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Need help fast: trains per day?

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Need help fast: trains per day?
Posted by tdmidget on Tuesday, December 23, 2008 12:10 AM

I am trying to write a letter to the editor of the local rag to refute a claim that UPs mexican connection will generate " 50,000 trains per day" thru Tucson. Can anyone lead me to an authoritative source for the avg trains per for the entire U.S.?

Please respond ASAP . Need to be an authoritative quotable source.

Thanks

 

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Posted by ericsp on Tuesday, December 23, 2008 1:13 AM

How about the fact that would equal a train every 1.728 seconds. If that is single track, the trains consist only of one 70 foot locomotive, there is a 70 foot space between the trains, and all trains are going in one direction, (all of this is ridiculous) that would mean that the trains would have to go 55 MPH just to make it through.

This would make a good Christmas gift for that guy.

http://www.despair.com/propaganda.html 

I doubt you will get a quotable source here, so I would suggest looking at the AAR, FRA, and UP websites. 

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Posted by ericsp on Tuesday, December 23, 2008 3:16 AM

Figure 4.3 and Table 4.2

National Freight Capacity Study 

By the way, if one specifies a minimum time interval of 5 minutes from the front of one train to the next, and each track handles trains in only one direction, you will need 87 tracks in each direction. I think UP would have to demolish a significant amount of Tucson to achieve this. 

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Posted by diningcar on Tuesday, December 23, 2008 7:58 AM

I think I read that story. But what I remember was 50,000 trains per year, which is 137 per day assuming even distributation.

Perhaps the best response, if you feel this number is wrong, is to ask for the source of the authors info.

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Posted by greyhounds on Tuesday, December 23, 2008 8:18 AM

tdmidget

I am trying to write a letter to the editor of the local rag to refute a claim that UPs mexican connection will generate " 50,000 trains per day" thru Tucson. Can anyone lead me to an authoritative source for the avg trains per for the entire U.S.?

Please respond ASAP . Need to be an authoritative quotable source.

Thanks

 

Could you provide a link to this article?

"By many measures, the U.S. freight rail system is the safest, most efficient and cost effective in the world." - Federal Railroad Administration, October, 2009. I'm just your average, everyday, uncivilized howling "anti-government" critic of mass government expenditures for "High Speed Rail" in the US. And I'm gosh darn proud of that.
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Posted by Paul_D_North_Jr on Tuesday, December 23, 2008 8:49 AM

Hey ericsp -

Thanks much for those links !  I hadn't seen Despair, Inc.s' latest creation, and had forgotten about the Capacity Study report.  That certainly looks like some worthwhile reading during some slow times (= bad football games ?) over the next couple of weeks.

tdmidget - Separately, I had wondered about the same point that diningcar raised.  But unless UP is going to triple-track that line - highly unlikely, in my opinion - looking at "Table 4.2* - Average Capacities of Typical Rail-Freight Corridors -Trains per Day", the highest value for 2 tracks is 100 trains of the same type per day, as shown in the 6th line down, with the following entries under each of the respective headings:

* - From page 4-7 = 27 of 69 of the on-line version at: http://www.aar.org/IndustryInformation/National_Capacity_Study/%7E/media/Files/National_CAP_Study_docs/natl_freight_capacity_study.ashx

Number of Tracks:  2

Type of Control
CTC or TCS

Practical Maximum If Single Train Type Uses Corridor**:  100

(** For example, all intermodal trains.)

So I would be more inclined to use that figure of 100 trains per day.  Accordingly, the UP line would be at capacity at about 36,500 trains per year.  For context, 100 trains per day is 1 every 14.4 minutes (24 hrs. x 60 mins. / hr. = 1,440 mins. / day).

For a 9,000 ft. long train (which is uncommonly long, to be conservative with this) at 40 MPH = 60 ft./ sec., the train would pass a point in 150 secs.  Add 30 secs for the advanced time interval activation of the grade crossing signals  = 180 secs. = 3 minutes that a grade crossing would be restricted, or about 21 % of the time (3 mins. / 14.4 mins.).  More significantly, each such 9,000 ft. train - if double-stacked - would have from 270 to 300 containers on board, which equals that many trucks.  So which would they rather have - 100 trains per day, or -

wait for it -

27,000 to 30,000 trucks per day clogging up the local streets and highways ?

But as ericsp suggested, rather than speculate as to the number of trains per day, instead ask them to support their figure - after alll, they're the ones who published it !

Also, if you look through UP's website as ericsp also suggested - esp. the news releases for this project - you may very well find a specific figure provided there for this line.

Finally,in such critiques or comments I usually like to ask the rather barbed question, "Don't you have editors any more to read over and check for this kind of thing ?"  That puts a spotlight on the editorial or fact-checking oversight - not that they'll ever admit it - and sometimes gets a rather humorous self-righteous denial repsonse.  I suppose it's a kind of reward for doing their job for them . . .

