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Saluda Grade to reopen?

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Posted by dubch87 on Tuesday, March 19, 2013 7:42 PM

csxns

Thanks,where did the rail shipments go when they shiped that way and is the trucks hauling to the same place,Thanks.

Paper mill in Canton, N.C. (click). It went from being a 60 mile trip when Saluda was open to 275+ miles via Salisbury. As far as I know, they are still the primary recipient of Capps' wood chips, via truck. In this aerial imagery, you can see wood chip hoppers on the siding that was constructed shortly before the closing of Saluda. I believe the imagery is from circa 2006.

   

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Posted by csxns on Wednesday, March 20, 2013 3:14 PM

Thanks dubch87,hope when NS opens Saluda the chips will again roll in chip hoppers.

Russell

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Posted by JohnJ on Saturday, March 23, 2013 5:17 PM

There was a hi rail on the bridge over Cane Creek paralleling US 25 in Fletcher today. Looked like they may  have been adding a little ballast to the area right where the bridge begins. Couldn't really tell.

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Posted by dubch87 on Thursday, April 18, 2013 4:44 PM

I'm getting tired of debunking all the BS about Saluda.

The track speed for this section of track, which remains active between Spartanburg and Landrum, is normally 25 mph but has been slow-ordered to 10 mph for a couple of years because of some needed maintenance. We recently made repairs and removed the temporary speed restriction.

 

Robin C. Chapman

Director Public Relations

Norfolk Southern Corporation

   

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Posted by JohnJ on Sunday, April 21, 2013 4:36 PM

It wasn't bs...many sources have confirmed that what was said on here is what was said at the level crossings.

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Posted by JohnJ on Thursday, May 16, 2013 6:11 AM

MOW equipment on the W line in Spartanburg

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Posted by TRDevlDog on Thursday, May 16, 2013 10:13 AM

Which end of the W line? The section heading toward Columbia or the northern section heading toward Landrum?

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Posted by rocket2go on Thursday, May 16, 2013 11:54 AM

The N.S. M.O.W equipment is replacing jointed rail with welded rail on a main siding between Hayne and Sigsbee.   That's it.   

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Posted by dubch87 on Thursday, May 16, 2013 6:32 PM

This is a bit random, but I found it funny. Someone painted a crossing signal control box green in Tryon. It has probably been that way for awhile, and I doubt NS even cares.

http://goo.gl/maps/dEi70

   

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Posted by JohnJ on Friday, May 17, 2013 5:34 PM

But why?  Why on a line that sees so little traffic?.... I know its wishful thinking, but its all we've got.

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Posted by dubch87 on Friday, June 7, 2013 5:17 PM

A while back, I shared a link to aerial imagery of another apparent washout between Tryon and Landrum. I finally had the chance to walk down and see it for myself.

I parked in Tryon and walked south/east on the line. This is facing back toward Tryon and the U.S. 176 crossing.

Signal equipment is still in place. I don't know about internal electrical components, but all the infrastructure is still in place everywhere I've been. The only known exception is near Landrum, where signal heads have been removed. I'm willing to bet those were stolen.

It was quickly noticeable that MOW had sprayed herbicide along the ROW.

The flangeways at this crossing look like they've seen a fair amount of activity.

Wheel flange oiler still in place.

Some pretty rotten ties.

It was a relatively short walk to the area in question, the fill over Vaughn's Creek. There was originally a trestle, but it was obliterated during the July 1916 floods, which wreaked widespread damage across western North Carolina.

If we take a few steps back, we find the washout! Yes, the left rail is sagging there.

It appears some type of retaining wall failed. Based on aerial imagery I would estimate this washout occurred the same time as the larger washout on Melrose Mountain, during the tropical storms of August-September 2004.

The orange line is fiber optic cable that shares the ROW.

And finally, the green signal control box at the Tryon Depot Garden.

So, add that to the bill.

   

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Posted by john_edwards on Friday, June 7, 2013 7:14 PM

Thats what I call a complete and extremely well documented report.  Thanks.

John

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Posted by JohnJ on Sunday, June 9, 2013 11:17 AM

Yes thank you very much for the report..it really details the work that would have to be done...thank you

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Posted by JohnJ on Sunday, June 9, 2013 11:20 AM

Does anyone know if the rains about a month ago that caused the washout on the old fort loops caused any washouts on the saluda line?

