Trains.com

Union Pacific (Ex SP) West Phoenix Line

28991 views
181 replies
1 rating 2 rating 3 rating 4 rating 5 rating
  • Member since
    July 2014
  • 565 posts
Posted by Fred M Cain on Thursday, September 28, 2017 1:37 PM

Robert,

I dunno.  I thought that the "Abandoned Rails" webmaster stated that THAT signal was at Arlington siding in which case, if true, that's already been replaced by UP "Darth Vader" types.

What I was wondering about were two vertical black objects (in addition to the defunct semaphore mast).  I'm not sure what they are.  Could it be they started an installation then quit work on it?  Or,  maybe they're old signal code line poles?  If I still lived in the Phoenix area, hell, I'd drive out there and check this out.

But here is something else interesting that I found today.  I was reading over that huge 189 page AZDOT document that I posted on here yesterday. 

If you scroll WAY down to page A-3 or A-4 in the appendix, there's a nice map of Arizona. That map shows both the planned "Red Rock Yard" and the mysterious Buckeye Yard.  So, our "friend" Stan Jefferson was right about that!  I'm thinking that his theory might be spot on.  There may have been some kind of a connection between this planned yard at Buckeye and the reopening of the Arlington-Roll segment.  With the yard "on hold" (or quite possibly shelved altogether) the fate of the the West Phoenix line might also be in the same boat with it.

This is a truly interesting and fun document.  I might just print it off and take it home. There is a lot of neat stuff in there that almost makes it a railfan's and rail advocate's dream.  Realistically, I realize that most of this stuff will not happen in our lifetimes if at all.  But if it ever did, it'd make me smile! Geeked

Regards,

Fred M. Cain

 

  • Member since
    July 2008
  • 2,325 posts
Posted by rdamon on Thursday, September 28, 2017 4:49 PM

K.P.'s post about the line on his Sunset Route Thread .. It is near the bottom of the page.

Arizona's Two and a Half Sunset Route Tracks

http://cs.trains.com/trn/f/111/t/120779.aspx?page=77

Shortened link..

http://bit.ly/2fC4qiA

 

  • Member since
    December 2007
  • From: Georgia USA SW of Atlanta
  • 11,858 posts
Posted by blue streak 1 on Thursday, September 28, 2017 5:20 PM

Someone who remembers fill us in. Was there a time that a fourth day Eagle ran from SAS < > LAX ?  That would have given 4 RTs SAS <> LAX ?  If so how did ridership compare to the 3 RTs ? 

  • Member since
    August 2005
  • From: At the Crossroads of the West
  • 11,013 posts
Posted by Deggesty on Thursday, September 28, 2017 7:28 PM

blue streak 1

Someone who remembers fill us in. Was there a time that a fourth day Eagle ran from SAS < > LAX ?  That would have given 4 RTs SAS <> LAX ?  If so how did ridership compare to the 3 RTs ? 

 

Yes, there was one. I do not remember the details, except that it was not combined with a Sunset

Johnny

  • Member since
    July 2014
  • 565 posts
Posted by Fred M Cain on Friday, September 29, 2017 6:25 AM

rdamon

K.P.'s post about the line on his Sunset Route Thread .. It is near the bottom of the page.

Arizona's Two and a Half Sunset Route Tracks

Shortened link..

http://bit.ly/2fC4qiA

 

Robert,

Thanks for that!  That "Sunset Two-tracking" thread is sooooo long now (over 200 pages!) that there are probably more things that I overlooked.  What a pity that his pictures are no longer on there.  Damn Photobucket, anyhow!

FMC

  • Member since
    July 2014
  • 565 posts
Posted by Fred M Cain on Friday, September 29, 2017 6:34 AM

blue streak 1

Someone who remembers fill us in. Was there a time that a fourth day Eagle ran from SAS < > LAX ?  That would have given 4 RTs SAS <> LAX ?  If so how did ridership compare to the 3 RTs ? 

