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Updates on Multi-Tracking the Two BNSF Transcons

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Posted by diningcar on Saturday, December 3, 2022 5:15 PM

As mentioned in my earlier post, the 44-mile Williams-Crookton line change in 1959-60 took only fifteen months. Today you could not even, in fifteen months, determine what forms to fill out for such a project.  

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Posted by diningcar on Saturday, December 3, 2022 5:26 PM

As mentioned in my earlier posting, the 44-mile Williams-Crookton Arizona line change of 1959-1960 was completed in fifteen (15) months. 

Today it would take more than 15 months to determine how many permits would be required. 

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Posted by kgbw49 on Sunday, December 4, 2022 2:10 PM

Back in 2010, BNSF replaced 7 spans on the Mississippi River Bridge at Burlington, IA.

In 2020 they replaced the Missouri River Bridge at Plattsmouth, NE.

They are wrapping up the second bridge over Lake Coeur d'Alene, ID and associated track changes in Sandpoint, ID.

They have been working their way through the second main track in the Flint Hills of KS.

They are working on 30 miles of 3rd main track between Needle and Goffs, CA.

They have received all their permits for the replacement of the Missouri River Bridge between Mandan and Bismarck, ND.

They are working on permits for the Barstow International Gateway in CA.

The apparently have initial permitting going on for the second bridge over the Missouri River at Sibley, MO, as evidenced by the USCG presentation listed a few posts back.

Maybe after all those other projects listed are completed, the Sibley Bridge will get funded and constructed.

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Posted by kgbw49 on Sunday, December 4, 2022 10:08 PM

History of the ATSF bridge at Sibley, MO with many historical photos:

http://industrialscenery.blogspot.com/2017/01/santa-fe-bridge-over-missouri-river.html

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Posted by David1005 on Monday, December 5, 2022 12:50 AM

One of the issues with these old truss bridges is vertical clearance. The railroads are currently pushing 20' 6". I do not know how high it will go. If electrification is in the future of this line 26' is probably the clearance needed. 

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Posted by diningcar on Monday, December 5, 2022 8:14 AM

Let's not overlook tunnels for vertical clearance issues. BNSF has a clearance program which they use to route high/wide loads along routes where those loads will clear any known obstacles.

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Posted by blue streak 1 on Monday, December 5, 2022 12:14 PM

Some write ups say the project is complete. Not so. Now BNSF has taken the old spans out of service to do much needed upgrades.  BNSF release says it will be mid 2023 before all the spans are replaced.  At least now upgrades can go full speed ahead.   Sandpoint residents probably will not understand why there is still the bottle neck.

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Posted by MikeF90 on Monday, December 5, 2022 4:58 PM

SD60MAC9500
I don't know if BNSF will even need a new bridge at Sibley, MO. BNSF could very well upgrade the connection at Bucklin, MO in the NW corner between the Marceline and Brookfield Sub's. Since the Brookfield and Marceline Sub's parrallel each other between Bucklin and KCMO.

I'm pretty sure that BNSF will proceed with a new second single track bridge. The Brookfield sub to the west ends at NS trackage rights, then proceeds over another bridge to Santa Fe Jct. Two parallel single track bridges come in real handy when maintenance has to be performed.

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Posted by kgbw49 on Monday, December 5, 2022 9:31 PM

This document gives infomation on the Northern Transcon Mandan Bridge, but slide 24 gives insight into the planning process for the Southern Transcon Second Sibley Bridge to be built just slightly downstream from the existing Sibley Bridge.

https://www.dco.uscg.mil/Portals/9/BNSF%20Design%20Concept%20Explanation_6NOV2019%20FINAL%20Version_Redacted.pdf

 

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Posted by dpeltier on Tuesday, December 6, 2022 10:33 AM

blue streak 1

Some write ups say the project is complete. Not so. Now BNSF has taken the old spans out of service to do much needed upgrades.  BNSF release says it will be mid 2023 before all the spans are replaced.  At least now upgrades can go full speed ahead.   Sandpoint residents probably will not understand why there is still the bottle neck.