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Posted by TRDevlDog on Friday, July 19, 2013 3:07 PM

Found this video on Youtube today where some guys went and walked the big washout in the last week or so.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4DhOd4hSz6w

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Posted by Boyd on Friday, July 19, 2013 3:38 PM
The only train that could go across that washout would be a Lionel.

Modeling the "Fargo Area Rapid Transit" in O scale 3 rail.

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Posted by samfp1943 on Friday, July 19, 2013 5:29 PM

TRDevlDog

Found this video on Youtube today where some guys went and walked the big washout in the last week or so.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4DhOd4hSz6w

First: Activated the link (above) ...Date on linked video  is 07/11/2013. 

    Shows the' Melrose Washout'  .     Thanks to  TR DeviulDog for posting that! Thumbs Up  

   Also here is another Video link that has been composited from more footage from the 1992  runs by  NS 'J 611  and its trips on the   on the "W' Line.   @ http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VakY50jaX2o             This particular video shows time of slightly more than an hour to view it. . Whistling

     Those two videos and the Thread Posting on this Forum and this TOPIC Thread by Dubch87 of his visual look at the line sure gives an interesting view of the area of the 'W' line on Saluda.     For those of us who are interested in the goings on revolving around this 'inactive section' of  NS railroad.  It is of interst to see that in sopite of the somewhat deteriorated condition of the two areas that are 'washed out' there is still a level of 'maintenance activity' going on there.   If it is nothing more than hi-rail equipment moving around, it would seem to be more uncommon for there to be MOW activity there, at all. My 2 Cents

   Thanks, to these locals who have kept up up on what's happening around that area.. Bow

 

 


 

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Posted by dubch87 on Friday, July 19, 2013 6:05 PM

Wow! That's pretty bad, but it has been nearly nine years since the washout.

JohnJ asked awhile back where the last customer on the Asheville side of the line is located. I thought it may be a cement plant near Hendersonville, but there are derailers on the spurs. This means the last customer is Kimberly Clark off U.S. 25/Asheville Highway in Balfour. South of the U.S. 176/Spartanburg Highway overpass, signal heads have been removed along the (still?) active section.

I recently sent an e-mail to a Norfolk Southern employee that is active in the South Carolina Inland Port development, and he said he was unaware of any efforts to reactivate the line, and the inland port will not use this line. We need to remember this is an inland port of Charleston, not an intermodal terminal, and it is simply meant for loading and unloading the service to and from Charleston. That of course could change with the deepening of the harbor to accommodate post-Panamax vessels, but intermodal service to and from Charleston will likely go to the new intermodal yard in Charlotte.

I've come to the conclusion that Norfolk Southern has no intention of reactivating or abandoning this line. Reactivating the line will cost millions of dollars in repairs, and there is not enough demand for the line to recoup the investment. There are of course the huge operating costs as well. However, abandoning the line will be a long, arduous, and costly process dealing with the legal issues associated with property owners along the line and the rails-to-trails activists who want to railbank the line.

Maintaining the "out of service" status is the easiest and most cost effective option. NS has been telling us all along, saying they have no intention to abandon, but have no plans to reactivate either. I've tried to remain optimistic, but I don't see it happening.

   

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Posted by samfp1943 on Saturday, July 20, 2013 9:17 AM

Dubch87:

       Question:  Following your map like for he link to Kimberly Clark on the NS [ North?)] out of (Spartanburg area)  you come to a point on Map

@ https://maps.google.com/?ll=35.344535,-82.470653&spn=0.003794,0.004823&t=h&z=18  

    Which is just off Shepard St (Hendersonville ), and a paralleling road designated King Creek. The area between King Creek, and Dale Ave. looks like it might have been a stub end railroad yard with multiple tracks ?).   

    The map seems to show an area,  newly or newly  graveled, and an area that seems grown over (?) with what might have been railroad tracks. Was that an old railroad yard or is something new going in there?  

Just Curious. Whistling

 

 


 

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Posted by blue streak 1 on Saturday, July 20, 2013 10:05 AM

One item that I've noticed.