Hmmmn.  Back when both the Eagle and the Sunset ran thrice-weekly, I vaguely remember a proposal (which I THINK was implemented) to run the Eagle four-times a week but I don't think that fourth weekly train was extended west of San Antonio but I could be wrong.   I will ask that question on the Amtrak Unlimited forum.  Surely someone on there will remember.

BUT!  Here is another interesting memory:  Back before Amtrak trains 1 & 2 were re-equipped with Superliner equipment, Amtrak ran a  through sleeper in cooperation with the Southern Railway from LAX to New York's Penn Station.

They would often use a piece of Southern equipment for this and on several occassions I witnessed it rolling through Tempe late at night on #1.

When I permantently left Phoenix in 1980, it was my intention to leave town on the Sunset for New York.  Alas, there was no space left on the sleeper and we ended up going to Flagstaff.  There was an overnight wait at New Orleans but I think sleeping car passengers were allowed to remain sleeping undisturbed in their car.

I've always regretted not being able to ride this.  The fact that we couldn't get space suggested that it must've been fairly popular.  Later in the 1980s, Southern Railway finally joined Amtrak. Now the LA-NY sleeper is only a fading memory.

Regards,

Fred M. Cain

  • Member since
    July 2014
  • 565 posts
Posted by Fred M Cain on Friday, September 29, 2017 7:22 AM

Coninuing to Google and research I have now finally, finally, FINALLY found an official Union Pacific document on the subject although it is already 5 years old.

The proposed Buckeye Yard is fact not fiction.  As of 2012 it was "on hold until the economy improves".  Well, the economy has pretty well recovered, so, how 'bout it?

On the West Phoenix Line, both the UP and the Arizona DOT now refer to this as the "Wellton Branch".  The UP's official stance is, and I quote, "No current plans for rehabilitation, line is not available for sale".  Oh really?  Why wouldn't they consider selling it?  That right there tells me they have a plan for it which has yet to be made public.

Another thing I would still like to find out, exactly what kind of a facility is/was planned for Buckeye? Will it also have intermodal facilities?  I have pretty well come to the conclusion that this proposed facility and the rehabbing of the "Wellton Branch" are inseparably linked.  The reopening of the West Phoenix Line Arlington-Roll, in my personal opinion has NOTHING to do (right now) with the Sunset Limited returning to Phoenix.  I think it has something to do with some other issue altogether.

Here is the link to the UP document:

http://azmag.gov/Portals/0/Documents/EDC_2012-11-06_Union-Pacific-Arizona-Rail-Update-Presentation.pdf?ver=2017-04-06-111033-890

Regards,

Fred M. Cain

 

  • Member since
    July 2008
  • 2,325 posts
Posted by rdamon on Friday, September 29, 2017 9:07 AM

Fred,

Not sure if this the same document posted earlier, it is from 2011 and has lots of grand ideas.

https://azdot.gov/docs/planning/state-rail-plan.pdf?sfvrsn=0

Robert

  • Member since
    July 2014
  • 565 posts
Posted by Fred M Cain on Friday, September 29, 2017 9:18 AM

rdamon

Fred,

Not sure if this the same document posted earlier, it is from 2011 and has lots of grand ideas.

https://azdot.gov/docs/planning/state-rail-plan.pdf?sfvrsn=0

Robert

 

Robert,

Yes, that's the one I meant yesterday when I said it's a rail advocate's and railfan's dream.  I'm afraid it may only be a dream.  The possibility of passenger service on the Nogales and Globe/Miami branches?  The return of passnger trains to Prescott in a future "Hassayamp Corridor"?  Yes, those would be dreams but I will say this:  There has been a sea change in Arizona DOT's attitude toward transportation and rail.  When I lived in Arizona (generally 1958-1980) the State's tranportion vision for the future was all about building new, bigger and faster HIGHWAYS.  Rail was looked upon as a vestige from yesteryear.

Now the State has become much more open to the idea of promoting rail along with highways.  That really is progress in my own personal, humble opinion.

