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Sunset Route Two-Tracking Updates

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Posted by Awesome! on Sunday, July 6, 2008 10:26 AM
Thanks for the updates!
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Posted by silicon212 on Sunday, July 6, 2008 1:47 PM
 desertdog wrote:

From Maricopa east for several miles, crews have put down what appears to be finely crushed rock on top of the graded embankment for the second main.  No ballast, rail or ties are evident yet.  There are lengths of new rail lying on either side of the present main but they may be there to replace the existing rail.  I don't know this for sure; it's just conjecture on my part.

The embankment in largely in place from Maricopa to Casa Grande and all the culverts appear to be complete, including safety railings.  From Casa Grande east, there is some rough grading in progress as far as Eloy and some culverts and new bridges are complete.  East of there to Tucson, there are no signs of any new embankment and the culverts are in various stages of completion.

John Timm


I was in Maricopa yesterday and drove on that road that parallels the railroad for several miles.  I also noticed the graded area north of the existing track.  Also, east of the Amtrak depot, in a lot adjacent to the line, are a LOT of railroad ties, so they might be getting ready to lay the rail.  There is also a copious amount of concrete railroad grade crossing planks.

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Posted by ilikeplanes on Wednesday, July 9, 2008 3:30 AM
all the new rail that's laying there is for the new main.  the wooden ties at maricopa are for parts of re-tieing on the existing main with the exception of some concrete ones that are for the set-out tracks.  all the ties for the new main are sitting in tucson yard at the concrete tie facility.   when they do start laying new rail it will begin at estrella.
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Posted by cacole on Wednesday, July 9, 2008 9:40 AM

I drove from Tucson to Casa Grande Monday, July 7th, along the old highway that parallels the track.  From Tucson to Marana there is no sign of any activity save some utility lines being moved away from the UP right of way.

Bridges and culverts are being built or modified from Marana westward.  From Eloy to Casa Grande new bridges have been completed, fill dirt is being brought in and the roadbed is being graded.

A large staging area on the south edge of Picacho is a beehive of activity with pre-formed concrete bridge parts, steel beams, and other materials being trucked in and stockpiled.

If the UP intends to bring the new track elevation up to the same level as the existing track, thousands of hopper loads of fill dirt are going to be needed between Casa Grande and Tucson because the roadbed is elevated 3 or 4 feet above the surrounding terrain the entire distance.

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Posted by desertdog on Wednesday, July 9, 2008 11:17 AM
 cacole wrote:

If the UP intends to bring the new track elevation up to the same level as the existing track, thousands of hopper loads of fill dirt are going to be needed between Casa Grande and Tucson because the roadbed is elevated 3 or 4 feet above the surrounding terrain the entire distance.

I know what you mean.  However, if you go west from Casa Grande towards Bon and Maricopa where the fill for the roadbed is complete, you will see that much of the difference in elevation will be made up when they apply ballast.  There's not quite as much dirt involved as it might seem.

John Timm 

 

 

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Posted by Anonymous on Thursday, July 10, 2008 10:18 AM

Many thanks for the details of this. I noticed last year that UP was doing massive project on sunset. Maybe sooner or later Amtraks Sunset  will start running on time.

       Couple of other comments 1. saw in the Trains article someone was throwing up a lot of flak over Red Rock Yard.

2. Who put up the billboard about no trains ? (you can see it from e/b I-10) . Was it the same guy who sued the Army Claimed the Army's helicopters scared his ostriches to death?

 

Rgds IGN

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Posted by cacole on Sunday, July 13, 2008 9:07 AM

IGN,

A news item in Trains Magazine last year indicated that 50 or so residents of a trailer park somewhere in the Picacho area were the ones who put up the billboard opposing the Red Rock yard.

