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Cajon Pass Triple-Tracking Updates (Plus Barstow-Daggett)

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Posted by K. P. Harrier on Saturday, March 04, 2017 10:19 PM

Big Changes to the Roadway …

… in the Summit Area Soon!

Part IV (of I-V)

K.P. is uncertain of the situation, but that Summit road may (“may”) now be open for temporary public use.

From Summit looking west:  Note the vehicles on the left:

One vehicle was a black and white, a CHP man.  He was called because someone apparently lost something …

Be careful in driving Highway 138.

Continued in Part V

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Posted by K. P. Harrier on Saturday, March 04, 2017 10:26 PM

Big Changes to the Roadway …

… in the Summit Area Soon!

Part V (of I-V)

Those cement posts for bridging is coming along just fine.

The cement piers in relation to a BNSF eastbound lugging up the 3% line (Main 3):

Bridge piers waiting cement (right):

So, if you want to get a last glimpse of the Summit area as it has been since 1972, get over there real quick.  By the second week of April a whole new Summit will be present!

This will conclude the series.

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Posted by K. P. Harrier on Sunday, March 05, 2017 7:52 PM

CShaveRR (3-4):

No, Hill 582 is in no danger from bulldozers.  Geographically, picture a basic east-west axis.  From north to south there is the SP (UP) Palmdale Cutoff, BNSF Mains 1 and 2, Hill 582, a bit of rugged landscape, BNSF Main 3, some more landscape, and then Highway 138.

As far as Amtrak No. 3 is concerned, I haven’t kept up with it for years.  Even though I consider myself a Cajon Pass ‘local,’ I have no idea of No. 3’s current tendency, i.e., on time or late, passing before sunup or after it.  If it is possible to see anything about the new construction, your seat would have to be at a left side window.

To hear you have had success in whipping cancer is good news.  Cancers can be a mean villain.  My sister-in-law died from it a few years ago down in the San Diego area.  Of course, I suspected that as her eventuality.  She was a chain smoker.  Interestingly, she had just gotten remarried and finds out a few months later about her cancer.  Her husband previously had buried a wife for cancer, and had to do it all over again with my sister-in-law!  Sad story!  So, it is good news that someone is having success in overcoming it, and it is hoped it stays that way for you!

As far as visiting Cajon Pass, you know your schedule better than I do.  Personally, I consider the altering of Highway 138 in Cajon Pass historic.  It would be most fascinating to see it before and after the alternation, and as a local I definitely plan on seeing it, and hope Caltrans doesn’t station guards on the hills with AK-47’s to keep lookie lous away, if you know what I mean.

Have a good trip,

K.P.

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Posted by Electroliner 1935 on Sunday, March 05, 2017 8:54 PM

Carl, I am very happy to hear about the current status of your cancer battle. Yesterdays Amtrak #3 is currently running two minutes late leaving ABQ and is scheduled through Victorville at 4:23 AM, It would be tough to see much at that time. If you are returning on #4, your scheduled time at Victoville is 9:05 PM. Again not a good omen for seeing much. Sorry for the timing.You may just have to keep seeing the great pictures that K.P. supplies for our pleasure. Which I for one am very happy to see.

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Posted by CShaveRR on Sunday, March 05, 2017 9:56 PM

Thanks, everyone.  I went off my diet for dinner today; the results were not the best.  So there's still progress to be made.

And thanks for Chad's name.  He and his dad took Pat and me up to Hill 582 in 2007.

Packing now...

Carl

Railroader Emeritus (practiced railroading for 46 years--and in 2010 I finally got it right!)

CAACSCOCOM--I don't want to behave improperly, so I just won't behave at all. (SM)

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Posted by ChuckCobleigh on Tuesday, March 07, 2017 1:09 PM

CShaveRR

Two questions for you, KP:

1.  Is Route 138 open to traffic during all of this, and is it permissible to travel through there (weather and wildfire problems were hampering things, last I heard)?

2.  Is Hill 582 safe?

(I doubt that we'll be able to get there by car on our trip to California this month, and I'm not sure it will be light enough when our train goes through). 

Looks like Carl will have a good sunshine view of Cajon Pass, as his Chief is now showing almost six hours late (something happened before the train got to KC, it would appear from last night's Amtrak track-a-train page, today's actually has the delay figure as of now).

