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Sunset Route Two-Tracking Updates

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Posted by desertdog on Saturday, September 27, 2008 7:22 PM
 mvs wrote:

Thank you desertdog for the info. I thought they would switch the new main to the north side at Maricopa, but I could definitely be wrong.

Thank you also to K.P. for another picture update! It looks like the billboards' days are numbered.

The new main will for certain switch to the north side around Maricopa.  From a point just east of the old feed mill, the roadbed is completed.  The big question is where the transition will begin.  The presence of a signal hut at the end of the current siding, along with what I heard from the employee on site just raises more questions than it answers.  If I had to guess, I would say that the transition will begin somewhere west of Maricopa road.  Time will tell.

John Timm

 

 

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Posted by K. P. Harrier on Sunday, September 28, 2008 8:48 AM

mvs (9-25):

 mvs wrote:
K.P.: Thank you again for this pictorial update! Do you have any indication of how far west they are extending the second main track for now? (I know they are not yet going all the way to Pomona).

Thanks for you kind words ... I do NOT have any official word as to how far west UP will go from West Colton with the two-tracking.  Previously, from SIERRA, the 100 Track extended about two miles west.  With the addition of a second main westward from SIERRA, I suspect a new several-track control point will be at least two miles westward also.

Of interest, at the Citrus Ave. overpass in Fontana, CA about a mile west of Sierra Ave., I saw a few days ago potential problems for the second main.  Hopefully, I will be able to get back there within two to three weeks to check things out in more depth, and will be able to comment more then.

desertdog (9-27):

Thanks for the continuing input from Arizona.

 desertdog wrote:

[A] new relay box for the Maricopa Rd. crossing signals, along with a power pole, have been planted smack dab in the path of the projected extension of the siding on the south side of the main.  If anyone is confused by all this, be comforted by the fact that I am, too.

While I have no new official word on this matter, I suggest the following:

Since rail traffic will NOT be increased for a couple more years account of continuing second-track construction in California and Arizona, maybe what you observed is a manifestation of railroad hard-ball tactics, i.e., the railroad will just go single-track over the Maricopa grade crossing.  Arizona officials are NOT stupid, and eventually it will dawn on them that it is more practical to have two trains at the same time traversing a two-track grade-crossing than have two separate trains traversing it on single-track and at separate times.  Wouldn't it then be funny if community and state officials beg the railroad to put in a second track over the grade crossing?

Just a thought ...

CShaveRR (9-27):

 CShaveRR wrote:
On my home subdivision, a former CNW property, we had a couple of control points added or modified; they were given numbers in the 900 series.  I really don't know why, because the last two digits were still based (roughly) on the mileposts.  But I mentioned this to show that the strange numbering for your new control point is not without precedent.

Thanks for your observation and report of similar situations in your state, Illinois.

A possible explanation:  Most control points are normal situations, hence, have normal numerology.  However, at Riverside Ave. in California's West Colton Yard, Track 1 has INTERMEDIATE singles, whereas Track 2 involves ABSOLUTE signals.  Perhaps the differing number series identifications are to help dispatchers and train crews remember that such control points involved BOTH type signals.

CShaveRR, do the unorthodoxly designated control points you reported have BOTH types of signals in them, i.e., one track with number plated intermediate signals whereas the other track has absolute signals WITHOUT number plates?

A Question for Anyone:

West out of El Paso, TX it is understood trains are biased toward right-handed running, i.e., westbounds generally use Track 1, whereas eastbounds are routed Track 2, though either track can be used.  That is also the case on Beaumont Hill in California.

At Cienega Creek east of Tucson, Track 1 goes over Track 2.  At Tucson, the designations reverse, so Track 1 is again the northern most track and vise versa.  This has been no problem with single track west of Tucson, namely, from Stockham west.  But, when the line is two-tracked all the way to the west coast, will trains then be left handed biased from Cienega Creek west to Los Angeles?

Thanks,

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.

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Posted by mvs on Sunday, September 28, 2008 8:11 PM
 K. P. Harrier wrote:
A Question for Anyone:

West out of El Paso, TX it is understood trains are biased toward right-handed running, i.e., westbounds generally use Track 1, whereas eastbounds are routed Track 2, though either track can be used.  That is also the case on Beaumont Hill in California.