1.  NS  does not seem to want to abandon any of their lines at the present time.  Maybe they have seen the mistakes that CSX and its predecessors made in abandoing the  "S" lines from Norlina -  Petersburg & Savannah -  JAX  , the B&O from Parkersburg - STL., etc.  t

The Old Fort line may have the potential for a many mile wipe out due to weather ?  If so Saluda in that case might be able to go back into service faster ? 

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Posted by dubch87 on Saturday, July 20, 2013 11:44 AM

samfp1943

Dubch87:

       Question:  Following your map like for he link to Kimberly Clark on the NS [ North?)] out of (Spartanburg area)  you come to a point on Map

@ https://maps.google.com/?ll=35.344535,-82.470653&spn=0.003794,0.004823&t=h&z=18  

    Which is just off Shepard St (Hendersonville ), and a paralleling road designated King Creek. The area between King Creek, and Dale Ave. looks like it might have been a stub end railroad yard with multiple tracks ?).   

    The map seems to show an area,  newly or newly  graveled, and an area that seems grown over (?) with what might have been railroad tracks. Was that an old railroad yard or is something new going in there?  

Just Curious. Whistling

If you're referring to the area in this link, it is a field for growing tomatoes.

blue streak 1

One item that I've noticed.

1.  NS  does not seem to want to abandon any of their lines at the present time.  Maybe they have seen the mistakes that CSX and its predecessors made in abandoing the  "S" lines from Norlina -  Petersburg & Savannah -  JAX  , the B&O from Parkersburg - STL., etc.  t

The Old Fort line may have the potential for a many mile wipe out due to weather ?  If so Saluda in that case might be able to go back into service faster ? 

You are correct, the S Line along the loops between Old Fort and Ridgecrest face a high potential for washing out as well. If you look at the aerial imagery along the line, you'll notice several areas where repairs have been made. I thought this reason alone would have been enough to keep Saluda in usable condition. If there ever is a major one, they'll be up the creek without a paddle for several weeks or longer.

As far as going into service faster . . . not at this point. The whole line from Landrum north needs nearly all ties replaced and the rails resurfaced, the roadbed thoroughly inspected and repaired, switches repaired, grade crossings rebuilt and controls replaced, and the signal system reinstalled. The washout is in a remote location, making repairs that much more difficult. A service road would likely have to be built to the bottom of the washout so necessary soil preparation, possible retaining wall(s), drainage, and fill can be constructed. A service road alone would be difficult to build at a reasonable slope. Plus there are ROW limitations. All equipment will have to be brought in by rail, making it difficult to get heavy equipment into the area and unloaded. We're talking dump trucks, bulldozers, and cranes. This isn't a matter of backing up and dumping dirt from a MOW truck and calling it a day. The area around the washout is unstable. I think all this combined is what makes the washout repair prohibitively expensive, and why it's in its current state.

This slide was larger, but is a good example of the work involved (with pictures):

Fixing a hole: Crews ready to work round-the-clock at Newfound Gap slide site

And I don't know if anyone has pointed this out, but NS has removed the section over Saluda from their official system map. They kept it on there for years (or only update their map every ten years or so).

   

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Posted by rocket2go on Saturday, July 20, 2013 6:10 PM

You are correct about the cost of repairing the line above Landrum.   It will take millions (repairs may involve joint efforts between N.S., the states of S.C./N.C., and the Inland Port Corp?).   The ties are turning to powder, there are several mini washouts, a lot of rail may have to be replaced, ballast work done, and two large washouts dealt with (one east of Tryon near the Vaughn Creek fill and the big one below and east of Melrose).   The Melrose washout alone may involve removing a portion of the mountain above the washout because that entire ridge surrounding the site is unstable (have been there twice).   As someone has mentioned, I also believe an access road will have to be built to the bottom of the washout, then fortified all the way to the top.    