The billboard proclaims, "Save Our Peak!  No Rail Yard!" as if they think the UP is going to grind up Picacho Peak, which is a state park on the opposite side of I-10 from the railroad, to use as ballast.  They have even gone to the expense of hiring a lobbyist to file complaints with the Arizona Legislature and push through several bills aimed at stopping the UP.  The Governor has so far wisely vetoed every one of those bills as being an encroachment into STB and FRA regulatory authority, and pointing out that the UP owns the land and can build whatever they want on it.

Rooster Cockburn's Ostrich Farm has been on the verge of bankruptcy for several years, and his lawsuit against the military sounds like nothing more than an attempt to avoid the inevitable.

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Posted by K. P. Harrier on Tuesday, July 22, 2008 11:00 AM

As of Monday, July 21, 2008:

At West Colton Yard, Bloomington, CA:

The last signal for the east end of the new Cedar Ave. interlocking plant has been erected.  (Background left)

A switch was being completely replaced in the Arrival Yard.  All the tracks, except the main (on right), were red flagged.

After a new switch was dropped into place, activity intensified

 

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- K.P.’s absolute “theorem” from early, early childhood that he has seen over and over and over again: Those that CAUSE a problem in the first place will act the most violently if questioned or exposed.

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Posted by ilikeplanes on Tuesday, July 29, 2008 5:45 PM
the track laying has begun at estrella.  two new signals (non-operating right now) have been put up west of the west switch estrella.  basically our approach clear sixty and fifty signals.  the new crossover is halfway built and will most likely be cut in next week.  the new track section will go to maricopa.  when that is done maricopa will no longer be a siding rather the east end of double track.
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Posted by K. P. Harrier on Friday, August 8, 2008 9:47 AM

Documenting the Sunset Route Two-Tracking

Part ONE of Five:  East of RED ROCK to ELOY, AZ

(All photos below were taken Tuesday, August 5, 2008)

This odyssey begins in the east at the grade crossing at M.P. 953.60 adjacent a public service utility.  Looking westbound:  This appears to be the eastern limits of present activity (though between here and Tucson the line was not physically checked for activity)

This odd item may be more Union Pacific than one first realizes ... and actually reoccurs two more times in this five-part series ...

At the west end of RED ROCK, a westbound waits in the hole for a meet.  Drainage excavation is evident on the right background.  This view looks east from Park Link Road, M.P. 950.2

Odd quirks occur.  Yellow warning tape in the vicinity of M.P. 948 alerts graders to watch out for longtime hanging signal wires

Various bridge parts are now in a staging area west of CP SP945 WYMOLA

Looking east from the east switches of the PICACHO sidings.  Grading is clearly evident now.  Picacho Peak is in far background

Looking west:  In background far right is another staging area.  At the other end of these sidings, the line to Phoenix branches off towards the right.

Workers take down the railroad's old lineside wires

Somewhere west of PICACHO, the new track grading changes from the south side to the north.  Picacho Peak is in the background

Looking west in ELOY (from the M.P. 933.31 "Main Street" grade crossing).  A high pole with an antenna on it stands in the way of the alignment for the coming second track.  Grading is in the far right background

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- K.P.’s absolute “theorem” from early, early childhood that he has seen over and over and over again: Those that CAUSE a problem in the first place will act the most violently if questioned or exposed.

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Posted by tdmidget on Friday, August 8, 2008 10:40 AM
Tuscan? This goes all the way to Italy?

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Posted by desertdog on Friday, August 8, 2008 12:52 PM

East of Red Rock the signs of progress are very subtle: things like utilities and signal boxes being moved.  I will be down that way the week after next and will take notes. 

Meanwhile, various hearings are being held regarding what to do with grade crossings, especially in Maricopa and Casa Grande where the population has swelled in the last five years.

From the Maricopa Monitor (August 1):

"High gas prices have more distributors moving toward trains, which can haul the load of 300 semi-trucks, to transport products, said Zoe Gisela-Richmond, director of corporate relations for Union Pacific.

However the railroad company will have to get approval from the Arizona Corporation Commission before moving ahead with the double tracking project.