At Cienega Creek east of Tucson, Track 1 goes over Track 2.  At Tucson, the designations reverse, so Track 1 is again the northern most track and vise versa.  This has been no problem with single track west of Tucson, namely, from Stockham west.  But, when the line is two-tracked all the way to the west coast, will trains then be left handed biased from Cienega Creek west to Los Angeles?

Thanks,

K.P.

K.P.: I cannot answer that question, but I can offer speculation that UP wants to take out the old main track over Cienega Pass and put a new main track parallel to the "newer" "faster" main track.

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Posted by cabcar on Tuesday, September 30, 2008 4:22 PM
 K. P. Harrier wrote:

At Cienega Creek east of Tucson, Track 1 goes over Track 2.  At Tucson, the designations reverse, so Track 1 is again the northern most track and vise versa.  This has been no problem with single track west of Tucson, namely, from Stockham west.  But, when the line is two-tracked all the way to the west coast, will trains then be left handed biased from Cienega Creek west to Los Angeles?

Thanks,

K.P.

I think I understand what you're asking.

The trains won't be left hand biased. Once you get West of CP 36th St in Tucson, the tracks return to normal (Main one - North side and Main two - South side)

Here's what I mean: (Note, the green line is Main one) That's Cienga Creek on the right.

____________________________________

Btw, the new track between Thousand Palms and Coachella was opened on Monday (9/29).

This view looks West from Monroe st, in Indio. (taken Sunday) They were hooking up the new main to the old SP main 2 at CP W. Indio.

Thanks,

--Robert

 

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Posted by K. P. Harrier on Monday, October 6, 2008 8:44 AM

As of Saturday, October 4, 2008:

INDIO to NILAND, CA

Remember these not hooked up, turned away, new intermediate signals west of WEST INDIO in mid-August?

 

The track is complete, and signals are now powered-up and active

East of above, in INDIO, absolute signals are in position and operational amongst Palm trees.  Note the signs on the masts:  "END CTC."  There are NO new intermediate signals in place east of this location

This poster brought his own chow, but there are places nearly trackside for hungry out-of-towners, like this site several miles east of INDIO, in COACHELLA.  A westbound (leftward) Intermodal train is in background right

In COACHELLA, partial control point signals have been erected.  No control box (with location name plate) is yet present, though.  These are the CP's west absolute signals

Ballast and work trucks at this future control point

The future east absolute signals

The new second track's bridge at THERMAL is coming along well

Rusted, but new

The east side:  Note rocky concrete layer lining riverbed

A crewless eastbound loaded coal train is near the west switch MORTMAR siding.  Between THERMAL and NILAND, there were no signs of two-tracking

The Parkside Drive grade crossing:  Yes, the crossing gate device IS, unbelievably, leaning over!  Elevation-wise, BOTH the Salton Sea (large isolated ocean-like body of water in background) and track here are actually way below sea level.  The out of view but lowering sun brightly reflects off the water

This is NILAND.  View looks westbound.   The signals on the LEFT on both structures are for the SOUTH siding, which track extends on to the track on the foreground left to Calexico and El Centro.  The right signals are for the main.  The unseen rightmost third track (without signals here) under the signal bridge is the NORTH siding, and ends several hundred feet out of view on the right.  Somewhere in this area the eighty miles or so of two-tracking in California was supposed to culminate, but probably will only reach this year a spot some fifty miles away to the west (left 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 mvs on Tuesday, October 7, 2008 10:16 AM

Thank you again K.P. for those great photos! It looks like they are almost done for the year.

A question though: Do you know what are the new crossovers? I think it is East Garnet, Rimlon, Myoma, and Coachella?

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Posted by K. P. Harrier on Saturday, October 11, 2008 5:12 PM

cabcar (9-30):

My visit last year to Arizona, New Mexico, and Texas gave me the distinct impression westward trains out of El Paso were Track 1 biased, and eastbound trains to there were Track 2 biased.  While both tracks were bidirectional, the trains I saw tended to be dispatched with the above orientation.

