Barstow has a large freight yard, where trains to/from both Los Angeles and the San Francisco area are, in many cases, re-sorted from/to trains connecting to points East of Belen (near Albuquerque), such as Alliance Yard in Fort Worth, Argentine Yard West of Kansas City, Willow Springs Intermodal Yard or Corwith Yard in Chicago, or direct connections with Eastern railroads in Illinois. By and large, BNSF manifest trains (and their ATSF counterparts before them) originate or terminate at Barstow, with only the Modesto to Galesburg “wine train” as a manifest that passes through Barstow without change. (On the other hand, almost all intermodal trains, some 60% or more of the traffic, pass through Barstow without modification.) [GoogleEarth View]
The Barstow Yard lies on the south side of the present location of the main line, on the west side of town, between the First Street road bridge at the east end and the Route 58 freeway-section bridge and route at the west end, with the west leads of the yard forming one of the two overlaid wyes at that location. As a major classification yard, Barstow has the usual Receiving and Departure Yards, with cars humped between them under the supervision of the controllers in the large yard tower in the middle of the yard and a small tower near the east end of the yard. Towards the west end, there is a major diesel locomotive repair and servicing facility, including an automated locomotive washer that is rarely used in times of high demand for all available locomotives, such as in 2004 and 2005.
Santa Fe built the major yard in this location, at the junction of the lines west to Los Angeles and the San Francisco Bay Area in 1971, with 10 receiving tracks (capacity 1420 cars), 48 classification tracks (capacity 2000 cars) and 10 departure tracks (capacity 1370 cars), and classified 1,200 cars per day in 1992.