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Updates on Multi-Tracking the Two BNSF Transcons

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Posted by SD60MAC9500 on Saturday, October 31, 2020 4:07 PM
 

A hogger on the Seligmen Sub group stated the purpose is keep trains from stopping as the reason for the flyover. He says it's due to the left hand running arrangement east of Winslow. So I'm going to assume the original location for this flyover was suppose to be somewhere between Winslow and Belen. Yet they couldn't get the land? To build in the original location..

 
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Posted by jmonier on Sunday, November 1, 2020 7:37 AM

SD60MAC9500
 

A hogger on the Seligmen Sub group stated the purpose is keep trains from stopping as the reason for the flyover. He says it's due to the left hand running arrangement east of Winslow. So I'm going to assume the original location for this flyover was suppose to be somewhere between Winslow and Belen. Yet they couldn't get the land? To build in the original location..

 
 

Way back, before the line relocation in the 60's, the left hand running began with a flyover near Ashfork due to the gradient east out of Ashfork.  When the line relocation bypassed Ashfork (and that gradient), the first CTC on the entire line was put in from Seligman to Winslow and the dispatcher made the change via CTC somewhere between Seligman and Winslow (and probably closer to Seligman).

So, for historical reasons, if nothing else, I doubt that a location east of Winslow (or possibly even east of Williams Jct or Flagstaff) was ever considered.  Otherwise, I'm sure that this location was chosen for economic reasons.

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Posted by diningcar on Sunday, November 1, 2020 8:13 AM

I suggest that there is no eastward 'left hand running' issue. The trains on the Seligman Sub all stop for a crew change at Winslow, which has four main tracks in which to park trains. The DS's can send them eastward on either main 1 or main 2 from Winslow.

I am thinking the Seligman Sub may be the issue because eastward trains use the south track (ruling grade 1.42% compensated) when ascending from the Colorado River while the north track is 1.80% compensated. Thus all but the lowest tonnage eastward trains use the south track until MP 514. This then dictates that the north track west from MP 514 will have predominately westward trains as they approach Needles where there are four main tracks in which to redirect them further west as th DS's choose. Further thoughts solicited.

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Posted by timz on Sunday, November 1, 2020 9:49 AM

Sure-- a train with 1 hp/ton is better off running right-hand Needles to Seligman and left-hand east of Flagstaff. So a flyover is nice, tho we're surprised BNSF thinks it's worth the cost. But on paper there's no reason to put the flyover this far west. The left-hand eastward grades are a tiny bit steeper east of the flyover to Seligman -- not enough to matter, but it suggests they only put it here because the land happened to be easy to get.

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Posted by SD60MAC9500 on Sunday, November 1, 2020 3:15 PM
 

Here's a statement from said Hogger I mentioned earlier

 

The reason for the fly over is because of the fuel pads in Belen as well as the grade separation along the Gallup Subdivision (Winslow to Belen). West of Winslow, the preferred track for eastbounds climbing the grade is track 2, the southern track. East of Winslow the preferred track for eastbound climbing the grade is track one, the northern track. The fuel pads in Belen are located where they are because of this. As a result, trains would crossover from one track to another at Winslow. This caused delays for trains waiting to crossover. The fly over is to keep to flow of traffic going and have trains cross over to the main track they need to be on.The wash has nothing to do with the flyover. This wasn't the original location for the flyover. The wash and dangerous of flash floods have played a role into how the flyover will he built (drainage system).

 

 

 
 
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Posted by ChuckCobleigh on Tuesday, November 3, 2020 3:29 AM

SD60MAC9500
Here's a statement from said Hogger I mentioned earlier

Yup, that makes sense. Looking at the replay of Flagstaff tonight, EB on M1 and WB on M2, reversing the previous practice. Less juggling for DS, for sure.

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Posted by rdamon on Wednesday, November 4, 2020 3:08 PM

New Video .. no shots of the switches

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Posted by diningcar on Wednesday, November 4, 2020 5:28 PM

Just watched NOV. 1 action with all shots taken at or near the flyover - none at either E or W connections. Trains were operating E or W on all THREE tracks in either direction at this location. Looks like this is all being done at the DS's discreation. 