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Posted by K. P. Harrier on Wednesday, March 15, 2017 1:02 AM

Seven more Days!

On Tuesday, March 14, 2017 an unexpected opportunity arose, and K.P. took advantage of it by visiting Cajon Pass.  A full report on the finding will be posted in a few days.  But here are some teaser photos …

According to a changing messages sign on the east slope, Summit as we know will start to be forever changed in about one week, and the alternation will take about two weeks.

The curse continues to follow K.P.  What is the chance of TWO vehicles deciding to stop right where a photo was planned? (Above)

Construction is coming along on the west slope.

And, in the above area, a light metal piping is zigzagging through the area. (Not seen this post.)

Maybe Cajon Pass is cursed.  Two BNSF workers on the east slope found a gate multi-locked!

The workers had to continue to drive on the dirt road following the track instead of taking the shortcut to the paved road.

Finally, on another project, presumably related to the Highway 138 widening WEST of I-15, much dirt was moved around by a bridge for Main 3.

At this point it is not clear if a new railroad bridge will replace the old one, or if the railroad is just reinforcing the old one and area.

Details (as much as possible) and photos will be posted in a few days.

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Posted by K. P. Harrier on Wednesday, March 15, 2017 1:25 PM

The Summit Top Chop

Part I (of I-V)

Beginning Tuesday, March 21, 2017 such photos will no long be possible, as the mountain the overlooks are on will be chopped away in the Highway 138 relocation.

Make a mental note of that ‘parked’ train on Main 2 as it will be brought up later.

The east side grading of the hill that will be chopped away is more pronounced.

From the Summit overlook, a westward semi-close-up:

Continued in Part II

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Posted by K. P. Harrier on Wednesday, March 15, 2017 1:32 PM

The Summit Top Chop

Part II (of I-V)

The western Summit area grading in relation to the BNSF tracks.

On a previous visit, what a contractor said about Highway 138 indicated it would be lowered to somewhere near track level.

A lower elevation west slope view:

Those pipes (above photo) are being used to lay some type of possibly drainage routing.

The above view from the west slope looks back east.

Continued in Part III

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Posted by K. P. Harrier on Wednesday, March 15, 2017 1:37 PM

The Summit Top Chop

Part III (of I-V)

There is that piping again on the lower left.  The grading route grade in the photo center is probably (“probably”) only temporary.

As we go down Highway 138 equipment is seen on the upper right.

Some equipment as seen from just a little bit to the west:

Continued in Part IV

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Posted by K. P. Harrier on Wednesday, March 15, 2017 1:40 PM

The Summit Top Chop

Part IV (of I-V)

From down further on the west slope:

We now return on Summit, and see that that train there strangely hasn’t moved.

We now go to the east end of the train on the east slope.

Continued in Part V

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Posted by K. P. Harrier on Wednesday, March 15, 2017 1:48 PM

The Summit Top Chop

Part V (of I-V)

We finely get to the tail end of the parked train, with two DPU units.

As seen above, K.P.’s curse continues.  Just as he got there and before the camera could be gotten out, an eastbound tank train’s power zips by.  K.P. seems to always miss the power by just second.  Over and over again it happens.  Why?  WHY?

Back at Summit, scenes like this one soon will be gone forever.

That above scene happened 45 years ago, in 1972.  The “old” Summit tracks were fifty feet higher, and one can now barely see the old route, the top of the cut on the right and another old cut on the top of the photo’s center.

Will this revamping of the highway improve views of the trains?  Time will tell.

This will end the series.   However, a Second and Third Sections follow.

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Posted by K. P. Harrier on Wednesday, March 15, 2017 1:52 PM

Second Section

Main 3 by Highway 138 and the I-15 Freeway

Near the Mormon Rocks, Main 3 goes over an old bridge.  A lot of grading has taken place by it.

It is unknown if the bridge will be replaced with a concrete one, or the railroad is just sprucing up the area around the old bridge.

In the middle photo above, one can get a sense of the steepness of the 3% Main 3 by its slant.