Good luck with it all !

- Paul North.

"This Fascinating Railroad Business" (title of 1943 book by Robert Selph Henry of the AAR)
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Posted by diningcar on Tuesday, December 23, 2008 9:37 AM

I found the story which is mostly about the Picacho yard north from Tuscon. The 50,000 trains was PER YEAR, not per day and was given to the newspaper by County Supervisor Ann Day.

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Posted by rrnut282 on Tuesday, December 23, 2008 4:39 PM

Even at PER YEAR, that's one busy track.  For comparison, how many trains does UP run on the Triple-Track?

Mike (2-8-2)
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Posted by jeaton on Tuesday, December 23, 2008 5:58 PM

How about maybe 50,000 loads per year?  That would be 137 trucks per day-something realistic.

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Posted by trainfan1221 on Tuesday, December 23, 2008 8:20 PM

50,000 trains per day?  I'll have to visit, sounds a little busier than my local train line.

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Posted by ericsp on Tuesday, December 23, 2008 10:49 PM

I found what could be the article (http://www.azstarnet.com/allheadlines/272748). The county supervisor says there could be 50,000 trains per year because of a proposed port in Mexico. It seems to me that she is actually referring to the line down to Nogales. However, the article is about UP's proposed yard at Red Rock (or Picacho). I remember that yard was mentioned in the article in Trains recently about the Sunset Route. If I remember correctly, this yard is mainly to process cars to and from Phoenix. Am I remembering correctly?

To give credit where credit is due, it appears that it was diningcar who originally wrote to question the article's sources.

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Posted by tdmidget on Tuesday, December 23, 2008 11:29 PM

 OOPS! My mistake. The article did say 50,000 trains per year, still a preposterous number. The combined ports Of Long beach and L.A. produce an average of 141.5 ( what is .5 train?) per day. (http://www.metrans.org/documents/trainsmetranstalk.pdf) page 24. Not all of this could be diverted to the proposed UP port at Cardenas, Baja California. The traffic is to be interchanged at Yuma. I believe that Ann Day and the local paper don't know the difference between TEUs and trains. There is no way that this diversion could produce that volume of traffic, especially since it is traffic already passing through Tucson, just a different port of entry.

The major protestor of the Red Rock yard is Herb Kai, local real estate and farming magnate who currently leases some of the state land that UP wants to buy. He grows pistachio nuts there which are sold through his run down tourist trap "Arizona Nut House" at the peak . UP wants to move the yard  because, among other reasons, the city of Tucson is constantly ringing their hands about the railroad " splitting our town in two". Never mind of course the jobs, taxes, etc.

Sorry about the misread.

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Posted by MJChittick on Tuesday, December 23, 2008 11:34 PM

ericsp

The county supervisor says there could be 50,000 trains per year because of a proposed port in Mexico. It seems to me that she is actually referring to the line down to Nogales. However, the article is about UP's proposed yard at Red Rock (or Picacho). I remember that yard was mentioned in the article in Trains recently about the Sunset Route. If I remember correctly, this yard is mainly to process cars to and from Phoenix. Am I remembering correctly?

The "Trains" article about the Sunset Route improvements stated the Red Rock Yard would have the capacity to classify 800 to 1000 cars per day with the objective of building and breaking up Phoenix and Nogales trains and pre-block eastbound manifest trains for all three routes east of El Paso.  That yard would have direct role to play in any increased traffic to or from Mexico via the Nogales gateway. 

Mike

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Posted by ericsp on Wednesday, December 24, 2008 3:41 AM

I have been doing some research, and it appears to me that it is highly unlikely that the port in Mexico will have much affect on rail traffic through Tucson.

I found a Lazaro Cardenas in Baja California and in Michoacan. I could not find anything in Ferromex's, KCSM's, Ferrosur's, Carrizo Gorge Railway's, or SDIY's (RailAmerica's) websites indicating that there is rail in the Baja Peninsula. Is there a regional or short line that goes down there? Also, all of the articles I found that reference a port reference the one in Michoacan.

Given the location of Lazaro Cardenas, Michoacan (WSW of Mexico City), I doubt any rail traffic for Texas or anywhere east will go through Tucson. It will probably enter the US in Texas. That means any traffic going through Tucson would have to be for the West Coast. This could only happen if the ports and Long Beach and Los Angeles go away. Barring a huge catastrophe, I do not see this happening. All of this assumes that Lazaro Cardenas can get significant amount of US traffic, which I do not know the probability of this happening.

Another thing, how much loose car traffic could this port possibly generate? If it does generate large quantities, how much could logically be sent to Red Rock, AZ for classification? 

KCS and KCSM map

FXE map

Satellite photograph of Lazaro Cardenas, Michoacan 

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