Trains.com

Updates on Multi-Tracking the Two BNSF Transcons

60047 views
341 replies
1 rating 2 rating 3 rating 4 rating 5 rating
  • Member since
    December 2017
  • 10 posts
Posted by PeteM3 on Sunday, August 14, 2022 10:00 PM

MikeF90:

The link to your Southern Transcon map does not appear to be working. I keep getting "Invalid Dynamic Link - Blocked" and "We could not match param 'http://maps.google.com/maps/ms?msid=216728125071071537994.0004a8eb6afe6797ac375&msa=0&ll=38.891033,-97.250977&spn=24.111771,35.595703' with whitelisted URL patterns in this Google project". There is a logo at the bottom of the page that says "Firebase". I tried it with Firefox and Chrome. No luck. All the other maps are workng.

BTW, have always appreciated your maps,certainly a lot of work.

Pete

 

 

  • Member since
    June 2003
  • From: South Central,Ks
  • 6,898 posts
Posted by samfp1943 on Friday, August 12, 2022 4:53 PM

MikeF90

Per a KS local frequent poster on The Other railfan site, BNSF contractors are actually grading near El Dorado for the 2MT project. No word on the Augusta to Mulvane single track section yet.

Meanwhile they seem to be working all along the ROW between Bazaar and Aikman including both highway and RR bridges.  Hard to tell when specific blocks will be completed and cut over.

On the nearby Wichita railcam traffic patterns look pretty wild to me. I've seen both northbound (RR east) and southbound trains held and passed by higher priority ones in the same direction!

 

 
            Mike F90:  Just to note: I live about MP126.8 (?) on what seems to be labeled as the Main #3 of the Eldorado Sub (N.side of Mulvane,Ks)
....As to the line between Augusta and here.  It has several(long?) passing tracks,East of here; bewtween Augusta and Rose Hill (Ks)...Some previously places graded along the ROW...
   From the area of the switch (NE of Mulvane area to a track that runs along the East side of town and intersects the line from the Southeast-Yard outside of Ark City via Winfield and Udall, to its intersection on SW side of Mulvane, with the Southern T con (*From Wellington, and West) to North to Wichita via Derby) . Seems to be a normal amount of traffic; but many trains are much longer with multi DPUs in consist ( would appear to be made with adding anolther train to another... possibly, in an area ilke Amarillo, or farther west(?)  

Traffic onto Mulvane (East)  is mostly, Double stacks, with a couple of daily TOFC and mixed COPFC's ... Along with one, maybe two(?) mixed merchandisers, and solid grain trains, and an occasional soild tank train, (Empty or loaded?)  These can run in either direction, and seem to be fleeted' by direction; again in either direction ... Makes for some interesting watching, at times.   

 

 


 

  • Member since
    July 2009
  • From: San Francisco East Bay
  • 1,273 posts
Posted by MikeF90 on Thursday, August 11, 2022 5:40 PM

Per a KS local frequent poster on The Other railfan site, BNSF contractors are actually grading near El Dorado for the 2MT project. No word on the Augusta to Mulvane single track section yet.

Meanwhile they seem to be working all along the ROW between Bazaar and Aikman including both highway and RR bridges.  Hard to tell when specific blocks will be completed and cut over.

On the nearby Wichita railcam traffic patterns look pretty wild to me. I've seen both northbound (RR east) and southbound trains held and passed by higher priority ones in the same direction!

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

  • Member since
    July 2008
  • 1,951 posts
Posted by rdamon on Saturday, June 11, 2022 2:10 PM

kgbw49

There is a heck of a lot of property acquisition going on for this project per the City of San Bernardino document.

I was thinking the same thing.  

  • Member since
    January 2015
  • 2,236 posts
Posted by kgbw49 on Saturday, June 11, 2022 7:51 AM

There is a heck of a lot of property acquisition going on for this project per the City of San Bernardino document.

if you look at the BNSF strategy as a whole, they really invest big bucks on an annual basis to improving traffic flow, well above and beyond just long sidings liike the rest of the PSR universe seems to be doing.