Immediately west of Cienega Creek, I have no direct visual knowledge of present operations.  While the track designations reverse in Tucson, and IF two-track CTC continues only a short distance further west to STOCKHAM, I am not sure why trains would normally crossover at 36TH STREET as shown in your diagram, which diagram seems to be the opposite of what I generally saw east of Cienega Creek.

Maybe you, or someone else, could enlighten me as to what actually is the practice now between STOCKHAM and CIENEGA CREEK.

mvs (10-7):

The "double-crossovers" you inquired about are:  GARNET, RIMLON, and MYOMA.

The Amtrak station at Palm Springs is on a south side siding accessible only from Track 2 at CP WEST GARNET on the west, and on east from both mains at CP GARNET, which is a full double-crossover CP.  One would imagine that that eastern CP would be called EAST GARNET, but it is not, rather, just GARNET.

Whether the under construction double-crossovers in the Coachella area is the present timetable location of COACHELLA is unknown

Thanks,

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.

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Posted by ilikeplanes on Saturday, October 11, 2008 11:37 PM
 K. P. Harrier wrote:

cabcar (9-30):

My visit last year to Arizona, New Mexico, and Texas gave me the distinct impression westward trains out of El Paso were Track 1 biased, and eastbound trains to there were Track 2 biased.  While both tracks were bidirectional, the trains I saw tended to be dispatched with the above orientation.

Immediately west of Cienega Creek, I have no direct visual knowledge of present operations.  While the track designations reverse in Tucson, and IF two-track CTC continues only a short distance further west to STOCKHAM, I am not sure why trains would normally crossover at 36TH STREET as shown in your diagram, which diagram seems to be the opposite of what I generally saw east of Cienega Creek.

Maybe you, or someone else, could enlighten me as to what actually is the practice now between STOCKHAM and CIENEGA CREEK.

your right about el paso being directionally biast.  if i had a pen and paper i could show why it works out that way cause explaining it is a tad bit difficult.  the way it works basically is the fueling locations within the yard there it is easier to run west on one and east on two.  every once and a while they change it up for a train or two but it is almost always that way.

 trains almost always run east on track two out of tucson depending on who is dispatching. if you have a hot train they sometimes run you east on one track from vail to mescal which is nice because it would cut an hour off the trip but unless your great on horsepower (like 4.0 or better) you would still only get about 30mph out of it.  so the normal routing is east up the hill on 2 track cause its only good for 25mph and west on one track downhill where trains can do every bit of 65

the track designations crossover at 36th street.  not the trains.  if a train uses the crossovers there they are actually going from one to one or two to two.  the track designations re-allign themselves at cienega creek approx mp 1009.  so from 36th street to 1009 the number 2 track is actually the north track which contradicts the rest of the system.  hope this clears it up if not just yell at me and i will try harder

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Posted by cabcar on Monday, October 13, 2008 9:16 AM
 K. P. Harrier wrote:

I am not sure why trains would normally crossover at 36TH STREET as shown in your diagram, which diagram seems to be the opposite of what I generally saw east of Cienega Creek.

Maybe you, or someone else, could enlighten me as to what actually is the practice now between STOCKHAM and CIENEGA CREEK.

Thanks,

K.P.

I wasn't trying to say the trains normally cross over at 36th St. The green line just shows how Main 1 goes to the south side at 36th st, and back to normal (north side) after Cienga Creek.

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Posted by K. P. Harrier on Monday, October 13, 2008 12:57 PM

iloveplanes (10-11):

Your explanation was clear, understandable, and easy to visualize.  Great job!

cabcar (10-13):

Got it!  Thanks for the Tucson info.

Between you and iloveplanes, everything makes sense now.

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.

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Posted by cacole on Saturday, October 18, 2008 11:12 AM

On a trip between Tucson and Maricopa Friday, October 17th, I noticed that bridge and culvert construction as well as dirt fill and grading is taking place as far east as the I-10 Ina Road exit, where there is already double track the rest of the way into Tucson.

There are still gaps where signals, relay boxes, sidings, electric switch motors, and other trackside devices must be moved before the grading can be completed.  No track has been laid yet anywhere east of Maricopa.

Construction staging areas have been set up at Marana and Picacho with large stockpiles of pre-stressed bridge parts, steel beams, and other materials, and there is a smaller area between these two locations.  The Atlas Railroad Construction Company is performing all of this work.

