Sunset Route Two-Tracking Updates

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Posted by Fred M Cain on Monday, February 05, 2018 6:46 AM

rdamon

KP, I am still not convinced that that mast on the Phoenix line is new, it is just well perserved in the desert.

 
RDamon,
 
That's a point and you might well be right about that.  *BUT* we have found clear evidence of some newer-looking signals out in the desert well west of Arlington with those UP-Type "hoods" on them.  The old SPT Co did not have any signals like that to my knowledge.  In the 1970s they did erect some similar signals on the Phoenix sub but without hoods.  However, the last time I ran over this line in 1989, Arlington-Wellton still had nearly all semaphores.
 
So, yes, you might be right about this particular mast but there ARE some new signals, too.  That was also testified by that Jeff What's-His-Name from Litchfield Park, AZ.
 
I would just LOVE to contact that guy but have not been able to.
 
Regards,
Fred M. Cain
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Posted by Fred M Cain on Monday, February 05, 2018 7:02 AM

K. P. Harrier

 

On page 38 of said TRAINS issue, paragraph 2, a political environment is mentioned whereby UP (not the State) would have to build two-tracking roadway grade separations!  If that has not been resolved, that would explain the lack of two-tracking in Arizona.  It might also explain the signals being erected on the western Phoenix Line.

 

If Arizona thinks it is politically smart by having UP pay for grade separations, they are very, very gravely mistaken.  The public outcry of running 10 trains on each other’s block (fleeting) slowly through the winding track through Phoenix may backfire on politicians, and the public outcry would be great!  

 
Ah, but K.P. !  Think for a minute about the major boon to Phoenix area railfans!  Don't they have any politcal influence?  :)
 
I lived in Scottsdale when I was in high school in the late '60 and 1970s.  I used to ride my bicylcle down to Tempe to watch trains.  The Phoenix area railfan back then (as now) had to be very patient due to the sparcity of action.  Often I'd return home after several hours and seeing absolutely nothing. :(
 
One time I got lucky when I was about halfway between Mesa and Tempe where they were building a new bridge over McClintock Road, I think it was.  They had installed a temporary grade crossing and "shoe-fly" around the bridge construction.  It was probably sometime during the late forenoon when the westbound combined trains of 1 & 3 roared through about twelve hours late.  That was a most satisfying day.  But that's the way life was on the Phoenix sub.
 
Regards,
Fred M. Cain
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Posted by rdamon on Monday, February 05, 2018 7:08 AM

Fred,

That is correct, but thw new installations on the active portion by Palo Verde on the west side of Phoenix. 

K.P. has a photo of a similar mast on the Palmdale Cutoff.

According to this site http://thetracksidephotographer.com/2017/02/23/colton-palmdale/ that got CTC signals in the 1980's.

Now just putting new heads on the old mast would not be out of the question. I know there was some mention of newer OSHA requirements for the ladders.

Give Phoenix a few more years .. I am sure more of California will relocate there and expand to the west ;)

Robert

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Posted by rdamon on Monday, February 05, 2018 7:15 AM

Found a new install from 2013 ...

 

In service in 2015

 

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Posted by Fred M Cain on Monday, February 05, 2018 7:46 AM

Robert,

Those street views are from the same basic vicinity where Stan Jefferson talked with the signal crews and was told that they were working their way west.  Once again, read through this entire thread here:  

http://www.abandonedrails.com/Roll_to_Arlington 

The satellite view that I found once before showed new signals of this type at least 5 miles or more WEST of Arlington on a portion of the line that is not really in use other than car storage.  So, I have to believe that what Stan posted is accurate.

But, like I said, I have not been able to contact this guy.  Does anybody know him?  He may have even passed away although I hope not.

 

Regards,

Fred M Cain

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Posted by Fred M Cain on Monday, February 05, 2018 8:30 AM

Milepost 947

Those two "new" signal masts have been there a long time.  They were present and in the same condition as K.P.'s photos when I passed thru that area in the fall of 2011.

 

947,

Well yes and no.  My point is that some HAVE been there for a time but others are definetly new and only date to around 2013, long after the line had supposedly been closed.

Here is a view from space of what appears to be a new installation complete with solar panels. 

https://www.google.com/maps/@33.2855317,-112.9396171,112m/data=!3m1!1e3 

This shot is out in the desert probably 10-15 miles west of Arlington.  There are more signals  in the Crag area that are clearly new.  That is from around 5 miles or so west of Arlington.