Sadly, the attitude of the Hoosier State where I now live is still stuck back where Arizona was in the 1970s.  I guess the anti-rail sentiment followed me here. Tongue Tied

Regards,

Fred M. Cain

  • Member since
    January 2007
  • 595 posts
Posted by azrail on Friday, September 29, 2017 2:52 PM

There are NO tracks into Prescott anymore. There were plans to run an excursion train, but too many agencies to deal with-city, state,federal, tribal (parts of the old SF line ran through Prescott Yavapai tribal land)

  • Member since
    July 2008
  • 2,325 posts
Posted by rdamon on Friday, September 29, 2017 3:16 PM

Too Bad ...  Went to college there in the late 80's and used to walk the old RoW near Granite Dells ..

 

  • Member since
    December 2007
  • From: Georgia USA SW of Atlanta
  • 11,858 posts
Posted by blue streak 1 on Friday, September 29, 2017 10:06 PM

The thru sleeper NYP <>  LAX was heavily patronized.  What happened to it was Amtrak changed equipment on the Sunset to HEP equipment.  Since SOU RR was still steam heat and steam injector A/C Amtrak's  switch to HEP terminated the thru car. 

When the thru car was operating SOU who had a large excess inventory kept at least 1 or more spares in NOL in case of some failure for either train enroute to NOL.  Never heard what the situation at LAX was.  Probably Sunnyside had spare steam sleepers for at least the Crescent.. 

  • Member since
    July 2014
  • 565 posts
Posted by Fred M Cain on Wednesday, October 4, 2017 9:43 AM

Group,

Here is another online document I found on the West Phoenix line from City of Buckeye Development Services Department. This document is a little bit more recent than some of the others I've found.

 It references another document that pegs rehabbing the West Phoenix line at $1.8 - $4.6 million PER MILE.  Ouch! For the 80 mile "out of service" segment, I get $4.6 X 80 = $368. A significant sum but a price that still pales in comparison with a lot of other modern day transportation projects.  I suspect that Phoenix would be tickled pink if they could build the proposed South Phoenix light rail extension for that amount.

Anyways, here it is.  After you open it you have to scroll down to page 37, I think it is.

http://www.imaginebuckeye2040.com/images/docs/buckeye_map_atlas_20170627sm.pdf

Regards,

Fred M. Cain

  • Member since
    July 2014
  • 565 posts
Posted by Fred M Cain on Monday, October 9, 2017 11:57 AM

 

So, to reiterate and reflect back over and summarize this topic, will the West Phoenix Line ever return to service?

 

I would like to review what I think we know, what we clearly don’t know and what I personally happen to know.

 

First of all, based on the testimony of a Mr. Stanley Jefferson from Litchfield Park, AZ, he has stated that he was informed by the UP signal department that the UP had begun preliminary procedures to reopen the line back in 2013.  Working west from near downtown Phoenix, the UP began replacing signals and rehabilitating the automatic block signal system.  They worked their way west to about a mile west of a point known as “Crag” on the railroad which is nearly halfway between Arlington and Hyder.

 

Then, mysteriously, the worked was halted in its tracks (no pun intended).

 

That brings me to what we don’t know.  WHY did the UP order this work done and WHY did they turn around and order it stopped.  We just plain don’t know.   I have a couple of good theories but why speculate when we really don’t have the facts?

 

This brings me, finally, to what I do know. There are at present AT LEAST five (count ‘em, 5) politically-oriented entities fighting to get this line rehabbed and reopened.  I stress at LEAST because there could well be more than five – but those are the only ones I am aware of.

 

The focus on two of these groups is to get the Sunset Limited rerouted back into the Phoenix area proper as well as get is changed to a daily operation.

 

While the other three groups recognize this as well, they are also focused on the economic development that they believe a reopened Phoenix West Line would spark.

 

There are two groups whose presence on this short list is conspicuous by their absence:  Amtrak and Union Pacific.  Amtrak appears to be ambivalent at best and we really don't know what the UP's intentions are other than "keep it for future development/transportation".