The ACC hosted a public hearing in Maricopa July 31.

"There is going to be a significant increase in train traffic and we want to make sure crossings are as safe as can be," said Kristin Mayes, corporation commissioner. "Union Pacific is required to make sure these crossings are safe."

 
Union Pacific estimates 40 trains cut through Maricopa every day. That number is expected to double, at least, once double tracking is completed.

The commission is looking at four crossings in Maricopa, located at Porter Road, White and Parker Road, Hartman Road and Arizona 347.

"The 347 is one of the busiest crossings in Arizona without an underpass or overpass," Mayes said.

Commissioner Gary Pierce said he worries about the amount of congestion and frustration that could be caused by adding another track, but not an overpass.

The Arizona Department of Transportation estimates grade separation construction would be completed in five years.

Both commissioners agreed five years would simply be too long.

"With train traffic increasing, a backup two or three lights long is not something you want to see," Pierce said. "That's going to create a lot of tension and the potential for danger."

A $60 to $112 million grade separation project would require a funding solution between city, state and Union Pacific officials, said Gisela-Richmond.

Gisela-Richmond said Union Pacific typically pays five percent of construction costs. A $35 million chunk of construction would be funded by the state transportation initiative if voters vote for the one cent sales tax increase in November.

Another option for the 347 crossing would be to add a bypass route that would relieve traffic backups.

The commission will host an evidentiary hearing Aug. 19 at the commission's Phoenix office, 1200 West Washington. The meeting begins at 9 a.m. "

 

John Timm 

 

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Posted by billio on Friday, August 8, 2008 1:22 PM
 desertdog wrote:

East of Red Rock the signs of progress are very subtle: things like utilities and signal boxes being moved.  I will be down that way the week after next and will take notes. 

Meanwhile, various hearings are being held regarding what to do with grade crossings, especially in Maricopa and Casa Grande where the population has swelled in the last five years.

From the Maricopa Monitor (August 1):

"High gas prices have more distributors moving toward trains, which can haul the load of 300 semi-trucks, to transport products, said Zoe Gisela-Richmond, director of corporate relations for Union Pacific.

However the railroad company will have to get approval from the Arizona Corporation Commission before moving ahead with the double tracking project.

The ACC hosted a public hearing in Maricopa July 31.

"There is going to be a significant increase in train traffic and we want to make sure crossings are as safe as can be," said Kristin Mayes, corporation commissioner. "Union Pacific is required to make sure these crossings are safe."

 
Union Pacific estimates 40 trains cut through Maricopa every day. That number is expected to double, at least, once double tracking is completed.

The commission is looking at four crossings in Maricopa, located at Porter Road, White and Parker Road, Hartman Road and Arizona 347.

"The 347 is one of the busiest crossings in Arizona without an underpass or overpass," Mayes said.

Commissioner Gary Pierce said he worries about the amount of congestion and frustration that could be caused by adding another track, but not an overpass.

The Arizona Department of Transportation estimates grade separation construction would be completed in five years.

Both commissioners agreed five years would simply be too long.

"With train traffic increasing, a backup two or three lights long is not something you want to see," Pierce said. "That's going to create a lot of tension and the potential for danger."

A $60 to $112 million grade separation project would require a funding solution between city, state and Union Pacific officials, said Gisela-Richmond.

Gisela-Richmond said Union Pacific typically pays five percent of construction costs. A $35 million chunk of construction would be funded by the state transportation initiative if voters vote for the one cent sales tax increase in November.

Another option for the 347 crossing would be to add a bypass route that would relieve traffic backups.

The commission will host an evidentiary hearing Aug. 19 at the commission's Phoenix office, 1200 West Washington. The meeting begins at 9 a.m. " 

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

All this procedural bumpf could add two years to UP's timetable for completing work on the Sunset Route.  UP can mitigate some of it by working on stretches where no towns exist (east and west of Yuma, for example), but there will be no way to expedite the administrative process, and one suspects that the pols and 'crats, few of whom seem UP-friendly, will do all in their power to drag out the process.