Major examples include but are not limited to:

Reopening Stampede Pass

Double tracking The Funnel

Second bridge over Lake Pend O'Reille

Double tracking much of the Great Northern route in North Dakota

Buyng back the Northern Pacific across Montana

Triple track on Cajon and much of the route to Hobart Yard in Southern CA.

Much of the double track on Tehachapi where they run the majority of trains as tenant

Double tracking Abo Canyon

Triple or quadruple track into and out of Belen NM

Triple or quadruple track into and out of Needles CA

Truxton Flyover

Triple tracking at Amarillo

Double tracking major bridges on the Southern Transcon to close single track gaps

Double tracking the Flint Hills

Again, not a comprehensive list.

But they make steady investments to try - try - to keep trains moving.

(If, in this period of history, they have the crews to run them.)

 

  • Member since
    March 2016
  • 127 posts
Posted by croteaudd on Saturday, June 11, 2022 7:42 AM
San Bernardino Update Assessment
After examining environmental track material linked above, this forum contributor has concluded that insufficient material is available to make judgment calls, as things just don’t jive and are contradictory!  Further material, including future Control Point (CP) material is needed.  It is unusual that incomplete material is supplied, unless things are being looked at just from a legal environmental report aspect.  Since things are so contradictory it has to be wondered if the forum was NOT supplied the final material on the project.  Thus. I retract my previous, above post.
diningcar:
 
Posted by diningcar on Friday, June 10, 2022 4:00 PM
As I read the 1869 N J Street photo it appears to be unrelated to BNSF but is part of the modification for the passenger station along the Redlands line tracks.
It is very related, unlike your confusion about the Arrow line to Redlands that is a mile away!
  • Member since
    July 2008
  • 1,951 posts
Posted by rdamon on Friday, June 10, 2022 4:14 PM

If you look in the document on page 22 you can see the blue ROW expanded limit and the red line is the c/l of the new track.

  • Member since
    December 2006
  • 1,569 posts
Posted by diningcar on Friday, June 10, 2022 4:00 PM

As I read the 1869 N J Street photo it appears to be unrelated to BNSF but is part of the modification for the passenger station along the Redlands line tracks.

  • Member since
    March 2016
  • 127 posts
Posted by croteaudd on Friday, June 10, 2022 2:05 PM
San Bernardino Fourth-Track Peculiarity
 
Hi, guys (and the few gals here too)!
 
About the new fourth-track in San Bernardino … here is my UNOFFICIAL assessment, an assessment that may or may not be the way it will be.
 
It should be realized that IT IS SAID the project starts on the east side by State Street / University Parkway.  I DISAGREE!  That insinuates a new CP would be put in near there (ONO).  I believe CP VERDEMONT will be radically altered, with the thru-tracks (1, 2, and 3) will shift to the north side (railroad south), so the siding or Main 4 will become Main 3. (Make sense?)  So, the present Main 1 (railroad north side) will become the North Track. (Thus, North Track, Main 1, 2, and 3.)  A physically north side track will be extended westbound to around Mt. Vernon Ave., where alignment shifts will take place so the new ‘North’ track will be next to Main 1, which will go to CP SEVENTH STREET in the downtown San Bernardino area.  IF IT WON’T BE THIS WAY, the railroad will simply be working against itself and everything will slow down!
 
WHAT IT AMOUNTS TO is that the new track will combine with the current siding so that TWO trains can be parked instead of one.  THAT IS ALL IT AMOUNTS TO.  It should be noted that eastbound and westbound Intermodal trains pick up and drop off on the north side, so they all must vie for a north side pickup or drop off position. 
  • Member since
    July 2008
  • 1,951 posts
Posted by rdamon on Friday, June 10, 2022 1:36 PM

In searching the SB City Council site for more information, I found this item from the 6/1/2022 regular meeting.

8. Resolution Approving Street Vacation of a Portion of I Street (Ward 3) p. 277

Recommendation

Adopt Resolution 2022-103 of the Mayor and City Council of the City of San Bernardino, California, certifying the Final Environmental Impact Report (State Clearinghouse No. 2021030193), adopting the findings of fact and Mitigation Monitoring and Reporting Program under the California Environmental Quality Act, and approving the vacation of a portion of “I” Street between Spruce Street and Olive Street, and a portion of “J” Street at its intersection with 17th Street and 21st Street and reservation of utilities therein.