Continued in Third Section

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Posted by K. P. Harrier on Wednesday, March 15, 2017 1:55 PM

Third Section

Main 3 by Highway 138 and the I-15 Freeway

The old dirt road seems to have been made more crooked, especially in light of the new electrical tower.  The SP Cutoff and BNSF Mains 1 and 2 are seen in the background.

This will totally conclude the series.

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Posted by Electroliner 1935 on Wednesday, March 15, 2017 4:34 PM

In the last photo of Part V, is what looks like a cloth plus sign. Any ideas about what it is?

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Posted by K. P. Harrier on Wednesday, March 15, 2017 7:12 PM

Electroliner 1935 (3-15):

I think you are referring to this “X” in your inquiry:

The first photo was shot January 6, 2017, the second one a blow-up of the first one this date.

It is unknown if it's a surveyor’s marking or just a construction reference.  Maybe someone with a surveying or construction background could weigh in on this.

Best,

K.P.

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Posted by rdamon on Wednesday, March 15, 2017 7:12 PM
Usually that is used for an aerial survey benchmark.
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Posted by Paul_D_North_Jr on Wednesday, March 15, 2017 8:56 PM

Correct.  Here's a simplified explanation: It's a "photo-visible" point that can be located precisely on the ground in all 3 dimensions - North or latitude, East or longitude, and elevation - and also easily seen in the aerial photos.  That data is then used to calibrate/ "register" the aerial photos so that they all line up and overlap correctly.  Then the vertical contours can be established and plotted, along with any other visible features (roads, tracks, transmission towers, etc.)  

These days, they're also then used to set-up GPS base stations on top of them, which transmit data that's used by the surveyors and machines to control the grading and set points for other portions of the construction.

- PDN.  

"This Fascinating Railroad Business" (title of 1943 book by Robert Selph Henry of the AAR)
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Posted by tree68 on Wednesday, March 15, 2017 9:28 PM

Used to see them painted on roads around here...

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Posted by mudchicken on Wednesday, March 15, 2017 9:34 PM

K. P. Harrier

Electroliner 1935 (3-15):

I think you are referring to this “X” in your inquiry:

The first photo was shot January 6, 2017, the second one a blow-up of the first one this date.

It is unknown if it's a surveyor’s marking or just a construction reference.  Maybe someone with a surveying or construction background could weigh in on this.

Best,

K.P.

 

Aerial target with x,y,z coordinates (Northern Easting elevation) so they can create an aerial contour map from aerial photogrammetry. Those point locations are carefully chosen in grid pairs...from the scrawny size of the target, I'd say the plane (or helicopter using Lidar*) was flying relatively low and aiming at doing one foot contours.

(*)Not a fan of Lidar here, too many variables can go wrong. BNSF's engineers have been screwed royally by it too many times. The engineers get their coordinates, but if they do not do rigorous survey checks, coordinates get warped. Spent a whole summer in western Nebraska cleaning up behind one Lidar outfit that made the wrong adjustments (pipes were jumping out of the ground or the ground level was matching the top of the wheat or corn in the engineer's digital modelsOops[quote user="K. P. Harrier"]

 

Mudchicken Nothing is worth taking the risk of losing a life over. Come home tonight in the same condition that you left home this morning in. Safety begins with ME.... cinscocom-west
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Posted by mudchicken on Wednesday, March 15, 2017 9:47 PM

tree68

Used to see them painted on roads around here...

 

We've had police called on us more than once because people don't understand what's going on. One guy told Denver PD a mark in the street was set by us so terrorists could bomb his house. When the cop got off the ground after a fit of uncontrollable hysterics, we went back about our business and the cop told the homeowner to fuggetaboudit. Survey community is annoyed right now that we can't really use drones (cheaper than planes) for photogrammetry*, but everybody else can use them as toys with cameras, including the knucklehead real estate sales-bubbas.) The targets are there as a visual cue for the photogrammetrists  to find the points on the photograph Figure X, Figure Y or some kind of checkerboard panel material. The surveyors get 20 mill thick plastic target material in rolls the diameter of toilet paper and cut it to suit.

CN is using drones north of the border and has for over 10 years.