I wish there could be some way we could actually get the facts on this.  But I don't know how.  The UP is not going to tell us what they have in mind.  Their official stance is that they have "no plans" to reopen the line but also that they have "no plans" to dispose of it.  That makes no sense to me.  I feel certain that they have a plan but are leery of disclosing it until a "final decision" is made.  Then, there will be a press release but before that?  Probably not.

 

Actually, if K.P.'s theory is correct and I'm beginning to think he may be, that might explain everything.  They might want to use the threat of reopening the Phoenix line and routing a lot of heavy traffic over it as leverage to get the State to back down on some kind of an unfunded crossing mandate.

If this were true, they would not want to talk about it.  Indeed, if the UP gets their way it might never happen at all.  Fun to think about, though.

Regards,

Fred M. Cain

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Posted by K. P. Harrier on Tuesday, February 06, 2018 11:16 AM

Replies and Thoughts

rdamon (2-4):

See the reply to Milepost 947 just below.

Milepost 947 (2-4):

Oh, Milepost 947 (ex-BNSF6400)!  How interesting your new post name is!

Was it on purpose, or just a coincidence?  CP SP950 and CP SP952 are the ends of the Red Rock siding in the Red Rock, AZ area.  The potential future Red Rock Classification Yard, if it ever is built, will start eastward in the M.P. 947 area, plus or minus!

About those headless new masts west of Hyder, AZ on the western Phoenix Line, your statement of their being there some years ago is sufficient to make me a believer that they were!

When I was on the road to Hyder back in January this year, a photo was taken of the open electrical box, and subsequently posted.

A related photo was highly blown-up for this post, and it definitely suggests what you stated, that the electrical box was there some years ago!

Thus, my recent thoughts and conjectures about the Phoenix Line are irrelevant, and the force of my NOT going back to those masts in 2012 now comes back to haunt me … perhaps bite me may be an even better expression!

So, Milepost 947, do you have some words of insight about what is going on with the lack of two-tracking in Arizona, and the seemingly disinterest on UP’s part now on building a Red Rock Classification Yard?

The start of construction on the new classification yard in the Hearne, TX area and all the tax revenue it will bring has to make Arizona officials wonder if they screwed up bigtime!

Fred M. Cain (Various):

Something is going on, but efforts to find out what have been elusive for sure!

Maybe word that UP is not spending money in Arizona may bring hatchet men out of the woodwork … I mean, $550 million in Texas, and $0 in Arizona.  It has to make someone think …

To All:

In the post by Fred M. Cain of February 5, 2018 (the “:46” A.M. one), a 2009 photo by Mike Palmer of the west end of the siding at Arlington on the western Phoenix Line was linked.  The signal has tri-light heads …

http://www.abandonedrails.com/Roll_to_Arlington 

… which had to be replaced because K.P. photographed the location through a telephoto lens with color light heads (NOT tri-light heads) on October 1, 2016!

So, something is brewing long term, but again, what is is so elusive.

In the meantime the Los Angeles & Salt Lake Route out of Los Angeles to the Central Corridor is seeing much traffic, some of which one has to wonder if it would have gone via Arizona IF whatever the two-tracking problem is in Arizona wasn’t there …

And, that “manifest yard’ in Montclair is a strange beast, possibly (“possibly”) incomplete waiting for the Monte Vista Ave. overpass to be completed, which construction recently started and will go over both the LA&SL and SP Sunset Route.  That overpass from what K.P. has heard is one of the strangest arrangements K.P. has ever heard about, with the public being forced AWAY from that Montclair facility, which will only be able to be seen by questionable overpass sidewalks.

K.P.

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Posted by Fred M Cain on Tuesday, February 06, 2018 11:30 AM

K.P., 

Once again, BIG thanks for the input and the excellent pictures!

On the investment in yards:

Don't forget that there is/was also a large yard in the works near Buckeye which is also "on hold".  I believe that the revival of the West Phoenix Line and that yard are somehow connected issues but I don't know exactly how.

 

On the signals, yes 947 is probably right ABOUT THAT ONE SIGNAL but, I wouldn't completely dismiss what you speculated as irrelevent because some of them ARE new as I mentioned before.  In addition to your picture taken near Arlington, there are more out in the desert west of there according to Google Satellite shots.  So, I still think you might have a good theory but I'm not sure anything is gonna happen right away, either.

