In 2103 CSX announced plans to build a new yard south of Hopkinsville KY, on the Henderson Subdivision main line (Chicago to Nashville). The purpose of this yard was to service increasing coal business from mines in Western Kentucky, Southern Indiana and Illinois. It would allow inspection of grain trains (car inspectors could drive between the tracks on ATVs) and fueling intermodal trains by truck from storage tanks. Casky would become a new crew change point for intermodal trains now running Danville IL, to Casky KY and Casky to Chattanooga TN and Birmingham AL. The car shop would do limited repairs. The yard opened in June 2015.
The yard was reported closed in May 2017. We stopped by there during our vacation trip to Western Kentucky in October 2020. Following is what we observed.
1. The yard is actually located south of Hopkinsville between Casky and Pembroke. This is the view looking northwest from John Rivers Rd. at the south end of the yard. The main line is on the extreme right. CSX 5201-5298. Casky KY. 10-20-2020.
2. CSX Casky Holdout signal for coming south out of the yard. Casky KY.
3. CSX 5201-5298 on a parked s/b freight. A waiting taxi driver noted that n/b intermodal Q028 was two hours late and just leaving Nashville. Casky KY.
4. CSX Casky Mechanical Operations and yard office in the early evening. Casky KY.
5. A local with CSX 4310-6907 tied up for the day. Casky KY.
6. CSX 4310 GP39-2 is ex-Guilford, exx-D&H, nee Reading. Casky KY.
7. CSX dwarf signal at switch 15 on the south end. Evidently the dispatcher controls these, or they could be power assisted switches controlled by a phone tone. Casky KY.
8. After staying the night in Hopkinsville, we returned the next morning. Just south of the yard is the beginning of Pembroke passing siding. We found this CSX restricting signal. Pembroke KY. 10-21-2020.
9. A n/b local came barreling by behind behind CSX 6907-4310. This pair got turned somewhere. It is probably J723, a local that works out of Casky between Guthrie (R. J. Corman) and Hopkinsville. In 2014 we found a GP38-2 parked at Guthrie, but that job may be this one now. Pembroke KY.
10. CSX 6907-4310. Pembroke KY.
11. The local heads up the siding and into the yard. CSX 6907-4310. Pembroke KY.
12. The CSX signal goes restricting again. Pembroke KY.
13. 136 lb./yard rail rolled by Nippon Steel in 2019. CSX Pembroke KY.
14. CSX 5330-5117 roll through the farming community of Pembroke KY, with 61 cars of n/b freight Q512 (Nashville - Radnor Yd. to Indianapolis - Avon Yd.).
15. CSX 5330-5117. View 2. Pembroke KY.
16. CSX 5330-5117. View 3. Pembroke KY.
17. CSX 5330-5117 Q512 normally works Casky and Evansville. View 4. Pembroke KY.
18. Back at the south end of Casky we heard a southbound coming. BTW the road channel is 160.37 and the dispatcher is on 160.98. CSX 7009-5243 rolls by with coal train N040 (Oaktown IN mine to Stokes FL). These used to be common trains in the Eastern Kentucky coal fields. Casky KY.
19. This is a 108-car Orlando Utilities (OUCX) train that will presumably go via Chattanooga and Atlanta. CSX 7009-5243. Casky KY.
20. CSX DPU 711 assists. That switch in the background leads into one of the agricultural facilities along CSX at Casky KY.
21. The main CSX Casky KY yard is over to the right. In the foreground are four 3000 ft. storage tracks. There are also four 10,000 ft. sidings. That area in the middle would allow expansion to 10 more tracks. The rear of Q512 is visible.
22. Evidently CSX is doing some car repair work at this shop. Casky KY.
23. CSX 4310 GP39-2 is a fairly rare model. This one came from Guilford but was originally Reading. C&O’s GP39s were really rare! Casky KY.
24. CSX 4310 GP39-2. View 2. Casky KY.
25. CSX 4310-6907. Casky KY.
26. These two 400,000 gal. fuel storage tanks with facility to load fuel trucks doesn’t appear to be in use. Casky KY.
27. We can hear trains coming south far north of Hopkinsville on the scanner. S/b intermodal Q029-22 behind 3473 slows for a stop to change crews. Don’t ask why this train was a “22” on the 21st. Casky KY.
28. CSX 3473 Q029 this day has 416 axles and is 9,633 feet in length. CSX serves those industries in the background. Casky KY.
29. One of the new crew waits on the left for the train to stop. CSX 3473. Casky KY.
30. CSX 3473 Q029 runs from the 59th St. yard in Chicago to Fairburn GA, which is south of Atlanta. Grips are on the ground. Casky KY.
31. CSX clear signal for a priority train. Casky KY.
32.CSX 3473. Casky KY.
33. We hustle on down to Pembroke. CSX 3473 is picking up speed with Q029. Pembroke KY.
34. CSX 831 DPU is notched up in the middle of the train. Pembroke KY.
35. The peace of Pembroke resumes once more as Q029 hustles away on the long run to Chattanooga over Cumberland Mt. at Cowen TN. CSX 3473. Pembroke KY.
It doesn’t appear to me that Casky Yard was closed, but its functions were diminished. CSX’s double coal trains my exceed the length of the yard tracks. I’ve read issues on air brake inspections and tests. The most reasonable reason is that Hunter Harrison became the CEO! After all yards at Evansville (Howell), Madisonville (Atkinson) and Nashville (Radnor) didn’t close.
We head west.