But, in conclusion, I guess I feel that there is enough of a push on to get this done that I’m optimistic that it will happen.   I just can’t say when.  I don’t think any of can.

  • Member since
    July 2006
  • From: Somewhere in North Texas
  • 1,080 posts
Posted by desertdog on Monday, October 9, 2017 7:32 PM

My apologies if this information has already been posted, but I found this in a history of the EP&SW from back in 2011:

"Benson to Naco, Arizona. The former SP and EPSW roadbed between Benson

and Naco, Arizona, was purchased by the Union Pacific Railroad Corporation in

2011. Union Pacific has released no public comment on their plans for the line or

why they purchased it. The rail was taken up from Saint David to Naco many

years ago.

 

Speculation has been that the UP may re-lay track along the right-of-way and

construct a rail yard in Naco, Arizona to handle cross-border traffic from Mexico when conditions dictate the need for another border crossing."

 

My point in bringing this into the discussion is that the UP appears to think long-term in matters like this, and that would include the Phoenix West End, as well.

 

I cannot locate the exact source as the moment, but will try to provide it later. My iCloud is mis-behaving and only gives me a PDF without attribution.

 

John Timm

  • Member since
    October 2006
  • From: Allentown, PA
  • 9,810 posts
Posted by Paul_D_North_Jr on Monday, October 9, 2017 8:01 PM

Fred M Cain
. . . It references another document that pegs rehabbing the West Phoenix line at $1.8 - $4.6 million PER MILE.  Ouch! For the 80 mile "out of service" segment, I get $4.6 X 80 = $368. A significant sum but a price that still pales in comparison with a lot of other modern day transportation projects.  I suspect that Phoenix would be tickled pink if they could build the proposed South Phoenix light rail extension for that amount. . . . 

Cost estimate for the 5 miles (Jefferson Ave. in downtown to Baseline Rd. at the southern end) of the South Central LRT extension is $625M, IIRC.  Note, however, that it will be double-track, a good portion of the cost is moving urban utilities, reconstructing most of Central Ave. (plus some of S. 1st Ave) to accomodate it, stations, etc., plus the following 4 major components: 

  1. Junction trackage to the existing line at Jefferson St. in the congested downtown area, plus likely turnouts and connections for the future West Valley extension at the same time (to avoid ripping up the area again in just a few years); 
  2. Crossing under the UP tracks at 2 locations - S. 1st Ave. for the SB track, and S. Central Ave. for the NB track; 
  3. Reconstruction of the I-10 interchange and overpass bridges to accomodate it - cost shared with ADOT since the interchange is going to be reconstructed anyway; and,
  4. Replacement of the deck of the bridge over the Salt River to accomodate the 2 tracks in the middle.

$625M / 5 miles = $125M per mile on average, ~$24K per LF / $12K per track-foot.  

Yeah, they sure would be tickled pink . . . Smile, Wink & Grin

-PDN. 

"This Fascinating Railroad Business" (title of 1943 book by Robert Selph Henry of the AAR)
  • Member since
    October 2016
  • 4 posts
Posted by Number Three 1950 on Monday, October 9, 2017 8:40 PM

Fred M Cain

 

So, to reiterate and reflect back over and summarize this topic, will the West Phoenix Line ever return to service?

 

I would like to review what I think we know, what we clearly don’t know and what I personally happen to know.

 

First of all, based on the testimony of a Mr. Stanley Jefferson from Litchfield Park, AZ, he has stated that he was informed by the UP signal department that the UP had begun preliminary procedures to reopen the line back in 2013.  Working west from near downtown Phoenix, the UP began replacing signals and rehabilitating the automatic block signal system.  They worked their way west to about a mile west of a point known as “Crag” on the railroad which is nearly halfway between Arlington and Hyder.

 

Then, mysteriously, the worked was halted in its tracks (no pun intended).