Much of the work on the old bridge will have to wait until spring. In the winter they draw down lake levels to the point where 2/3 of the bridge and the spot in shore where they load and unload barges are inaccessible by water. They'll be doing some work over the winter, but the site will really get busy again in the spring when the water comes back up.

Right now Sandpoint is a single-track bottleneck a couple miles long. Once the double-track is in place, taking either bridge out of service will result in over 10 miles of single track. So, it makes sense to do a heavy rehab of the existing bridge before putting the double track in service.

Dan

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Posted by kgbw49 on Wednesday, December 7, 2022 8:16 AM

Other reports also said some track alignment work has to be done around the historic Sandpoint Railroad Station to fit in double track at that point and in that area.

That work is supposed to be going on simultaneously with the upgrade work on the original bridge so that when the original bridge is reopened, the double track all the way through Sandpoint will also be fully open.

https://keepsandpointrolling.com/project-updates/

 

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Posted by blue streak 1 on Thursday, December 8, 2022 12:50 AM

Will the center pivot be removved from old bridge to provide wider navigation or is that needed?

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Posted by dpeltier on Thursday, December 8, 2022 8:20 AM

blue streak 1

Will the center pivot be removved from old bridge to provide wider navigation or is that needed?

 

Not needed. Other than some concrete repairs above the low-water mark, nothing is happening with any of the piers on the old bridge.

Dan

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Posted by dpeltier on Thursday, December 8, 2022 8:39 AM

kgbw49

Other reports also said some track alignment work has to be done around the historic Sandpoint Railroad Station to fit in double track at that point and in that area.

That work is supposed to be going on simultaneously with the upgrade work on the original bridge so that when the original bridge is reopened, the double track all the way through Sandpoint will also be fully open.

https://keepsandpointrolling.com/project-updates/

To minimize disruptions to Amtrak, a new platform will be built north of the station. This will actually serve the existing track (Future Main 2), but will be constructed so that the part that is in the way of Future Main 1 can be quickly and easily removed.

Once the new platform is in place, the existing platform can be removed and the roadbed for the new track can be prepared where it used to be.

All of this (and some other stuff as well) has to happen before the tracks shift at Sandpoint Junction, which also has to happen at the same time as the cutover of the new double crossover between the big bridge and the station. Like I said, it will get busy there again in the spring.

The new platform will be fully ADA compliant but it won't have all the features Amtrak wants for new construction. My understanding is that, after the dust settles on the double-track project, Amtrak will likely build a new permanent platform south of the station (where the existing one is), and then the new platform on the north side will be removed.

Dan

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Posted by Tunnel on Thursday, December 8, 2022 12:45 PM

What is the status of building the 2nd MT and bridge at Alva, OK?

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Posted by MikeF90 on Thursday, December 8, 2022 6:33 PM

Tunnel
What is the status of building the 2nd MT and bridge at Alva, OK?

Unless some sharp-eyed reader has found something, I haven't seen any new project start words from BNSF.  Perhaps their CapEx announcement around Jan 2023 will shed some light.  That single track segment is slightly less than three miles so it's not much of a bottleneck.

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Posted by samfp1943 on Friday, January 6, 2023 8:38 PM

MikeF90
Tunnel
What is the status of building the 2nd MT and bridge at Alva, OK?

 

Unless some sharp-eyed reader has found something, I haven't seen any new project start words from BNSF.  Perhaps their CapEx announcement around Jan 2023 will shed some light.  That single track segment is slightly less than three miles so it's not much of a bottleneck.

 

 
  NOTE: Mike F90
In regards to the second part of your response.   I found an article in the Jan.6th,2023 TRAINS Newswire; by David Lassen.
.Regarding BNSF construction here in Kansas on our branch of the T-con.
FTA: "..."Other significant projects"

"With the railroad not yet ready to offer its 2023 capital plan, Rasmussen reviewed three significant projects that saw major progress in 2022 and will continue into 2023.   The first of those involves 50.7 miles of new track on the Emporia Subdivision between Elliinor and Mulvane, Kan. It is part of the continuing effort to complete double-tracking of the Chicago-Los Angeles main line, save for a river crossing near Kansas City [see “Double tracking the Transcon,” Trains Magazine, February 2022]. Two segments opened in 2022; two more, of 5.7 and 8.9 miles, are slated to be completed in 2023, with a 14-mile segment in 2023-24..."