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Posted by K. P. Harrier on Saturday, October 18, 2008 7:28 PM

As of Friday, October 17, 2008:

In Pomona, CA

From Temple Ave. in Pomona looking westbound at old Los Angeles & Salt Lake line:  From Pomona to Los Angeles, both lines are considered a dual portion of the Sunset Route

A heavy telephoto of above area:  New crossover switches are still uninstalled, and new connector track to old Southern Pacific main is still not connected (background right)

From Hamilton Ave.:  Looking west at some new grading.  The LA&SL is on the left, the old SP is on the right.  The SP side already has two-tracks.  Does this new grading on the LA&SL side have something to do with what is going on west of Temple Ave?

Flagged markers are on lower left

Looking east

A mile east is the San Antonio grade crossing.  The signal on the far right is for the eastbound LA&SL.  The two signals on the left divide the single-crossover between territories.  The signal on the far background governs the ex-SP main.  Will this crossover eventually be replaced by the under construction connecting track west of Temple Ave as shown in the first two photos above?

The newly built East End Ave, underpass has a continuous width between tracks, and not separate rail bridges.  How many tracks is UP planning on having here?

In Fontana, CA, a westbound view from the Citrus Ave. overpass.  The track on the right is the present main.  The track on the left is West Colton Yard’s old 100 Track.

If the present main is moved toward the abutment, a second main will fit under this bridge, including the 100 Track.  It looks like a fourth track could fit too, but not an access road.

 

The Citrus Ave. area is a very difficult location to photograph, but a few tricks may be forthcoming in the future …

 

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- 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 mvs on Tuesday, October 21, 2008 10:28 AM

 Thank you K.P. for more incredibly awesome pictures!

 Quick question: The UP Los Angeles Subdivision is single-track for 0.3 miles from CP C031 Oak west to CP C030 Roselawn. Are they planning to add a second main track to close this tiny single-track gap?

 It's interesting to see them work around the bridge at Temple Avenue. As far as East End Avenue goes, the maximum would be 4 tracks (2 mains for Alhambra Sub and 2 mains for L.A. Sub)

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Posted by ilikeplanes on Friday, November 21, 2008 2:12 AM

double track is now complete from estrella to enid in arizona.  siding of estrella is no longer usable.  mobile and enid sidings are still in operation.  track laying will continue to maricopa.  when that is done new track installation, the red rock hump yard, and the strauss fueling facility in new mexico  will be on hold i guess until the economy comes back

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Posted by desertdog on Friday, November 21, 2008 5:09 PM

ilikeplanes

double track is now complete from estrella to enid in arizona.  siding of estrella is no longer usable.  mobile and enid sidings are still in operation.  track laying will continue to maricopa.  when that is done new track installation, the red rock hump yard, and the strauss fueling facility in new mexico  will be on hold i guess until the economy comes back

I heard a similar rumor this week.  Supposedly grading and other preparation will continue but no more track will be laid for now.

 

John Timm

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Posted by mvs on Saturday, November 22, 2008 10:15 PM

ilikeplanes
double track is now complete from estrella to enid in arizona.  siding of estrella is no longer usable.  mobile and enid sidings are still in operation.  track laying will continue to maricopa.  when that is done new track installation, the red rock hump yard, and the strauss fueling facility in new mexico  will be on hold i guess until the economy comes back

Thank you for this update! Has anyone heard from K.P.? I haven't seen him around here in a while.

 I have no clue if the stretch from Thermal to Indio is open - once that is done, I guess that's it. Grade separations are the only projects around here now.

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Posted by CShaveRR on Sunday, November 23, 2008 4:52 PM

K. P. Harrier
CShaveRR (9-27):
  CShaveRR wrote:
On my home subdivision, a former CNW property, we had a couple of control points added or modified; they were given numbers in the 900 series.  I really don't know why, because the last two digits were still based (roughly) on the mileposts.  But I mentioned this to show that the strange numbering for your new control point is not without precedent.

 

Thanks for your observation and report of similar situations in your state, Illinois.