 

That brings me to what we don’t know.  WHY did the UP order this work done and WHY did they turn around and order it stopped.  We just plain don’t know.   I have a couple of good theories but why speculate when we really don’t have the facts?

 

This brings me, finally, to what I do know. There are at present AT LEAST five (count ‘em, 5) politically-oriented entities fighting to get this line rehabbed and reopened.  I stress at LEAST because there could well be more than five – but those are the only ones I am aware of.

 

The focus on two of these groups is to get the Sunset Limited rerouted back into the Phoenix area proper as well as get is changed to a daily operation.

 

While the other three groups recognize this as well, they are also focused on the economic development that they believe a reopened Phoenix West Line would spark.

 

There are two groups whose presence on this short list is conspicuous by their absence:  Amtrak and Union Pacific.  Amtrak appears to be ambivalent at best and we really don't know what the UP's intentions are other than "keep it for future development/transportation".

But, in conclusion, I guess I feel that there is enough of a push on to get this done that I’m optimistic that it will happen.   I just can’t say when.  I don’t think any of can.

 

Hi Fred, I visited the signal installation at Crag in early 2016 and saw a signal maintainer truck moving west on the access road. Today I looked at Google Earth again and found another new signal at what I guess is Gillespie. Moving further west I find a siding at what I guess is Harqua. There are no signals visible.

i remember an announcement in the local Buckeye press from UP that they were upgrading the line to the chicken egg plant near Arlington to 45mph. I guess they signaled as far as they needed to to support that. Two blocks? I see little impetus to restore the line west of Arlington. No local customers, no chance of today’s Amtrak restoring service on the line and not enough through freight traffic to pay the way. Interesting to speculate though.

  • Member since
    July 2014
  • 565 posts
Posted by Fred M Cain on Tuesday, October 10, 2017 6:21 AM

desertdog

My apologies if this information has already been posted, but I found this in a history of the EP&SW from back in 2011:

"Benson to Naco, Arizona. The former SP and EPSW roadbed between Benson

and Naco, Arizona, was purchased by the Union Pacific Railroad Corporation in

2011. Union Pacific has released no public comment on their plans for the line or

why they purchased it. The rail was taken up from Saint David to Naco many

years ago.

 

<cut>

 

John Timm

 

 

John,

Thanks for posting this!  To answer your question, no, this has not been touched on in this thread to date.  However, when “Googling” for information on the West Phoenix line, I did happen to stumble over an online UP document that mentioned this.  Believe me, I was just as surprised as you are.  It almost makes one wonder about the rest of the former Southern Pacific “south line” if they have any interest in it or not.  Most of the old line east of Douglas is out in the desert wilderness and has seen very little if any encroachment from developers.

Here is the document.  I think I did post this once before but did not point out the “Naco Line”  http://azmag.gov/Portals/0/Documents/EDC_2012-11-06_Union-Pacific-Arizona-Rail-Update-Presentation.pdf?ver=2017-04-06-111033-890

 

I agree that the UP should be given some high marks for being foresighted enough to see that some of these properties could have future rail potential.  They may not know that they do but want to err on the side of caution.  It is a known fact that here in the Midwest where I reside, some lines have been abandoned and removed that they wish they could have back.  But it’s too late now.

Another UP right-of-way that some people might be unaware of is the former SP “Modoc” line in extreme northeastern California.  The line was abandoned and converted into a bicycle and equestrian trail.  However, what some people might not realize is that when the conversion to railtrail was done, the UP forced the trail folks to sign a legally binding document that left the UP with the right to return the trail to rail use at any time and without notice.  Pretty clever in my view.

  • Member since
    July 2008
  • 2,325 posts
Posted by rdamon on Tuesday, October 10, 2017 7:19 AM

Of course I had to go look for it ...   :)  ROW looks good 

 

 

  • Member since
    July 2014
  • 565 posts
Posted by Fred M Cain on Tuesday, October 10, 2017 7:42 AM

Robert,

Nice !  Thanks!  Quite a bit of stuff growing there in this scene.  I wonder what the elevation is there?