My two bits worth.   --billio

 

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Posted by K. P. Harrier on Friday, August 8, 2008 7:31 PM

 tdmidget wrote:
Tuscan? This goes all the way to Italy?

Whoops.  Tucson ...

K.P.

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Posted by K. P. Harrier on Saturday, August 9, 2008 6:13 AM

Documenting the Sunset Route Two-Tracking:

Part TWO of Five:  From ELOY, AZ to MONTGOMERY ROAD

(All photos below were taken Tuesday, August 5, 2008)

A tractor works west of Battaglia Road grade crossing at M.P. 931.35.

Allot of activity was transpiring east of the Houser Road grade crossing at M.P. 930.28.

This is an interesting alignment and drainage situation.   View looks east from the Toltec Road grade crossing at M.P. 928.6.  Some maintenance roads alongside the tracks go over wide drainage culverts (as in this case).  Others don't.

A heavy roller hardens the flattened ground.

Looking WEST:  Somewhere in the vicinity of Interstate 10 the new track shifts from the north side (as in this view) to the south side.  Note the higher clearance of the bridge where the present single-track goes underneath

Looking EAST at the above I-10 overpass, this time from Cox Road, M.P. 923.6

View looking WEST from Cox Road clearly shows new second main will have shifted to the south side

From Interstate 10, as the south side second main grading heads westward and approaches Casa Grande, AZ, it stops.  West of Casa Grande, it resumes

View from Ethington Road, looking east, around M.P. 915:  Grading resumption is still on the south side (right).

However, looking westward, the grading shifts to the north side, apparently through the grade crossing.  (Note the consistent grade width in far background compared to the foreground)

Looking west from Montgomery Road, the new track will still be on the north side (right)

Looking east ...

The several minutes approaching blinding light was as if it was from another dimension of space and time!  But, in reality, it was only a UP freight that the sun super-glaringly reflected off its windshield as the train kept approaching ... On the photo left, between the highway and the track, the project's grading is well along

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- K.P.’s absolute “theorem” from early, early childhood that he has seen over and over and over again: Those that CAUSE a problem in the first place will act the most violently if questioned or exposed.

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Posted by billio on Saturday, August 9, 2008 3:18 PM

Regarding the picutres above of trackwork around  West Colton Yard: 

I just joined these threads, so please forgive the lag between your most informative post and this query.  I noted about a year ago in good ole TRAINS MAGAZINE that ten or so bowl tracks were to be added to West Colton Yard.  Just wondering if that yard expansion has taken place, and I figured that since the aforementioned yard is the subject of your photo spread, perhaps you'd know the answer. 

Thanks in advance.  --billio

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Posted by billio on Saturday, August 9, 2008 3:19 PM
Looks like they're serious!
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Posted by K. P. Harrier on Sunday, August 10, 2008 6:21 AM

Documenting the Sunset Route Two-Tracking:

Part THREE of Five:  From west of MONTGOMERY ROAD to MARICOPA, AZ

(All photos below were taken Monday and Tuesday, August 4 and 5, 2008)

At Anderson Road, M.P. 906.3, a strange painted line in the ballast marks something at the site

Looking east

Looking west:  The grading on the right, north side, is for the new main.  The short grading on the left is for an unknown purpose

In a somewhat perplexing development, at this location both signal target heads are now on a mast BETWEEN the old main and the new future additional main.  The eastbound signal's number is 9020 (in the vicinity of M.P. 902)

At Porter Road in Maricopa, a new north-side crossing gate base has been positioned (foreground center).  So much of this rather new pavement, curbing, and sidewalks will have to be torn out here for the second main

Maricopa, AZ is a rather maverick situation for the two-tracking project, and shrouded in semi-contradiction.

