The articles and pictures that you see within these pages about Bluford
were submitted by Janice Staples
Written permission was given by the Author the late
John R. Warren to use on this website.
The Yard Office
The Yard Office was a two-story building located near to
the yard tracks, just east of the Thoroughfare.
The downstairs was a washroom for switchmen and roadmen and contained
showers, lockers, benches and tables.
The offices of the yard office were all upstairs
The smokestack was an impressive 195 feet tall. It was built of
concrete and brick and was located 21 feet south of the boiler room.
The ladder on the south side of the stack extended all the way to the
top. Each rung on the ladder was 12" from the next rung. Lightning rods
were located atop the stack. The stack was designed to sway some with
the wind. There were reports from time to time of people climbing the
smokestack, the tallest structure around Bluford.
The coal chute was located to the east and south of the other
buildings. Coal would be unloaded from hopper cars to the east of the
chute. Several hopper cars could be held on an incline track, and then
individually rolled down the track by gravity to the coal dumping area.
After the coal was dumped into the holding area, it was taken to the
top of the coal chute by a chained bucket system and dropped into the
top of the chute. The coal could then be dropped into the engines'
"tenders" to load them up for road trips.
Bluford had at least 2 depot buildings. The first was a classic old style,
small town depot. It had a freight room, the station agent's office in the
middle, with a bay window so he could see down the tracks, and a passenger
waiting room. The Southern RR had 2 passenger trains that had regular stops
in Bluford. A "Noon Train" and an "afternoon train" The noon train went east
and arrived between 11:30 and noon. The afternoon train went west about 3:30 p.m.
Buildings not pictured:
The Round House:
The "Round House" was actually a complex of three
systems that included a building, in a quarter round configuration,
where the repair and servicing of steam engines was done; a circular
pit housing the turntable, where engines could be turned to face any
direction; and twelve sets of tracks used for parking the engines. The
building was shaped like a quarter of a pie, and at the pointed end of
that quarter pie was the turntable. It was 237 feet from the ceneter of
the turntable and the start of the roundhouse building.
Machine Shop & Boiler Room:
The Machine Shop was the next building east of the Yard Office. It was
42' wide and 148.5' long. The boiler room was in the south 68' of the
building and the machine shop in the north 80'. The floor of the
machine shop had a unique pattern of wood pieces placed on edge. The
wood blocks were about 3" high, 3 3/4" wide, and 6 to 8" long.
The boiler room contained 3 "huge" boilers, which faced west toward the
3 coal bins. The boilers were connected to the 195' smokestack by a
metal flu. Steam was produced to run air compressors, and to provide
hot water & steam for cleaning and maintenance equipment
Mechanical Dept. Wash Room:
This was located about 50' north of the Yard Office. There was a fire
hose building north of it.
Repair Track Complex:
The Repair Track "Rip Track" was seperate from the other yard
buildings and was somewhat of an independent operation of it's own, not
directly concerned with the operatins going on in the yard.
There was a car knocker shanty south of the yard office and west of the
tracks that went to the coal bin ramp of the boiler room. It was about
12'X40'. The section crews also had pads to park their motor cars there.
Along the north end and south end switching leads were the switchmen's
or checker's shanties. The yard clerks stayed in those and kept track
of the cars, as they were moved from track to track. The shanties had a
water cooler, a heating stove, and benches. The switchmen could get a
bit of rest there when the trains were pulling in or out, and had the
switching lead blocked.