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This Satellite View Shows The Largest Railroad Switching Terminal In U.S.

By Ed Komenda | October 5, 2016 2:55pm | Updated on October 7, 2016 11:22am

Photo credit: Daily Overview | Image (c) 2016, DigitalGlobe, Inc.
(You can zoom in to this image to focus on neighborhood details.)

BEDFORD PARK — If you've driven on the Cicero Avenue bridge between Clearing and Bedford Park, you're probably familiar with the giant rail yard to the west.

It's called the Belt Railway Company of Chicago, the largest intermediate switching terminal in the United States. And it's quite a sight to see in this interactive photo, taken from a satellite almost 400 miles in the air.

You can see how the railcars string together in columns of colors, each color representing a different company. But what's the point of this yard?

Built in 1882 to move freight and rail traffic through the city, the Belt Railway is a bundle of mainline rail that stretches 28 miles with more than 300 miles of switching tracks, allowing it to interchange with every railroad rolling through the Chicago rail hub.

From the ground, it's the place where those screechy trains rumbling through the neighborhood come to a halt. But from space, it's a colorful, industrial mosaic.

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