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Combining Forces for CN’s Kirk Yard Outage

RailWorks and other contractors performed a range of work during the 32-hour outage Oct. 27 and 28 at CN’s Kirk Yard in Gary, IN, including replacing turnouts and signals, making thermite welds and surfacing track. (top) Shown here at the west entrance, contractors had to carefully coordinate personnel and equipment through the yard’s only access point.
It was a massive undertaking.  RailWorks had just 32 hours over the weekend to complete the work.
More than 100 RailWorks personnel – comprised of track foremen, laborers, thermite welding crews, production tamper/regulator teams and equipment operators out of the Chicago office and RailWorks Maintenance of Way – worked at three locations throughout and near CN’s Kirk Yard in Gary, IN., on a major 32-hour outage. Their primary goal: cut over the CN’s existing double main line to the newly constructed double main line around the Gary-Chicago Airport. 
Area Manager Eric Goetschel led the effort, which took weeks to plan in conjunction with CN and related subcontractors. In addition to providing our personnel, RailWorks came out in force with impressive array of equipment to complete the work efficiently in the weekend window.
To complete the airport cutover, crews shifted 700 feet of two tracks at each end of the new alignment and installed additional track panels as needed during the first 16 hours of the outage. Crews also removed old track and installed new panels in the track shift area and ballasted, surfaced and thermally adjusted the track.
RailWorks took advantage of shutdown to perform other needed work in Kirk Yard:
  • During the first 16 hours of the outage, our Maintenance of Way crews welded eight turnouts into place that Track crews had previously constructed and welded together. Track crews followed up with associated grading and surfacing.
  • During a 10-hour outage at the hump yard, crews provided labor and surfacing to install a king switch (three turnouts in one), one #10 turnout, and wheel retarders at the top of the yard. Operations resumed in the hump yard after 10 hours while track work continued in the rest of the yard.
  • Just west of Kirk Yard at the Stockton Interlocking, crews also completed 20-plus welds and thermal adjustments on track they recently rebuilt.
All this work took place at CN’s largest U.S. classification yard, where RailWorks has constructed more than 35 miles of track and installed more than 100 turnouts since 2011. 
Congratulations to our team for this exceptional accomplishment.