 

 

Found this document as well.

https://sbcity.org/civicax/filebank/blobdload.aspx?BlobID=30184

  • Member since
    January 2015
  • 2,236 posts
Posted by kgbw49 on Friday, June 10, 2022 7:28 AM

BNSF is adding 4.3 miles of fourth main track near the San Bernardino Intermodal Facility to relieve congestion.

From the news release it sounds like it all is in the City of San Bernardino proper.

https://www.bnsf.com/news-media/news-releases/newsrelease.page?relId=bnsf-railway-advances-track-efficiency-improvements-in-san-bernardino

From the looks of it they are really going to be shoe-horning the track in there from this overpass all the way down to the San Bernardino Intermodal Facility

https://www.google.com/maps/place/N+State+St,+San+Bernardino,+CA/@34.1261037,-117.3033996,186m/data=!3m1!1e3!4m5!3m4!1s0x80c3523f3ce6f94f:0xee70c673a312aa8d!8m2!3d34.1514907!4d-117.3354683

 

 

 

  • Member since
    January 2015
  • 2,236 posts
Posted by kgbw49 on Tuesday, May 3, 2022 8:22 AM

Read an article in another trade publication related to MOW budgets of various railroad and transit agencies for 2022.

The two big BNSF projects for multi-track included the continuing double track project in Kansas, and approximately 30 miles of triple track from the current end of triple track west of Needles to Goff in California.

https://www.bnsf.com/news-media/railtalk/service/emporia.html

The second bridge over Lake Pend Oreille in Idaho also continues, which will extend double track over the lake and through the town to the junction between the ex-GN and ex-NP.

https://keepsandpointrolling.com/

 

  • Member since
    January 2015
  • 2,236 posts
Posted by kgbw49 on Tuesday, April 5, 2022 9:50 AM

Two interesting documents from the US Coast Guard site.

In thsee documents there is reference to the new bridge being planned for the Missouri River between Bismarck and Mandan being capable of two main tracks.

There is also reference to the design of a new bridge at Sibley, Missouri with 400-foot trusses.

https://www.dco.uscg.mil/Portals/9/BNSF%20FAQ%2017OCT%202019_Redacted.pdf

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

  • Member since
    July 2009
  • From: San Francisco East Bay
  • 1,273 posts
Posted by MikeF90 on Monday, April 4, 2022 7:06 PM

kgbw49
Buying back its former Northern Pacific for approximately $2 billion gives BNSF effectively paired main tracks or double track all the way from Galesburg to Seattle.

That sounds like a relative bargain price. I may start a map that shows MRL points of interest and future possible construction.

I'm still puzzled by the lack of action on existing bottlenecks. Many sidings between Sandpoint and Whitefish are ridiculously short and surprisingly no hints of improvement. However the new Pend Oreille bridge work seems to be moving right along.

Likewise, the Emporia sub 2MT upgrade seems to be going quite slowly given the 'relative' flatness of eastern Kansas. I often see stopped eastbound traffic on the Wichita VR webcam just waiting for that new MT Smile.

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

  • Member since
    January 2015
  • 2,236 posts
Posted by kgbw49 on Sunday, April 3, 2022 12:17 PM

Buying back its former Northern Pacific for approximately $2 billion gives BNSF effectively paired main tracks or double track all the way from Galesburg to Seattle.

I would not be surprised if they took out an intercompany loan from Berkshire Hathaway, utilizing the enormous BH cash balance, which they will then repay to BH with interest.

With MRL no longer controlling capital investment of the line, BNSF will be able to add more or extend sidings into long passing sidings on the former NP and perhaps add PTC, which will definitely give it optionality and capacity.

It will be interesting to see how many trains per day they will be able to add to that route. In the long run, it is probably the most cost-effective way to add capacity back to the Northern Transcon. I am sure their planners ran all the numbers.

  • Member since
    September 2002
  • From: Harrison Township, Michigan
  • 1,457 posts
Posted by SD60MAC9500 on Friday, March 4, 2022 7:53 AM
 

A contractor just layed out some storm drainage for the 3MT at Goffs Hill.