Interesting shot of twelve deaheaded WB locomotives on Main 2. Comments or observations welcome. 

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Posted by rdamon on Monday, January 25, 2021 12:54 PM

Looks like heavy snow in AZ caused a derailment.  Trains are backing up in Belen and Barstow cameras.

 

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Posted by MikeF90 on Wednesday, April 7, 2021 2:55 PM

I may have mentioned this 'under the radar' capital project last year, but the new Mojave Narrows replacement bridge on the Cajon sub is complete and one track is cut in. Higher track speeds and no more clearance issues, yay! Extensive photo coverage is shown here: https://www.trainmaster.ch/XC-20-2.htm

Reportedly the stone piers for the old bridges will remain for possible use by a third track, if ever needed. IMO they will need to extend the third MT from Summit first to accomodate 'no fitters' better.

Rumor has it that BNSF is thinking about removing the Frost 'natural' flyover in order to straighten out the trackage and remove the adjacent 35 MPH zone (and clearance issues?).

Links to my Google Maps ---> Sunset Route overview, SoCal metro, Yuma sub, Gila sub, SR east of Tucson, BNSF Northern Transcon and Southern Transcon

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Posted by SD60MAC9500 on Friday, April 9, 2021 11:36 PM
 

MikeF90

 

Rumor has it that BNSF is thinking about removing the Frost 'natural' flyover in order to straighten out the trackage and remove the adjacent 35 MPH zone (and clearance issues?).

 

Man they've been talking about this for years... Are they finally going to pull the trigger this time?

 
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Posted by kgbw49 on Saturday, April 10, 2021 10:12 AM

That would then bring conjecture as to whether they replace it with a flyover similar to the one in Arizona or whether they use crossovers. I would suspect crossovers for two reasons - the environmental and other permitting for a larger faster flyover are likely to be daunting in CA, and leaving room for a future third main track through that area may be an important consideration.

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Posted by kgbw49 on Saturday, April 10, 2021 10:24 AM

One has to hand it to BNSF - they are the Class I that seems to have most consistently added capacity to their system over the last decade or so. That could be attributable to not having to commit capital to share buybacks anymore.

They have added and expanded logistics parks, continued to eliminate single-track bottlenecks with second bridges at major river crossings and second, third and even fourth main track additions, and have expanded their intermodal reach into the Southeast and Midwest with agreements to reach Atlanta and North Baltimore.

As the economy recovers from COVID-19 it is going to be interesting to see what happens to their revenue numbers.

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Posted by MikeF90 on Saturday, April 10, 2021 12:01 PM

kgbw49
That would then bring conjecture as to whether they replace it with a flyover similar to the one in Arizona or whether they use crossovers.

IMO permitting or land acquisition wouldn't be too bad in SB county high desert. Flyover much closer to Barstow yard, terrain looks promising, hmm. Future third track, ehh we'll see. Much lower cost of movable frog high speed crossovers for the win Big Smile. Of course I could be wrong - justification for the Truxton flyover is still baffling.

On another cost saving speculation, Mulvane KS area trackage looks like the result of decades of false starts and perhaps wierd internal politics. After adding a second track east of CP East Jct, five CPs could be replaced by two high speed turnouts where the Emporia sub north track crosses the Ark City sub. Or maybe a flyover Laugh .....

Links to my Google Maps ---> Sunset Route overview, SoCal metro, Yuma sub, Gila sub, SR east of Tucson, BNSF Northern Transcon and Southern Transcon

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Posted by rdamon on Saturday, April 10, 2021 12:31 PM

One would think if they had planned on eliminating the natural crossover they would not have needed the Truxton project.

 

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Posted by diningcar on Saturday, April 10, 2021 6:23 PM

One would think if they had planned on eliminating the natural crossover they would not have needed the Truxton project.  

I suggest that the two have minimal relationship. They are more than 300 miles apart. After I originally had other ideas, I believe the Truxton Flyover was created to eliminate gradient issues for eastward trains departing Needles. There was a gradual climb toward Kingman using the 1920's south track construction and this gradual climb continued to Truxton. From Truxton the south track on toward the Yampai summit had a more adverse grade. By creating the Flyover to the lesser north track grade the need for locomotive power deparing Needles would permit the trains to make the run all the way to Belen where power could be added or subtracted.