A couple of interesting facts about the "South Line".  The Mescal-Fairbank segment along with the Douglas-Anapra segment were both abandoned and remove sometime between 1961-64.  (When researching this, I occassionaly encountered different, conflicting dates).

However, The Fairbank - Douglas segment retained its automatic block signal system (mostly semaphores) until around 1983.  (Fairbank was also connected to Benson by an SP branch  line through Saint David).

In the New Mexico desert there was a huge copper find in the 1970s and a new mine was developed there right ON the former South Line ROW.  Sadly, the former South Line was already long gone by then.  So, the mining company built a new railroad from the SP's North Line south to the mine location.  They actually relaid rails on the former South Line for about a mile or so.  In the intervening years since, that whole operation has been abadoned again. 

I have always regretted the loss of the South Line.  I think its abandonment might have been short-sighted.  But I can understand why D. J Russell did it.  Based on the information he had at the time, his decision made sense. 

Another interesting bit of South Line trivia, I would often find it clearly indicated on various world atlases up to thirty years or more after it had been pulled up.

Could the South Line ever come back from the dead?  Not likely but I'd support that if it could.  I can see some similarities between the old South Line and the West Phoenix line.  Fortunately, the West Phoenix line lasted long enough that we might be able to save it yet.  We'll see.  In any event, it would be WONDERFUL to someday see a daily Sunset Limited rerouted through Douglas !

 

Regards,

Fred M. Cain

 

  • Member since
    October 2003
  • 7,968 posts
Posted by K. P. Harrier on Tuesday, October 10, 2017 8:39 AM

desertdog (10-9) and Fred M. Cain (10-10):

That abandoned and tracks taken up line through Benson, AZ via Naco to the Mexican Border that there was some speculation about a few years ago may have been an internal thing.  Someone may have just been covering all the bases so that, in the unlikely event, a line may make the railroad money again the railroad would be able to get that money!

The Modoc line trail agreement shows the possibility is there, and how UP covered all the bases.

Take care,

K.P.

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

  • Member since
    July 2014
  • 565 posts
Posted by Fred M Cain on Tuesday, October 10, 2017 9:16 AM

K.P.,

Yes, it may have been "internal".  But the fact that they would go so far and make the effort to apply to the "surf board" suggests (but doesn't prove) that their intentions are/were pretty serious.  But what were their intentions, exactly?  Like the Phoenix Line, we just don't know.

I asked a very well known and respected rail fan and rail expert who could've really been in the position to know what UP's intentions on the West Phoenix Line really might be.  His response?  Partly in jest he said that "UP kept firing people who talked to me so I no longer deal with them".

While that was obviously intended as a joke he still made a good point.  They are unlikely to tell us what they really have in mind until and unless a public press release is made.

Regards,

Fred

  • Member since
    July 2014
  • 565 posts
Posted by Fred M Cain on Tuesday, October 10, 2017 10:05 AM

Number Three 1950

Hi Fred, I visited the signal installation at Crag in early 2016 and saw a signal maintainer truck moving west on the access road. Today I looked at Google Earth again and found another new signal at what I guess is Gillespie. Moving further west I find a siding at what I guess is Harqua. There are no signals visible.

i remember an announcement in the local Buckeye press from UP that they were upgrading the line to the chicken egg plant near Arlington to 45mph. I guess they signaled as far as they needed to to support that. Two blocks? I see little impetus to restore the line west of Arlington. No local customers, no chance of today’s Amtrak restoring service on the line and not enough through freight traffic to pay the way. Interesting to speculate though.

 

Yes, those signals we found in the Crag, Harqua and Gillespie vicinities are all way, way, WAY too far west of Arlington to have anything to do with current or proposed activity in the immediate Arlington area.

I am continuing to rely on Stan Jefferson’s testimony although, much to my disappointment, I have been unable to locate or contact him.  I found his phone number in the online “White Pages” but when I tried to call him, it’d been disconnected.