 

Regards,

Fred M. Cain

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Posted by K. P. Harrier on Tuesday, February 06, 2018 1:35 PM

Fred M. Cain (2-6):

I question when anything project-wise will start until at least 2019, after the Positive Train Control matter is behind the railroads.  But, the classification yard construction now in Texas seems to be a glaring exception.

That overpass requirement problem, if true, might explain the wooden tied switch being installed at CP SP743 FORTUNA in Fortuna, AZ near Yuma.  The track through that area looks horrible, all with deteriorating ties.

January 5, 2018

Of course, UP tends to install new track things (turnouts, diamonds, etc.) right before a section is replaced.

A required overpass in Fortuna may (“may”) be holding up two-tracking there, but K.P. cannot find any Arizona law on the supposed issue.

October 6, 2017

So, who knows what can be expected …

K.P.

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

It seems this website was upgraded a few days ago, and as expected, problems plague posting.  K.P. thinks he will hibernate for a few days.

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Posted by Milepost 947 on Tuesday, February 06, 2018 8:18 PM

K.P.  I wish my new username was somehow related to the Red Rock Classification Yard.  Unfortunately it is not.  In fact, I never even looked up where Milepost 947 was on the Sunset Route.  Very interesting it is at the future Red Rock Yard location.  My old username was based on a SD45 that BNSF had at the very beginning.  But that old locomotive is long scrapped and BNSF6400 is just another General Electric locomotive.  I decided a few months back to switch to a new username.  I have an original Santa Fe milepost, MP 947, that was about 3 miles east of Corcoran, CA on the Bakersfield Subdivision on my office wall.  So that became my new username.

 

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Posted by K. P. Harrier on Wednesday, February 07, 2018 3:59 PM

Milepost 947 (2-6):  Speedy-a-Go-Go

When making up the reply post that inquired about your new username, Milepost 947, I thought it was possible the M.P. 947 might be along BNSF’s Central California line, but thought it was more likely it was referring to the Red Rock, AZ area.  But, IT WAS the Central California area!

It is unknown how much you, Milepost 947, are familiar with the BNSF Central California hotshot line, but if it is like BNSF’s line between Mojave and Barstow, those sidings probably have 40 M.P.H. turnouts that make for speedy meets.

November 19, 2016

Those BNSF sidings CAN have a red over green signal for going INTO the siding with a green to come out of the siding at the other end, with a mainliner stopped between switches.

In theory (“theory), UP could do the same thing on the remaining single-track parts of Sunset Route in Arizona IF it decided to forgo further two-tracking, and possibly reopen the western Phoenix Line.  That would be a radical departure from the current policy of 30 M.P.H. siding switches, but who knows what the relatively new UP CEO will do.

Of course, the same could be done on the LA&SL from Los Angeles to Salt Lake City, ANOTHER Los Angeles to Chicago route besides the western Sunset Route-Gold State Route.

It has been previously mentioned before, but not too long ago I westward followed the Golden State Route in New Mexico and a train with a heritage unit on the point was going into and out of sidings meeting opposing trains.

October 23, 2016

It was kind of irritating to chronically wait long times for the heritage unit to repeatedly finally catch up with me. If it wasn’t for necessary lodging, I would have beaten the westbound to California by a longshot, by hours and hours!

The point, though, is that 40 M.P.H. turnouts are a viable option in lieu of two-tracks in Arizona, and in light of the Positive Train Control fiasco, one has to wonder if that option will be chosen by management sometime in the future.

A lot of possibilities, with little ‘what is going to happen’ facts!  In view of my questionable ability to decipher your username, Milepost 947, I think I will just wait and see what UP does on the Sunset Route in the future; especially after Positive Train Control is done with in 2019 and beyond.

Take care,

K.P.

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Posted by K. P. Harrier on Sunday, February 11, 2018 9:51 AM

“Hey … You are Cute!”

The old box (“box”) for CP SP624 [WEST] MECCA (that CP that once had the silver cantilever signal bridge by it) says:  “Hey … You are Cute.”

The old box for CP SP352 [SOUTH] WALONG (bottom signals) is red faced.  And only smiles.

The old box for CP SP624 MECCA then inquires:  “What is your name?”

The old box for CP352 WALONG says:  “Walong … By the south end of the Tehachapi Loop!”