A possible explanation:  Most control points are normal situations, hence, have normal numerology.  However, at Riverside Ave. in California's West Colton Yard, Track 1 has INTERMEDIATE singles, whereas Track 2 involves ABSOLUTE signals.  Perhaps the differing number series identifications are to help dispatchers and train crews remember that such control points involved BOTH type signals.

CShaveRR, do the unorthodoxly designated control points you reported have BOTH types of signals in them, i.e., one track with number plated intermediate signals whereas the other track has absolute signals WITHOUT number plates?

Thanks,

K.P.

 Sorry, K.P., I missed your question the first time through.  There are actually four interlockings close in to Chicago with Control Point numbers in the Y900 series (instead of the Y000 series).  As far as I can tell, there are no tracks at any of them that wouldn't require an absolute stop.  Two of them (the two I was thinking of in the first place) are right next to each other--in fact, they used to be one control point.

Carl

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

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Posted by K. P. Harrier on Monday, November 24, 2008 2:51 PM

My Absence:

To everyone who has been wondering about my whereabouts lately …

Simply put, I’m recovering from brain surgery (no kidding)!  My wife had her fingers crossed that the operation would take the railfan out of me, but the railfan in me survived.

Then before the presidential election, I had a couple of relapses of briefly not being able to speak, and I spent more time in the hospital.  It supposedly was because of an infection of the brain where they had operated before, but I’ve had no problem since.

Anyway, my railfan activity has been greatly curtain (but not totally).

To mvs (10-21):

You asked about Union Pacific’s single-track between CP ROSELAWN and CP OAK in Pomona, CA on the original Los Angeles & Salt Lake.

With the UP + SP merged, I believe the tracks in Pomona was one of the first to be connected and modified with Sunset high-speed crossovers.  Then, at an unknown time, the gap from the west between WALNUT and SPADRA (near ROSELAND) was filled with a second main.  However, the present track arrangement at Pomona makes it unnecessary to close the gap of which you spoke.  They can take another high-speed route.

Nevertheless, it APPEARS the future arrangement from west of Temple Ave. (on the west) to somewhere near the UP siding of MONTCLAIR (on the east) will be four-tracked, with the present ANTONIO / RESEVOIR crossover eliminated.  But, that is not certain. 

Unfortunately, as noted at the beginning of this post, I do not anticipate being out and about to check all this out anytime soon.  And, I do not have any idea what effect the downturn in the economy will have on the railroad’s Pomona plans. 

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- 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 CShaveRR on Monday, November 24, 2008 3:02 PM

Glad to have you back!  What did your wife want to replace the railfanning with?

Best wishes for a continued recovery--the sooner the better!

Carl

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

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

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Posted by mvs on Thursday, November 27, 2008 10:39 AM

 K.P., I am sorry to hear about all that, and I wish you a speedy recovery! I have thoroughly enjoyed all your updates!

 

As for Pomona, if they were to realign in the second (north) main on the L.A. Sub so that it would connect with the other second (north) main that ends at Roselawn, they would take care of that short stretch of single-track. I don't know why they need a crossover at Roselawn to the Alhambra Sub when they have crossovers from the L.A. to Alhambra Subs just ~0.7 miles east at Hamilton.

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Posted by passengerfan on Thursday, November 27, 2008 10:59 AM

K.P. I too have missed your updates. Best wishes for a speedy recovery.

Some years ago my better half wished I would give up railfanning or at least cut back so I took up hang gliding. In short order she begged me to go back to the railfanning. This was after one of my fellow hang glider buddies broke his back in a hard landing. Thankfully he is doing well and recovered fully. I am now a full time railfan and no more complaints.

I hope to get down south around the new year just before another tax season begins and my time is severly restricted.

I wish you and yours a happy Thanksgiving and a full and speedy recovery.

Al - in - Stockton 

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Posted by Modelcar on Thursday, November 27, 2008 12:11 PM

....K P:  I just read your post of the health situation you have had and would like to say we've enjoyed the many updates and photos you have provided on the rail renovations.  We too wish you the best on a full recovery from your ordeal.

Quentin

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Posted by billio on Saturday, November 29, 2008 8:49 AM

K.P., I'm glad to see your work back in print in this thread.  I wish you a speedy recovery for selfish reasons:  so we enjoy your splendid reporting and photo work in this, and other, threads.  We expect it soon!