From east to west, the present single-track line crosses John Wayne Parkway (S.R. 347), which is the key north-south thoroughfare in Maricopa.   However, in heading west, the NEW north side westward grading abruptly stops before that thoroughfare.  The business establishment in the photo right seems to be exceptionally close to the future new main.

However, when viewed FROM the west, an eastward perspective shows close but sufficient clearance.  Of interest, the Maricopa Amtrak station, which reportedly may be relocated, currently has two cement walkways that lineup with both the present and previously planned future track alignment.

A westward view shows a rather historic, steam engine era water tower that would conflict with any new main's alignment that passed between the foreground walkway slabs.

So, the evidence points to the truthfulness of an earlier report in this topic thread that, from the east, the north side alignment of the future new track will NOT pass through the prepared cement walkways, but will alignment shift to the south side of the current main as it proceeds westward.

Look what is staged a block or two west of the Amtrak depot and John Wayne Parkway ... Control Point boxes with location names on them!

The box's individual signs read from left to right:  "CP SP876 ESTRELLA," "CP SP884 MOBILE," and "CP SP882 MOBILE."  PERHAPS between the two MOBILE control points there with be a controlled siding in addition to the two mains

A close-up of the box for CP SP876 ESTRELLA

The staging area also has some signal masts, ladders, and platforms, but no heads

Hmm ... Look what is neatly stacked up on the right of the Maricopa siding Control Point box ... More tires!

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- K.P.’s absolute “theorem” from early, early childhood that he has seen over and over and over again: Those that CAUSE a problem in the first place will act the most violently if questioned or exposed.

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Posted by Modelcar on Sunday, August 10, 2008 7:14 AM

......Railroad building out on massive flat terrain must be a "joy" to locating engineers compared with mountain climbing and establishing useable grades.

Enjoyed all the update photos on this double tracking project.  Thanks to K P for sharing. 

Have been around railroads in Az. many years ago and appreciate the distances across deserts and similar terrain....Very interesting.

Quentin

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Posted by passengerfan on Sunday, August 10, 2008 9:53 AM

Thanks for the updates KP once again you have given us the latest that is going on. I just have one question you must have the most understanding wife in California.

I left on my big railfan adventure two weeks ago only to arrive at Tehachapi sans camera. Seems either I or the wife conveniently left it out of the trunk. Oh well I guess I will get another chance before the summer is over. I had planned on shooting the Coast Line, Tehachapi, Cajon, and the area around San Diego. Instead I visited the San Diego Zoo, several restaurants, untold shopping malls,and ended up in Las Vegas.  That was the only lucky thing I did on the entire eight day vacation. Actually paid for the vacation and the wifes shopping. And finally went through Yosemite the day before the fire started.

The next time I go on a railfan vacation the better half is going to visit one of her sisters and the first thing in the car will be the camera bag.

Al - in - Stockton

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Posted by desertdog on Sunday, August 10, 2008 2:34 PM

K.P.,

As always, a picture is worth a thousand words... Thanks for keeping us all up to date.

As to the new crossing east of Maricopa at Cowtown, I watched as they poured concrete, thinking that it would all have to be torn out at taxpayer expense sooner than later.  Cannot have been more than a year to a year and a half ago.  My guess is that UP wanted to avoid hassles with local authorities of the kind they got into over in Willcox by "presuming" they had "local permission" to build the second main.

I understand that the ex-SP water tank at Maricopa and the well it sits on are now owned by the City and are part of the local water system.  That said, it has been posted above that the second main will be a continuation of the Maricopa siding which is on the south side of the current main.  If that is true, the water tank is safe and the concrete shown at the depot will be as useless as that at Anderson Road.  Such is the folly of government.

 

John Timm 

 

 

John Timm

 

 

 

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Posted by K. P. Harrier on Monday, August 11, 2008 6:46 AM

Documenting the Sunset Route Two-Tracking:

Part FOUR of Five:  West of MARICOPA to SHAWMUT; plus BLAISDELL near YUMA, AZ

(All photos below were taken Monday, August 4, 2008; except Blaisdell, Tuesday August 5)

At Ralston Road, M.P. 893.38, looking east:

Looking west:  Note, there are some more tires AGAIN!