Being an old, retired geezer, I've had a chance to watch the passing 'traffic' by here. Various work trains with ties, ballast, and the like. There has also been a BRANDT-style,truck, MOW, hauling some of the 'ballast cars by here as well... I have not had a chance to get out, and go see what they are doing East of here. I suspect they are somewhere between Agusta, and Ellinor(?).

 

 

 

 


 

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Posted by MikeF90 on Tuesday, January 10, 2023 7:13 PM

samfp1943
Two segments opened in 2022; two more, of 5.7 and 8.9 miles, are slated to be completed in 2023, with a 14-mile segment in 2023-24..."

Good eye, samfp1943!  Newswire is good for something occasionally.

The 2023 segments mentioned match the El Dorado - Chelsea and Matfield Green - Bazar lines on my map.  The remaining 14 miles for 2023-2024 looks like the East Jct - West Augusta section nearest you.

For reference:  https://www.google.com/maps/d/viewer?mid=1VRnODytoJvQobOqykJUwAH2FU4w&ll=37.595465100000006%2C-97.0890117&z=12

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Posted by kgbw49 on Wednesday, January 11, 2023 8:24 AM

'F90, your maps are a fabulous reference! Thanks for sharing them over the years!

Assuming the Flint Hills double-tracking is completed this year, do we know if that leaves just the Missouri River bridge at Sibley, MO and the Salt River bridge at Alva, OK as the last single-track segments on the Southern Transcon?

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Posted by samfp1943 on Wednesday, January 11, 2023 5:21 PM

01/11/2023: Just a quick update:  On my F.B. page, just rcently, there was a conversation by a poster fom [Kasas Railfans and Railroads]. His topic was fishing around the railroad that crosses Eldorado Lake. {specifically; BNSF's line in the Flint Hills, ['Our subect']. The interesting part, IMHO, was photos of some of the 'cuts' under the rail line.. To the sides of those cuts, it appeared that a large quantity of rock was dumped; possibly, to indicate that the railroad was 'preparing' the area to be double tracked; at some point in the future?   Which, might make some sense, in light of some of the 'announcemets' that have been made, recently? Whistling

 

 


 

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Posted by MikeF90 on Wednesday, January 11, 2023 10:09 PM

kgbw49
Assuming the Flint Hills double-tracking is completed this next year, do we know if that leaves just the Missouri River bridge at Sibley, MO and the Salt River bridge at Alva, OK as the last single-track segments on the Southern Transcon?

I just corrected the completion year (2024). Those single track sections are what I know, but I do not know BNSF's priorities.

samfp1943's post about the El Dorado Lake 'gap' is intriguing. I always assumed that it would be too expensive to fill in that short distance, but we'll wait and see.

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Posted by kgbw49 on Wednesday, January 11, 2023 10:49 PM

That bridge between the two causeways on Eldorado Lake sure looks to be two tracks wide already, but with only one track laid.

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Posted by SFbrkmn on Thursday, January 12, 2023 5:36 PM

Projections & deadlines  change, and this likely will. Latest goal time is having the DT project on the Emporia Sub done in Septembe. We shall see.                                         Sitting @ Mulvane watching the sun set for a fleet of Zs on all DT to the west and everything is chocked up.                          

 

 

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Posted by MikeF90 on Monday, January 16, 2023 12:42 AM

SFbrkmn
Latest goal time is having the DT project on the Emporia Sub done in September. We shall see.

What year?  BWHAHAHAHA !!

SFbrkmn
Sitting @ Mulvane watching the sun set for a fleet of Zs on all DT to the west and everything is chocked up.

You betcha!  As I type watching the Wichita VR cam one EB is stopped while another EB one passes....

Very strange that the project manager didn't make the longer 14 mile single track section upgrade a priority; some new DT would enable passing/staging of those nofitters.