PDN: You would have to bring up machine gradingConfused

Mudchicken Nothing is worth taking the risk of losing a life over. Come home tonight in the same condition that you left home this morning in. Safety begins with ME.... cinscocom-west
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Posted by K. P. Harrier on Wednesday, March 15, 2017 11:24 PM

rdamon, Paul D. North Jr., and Mudchicken (3-15):

Thanks to all of you.  Sure makes sense.  However …

Picture that “X” marking, and just to its east Highway 138, then the steep upward embankment.

It would seem aerials would be blocked by that hill, unless an aerial satellite, airplane, or helicopter was so high up it didn’t make any difference.  It is perceived that aerial taking is over, and the “X” has no future purpose.  If K.P. understands things correctly, then, the earth under that “X” will be lowered quite a bit, and that “X” will survive until earthmovers turn it into a non-place.

Does everyone agree?

K.P.

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Posted by mudchicken on Thursday, March 16, 2017 1:56 PM

No - because it is rarely one pass (minimum of two and usually 3 or more to get the right coverage). It's more like mowing the lawn and the surveyors and photogrametrists pre-plan the flight lines, contour interval and height to avoid such things, and not overdrive the limits of the special large format camera. Only about 2/3rds of a stereoscopic image is usable with sufficient overlap.

Each aerial survey project has it's own unique attributes and rarely are any two projects done the same way. (along with cloud cover, time of year, vegitation issues, sun angle etc.) - I still remember a certain Ohio State engineering grad student named Curtis LeMay's thesis paper on aerial photography in the late 1920's discussing this. About 10-15 years later he was busy making sure parts of Germany and Japan were "flat".

Surveyors still do things "the hard way" on smaller projects and if the analog stereoplotter or analytical image machines can't get an image to work in stereo, it wil become immediately obvious. The field dogs and my fellow mudchickens will be out there filling in the holes in the coverage. Once the project has been flown, those targets are pretty much history unless there needs to be as-built quantities or before and after data is needed for some reason. (for that reason, paint on pavement is often of the biodegradable type that fades away after about 3 weeks. Plastic sheeting usually degrades in the sun after 6-8 months. Surveyors try to set the targets as close as they can to the day the camera plane flys over as possible so the marks are plaily visible. ) 

Mudchicken Nothing is worth taking the risk of losing a life over. Come home tonight in the same condition that you left home this morning in. Safety begins with ME.... cinscocom-west
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Posted by K. P. Harrier on Sunday, March 19, 2017 10:41 AM

Paul D. North Jr. and all:  Cliffhanger

It was desirable to photograph that Summit “X” in relation to the Highway 138 roadway and the higher mountainous area that will be cut away.  An attempt to do so was made Thursday, March 16, but that “attempt” was thwarted when Highway 138 right east of the I-15 Freeway was found to be closed!  Upon an inquiry of the Caltrans worker stationed there, K.P. was advised that in the Summit area a murder had taken place, with a body still onsite!

The late afternoon of Friday, March 17, the “X” site was finally reached, but K.P. discerned WHY he had not photographed the “X” before in relation to the steep rise of the mountainside.  The “X” was too close to the “cliff” to safely photograph the “X” and Highway 138 and the rising up embankment!

The four photos below were shot basically from the same spot, just rotating the torso and moving a step or two for the different angle views.

Needless to say, that “X” is certainly on borrowed time as its location will be obliterated when the future Highway 138 routing is greatly lowered in the next few weeks.

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Posted by K. P. Harrier on Friday, March 24, 2017 9:57 AM

The Attack of the Snails!  Grading at Summit

Part “A” (of A-B)

K.P. on Thursday, March 23, 2017 traveled the back dirt roads southwardly to north of Summit, to an overlook location, but was disappointed at the findings, as slow as snails grading.  Instead of the expected half the mountain cut away, graders were on a counterclockwise loop type arrangement south of the BNSF Summit triple-track line, with the lower grader route on the old Highway 138 (leftward travel, top grading rightward).  Views are of the top and the east slope.

  

The graders while traveling steeply up or down were going very, very slowly.  One especially could sense the strain on the engines while on the steep upward ascent.

Continued in Part B

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Posted by K. P. Harrier on Friday, March 24, 2017 9:59 AM

The Attack of the Snails!  Grading at Summit

Part “B” (of A-B)

At the rate found it is not understood how Highway 138 will be closed for only two weeks.