At Rio Bravo Road, M.P. 891.34, looking east

Looking west:

Typical roadway writing for such track projects

At 83rd Avenue, looking eastward

Looking westward:

Remember the signal box for CP SP876 ESTRELLA that was at Maricopa?  Here is the ESTRELLA site. This photo shows one of the remotely controlled crossover switch motors.  This was the only place between RED ROCK and SHAWMUT that new switch turnouts were present and in place

A couple miles west of the new ESTRELLA, a mast has been erected with intermediate tri-lights

Further west between ESTRELLA and SHAWMUT, a very strange signal beast exists!  The signal heads appear to have only two lamps each, with un-contemporary circular black disks

Now, near Yuma ...

Looking westbound, CP SP747 BLAISDELL has been the eastern end of a section of two-tracks from CP SP743 FORTUNA.   Work on this control point apparently stopped at some unknown previous time, and the double-crossover has remained incomplete for months

A grade crossing is in the middle of the planned double-crossover.  The rail sections on the left don't even lineup yet.  The right-of-way here is actually on a northeast-southwest axis.

Work on the eastbound side of the double-crossover never really got going

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- K.P.’s absolute “theorem” from early, early childhood that he has seen over and over and over again: Those that CAUSE a problem in the first place will act the most violently if questioned or exposed.

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Posted by K. P. Harrier on Tuesday, August 12, 2008 6:39 AM

Documenting the Sunset Route Two-Tracking:

Part FIVE of Five:  YUMA, AZ, Plus NILAND to THERMAL (near Indio), CA

(All photos below were taken Tuesday, August 5, 2008)

On a north-south axis, the great, narrow, single-track truss bridge on the right, built in 1923, spans the Colorado River. The street bridge on the left is single lane, and stop lights indication which direction the flow of motorist traffic is in

A double-stacker crosses the railroad bridge.

The two bridges give a beautiful view for pedestrians, motorist, and trainmen alike.  Note the truss bridge's walkways and protective fencing for railroaders.  On bridges WITHOUT such walkways, in disconnected air hose situations, railcars must literally be ‘dragged' slowly off the bridge with locked, sliding wheels to a location where crewmembers can physical reach and reattach the hoses

The western (north side) approach:  A new second main bridge would of necessity have to be on the photo FARSIDE (right) of the present structure

However, the track going underneath the roadway overpass will necessitate a NEARSIDE (left) future second track alignment, IF UP does in fact two-track over the Colorado River.  On the left, the border between California and Arizona follows (on the south side) the here east-west Colorado River, but about 100 feet west of the ROADWAY truss bridge that parallels the track, the border turns northward and follows an alignment parallel the pictured overpass.  So, the railroad's truss bridge is technically ALL in the state of Arizona.

Beautiful terrain west of the bridge

A quarter of a mile south of the bridge (far side) eastbound trains, having traversed the bridge, stop, and probably change crews; but the trailing railcars stop on and completely tie up the single-track bridge crossing.  A second main and bridge here would be most valuable to the railroad

In all the above Yuma photographic effort, much time was consumed walking around the area and up and down hills in sweltering 110 degree heat (was someone crazy or what?).  It is hoped at least SOMEONE feels the result of all this effort is halfway cool ...

Far away in California now ... This bridge, which is actually below sea-level, is one of the more interesting structures on the Sunset Route within the state.  NO second-track construction was observed anywhere between Niland and Thermal.  But, when the two-tracking does reach this bridge, it will be interesting to see what UP erects here

Between THERMAL and INDIO (probably 8-10 miles), for many years the line has been "double-track," i.e., one track for westwards, the other for eastwards.   Just EAST of that double-track section was a single-track bridge.  A paralleling bridge is now under construction there.

