 2020

    Last week, McClatchy, the company that owns the Kansas City Star, declared Chapter 11 bankruptcy, transferring control of the city’s […]

    Time for change

    February 12th, 2020

    Last weekend, the Newsdog traveled to Austin, Texas to assist with the Ronald Reagan Great Communicator Debate Series.  While visiting […]

    A bright light now gone

    February 5th, 2020

    Kansas City lost a bright light earlier this week when noted journalist, radio host, foodie, and author Charles Feruzza passed […]

  • Northeast Newscast

  • Faces Of Northeast

  • 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.