The old box for CP624 MECCA then nervously says:  “Nice meeting you, Walong!  Would you join me at the coffee shop for a cup of coffee?”

The old CP SP352 WALONG box then says:  “Sure!”

Is this the beginning of a romance of two CP boxes?

That obviously is not a true story!  But, a few photos, though, of an unbelievable Sunset Route chance encounter of inter-subdivision CP boxes that existed over 200 miles apart will be posted about in a few days …

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Posted by K. P. Harrier on Monday, February 12, 2018 8:47 AM

Odd Collection of Things at the …

… Beaumont, CA Signal Yard

Part I (of I-III)

Is it a Romance?

An east side westward view of the recently brought to the Beaumont site CP boxes and the background fenced yard with night lights.

That romantic minded illustrated CP box (left) outside the fenced yard:

Inside the fenced yard is that Tehachapi Pass Walong CP box:

Obviously, the Beaumont site is used for cannibalizing purposes, but it is strange to see such diverse and far apart boxes from Salton Sea and Tehachapi Pass here.

Continued in Part II

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Posted by K. P. Harrier on Monday, February 12, 2018 8:53 AM

Odd Collection of Things at the …

… Beaumont, CA Signal Yard

Part II (of I-III)

Both Old and New!

Some new type masts and head-shielding equipment are present as well.

Switch Motor Boxes?

There are rotting crate boxes on site with corner braces, most likely such boxes are for switch motors.  We remember the Colton Signal Dept. had a bunch of such boxes, many of which suddenly disappeared.  Did these crates come from there?

Continued in Part III

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Posted by K. P. Harrier on Monday, February 12, 2018 9:04 AM

Odd Collection of Things at the …

… Beaumont, CA Signal Yard

Part III (of I-III)

Electrifying!

The fenced Beaumont yard now HAS a whole bunch of cable wire wooden reals.

WHY would this signal type yard have such heavy wire reals?  Two-tracking anywhere near here is long past.  Is UP going to do something nearby?

Possibilities:  A future new universal crossover in the El Casco area, and/or such between Beaumont and Banning.  Between Cabazon and Palm Springs is a possibility too!  Or, perhaps a CTC siding will be put in somewhere in this area?

The Bunch of Trailers …

… Keeps Growing

Even more signal installation and maintenance-of-way trailers are now on site.

The collection of NEW trailers seems to ever be growing, with none having been put in service.

The Beaumont facility thus may be a place to keep an eye on.

This will conclude the series.

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Posted by BRUCE ELLEFRITZ on Wednesday, February 14, 2018 11:52 PM

I quickly went through about 14 months of posts to get here.  I went and checked on the overpass in Maricopa, AZ.  I found this from February 4, 2018:

 

No date set for overpass construction as ADOT plans demolitions

http://www.inmaricopa.com/no-date-set-for-overpass-construction-as-adot-plans-demolitions/

 

Does this lend credence that Amtrak will be coming back to Phoenix?  Or did the money got siphoned off for other projects, like I-17 revamp & widening up by my house?

Red Rock Yard: my research a little after the Yard was announced was that the State did not want the yard built because of some railroad haters in the State legislature and vocal residents.  So N.M. got a yard and now Texas is getting one.  Our current Governor is very pro business, but I don't know his stance on the railroads.

I'm going back over all the posts I skimmed over to get more tidbits. Then I'm going to hit the trails east & west.

 
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Posted by Fred M Cain on Thursday, February 15, 2018 9:56 AM

Bruce,

Since you mentioned Phoenix, I thought I'd bring it to your attention that there was another thread going for a while specifically on the revival of the West Phoenix Line here:

http://cs.trains.com/trn/f/111/t/265084.aspx?page=1 

As for your theory on Amtrak and the delay in the overpass, I'm not sure I'd read much of a connection into that although K.P. might have some more information than I do.

Regards,

Fred M. Cain

 

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Posted by BRUCE ELLEFRITZ on Thursday, February 15, 2018 9:30 PM

I did find that thread Fred, believe it was listed earlier this forum. So I'm more excited to get out and see what's cooking.  I've been by the Fertizona plant with several LNG tankers spotted there.  Would like to see that switched sometime.  I'm a big fan of Hickman eggs out west.  Now that I found they get grain cars, road trip.