Assessing What Was Observed

Except at the future CP ESTRELLA, NO track whatsoever was observed to have been laid.  Only grading, culverts, and bridgework was present; and that after many months of work!

A fascinating trip note:  On the way east to Arizona from California on the early morning of Monday, August 4, 2008, the newly graded strip alongside the present single-track BETWEEN both the end of two-tracks at EAST THOUSAND PALMS (CP SP603) (CA) and double-track at WEST INDIO (CP SP610), no track laying or equipment for such was observed.  HOWEVER, on the return the evening of the next day, tie laying machines and rail positioning tractors had actually started laying ties and positioning rails from BOTH opposite end points working toward a midway point!

One has to wonder, after UP completes the current Indio, CA area second track laying, IF both of the tie laying and rail positioning train sets will head east to Arizona.  IF THEY DO (and that is a big IF), Arizona could finally see next month major advances and vivid progress in the two-tracking project there.  One machine could start working EAST from ESTRELLA, the other working WEST from perhaps MOBILE, or even MARICOPA

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- K.P.’s absolute “theorem” from early, early childhood that he has seen over and over and over again: Those that CAUSE a problem in the first place will act the most violently if questioned or exposed.

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Posted by billio on Tuesday, August 12, 2008 7:26 AM
Thanks for a most informative update, KP.  Your loss of body coolant (sweat) around Yuma is particularly appreciated.  It will be interesting to see progress inching its way along the Sunset Route. --billio
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Posted by K. P. Harrier on Wednesday, August 13, 2008 7:56 AM

Passengerfan (8-10):

Yes, I got a super great wife!  When we were dating years and years ago, I knew I was onto something good when she walked a right-of-way with me for six miles!

Too bad your camera got left behind for your recent trip ... Instead of shooting photos of trains, you visited "untold shopping malls."  Hmmm ... That sounds kind of suspicious!  Ha, ha.  Putting the camera in the car first is reassuring!

Modelcar (8-10):

As you said, "flat terrain" must be a "joy" for railroad design engineers at Union Pacific.  And, it is relatively cheap, too, probably between $2 and $3 million a mile.  In contrast, the triple-tracking in the mountainous Cajon Pass (CA) is costing BNSF Railway $5 million a mile!  In many places BNSF had to cut away solid rock for a whole train width plus an access road.

The worst on the Sunset Route is probably places like in the below photo between BLAISDELL AND KINTER near Yuma, AZ.  This past visit, I thought grading here would be well along, but it wasn't.

Desertdog (8-10):

I think UP is footing the bill for grade crossing modifications needed for the second track, but that is just my opinion.

Arizona communities want their cake and eat it too, and are demanding UP pay for overpasses and underpasses!

Personally, it is wondered what would happen if the conflict escalated and ultimately reached all the way up to the United States Supreme Court!

That Maricopa ex-Southern Pacific water tower ... It is great to see something like that in this day and age, even if probably the city owns it.  Can you imagine SP 4-8-4 4449 60-years ago stopping to take on water there?

Billio (8-12):

You are welcome.  It is funny, the 110 degree heat didn't really seem to bother me.  But, I'm glad I brought ALLOT of ice water with me, though!  It was the shoes that got me!  Ouch. 

Thanks, everyone.

K.P.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- K.P.’s absolute “theorem” from early, early childhood that he has seen over and over and over again: Those that CAUSE a problem in the first place will act the most violently if questioned or exposed.

  • Member since
    December 2004
  • From: Mesa, AZ
  • 778 posts
Posted by silicon212 on Wednesday, August 13, 2008 2:27 PM

K. P. - Excellent photo series!  You are assured you didn't waste your time in the heat to take these pictures - they are appreciated by all!