What he stated was, and I will quote here from 2013: “The east end of this line, from Arlington AZ west is getting new signals. Word for (from, SIC) the signal crew I talked to is that the line will reopen partially past Dixie in the very near future, and become a through line in the next few years.

Then, something changed because he had further contact with the signal crew again in 2016 and was told that “Latest word I got from a UP signalman as of 6/16 was that there are no plans to reopen past where the signals have been updated, account the economy is too shaky to justify it. I also understand that the yard outside of Buckeye which had been proposed & land purchased is on hold @ this time as well.

These two quotes tell me three things.  First, the UP DID intend to reopen the line back in 2013.  Then in 2016 they had second thoughts and ordered the work stopped. And finally, there is/was some kind of a connection between the proposed yard at Buckeye and the reopening of the West Phoenix Line (WPL).

You say that it’s fun to speculate.  Since I don’t have the facts, I have shied away from that but here are a few possible ideas I have.

1.    The UP may have been anticipating a major increase in traffic in the Phoenix area (some of it even moving west) that simply did not develop and they backed off.  If so, you’d think they’d have their ducks better in a row before rebuilding the signal system.

2.    The UP may have been trying to invest some of their own money into the WPL with the understanding that the state or county governments would make a matching contribution – an understanding that did not materialize.

3.    There may have been (and still could be) a huge new industrial facility planned for the Phoenix area that we don’t know about.  I found an online lead that suggested Tesla was looking at Phoenix.  Also, there was the planned reopening of a huge mine in the Superior area (which connects with the East Phoenix line at Magma)

Or, a final possibility, very perhaps the most likely, is that it was EXACTLY what the UP signal crew told Jefferson.

To take it for granted that the WPL is unlikely to ever be restored and that there is simply no need to ever do that is, in my view, no more likely of an outcome that my above wild guesses.  And they are, I realize, wild guesses.

  • Member since
    July 2008
  • 2,325 posts
Posted by rdamon on Tuesday, October 10, 2017 10:15 AM

Maybe someone from Omaha 'got' to Stan first ... Devil

  • Member since
    July 2014
  • 565 posts
Posted by Fred M Cain on Tuesday, October 10, 2017 10:32 AM

rdamon

Maybe someone from Omaha 'got' to Stan first ... Devil

 

Tongue Tied

  • Member since
    October 2003
  • 7,968 posts
Posted by K. P. Harrier on Tuesday, October 10, 2017 10:42 PM

Fred M. Cain (10-10A):

Apparently, NO federal approval has been received by UP to darken the west side of the Phoenix Sub.  That means that working signals need to be out on the line in the middle of nowhere even though no trains go out there.  That would explain the seeming westward progression of new signal installations.  Perhaps the rationale for doing that is that IF the line has working signals, commuter interests that may want to buy the Phoenix Line westward from Phoenix to Buckeye would be told they would have to buy the line way out beyond Hyder too, and since that line has new signals (presumably, or will get them), they (UP) deserved a high price.  So, in essence, what we may be seeing is a super investment situation in progress, and nobody knows that yet!  Of course, that is all conjecture.  What we do know is that the line according to federal regulation has to have signals.  It seems re-installing such would be a drain on UP’s bottom line.

K.P.

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

  • Member since
    July 2014
  • 565 posts
Posted by Fred M Cain on Wednesday, October 11, 2017 6:40 AM

K.P., 

I think your conjecture here is a good theory.  It's also possible that they might've received some kind of a tax write-off for their investment on top of the possibility that you suggest which might've given them even more "bang for the buck".

But here's another idea - and a question - I came up with this morning.  Let's assume that the information provided by the UP signal crews through Stan Jefferson was completely accurate.  In 2013 they were beginning to reopen the line but by 2016 it had "been put on hold". Question: was there, perhaps an upper UP management change during those years?  I realize that as a shareholder I should already know that but can't remember.  It seems to me like there might've been.