On some of the views, the western ones (right side), there doesn’t appear to be a turnaround point.  The graders must be going out of view and taking dirt to the western slope, to near (“near”) the hairpin turns of Highway 138, as in the below never shown before March 14, 2017 view:

Above, note the orange marker on the lower left.

Where the graders are probably going (previously shown west slope view):

Later, a stop was made at Highway 138 and I-15, and the whole road east of the road to McDonalds was blocked off with barricades with a California Highway Patrol presence.

This will conclude the Snails series.

--------------

Might there be SIX BNSF tracks in top of the east slope’s future?  Who knows, but the idea is in response to what K.P.’s haircutter told him, about something that over a year ago was approved by the City of Hesperia!  More details tomorrow …

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Posted by BNSF6400 on Friday, March 24, 2017 10:36 AM

K.P.,

Note that this 7 day closure is just the first of at least six, short (7-10 day) closures planned to move dirt from that giant hill at the top to low spots on the realignment.  There will be a six-eight week closure this time next year when they go the final earthmoving at the Summit and try everything together.  It will be an exciting year for those that like to watch earthmoving and heavy construction work.

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Posted by K. P. Harrier on Friday, March 24, 2017 10:51 PM

Are SIX Tracks in the East Slope’s Future?

K.P. knows of nothing official railroad-wise on this, but hear and reason this out.  Not too far from the BNSF tracks south of Summit Valley Road and north of Highway 138 and north of Silverwood Lake, a 16,000 home landscape (!) was approved by the City of Hesperia over a year ago.

http://www.vvng.com/massive-tapestry-project-in-hesperia-approved/

http://vvng.victorvalleynews.netdna-cdn.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/01/Screenshot-2016-01-27-09.40.01.png

What will that do for the security of BNSF westbounds on the east slope that lug up the hill?  Some trains stop because of a train ahead.  Will three-tracks fan into six-tracks so a bunch of westbounds can be parked under night floodlights and not have to stop in the darkness adjacent Summit Valley Road and possibly be broken into?  Highway 138 is being revamped now at Summit, but will it become maybe Interstate 815 in the future?  Cajon Pass may prove to be more interesting that we have ever imagined!

There was in the latter part of the last decade a very large housing developement on the western side of Beaumont (CA), the southern part of that housing track was adjacent the Sunset Route.  San Timoteo Road (now Oak Valley Parkway at its eastern end) was revamped and rebuilt, making taking photos along that stretch very difficult.  Two July 18, 2009 views:

In that light, while the new houses will be for the most part away from the BNSF tracks on the east slope of Cajon Pass, the railroad may start thinking of actions for protecting its property soon, and as in Beaumont thwarting thievery, and as a side consequence make photos of trains very difficult.  And, if there is further triple-tracking it likely will be on that east slope.  If any go out that way for a look and / or to railfan, be careful, as roadway parking locations are limited and people seem to think that Summit Valley Road is the Autobahn!

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Posted by K. P. Harrier on Friday, March 31, 2017 8:25 PM

Great New … But the Hard Facts

For days the Caltrans (California Department of Transportation) website has stated Highway 138 at Summit would reopen at 3:00 P.M. March 31, 2017.  3:00 P.M. came and the website said there were NO longer any road closures for Highway 138.

So, K.P. zipped over to Highway 138 and I-15 and discovered he had been screwed by Caltrans.

After the photo and with the camera put away, a heavy piece of equipment showed up, and K.P. inquired of its drive.  The worker said later tonight Highway 138 would be opened.  Afterward, he took his heavy piece of equipment and took one of several k-rails away.

So, it is presumed the construction worker knew what he was talking about.  Obviously the Caltrans website didn’t know what it was talking about.  With Caltrans, K.P. now sees the agency’s left hand not knowing what is right hand is doing!  Is it any wonder California is having financial problems?

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Posted by K. P. Harrier on Sunday, April 02, 2017 9:29 AM

Access Finally Gained!

On Saturday, April 1, 2017 Highway 138 in the Summit area was found to be open.  Much grading had taken place in the last few weeks, but the road layout of Highway 138 was found to basically be the same.

Photos, report, and assessment will be posted in a few days.

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