 
Rahhhhhhhhh!!!!
  • Member since
    December 2006
  • 1,569 posts
Posted by diningcar on Friday, March 4, 2022 7:37 AM

Probably where UP operates between Daggett and Riverside

  • Member since
    January 2015
  • 2,236 posts
Posted by kgbw49 on Friday, March 4, 2022 7:15 AM

Cajon to Barstow has long been rumored, but one can't rull,out some of the tougher grades such as Ash Hill.

(34.5684713, -117.3154966)

Here are the Google Maps coordinates for the bridge at Victorville.

  • Member since
    July 2009
  • From: San Francisco East Bay
  • 1,273 posts
Posted by MikeF90 on Wednesday, March 2, 2022 2:10 PM

David1005
I see where BNSF announced today that they will be putting more triple track in California in 2022. Can someone identify where this will be?

No doubt more details will appear soon, but the only active 3MT project I know of is the stretch just west of Needles. There are other possibilities (mostly SoCal) but we'll have to wait and see.

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

  • Member since
    June 2012
  • 95 posts
Posted by David1005 on Tuesday, March 1, 2022 10:17 PM

I see where BNSF announced today that they will be putting more triple track in California in 2022. Can someone identify where this will be?  Is this from Summit to Barstow, or may west of Riverside?  I cannot see it up the valley or anywhere else in Northern California. 

  • Member since
    July 2009
  • From: San Francisco East Bay
  • 1,273 posts
Posted by MikeF90 on Sunday, February 20, 2022 4:00 PM

Per another poster elsewhere, on the southern transcon work is closing in on construction of the second track from E Bazar/Flint to Gladstone.  The big new RR bridge across Hwy 177 is finished so the Aikman-Matfield Green segment looks on schedule for completion late this year.

Advance grading work is starting near E Matfield Green as there is a major amount of fill to be removed by next year. This should be helpful to the upgrade west of Augusta as it appears that the ROW is the highest terrain there.

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

  • Member since
    July 2009
  • From: San Francisco East Bay
  • 1,273 posts
Posted by MikeF90 on Saturday, January 8, 2022 3:45 PM

MidlandMike
Is that all the way from Barstow to the Bay Area? Is the UP planning on double tracking Tehachapi?

Previous projects on Tehachapi (UP Mojave sub) have been put on hold before. Based on my periodic views of the webcams, I don't see UP or BNSF having enough traffic for major upgrades. I would vote for the single track Caliente - Bealville segment first; the DS does an impressive job on the single/double track Woodford to Cable. IMO further upgrades to very steep and twisty Bealville-Woodford-Walong-Cable need a very long, expensive tunnel that UP would never pay for; previous upgrades were funded by BNSF and I think Caltrans.

An extra track on BNSF between Stockton and Turlock (Google map) would probably be built first due to planned commuter service. Not too hard :), joining a bunch of sidings that aren't too far apart. Surprised that they aren't using the underutilized UP instead.

Another old project to add a third track to the Cajon sub east of Summit seems to be deferred. I'm guessing that PSR is the culprit - they run a lot of long trains between Barstow and the LA basin.

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

  • Member since
    September 2011
  • 5,801 posts
Posted by MidlandMike on Friday, January 7, 2022 8:31 PM

In a Trains NewsWire article today, BNSF talked about double tracking the Bakersfield and Stockton subdivisions in the next decade .Is that all the way from Barstow to the Bay Area?  Is the UP planning on double tracking Tehachapi?

https://www.trains.com/trn/news-reviews/news-wire/tunnel-project-underscores-bnsfs-battle-with-nature-in-2021/

 

  • Member since
    March 2011
  • 99 posts
Posted by dpeltier on Friday, January 7, 2022 7:18 AM

MikeF90

Thanks for the update Dan!  I wonder if there is a public planning doc that shows how the second track will be shoehorned between US95 north to Sandpoint Jct, looks like somethings got to move ....

There probably is such a document in the public record as part of the permitting process, but the short answer is that it's the Amtrak platform that has to move. The station building can stay where it is, but the platform won't fit between building and tracks. It will have to be offset. 15' track centers through this area.