Young replaced Davidson, I think, around 2004 and now they have a new CEO.  Was there a change around 2013-16?

Could it be that present day management does not see the preservation of older rail corridors as important as was the case eariier in the new millenium?

Just wondering.

 

  • Member since
    October 2003
  • 7,968 posts
Posted by K. P. Harrier on Wednesday, October 11, 2017 8:58 AM

Fred M. Cain (10-11):

The CEO’s were Richard Davidson, James Young (who passed away), Jack Koraleski (succession by default), and today’s Lance Fritz (a buddy of Young who introduced Fritz to UP).

The big upheaval factor has been the Positive Train Control (PTC) law, and so much money has been DIVERTED to that.  You have been following the “Sunset Route Two-Tracking Updates” thread too, and I think we will all find out in the next three months that the two-tracking has been put on indefinite hold.  If so, that is ironic because U.S. President Trump’s effort is to create jobs but PTC is destroying jobs!  A curse if you do and cursed in you don’t situation.  The only way out of that, at least as I see it, is for the government to reimburse the railroads for PTC costs, which would have an immediate benefit to the economy, and point UP towards continued two-tracking.  BUT (“BUT”!!!), the damage may have been done.  A TRAINS Magazine columnist recently pointed out that there has NOT been Intermodal growth in the industry for, I believe, the last two decades.  So, the government’s efforts to encourage railroads to spend money may fall on deaf ears all the way around.

Oh, well.  Never a dull moment …

K.P.

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

  • Member since
    July 2014
  • 565 posts
Posted by Fred M Cain on Wednesday, October 11, 2017 10:44 AM

K. P. Harrier

The big upheaval factor has been the Positive Train Control (PTC) law, and so much money has been DIVERTED to that. 

 

 
K.P.,
 
Hmmmmn.  Veddy Interestink !  Jawohl! You mentioned something here that gave me a new idea.  Let us assume, if we can, that the UP signal crew information that was passed on through Stan Jefferson is 100% accurate and the UP really did begin opening the line back in 2013 only to abort it again.
 
I wonder, I just wonder.  Could the reopening of the West Phoenix line along with the Buckeye yard also be victims of PTC cash diversion?  I wonder. That is by no means impossible.
 
I have to say that I am with you 100% on PTC.  Although I think it is inherantly a good idea I also believe that is was an UNFUNDED MANDATE.
 
Politicians in Washington and elsewhere tend to have knee-jerk reactions.  Everytime something really horrible happens, they tend to show the public that they are there to "do something" and what do they do?  They INCREASE regulation or add mandates.  This is not just true in railroading.
 
The whole PTC nightmare began after the tragic UP train crash with a commuter train near Oxnard. 
 
What many if not most politicians do not seem to realize is that PTC will ONLY prevent one train from running into another train and that very, very few train wrecks are caused by such collisions.  No, most train wrecks are caused by bad track or defective equipment.
 
So, the bitter irony is that the PTC mandate could well make the railroads MORE dangerous if cash strapped roads end up taking money out of track to help pay for the PTC installation.  Talk about stupid. But, K.P., I realize I am preaching to choir here and you already know all this!
 
As for a Trump-related bailout, I don't look for that to happen.  He has so many problems and fires to put out that I'm afraid that any assistance for America's railroads is pretty far down his s___ list of priorities right now.
 
But, of course, you are right.
 
Regards,
Fred M. Cain
  • Member since
    October 2003
  • 7,968 posts
Posted by K. P. Harrier on Wednesday, October 11, 2017 3:11 PM

Fred M. Cain (10-11A):

Sadly, Positive Train Control is a villain of sorts.  But, the railroads are their own worst enemy on that!

Over and over and over and over it has happened.  Exhausted train crews fall asleep and run a red signal(s) and head-on another train!

The PTC law was inspired by such repeated incidents.  Unfortunately (or is it fortunately), the railroads seem to be paying now for their sins …

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.

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