 

  • Member since
    February 2002
  • From: Muncie, Indiana...Orig. from Pennsylvania
  • 13,456 posts
Posted by Modelcar on Wednesday, August 13, 2008 8:32 PM

....Appreciated by all...for sure K P...!  Great clear photos showing really great scenes....Especially the somewhat different shots around those bridges.

I appreciate the heat you speak of having done automotive testing in the desert around Topock to Kingman and over several mountain passes in between many years ago.

Really enjoy seeing your great coverage of the project...in such great photos and captions.

Quentin

  • Member since
    October 2003
  • 7,968 posts
Posted by K. P. Harrier on Saturday, August 16, 2008 3:43 PM

Update As of Friday, August 15, 2008:

The two tie and rail positioning train sets reported as having started working toward each other from WEST INDIO in the east and EAST THOUSAND PALMS on the west have apparently quickly completed there assigned task, and were nowhere to be found this date.  It is unknown if they departed for Arizona or not.

Looking west at CP WEST INDIO.  A new, temporary switch has been laid on the south side (foreground left) at the end of double-track in the east.  One tie train had started there and worked west

The new track was laid over the new bridge in Indio.  The overpass where the above photo was taken from is on the far background right

New intermediate signals west of the above bridge

The new intermediate signal's number plates have been reversed while the signals still are not in service

Two photos from Washington Street west of the old MYOMA siding:  A previous view and a new one.  Shutdown track aligning equipment was starting to spend the weekend quietly by itself.  One can see just how fast the track laying has progress in just a week and a half.  Note that the new track is now on the left, or north side.  It shifted from the south side just east of the old, now out of service east switch MYOMA

The second main between CP EAST THOUSAND PALMS in the east and WEST GARNET in the west is all now in service.

Note this west looking view of the west switch at the SALVIA siding taken three months ago when the second main was under construction

This is a present, up close east looking view of the west end of CP SALVIA.  (The bridge where the above photo was taken from is in the background lower left.)  The signals on the cantilevered structure on the left are super-deceptive.  Both lower heads have background shields for three vertical lights, but only have two actual light modules.  This location also mixes signal types.  The signals on the left are absolutes, whereas the signals on the right are intermediates.

A west looking view

This previous view looks west at the Amtrak station.  The tracks are, from left to right, the east siding, Main 2, Main 1, a UP spur.  Note the two control point absolute signals on the lower left.  This is where two mains became one.

The control point is now gone, and two tracks head east (lower left).

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- K.P.’s absolute “theorem” from early, early childhood that he has seen over and over and over again: Those that CAUSE a problem in the first place will act the most violently if questioned or exposed.

  • Member since
    January 2005
  • From: Ely, Nv.
  • 6,312 posts
Posted by chad thomas on Saturday, August 16, 2008 4:15 PM
Great updates KP, keep em' comming, thay are really appriciated.Thumbs Up [tup]
mvs
  • Member since
    August 2008
  • 226 posts
Posted by mvs on Saturday, August 16, 2008 10:37 PM
 K. P. Harrier wrote:
Update As of Friday, August 15, 2008:

The two tie and rail positioning train sets reported as having started working toward each other from WEST INDIO in the east and EAST THOUSAND PALMS on the west have apparently quickly completed there assigned task, and were nowhere to be found this date.  It is unknown if they departed for Arizona or not.

Looking west at CP WEST INDIO.  A new, temporary switch has been laid on the south side (foreground left) at the end of double-track in the east.  One tie train had started there and worked west

K.P.: Thank you very much for your amazing photo updates! I have three questions.

1. In your very first photo in this spot, are you confident that they will replace that temporary switch? Logic says they will replace that switch and make it just two tracks paralleling each other, with no crossovers. I would hope that they replace that switch and try to smooth out the area as best as they can, like they did at Garnet.

2. Also from that first photo, it looks like there is a jog in the tracks on approach to the new concrete bridge... will they try to straighten that out as well?

3. Lastly, will they replace the double track ABS with two main track CTC once this project is complete through Thermal?

Thank you so so much for these great updates!

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