I also will try to get to Tucson real soon to check on the Ina Road overpass of the Sunset Route.  See if there any track changes, signals, other activities.  Hope to make K.P. proud.  Maybe make it down to Wilcox & Benson, do it right.

Thanks to all for several years of very informative discussion of railroads. I've learned alot.

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Posted by K. P. Harrier on Friday, February 16, 2018 1:15 PM

Replies

BRUCE  ELLEFRITZ (2-14):  How about This?

That Maricopa, AZ article about the future Highway 347 overpass that you linked was quite enlightening, that the overpass construction should finally start the end of this month (February 2018) or early next month (March).  I thought the fact that the article mentioned Ames as the contractor was not surprising, as they tend to bid on projects that involve railroads whereas other contractors tend to shy away from those types of projects.

As an example, Ames was the successful bidder on the huge I-15 / I-215 interchange project at the western railroad foot of Cajon Pass here in Southern California, in the Devore area.

Above, note the train (BNSF) on the upper right of the second photo down.

That project was ‘huge’ for a single project, as it extended several miles in three directions.

Ames will be very compatible with the Union Pacific-Highway 347 overpass project in Maricopa.  We remember, too, UP often uses Ames for two-track grading and bridge building.  They are the contractor that did the second-track grading between Tucson and Estrella.

It couldn’t be helped seeing your “DDA40Xman” on the lower left of your post.  That reminded me of the Rail Giants museum in Pomona, CA just a mile or two north of the Sunset Route:

The above two photos were taken on November 10, 2013.

The DDA40X is still there in Pomona, of course, but the Big Boy is in Cheyenne, WY being rebuilt.

It has to be wondered if steamer 4-8-8-4 UP 4014 will be used extensively in Arizona to psyche Arizonians into looking favorably on UP and hence the voters will favor UP two-tracking and anything else UP wants instead of that reported hate for railroading and not wanting two-tracking to continue nor not wanting a Red Rock Yard to be built … On the other hand, maybe No. 4014 will be kept away from Arizona completely which will make quite a statement in itself.  2019 could be a most interesting year!

However, I personally am not holding my breath on further Arizona two-tracking.  The new CP boxes are the new type, and cost too much just to replace for two-tracking. 

But, as demonstrated by the new boxes for CP AL514 HAMILTON in Pomona, CA (near where steamer UP 4014 used to be at, the Pomona Fairplex grounds), the new CP boxes in Arizona may be upgradable!  And, that would work just fine for the remaining two-tracking in Arizona.

By your saying that you are going to ‘hit the trails east and west,’ Bruce, I take it you will be traveling along the Sunset Route and could give us all a report.  If so, I, and probably the rest of the followers of this thread, are all eyes and eagerly anticipate such a report.  Will your travels be soon?

Fred M. Cain (2-15):

That news item that Bruce linked (above) for us I thought was quite clear, that the delay was OK with AZDOT.  Either AZDOT approved the delay, or was OK with it as the time could be made up.

The lead contractor, Ames, is a skilled company with an outstanding track record.  Unless a Boeing 747 super unlikely crashes into the Maricopa Highway 347 Bridge over the UP mid-construction, it will be built on time and within budget.  I am quite confident of that.

To all:

The dispatch scheduled for today, Friday, February 15, 2018 was taken care of yesterday, Thursday, and afterward I was able to pass through San Timoteo Canyon again on the western slope of Beaumont Hill here in Southern California.  Nothing new from last visit was seen, but an effort was made to see if any new track areas could (“could”) be laid, such as crossovers and / or sidings.  A few potential areas were seen for sidings only.  In a day or two it is hoped to share with the forum several photos, including an overview photo of the maybe 20 to 30 cable rotting wood spools at the fenced yard in Beaumont.

K.P.