I'm going to perform a service at some peril, because if I am wrong, people can say, "See, that guy just speaks through his hat.  He really doesn't know from squat!"  I'm going to speculate on UP's Sunset Route work, given the softening economy, which will clearly dampen their plans to complete the whole blooming job (second track construction, terminals, reconstruction to the original "first" track to UP standards.

First, two caveats:  I don't work for UP, and I'm no longer close enough with anyone there to benefit from "insider" word; and second, I'm not not privvy to the data UP's Omaha decision makers have available.

That said, UP, in its capital planning during a downturn, faces two major concerns:  even though traffic may be dropping off, it CANNOT neglect the capitalized maintenance of its existing plant -- rail and tie replacement, new ballast, etc.  This is apart from funds ticketed for capacity expansion, into which category the Sunset Route upgrading clearly falls.  Second, there may be segments of its business which are growing (especially coal from the Powder River Basin; there may be other, less evident ones), which will probaly get first claim on expansion dollars in UP's budget -- extend CTC on the Overland Route, add second track between Kansas City and St. Louis, triple/quadruple track the Joint Line in the Powder River Basin, etc.  Two additional thoughts:  UP is in the final (estimated *0-90 percent complete) stages of two big-ticket capital projects -- the new terminal in San Antonio, and the replacement Kate Shelley Bridge on the ex-CNW in Iowa.  These babies ate up some $120 million in capital, and although I don't know how UP accounts for the flow of funds, their completion may free up dollars to use elsewhere.  Moreover, UP has obligated itself (contracted) to receice 175 new locomotives -- even though it has usable power stored all over its system, and doesn't need the new power.  Time will tell if it can renegotiate the delivery--defer to some future date.

 

Back to capital for expansion.  After business segments which are expanding, next will come projects like the Sunset Corridor.  UP has made it clear (in its letter to the STB regarding plans for peak season this year, go to its website in the "Customers" section for letters to shippers) that it seeks to de-bottleneck sticking points all over its system.  To the extent that this applies to the Sunset Corridor, I'm guessing that small stretches of line in the LosAngeles Basin --additional track between Pomona and WQest Colton will receive first nod.  Another terrible sticking point is El Paso, and the new yard at St. Theresa (Strauss), NM is the key to popping the El Paso cork.  Once the San Antonio terminal is finishes, UP may be looking at St. Theresa next.  Any additional work after all this is anybody's guess.

Anyhow, that's how I see work on the Sunset proceeding.  The key is the economy -- traffic returns to levels of two years ago, and work resumes, full speed ahead and [bleep] the torpedoes!   When that occurs is anyone's guess. 

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Posted by desertdog on Monday, December 1, 2008 12:09 PM

Over the holiday I had need to travel down to the Nogales area which meant following the Gila Sub from Casa Grande to Tucson.  The Ames construction camp that was at Picacho and all the heavy equipment have moved down the line closer to Red Rock.  There are still several prefab bridge sections sitting in the materials storage area opposite Picacho Peak. 

As you get closer to Tucson it is difficult to determine how much actual progress they are making on the double-tracking project because the second track will be on the other side of the existing roadbed and mostly out of sight from the freeway. 

Business was slack.  We saw no trains on the way down and only one on the way back.

 

John Timm

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Posted by ilikeplanes on Thursday, December 11, 2008 11:18 PM

desertdog

As you get closer to Tucson it is difficult to determine how much actual progress they are making on the double-tracking project because the second track will be on the other side of the existing roadbed and mostly out of sight from the freeway. 

Business was slack.  We saw no trains on the way down and only one on the way back.

the grading as of 12/11:  track laying continues to the siding of maricopa from which it will end.  the grading is complete all the way to tucson with the exception of a few bits and peices.  (one wash west of maricopa, a small section just west of casa grande, some road crossing areas through casa grande and eloy, and the part on either side of the rillito wash in tucson) right now they're in the process of cutting in the two grade crossings inbetween maricopa and enid.  on thing i did notice is that there are already building the crossings in eloy with about a 40 foot section of the second track.

     the recent updates from the bean counters in omaha are rather grimm.  to the point where i don't see myself working for the first half of the year.  already over 100 rails cut off and unions expect 100 more but thats life on the railroad.  any other questions i can surly find an answer to so don't hesitate to ask...  oh and there will be a pretty extensive re-tie project through tucson on the existing mains coming soon.  other than new main track to maricopa and top off the grading with some new wood ties that will be about it for the arizona area till probably august. (mainly depending on economy)

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Posted by desertdog on Friday, December 12, 2008 4:25 PM

ilikeplanes

desertdog

As you get closer to Tucson it is difficult to determine how much actual progress they are making on the double-tracking project because the second track will be on the other side of the existing roadbed and mostly out of sight from the freeway. 