Shorter version: I suggest with the cost of new  locomotives, and the desire to maintain speed up to 70 mph for designated trains, BNSF was looking for a way to preplan the power needed between Needles (perhaps Barstow) and Belen. 

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Posted by MikeF90 on Saturday, April 10, 2021 8:26 PM

rdamon
One would think if they had planned on eliminating the natural crossover they would not have needed the Truxton project.

Just so there is no confusion, the Frost flyover was built to improve access for westbounds to main #3, the original steep 3% grade MT west from Summit. Now that the third track has been built main #3 may be used a little less, but .... traffic conflict happens.

Links to my Google Maps ---> Sunset Route overview, SoCal metro, Yuma sub, Gila sub, SR east of Tucson, BNSF Northern Transcon and Southern Transcon

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Posted by rdamon on Saturday, April 10, 2021 10:18 PM

MikeF90

 

 
rdamon
One would think if they had planned on eliminating the natural crossover they would not have needed the Truxton project.

 

Just so there is no confusion, the Frost flyover was built to improve access for westbounds to main #3, the original steep 3% grade MT west from Summit. Now that the third track has been built main #3 may be used a little less, but .... traffic conflict happens.

 

So with Truxton, can we assume that Westbounds will now be left hand running when they enter the Cajon Sub?

Guess I am confused why they would add a flyover then take one out ..  :)

 

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Posted by diningcar on Sunday, April 11, 2021 8:24 AM

rdamon

 At Barstow they may be crossed over as they leave. There are 50 MPH xovers at many locations but leaving yards at crew change locations Barstow, Needles, Winslow and Belen creates options where trains must stop.

 
MikeF90

 

 
rdamon
One would think if they had planned on eliminating the natural crossover they would not have needed the Truxton project.

 

Just so there is no confusion, the Frost flyover was built to improve access for westbounds to main #3, the original steep 3% grade MT west from Summit. Now that the third track has been built main #3 may be used a little less, but .... traffic conflict happens.

 

 

 

So with Truxton, can we assume that Westbounds will now be left hand running when they enter the Cajon Sub?

Guess I am confused why they would add a flyover then take one out ..  :)

 

 

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Posted by samfp1943 on Sunday, April 11, 2021 8:58 AM

[quote user="diningcar"]

One would think if they had planned on eliminating the natural crossover they would not have needed the Truxton project.  

I suggest that the two have minimal relationship. They are more than 300 miles apart. After I originally had other ideas, I believe the Truxton Flyover was created to eliminate gradient issues for eastward trains departing Needles. There was a gradual climb toward Kingman using the 1920's south track construction and this gradual climb continued to Truxton. From Truxton the south track on toward the Yampai summit had a more adverse grade. By creating the Flyover to the lesser north track grade the need for locomotive power deparing Needles would permit the trains to make the run all the way to Belen where power could be added or subtracted.

"...Shorter version: I suggest with the cost of new  locomotives, and the desire to maintain speed up to 70 mph for designated trains, BNSF was looking for a way to preplan the power needed between Needles (perhaps Barstow) and Belen..."

[ highlighted quote per dc.] 

 [/quote]
 
Thanks,  DININGCAR!    Your explanation, make s some pretty, sound sense!  Sitting here, on what effectively is a major 'on-ramp' for the Southern Transcon  [about MP #126.5 (?): on Main 3 of the Eldorado sub] we are starting to see more of those WB 'land barges' on what seem
 to be 'regular' times (?)....
"SPEED"  May be the reason for the last, few months of track construction back east/north (?)   in the Flint Hills ?    Not to also mention the installation of a 'high-speed switch, on the end of Main #3, just north of the old Mulvane station/ (now a museum).  
 
 Just mark me down as an interested observer,
                                   on the back deck, here. Whistling

 

 


 

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Posted by SD60MAC9500 on Sunday, April 11, 2021 6:52 PM
 

While we're talking about potential works to the ST. Any plans to daylight Nelson Tunnel on the Seligman Sub?