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Posted by kgbw49 on Friday, February 16, 2018 5:26 PM

K.P., maybe there is some hope yet! UP is increasing their capital budget for 2018 by 6% to $3.3 billion, and from the looks of Slide 11 in this presentation from February 6, 2018, it is likely that their annual carloads from Mexico may exceed 1 million in calendar year 2018:

https://www.up.com/cs/groups/public/@uprr/@investor/documents/investordocuments/pdf_up_stifel_2018_slides.pdf

Page 3 of their 2016 Fact Book has a decent representation of what is left to double track on the Sunset Route:

https://www.up.com/cs/groups/public/@uprr/@investor/documents/investordocuments/investor_fact_book_2016.pdf

 

 

 

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Posted by K. P. Harrier on Saturday, February 17, 2018 6:00 PM

In Search of a Location for Cable Wire Use

Beaumont Hill, CA

Part “A” (of A-C)

In the last perhaps within 10 years the Colton Signal Department’s fenced yard in Colton, CA has had a whole bunch of cable reals in it.  Some reals have disappeared because of known projects.  Recently, however, a bunch of cable reals at Colton have mysteriously disappeared.  The disappeared reals seem to have been transferred to the Beaumont fenced yard.  In a cursory count of the Thursday, February 15, 2018 visit there seemed to be between 20 and 30 such reals.

On that date K.P. followed the Sunset Route tracks eastward through San Timoteo Canyon, the WEST slope of Beaumont Hill and found NO locations practical for installation of a new universal crossovers arrangement, at least in the section midway between CP SP548 ORDWAY and CP SP557 HINDA.  However, midway between those CP’s a north side siding could (“could”) be put in, straddling Main 1 for perhaps 2 miles.

Above, a switch could be put in this side of the intermediate signals for a siding extending to the background, probably Mains 1 and 2 being moved rightward to make room for the siding.  To park freight cars on a siding on the right side is a security matter as the two lane San Timoteo Road parallels the tracks. 

Those above signals are midway between the CP’s mentioned, and while they are maybe 15 years old from when this section was re-signaled, the masts are short and don’t conform to the present standards.

About two miles to the east is the last intermediates before CP SP557 HINDA is reached.

Continued in Part B

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Posted by K. P. Harrier on Saturday, February 17, 2018 6:08 PM

In Search of a Location for Cable Wire Use

Beaumont Hill, CA

Part “B” (of A-C)

When in the canyon westbound trains seemed to be being fleeted.

That above train is passing through an “S” curve.  Note how close the two-lane San Timoteo Canyon Road is to the tracks.

Above, around the curve the train will pass where the old universal crossers were, called CP EL CASCO, with the signals on each side od the CP being on cantilever signal bridges.

By the east end of San Timoteo Canyon the tracks “S” curving into the downtown Beaumont area, with the camera between the I-10 Freeway and the tracks.

Years ago, outside of the I-10 Freeway, this was very, very rural territory, but has grown immensely.  Just look at all the big houses in the background!  Seems like a railfan would love to own one of those houses!

So, to put in a siding or sidings anywhere on the west slope of Beaumont Hill is questionable.  It is possible, but questionable.

Continued in Part C

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Posted by K. P. Harrier on Saturday, February 17, 2018 6:19 PM

In Search of a Location for Cable Wire Use

Beaumont Hill, CA

Part “C” (of A-C)

K.P. did not drive to Banning on the east slope of Beaumont Hill, but the below previously shown photos by the new Sunset Ave. underpass in Banning paints a picture of trackage similar to the west slope, steep, just not so curvy and in a lower desert-scape.

  

The above photos were shot on May 1, 2016, except for the last one, which was taken on May 21, 2016.  That bridge in the last view has a mysterious block of something south (this side) of Mains 1 and 2.
 
The below link is an aerial of the Sunset Ave. underpass.  It is more pronounced than previous views, but the concrete block or whatever it is makes no sense, and the bridging now looks only 3-1/2 tracks wide, making a siding(s) added through here questionable.

https://www.google.com/maps/place/Sunset+Ave,+Banning,+CA+92220/@33.9235784,-116.9120201,100m/data=!3m1!1e3!4m5!3m4!1s0x80db43edf5c59b93:0xd8101dd424818e45!8m2!3d33.9277581!4d-116.9118002?hl=en

So, whatever UP has in mind with all the rotting reals in Beaumont NOW is not clear, as to put a siding(s) in to tie trains down on on a dangerous grade is questionable at best.  Of course, maybe UP feels having the reals in two or more separate locations protects the railroad from any thieves at one location, as the odds of thieves striking two locations at once is on the astronomical side.  Any thieves would be foolish, though, as they would deserve the severe scratching up they would get from the pointed metal coiling protecting the site.  Perhaps sometime in the future we all will know what the situation is all about, or WAS about then …

This will end the series.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- It is believed that the overpowering stench of photobucket.com is what killed me! Coming to you from the afterlife … On the other hand, PostImage.org is cool!
  • Member since
    October, 2006
  • 335 posts
Posted by ccltrains on Sunday, February 18, 2018 10:43 AM
KP-  Been following the Sunset Route double tracking.  Unfortunately due to the PTC and economic down turn there has been no double tracking for a while.  I have been following your posts on the SPV maps and highlighting where double tracked.  I started on the West Line at Pomona as to the west of Pomona it is confusing as lots of the discussion centers on streets names as opposed to CP designation  Perhaps someone can fill me in of the area to the west.  Below is my estimate of the double tracked arras delineated by CP designations.
 