Business was slack.  We saw no trains on the way down and only one on the way back.

the grading as of 12/11:  track laying continues to the siding of maricopa from which it will end.  the grading is complete all the way to tucson with the exception of a few bits and peices.  (one wash west of maricopa, a small section just west of casa grande, some road crossing areas through casa grande and eloy, and the part on either side of the rillito wash in tucson) right now they're in the process of cutting in the two grade crossings inbetween maricopa and enid.  on thing i did notice is that there are already building the crossings in eloy with about a 40 foot section of the second track.

     the recent updates from the bean counters in omaha are rather grimm.  to the point where i don't see myself working for the first half of the year.  already over 100 rails cut off and unions expect 100 more but thats life on the railroad.  any other questions i can surly find an answer to so don't hesitate to ask...  oh and there will be a pretty extensive re-tie project through tucson on the existing mains coming soon.  other than new main track to maricopa and top off the grading with some new wood ties that will be about it for the arizona area till probably august. (mainly depending on economy)

I was down in Tucson over the last couple of days and noted much of what you point out.  There was a lot of construction activity going on by crews from both Ames and UP.  I'll just add that the grading at Maricopa has been completed from the siding eastward along the south side of the existing main, answering that question.  The new track will move to the north side just east of the old feed mill.  A little past that point there will be a set of crossovers, "CP East Maricopa."  The signal shacks are already at the site.  I imagine they did not want to put the crossovers anywhere west of there to avoid tying up SR347 with a crossover movement.

John Timm

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Posted by cacole on Sunday, January 4, 2009 11:53 AM

 Construction seems to have halted for the past month.  I drove along old Route 79 that parallels the track from Marana to Eloy on January 3rd and there seems to have been nothing at all accomplished since my last trip along there over a month ago.

The prime contractor's earth moving equipment doesn't seem to have moved at all, and the local private contractor trucks that were hauling fill dirt have all disappeared.

There are still gaps in the roadbed where the Union Pacific has to move signals, relay boxes, crossing gates, etc. out of the way before anything can be completed, and these areas do not appear to have been touched since the grading crews passed through in November.

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Posted by billio on Wednesday, January 7, 2009 7:21 PM

As of Jan 6, 2009, has any work -- double track, grading, rebuilding old SP track to UP standards -- been done for the past 60 days?

Just curious.  Thanks in advance.  --billio

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Posted by cacole on Thursday, January 8, 2009 11:20 AM

 The only activity that has been observed is crosstie replacement gangs working in downtown Benson and on the SE side of Tucson, Arizona.  The double-tracking contractors don't seem to have performed any work at all for the past month between Tucson and Casa Grande, and their equipment is sitting idle.

There was a notice in the local newspaper that one lane of I-10 in each direction was going to be closed so Union Pacific crews could work on the bridge that carries tracks over I-10 near the Marsh Station Road exit, but there was no explanation of what they would be doing to the bridge.

This bridge must be removed by 31 December 2009 so the State of Arizona can rebuild I-10 and bring it up to Federal Interstate standards or the State must return several million dollars that were earmarked for this project to the Federal treasury.

There are also accusations floating around that the State has diverted and spent the earmarked funds on road construction in and around the Phoenix area, and has nothing that can be returned to the Federal treasury.  The State of Arizona budget is almost $2 billion in the red.

 

mvs
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Posted by mvs on Friday, January 9, 2009 3:43 PM

 I know that the new bridge at Thermal looks done, but the double tracking is not complete -- the Thermal siding is still separate from the DT ABS portion.

 There is also grading between Araz and Dunes on the east side of the main track.

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