 
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Posted by MikeF90 on Monday, April 12, 2021 3:26 PM

SD60MAC9500
While we're talking about potential works to the ST. Any plans to daylight Nelson Tunnel on the Seligman Sub?

Not sure why they would need to. This video shows double stacks rolling safely through it:

Links to my Google Maps ---> Sunset Route overview, SoCal metro, Yuma sub, Gila sub, SR east of Tucson, BNSF Northern Transcon and Southern Transcon

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Posted by rdamon on Monday, April 12, 2021 8:01 PM

Only reason to do it on purpose would be to add a 3rd track, but they may just do a bypass like Tehachapi.

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Posted by SD60MAC9500 on Monday, April 12, 2021 9:26 PM
 

MikeF90

 

 
SD60MAC9500
While we're talking about potential works to the ST. Any plans to daylight Nelson Tunnel on the Seligman Sub?

 

Not sure why they would need to. This video shows double stacks rolling safely through it:

 

Yes clearance isn't an issue. Though being a short tunnel at approx 400' in length figure daylight it and get rid of another maintenance item. 

 
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Posted by PNWRMNM on Tuesday, April 13, 2021 7:49 AM

SD60MAC9500
Yes clearance isn't an issue. Though being a short tunnel at approx 400' in length figure daylight it and get rid of another maintenance item. 

What is the maintenance cost per year? What is the capital investment to daylight? What is the return on investment? Does it meet the BNSF's hurdle rate? Are there other projects that return more? If so fund them first!

That is the financial way to say if it aint broke dont fix it.

Mac

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Posted by SD60MAC9500 on Tuesday, April 13, 2021 10:13 AM
 

PNWRMNM

 

 
SD60MAC9500
Yes clearance isn't an issue. Though being a short tunnel at approx 400' in length figure daylight it and get rid of another maintenance item. 

 

What is the maintenance cost per year? What is the capital investment to daylight? What is the return on investment? Does it meet the BNSF's hurdle rate? Are there other projects that return more? If so fund them first!

That is the financial way to say if it aint broke dont fix it.

Mac

 

You are right. I also imagine geology plays a role as well in determining the feasibility of removal or not.

 
 
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Posted by kgbw49 on Tuesday, April 13, 2021 10:12 PM

It would appear that one major tunnel maintenance headache that is common in many northern tunnels in less-arid regions is the impact of water.

In other locales, there is ground water in the strata above a tunnel that will want to seep in to the tunnel. There then is the freeze-thaw cycle of more northern climates that can then play havoc with a tunnel and all that water that wants to seep in.

It appears that with this Seligman Tunnel, the groundwater factor and its negative impact on a tunnel is not in play, or at least greatly minimized by the desert climate. 

Since they can fit doublestacks through the bore on both tracks at the same time, and probably have minimal maintenance issues, BNSF can employ their capital to other projects.

One single track gap on the Southern Transcon that it would be interesting to watch them close is getting a second bridge over the Missouri River at Sibley, MO. That will be a big dollar project on the dollar scale of double tracking Abo Canyon.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Bt9IkA_VMqc

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kFhjsfcnxSw

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Posted by diningcar on Wednesday, April 14, 2021 3:57 PM

kgbw49
One single track gap on the Southern Transcon that it would be interesting to watch them close is getting a second bridge over the Missouri River at Sibley, MO. That will be a big dollar project on the dollar scale of double tracking Abo Canyon.

The Sibley bridge is a complex issue that has grown due to UP trackage rights but is not as busy as, for example, the Gallup Sub. 

At one time Santa Fe had a gauntlant track arrangement on this bridge but gave it up more than 70 years ago. Perhaps infrastructure funds will be allocated here; but first the Feds must approve any design over the Missouri River

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Posted by kgbw49 on Sunday, April 18, 2021 10:37 PM

It sure is an interesting construction. From the west it appears the bridge is hung right off the bluff, while from the east there is a lengthy and very large fill over the flood plain ramping up to the height of the bluff.

I am always amazed at the ingenuity, expertise and intelligence exhibited by the engineers from hundreds of years ago who designed and constructed these amazing structures without the benefit of computers, Autocad, hydraulic cranes and other modern tools and equipment.

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