Pomona to 522.16  double tracked
MP522.16 to Sierra Crossing (near MP 531.9)  Single track
Sierra Crossing to  Thermal  Double track
Thermal to MP 636.6  Single track
MP 636.6 to Thermal  Double track
Thermal to MP 636.6  Single track
MP 636.6  to Glamis Double track
Glamis to MP 715.0  Single track
MP 715.0 to  MP 723.7  Double track
MP 723.7 to Araz  Single track
Araz to Colorado river at Yuma  Double track
Bridge over Colorado river  single track
River bridge to CP SP 738  Double track
CP SP 738 to CP SP 743  Single track
CP SP 743 to Blaisdell  Double track
Blaisdell to CP SP 753 (Dome)  Single track
CP SP 743 to CP SP 792  Double track
CP SP 792 to CP SP 818 (Old Stanwix)  Single track
Old Stanwix to CP SP 831 (Sentinel)  Double track
CP SP 831 (Sentinel to  Estrella  Single track
Estrella CP SA815 (Belen)  Double track

 
  • Member since
    January, 2015
  • 1,033 posts
Posted by kgbw49 on Sunday, February 18, 2018 9:18 PM

https://www.up.com/cs/groups/public/@uprr/@investor/documents/investordocuments/pdf_up_stifel_2018_slides.pdf

There are a couple of other interesting factoids from the Stifel Nicolas presentation that might shed some further nuanced light as to why Sunset Route double tracking has slowed to pretty much a dead stop.

Slide 6 - 7 day monthly carloadings for 2017 at 167,000 are still running 21,000 or 11% below the 188,000 rate for 2014

Slide 14 - UP has increased its debt from $12.751 billion at the end of 2013 to $19.480 billion at the end of 2017, which is an increase of $6.729 billion or 53%

Granted, money has been relatively cheap, and it appears that if, as noted below, free cash over and above net income is being returned to shareholders, then the majority of annual capital investment has likely been primarily financed by debt for the past several years.

Per slide 15, UP did $3.1 billion of share repurchases in 2016 and $4.0 billion of share repurchases in 2017, and via dividends and stock repurchases returned the following cash amounts exceeding total net income as follows:

2015 $5.8 billion or 122% of Net Income

2016 $5.0 billion or 118% of Net Income

2017 $6.0 billion or 129% of Net Income

The same slide indicates UP has bought back 32% of its shares since 2007, so it is a way to drive up share price by having fewer shares outstanding. UP ended trading on 02/16/18 at $134.27 per share, which is $34.27 higher than the $100 value of each share at the stock split several years ago, but one has to wonder how much of that gain is from stock repurchases.

Slide 15 - The lower overall Income Tax Rate in 2018 as a result of the the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 will be 25%, substantially lower than the approximatley 37.5% rate of prior years. Based on 2017 Income Before Taxes of $7.632 billion, UP should be able to retain another 12.5% of that money, or an additional approximately $954 million, in 2018. From the data points, UP looks to be allocating an additional $200 million of that to capital by increasing their capital investment up to $3.3 billion from $3.1 billion, and the rest looks to be dedicated to a 10 increase in dividends per share and additional stock buy backs.

With the massive investment in Brazos Yard to handle burgeoning north-south traffic from Mexico up to the Midwest and in to the growing Southeast, it will be interesting to see if any "capital table scraps" get added to the Sunset Route, such as closing some of those 10 and 11 mile gaps in California to get double track all the way to the Colorado River Bridge at Yuma.

Please note, that is not a criticism - those are legitimate financial strategies and ultimately the fiduciary responsibility of the UP Board, after it ensures the ability of the organization to continue in to the future as a going concern, is to earn returns for the investors.

But given some of those financial data points, it is not surprising that Sunset Route double tracking has ground to a halt for an extended period of time.

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