Regarding the opening of the Inland Port on Oct. 1, 2013, (latest info. from the newspaper), there are indications that the Spartanburg - Asheville line is not out of the question at this point.  At the latest Inland Port presentation at a Greer, S.C., town hall meeting a couple of weeks ago, the main speaker stated that the new installation would be in a position to open new markets to the Asheville - Knoxville area and beyond (Cincinnati and the Ohio Valley).  Another official told me that though the technology is not quite there yet, advances in train technology are being made regarding Salunda mountain (I would interpret that to mean bringing trains up in their entirety with perfectly timed DPU's.  In addition to the steep grade some of the curves are 10 degrees plus, making this a difficult and exacting task - i.e., the horror stories of the Brosnan era and the Southern's DPU attempts come to mind).  

As always, I'll believe it when I see it.          

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Posted by dubch87 on Wednesday, July 24, 2013 5:33 PM

rocket2go

You are correct about the cost of repairing the line above Landrum.   It will take millions (repairs may involve joint efforts between N.S., the states of S.C./N.C., and the Inland Port Corp?).   The ties are turning to powder, there are several mini washouts, a lot of rail may have to be replaced, ballast work done, and two large washouts dealt with (one east of Tryon near the Vaughn Creek fill and the big one below and east of Melrose).   The Melrose washout alone may involve removing a portion of the mountain above the washout because that entire ridge surrounding the site is unstable (have been there twice).   As someone has mentioned, I also believe an access road will have to be built to the bottom of the washout, then fortified all the way to the top.    

Regarding the opening of the Inland Port on Oct. 1, 2013, (latest info. from the newspaper), there are indications that the Spartanburg - Asheville line is not out of the question at this point.  At the latest Inland Port presentation at a Greer, S.C., town hall meeting a couple of weeks ago, the main speaker stated that the new installation would be in a position to open new markets to the Asheville - Knoxville area and beyond (Cincinnati and the Ohio Valley).  Another official told me that though the technology is not quite there yet, advances in train technology are being made regarding Salunda mountain (I would interpret that to mean bringing trains up in their entirety with perfectly timed DPU's.  In addition to the steep grade some of the curves are 10 degrees plus, making this a difficult and exacting task - i.e., the horror stories of the Brosnan era and the Southern's DPU attempts come to mind).  

As always, I'll believe it when I see it.          

You bring up a good point about pubic investment. Myself and others have likely thought of this as an expensive repair for Norfolk Southern alone. But considering the public-private partnership for the Heartland Corridor and the millions of dollars that came from the feds, it doesn't seem as unreasonable. The Port of Charleston is growing fast, and it's a direct shot to Knoxville and Cincinnati. If NS can just get an intermodal up that hill in one go. . . .
Who knows. Never say never, but I'll believe it when I see it. 

   

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Posted by JohnJ on Monday, September 16, 2013 5:39 PM

Maybe one day. The inland port will open soon, so maybe we will have a clearer picture after that happens 

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Posted by JohnJ on Saturday, October 19, 2013 7:20 PM

There was a MOW/work train in the Asheville yard east today. I have no idea if it was on the saluda line or not, but figured it would be relevant

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Posted by Boyd on Sunday, October 20, 2013 1:49 AM

Lionel could do a commercial with several miles of track and run a Lionel train up and down the Saluda grade. Make is a N&W J.

Modeling the "Fargo Area Rapid Transit" in O scale 3 rail.

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Posted by JohnJ on Monday, December 16, 2013 5:25 PM

I meant to post this last week and never got around to it...but NS sent an FRA test car down the W-Line from Asheville last week...figured of would be relevant to the topic

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Posted by cjcrescent on Friday, March 7, 2014 6:58 AM

Has there been anything new on this subject? Saluda has always been one of my most favorite places for railfanning, even though it's a 6 hour drive for me to get there.

Carey

Keep it between the Rails

Alabama Central Homepage

Nara member #128

NMRA &SER Life member

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Posted by dubch87 on Friday, March 7, 2014 4:31 PM

No. It has been two years since the T&S work south of Landrum was completed, with nothing happening on the Flat Rock side since then. Signals on the active portions each side of the cuts between Hendersonville and Flat Rock and Landrum and Inman are turned sideways and dark. The South Carolina Inland Port has had no affect on this route, and likely never will.

Short article and recent pictures

   

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Posted by TRDevlDog on Tuesday, April 1, 2014 12:02 PM
From the pictures in the article it appears there is another washout that is forming at Slaughter Pen Cut.

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