There will be a universal crossover between the big bridge and the Amtrak building. By the time you get to Amtrak, there will be one track for the MRL and one for BNSF. Fortunately, the station is on the BNSF side!

Dan

(I am a BNSF employee but the opinions expressed are strictly my own. I am not speaking for BNSF.)

  • Member since
    July 2009
  • From: San Francisco East Bay
  • 1,273 posts
Posted by MikeF90 on Thursday, January 6, 2022 5:29 PM

Thanks for the update Dan!  I wonder if there is a public planning doc that shows how the second track will be shoehorned between US95 north to Sandpoint Jct, looks like somethings got to move ....

Per a post on The Other site the latest completion schedule-of-the-month for the Emporia sub upgrade is: West Gladstone to East Bazar - end of Feb 2022, Aikman to Matfield Green - summer 2022, Bazar to Matfield Green - summer 2023, balance (Chelsea to Mulvane) late 2024.

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

  • Member since
    March 2011
  • 99 posts
Posted by dpeltier on Thursday, January 6, 2022 12:25 AM

blue streak 1
Very interesting photos.  BNSF is using for the most part same number of 6 pilings per bent but they appear larger diameter.  Noted that the spans are going to be longer but all do not seem to be the same length ?  Any way probably will have a much higher cooper rating ?

 

 

Note that the 6-pile bents on the existing bridge are not original; I believe they were installed this century when that end of the bridge was reconstructed under traffic. As such they were probably spaced as much for constructability as anything.

The new bridge has longer spans just because it's more economical that way. The tradeoff between longer beams versus more bents has changed since the original bridge was constructed.

The new bridge will be built to BNSF's current standards, which at the moment call for an E-80 design load. (I believe some other roads use E-90 instead.) I don't know what the condition-based Cooper rating is for the existing bridge but obviously it's adequate to handle anything that moves today on either the hi line or the MRL.

Dan

(I am a BNSF employee but the opinions expressed are strictly my own - I am not speaking for BNSF.)

  • Member since
    March 2011
  • 99 posts
Posted by dpeltier on Thursday, January 6, 2022 12:05 AM

MikeF90

Over on the northern transcon BNSF and its contractors worked through December; the bridge superstructure is being finished.  The lake drawdown in winter may help construction but recent PNW storms may have had an impact.  Perhaps our occasional local poster BK has more info.

Basically: all the piling on the long bridge have now been driven, and most of the bents are done as well (i.e. pier caps and cross-bracing installed). A small number of spans have been installed as well. In 2022, work will consist mostly of setting beams and pouring concrete decks. Track construction is still scheduled for 2023.

There are actually two other shorter bridges required for the project. The first is over Bridge St., and that one is complete. The second, as Bruce noted, is over Sand Creek. That one is under construction as well and coming along fairly well. The causeway that leads up to the existing bridge on the north (railroad East) end is not being widened to accommodate the second track. The new bridge will be considerably longer than the existing bridge and will span the whole existing waterway, with the new north (RR east) abutment approximately in line with the US-95 abutment.

Dan

(I am a BNSF employee but the opinions expressed are strictly my own - I am not speaking for BNSF.)

  • Member since
    December 2001
  • From: Northern New York
  • 23,272 posts
Posted by tree68 on Wednesday, January 5, 2022 7:25 AM

While not completely current (publishing lag time), there is an article in the latest Trains on that very subject.

LarryWhistling
Resident Microferroequinologist (at least at my house) 
Everyone goes home; Safety begins with you
My Opinion. Standard Disclaimers Apply. No Expiration Date
Come ride the rails with me!
There's one thing about humility - the moment you think you've got it, you've lost it...

  • Member since
    September 2002
  • From: Harrison Township, Michigan
  • 1,457 posts
Posted by SD60MAC9500 on Tuesday, January 4, 2022 8:56 PM

Thanks for the update Mike.

Rahhhhhhhhh!!!!

Join our Community!

Our community is FREE to join. To participate you must either login or register for an account.

Search the Community

Newsletter Sign-Up

By signing up you may also receive occasional reader surveys and special offers from Trains magazine.Please view our privacy policy