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Posted by SD60MAC9500 on Tuesday, January 17, 2023 11:44 PM
 

samfp1943

01/11/2023: Just a quick update:  On my F.B. page, just rcently, there was a conversation by a poster fom [Kasas Railfans and Railroads]. His topic was fishing around the railroad that crosses Eldorado Lake. {specifically; BNSF's line in the Flint Hills, ['Our subect']. The interesting part, IMHO, was photos of some of the 'cuts' under the rail line.. To the sides of those cuts, it appeared that a large quantity of rock was dumped; possibly, to indicate that the railroad was 'preparing' the area to be double tracked; at some point in the future?   Which, might make some sense, in light of some of the 'announcemets' that have been made, recently? Whistling

 

Yes that rock was dumped for 2MT. Also as per kgbw the bridge across El Dorado Lake is certainly ready for 2MT.

 
Rahhhhhhhhh!!!!
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Posted by kgbw49 on Friday, January 20, 2023 6:19 PM

BNSF is starting the second bridge at Sibley MO and a second bridge over the Spokane River in 2023.

Those are two more significant capacity expansions.

https://www.bnsf.com/news-media/news-releases/newsrelease.page?relId=bnsf-announces-plan-for-2023-capital-investments

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Posted by MikeF90 on Friday, January 20, 2023 6:32 PM

SD60MAC9500
Also as per kgbw the bridge across El Dorado Lake is certainly ready for 2MT.

Until I see some actual pictures of new construction along the El Dorado Lake causeway (not a bridge) I believe there is some confusion about this location. An expensive bridge is needed to fill the short causeway gap and allow plenty of reservoir water to move by; steel culverts would probably not be accepted by the reservoir authority.

The east part indeed has two tracks but IMO that was a questionable decision to put a CP there; if a derailment happens it will be much more expensive to clean up!

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Posted by MikeF90 on Friday, January 20, 2023 6:42 PM

kgbw49
BNSF is starting the second bridge at Sibley MO and a second bridge over the Spokane River in 2023.

Those are two more significant capacity expansions.

https://www.bnsf.com/news-media/news-releases/newsrelease.page?relId=bnsf-announces-plan-for-2023-capital-investments

Beat me to it!

The Spokane River bridge project has been in the engineering and permitting phase for quite a while. I think they may be close to moving dirt. Any info on whether the new bridge will be single or double track would be appreciated.

Location: https://www.google.com/maps/@47.6904722,-117.2326389,17z and see Northern Transcon link below in sig.

Reportedly 'legacy' trackage west of the river will be rearranged with better crossovers for WB yard access.  Not sure how this will line up timewise with the Pines Road grade separation project.

East of the river the Barker/Trent road interchange and grade sep project should be about done. For RR ops benefit this will give more trackage for 'nofitters'.

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Posted by kgbw49 on Friday, January 20, 2023 7:34 PM

F90, from this snip from the BNSF press release, it sounds like double track will extend over the Spokane River:

"In the Pacific Northwest, BNSF will begin a multi-year project to add double track near Spokane, Washington, including over the Spokane River..."

 

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Posted by SD60MAC9500 on Friday, January 20, 2023 9:26 PM
 

MikeF90

 

 
SD60MAC9500
Also as per kgbw the bridge across El Dorado Lake is certainly ready for 2MT.

 

Until I see some actual pictures of new construction along the El Dorado Lake causeway (not a bridge) I believe there is some confusion about this location. An expensive bridge is needed to fill the short causeway gap and allow plenty of reservoir water to move by; steel culverts would probably not be accepted by the reservoir authority.

The east part indeed has two tracks but IMO that was a questionable decision to put a CP there; if a derailment happens it will be much more expensive to clean up!

 

Yes a causeway with a short bridge section.

Having a CP there is not really a big deal especially if it reduces the length of a single track section between 2MT.

https://earth.google.com/web/@38.08891119,-96.79105382,-35248.79009712a,40989.28111933d,35y,-0.95248033h,28.37234771t,359.9989r?utm_source=earth7&utm_campaign=vine&hl=en

Doesn't look like a new bridge section is needed in the casueway when the exisitng bridge already has room for another track.

 
 
 
 
Rahhhhhhhhh!!!!

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