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Union Pacific (Ex SP) West Phoenix Line

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Posted by rdamon on Monday, February 12, 2024 1:13 PM

CMStPnP

 

 
blue streak 1
Maybe UP & Amtrak can come up with a cost sharing agreement.

 

Amtraks plan is to connect to the Sunset Limited via the Phoenix-Tucson Corridor.   I think what would be neat to bring back the Phoenix to Williams Jct service that Santa Fe used to run.

 

I bet PHX-LAS is on a whiteboard somewhere in the Brightline offices 

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Posted by CMStPnP on Monday, February 12, 2024 12:57 AM

blue streak 1
Maybe UP & Amtrak can come up with a cost sharing agreement.

Amtraks plan is to connect to the Sunset Limited via the Phoenix-Tucson Corridor.   I think what would be neat to bring back the Phoenix to Williams Jct service that Santa Fe used to run.

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Posted by blue streak 1 on Sunday, February 11, 2024 9:10 PM

Maybe UP & Amtrak can come up with a cost sharing agreement.  Up pay for new trackage and ROW + signaling?  Amtrak pay for necessary siding and associated costs foor installing those CPs for those sidings?  Then allow daily Sunset trips. .  Maybe just make it daily thru Tucson with upgrading all the way to NOL in the future?  

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Posted by Jim611 on Sunday, February 11, 2024 5:19 PM

diningcar
I suspect that UP wishes to capture some of the Los Angeles - Phoenix business now being handled by trucks who will be hampered by the California laws regarding trucks. 

If UP wanted to capture Intermodal business in Phoenix, they should build an Intermodal terminal in Maricopa, AZ.  It is about 45 miles from BNSF's Intermodal terminal in Glendale, AZ. They would not be at a disadvantage on freight to the southern metro area, and time wise, they could get freight to it destination faster by avoiding thr UP Phoenix line.

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Posted by daveklepper on Sunday, February 11, 2024 4:59 AM

Dining-car:  Unless, of course, Amtrak was willing to come up with money for "capacity enhancement."

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Posted by rdamon on Saturday, February 10, 2024 9:38 AM

This was shared on the passenger forum by CMStPnP

Interesting that there is a block signal west of the end of line marker at 1:19:20

 

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Posted by diningcar on Thursday, February 8, 2024 4:41 PM

I suspect that UP wishes to capture some of the Los Angeles - Phoenix business now being handled by trucks who will be hampered by the California laws regarding trucks. 

I doubt they expect to capture much westbound traffic from BNSF. BNSF has the westward automobile business well in hand with its El Mirage site near Sun City West and they use the same route for intermodal.

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Posted by Fred M Cain on Thursday, February 8, 2024 10:57 AM

Well, it's now been reported on the TRAINS Magazine website under "News Wire" that the planned intermodal  terminal in Phoenix has opened.   I find it rather interestig that UP plans to " test markets before building large, permanent facilities."

So, if this things takes off, I still suspect they might seriously look at reopening the Wellton line if they're not doing so already.   My theory has been that the UP has wanted to reopen the line for a long time but they pushed off doing so in hopes that they might get some help from either the State, the Feds or Amtrak.  But if that just never comes to pass, they might decide to throw in the towel and "go it alone".  In that case, good luck for Amtrak getting back onto the Phoenix line.

In another development, there was a long article in the most recent print version of TRAINS Magazine which listed and detailed all the future passenger rail routes, extensions and increased frequencies as developed through the FRA, if I understood that right.  A nice, detailed map was included.

Unfortunately, although both the new Tucson-Phoenix corridor was inclued AND the making of the Sunset Limited daily, there was no mention in anyway about reopening the Wellton Line and returning the Sunset Limited to Phoenix.

So, sad to say it doesn't appear to me as though anyone is really pushing for this.  If they are pushing for it, then they have evidently kicked the can far down the road to "long term plans" which sometimes means "never".

However, I continue to hold out hope that the UP might do it and go it alone.  If I were the manager of that railroad and Amtrak later approached me about moving back onto the line I'd tell 'em "to go fly a kite".

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Posted by Fred M Cain on Tuesday, December 12, 2023 11:56 AM
So, we have been exploring the possibility of the UP reopening the West Phoenix Line (WPL) for fast intermodal service or other related freight needs.
 
Let’s now turn the page and look at Amtrak.  There is once again a move afoot to restore the Sunset Limited to daily service.  This has been an ongoing discussion that goes back almost as far as I can remember.  However, in this new article it is once again mentioned here (you have to scroll WAY down to find it:
 
 
However, Congressman Greg Stanton has been fighting to bundle daily Sunset Ltd service with the reopening of the WPL.  This is mentioned in the following two articles here:
 
 
 
My greatest misgiving about this has partly to do with money – if there’s enough to pull this off, but I believe Amtrak has another reason why they cannot make the Sunset daily at this time.  That’s because they simply do not have the equipment to do this.  They have been exploring the idea of getting more Long Distance equipment but it seems they’re still a ways off from placing an order.  Indeed, there seems to be some question and indecision at Amtrak as to what type of LD equipment they will order to begin with. 
 
So, my inclination is the best way to revive the WPL is a combination of the Sunset Ltd and new freight services.  Although, I would love to see this happen, realistically it doesn’t appear as if this will happen right away.
 
I tried to point out on a different thread on the Santa Fe’s Raton pass line, that this line is costing millions of dollars to maintain for a daily passenger train with little if any online freight potential.  (Currently there is no freight between Lamy and Trinidad).
 
Although I would absolutely HATE to lose this line, the fact is that the WPL has far more potential than the Raton Pass line.
 
As UP told me TWICE, “we have no immediate plans to reopen the Wellton line but neither do we have any plans to abandon it”.  That tells me that they at least want to keep the possibility of reopening the line, however remote, on the table.
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Posted by croteaudd on Monday, December 11, 2023 5:43 PM

Duplicate post.  Kalmbach please remove.

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Posted by croteaudd on Monday, December 11, 2023 5:22 PM

Fred M. Cain:

Your thoughts were most fascinating about the passenger trains on that Imperial Valley line, and 1950.  Slightly before my time, but interesting to hear about.

The ONLY hope I see for reopening the West Phoenix Line – Yes, I do see a hope! – is ‘differentials’ on the Sunset Route.  I am talking about freight, but Amtrak’s Nos. 1 and 2 could play a part.  When Estrella (on the Sunset Route) west is finally two-tracked to California, an oddball situation will develop when a differential of speeds arises.  Generally, freight trains all move along close to the same speed.  Say five westbound trains meet six eastbound trains on two-track territory.  An oddball 30 M.P.H. train thrown in the mix can cause great convulsions for the Dispatcher!  IF the Phoenix Line was open with good track the 30 M.P.H. oddballer could take it and stay out of the way of Sunset Route ‘same speed’ trains.  I’m inclined to think there are more of those than we think.   Amtrak’s Nos. 1 and 2 are the opposite, with everything getting in its way!  (Such is why UP doesn’t want a daily Sunset Limited.)  Amtrak going via the West Phoenix Line everything on the Sunset Route would pretty much remain free flowing!  As far as sidings on the two-track Sunset Route, I suggest in the last twenty years that two-tracking sidings that were laid be extended to four miles with intermediate signals midway.  Of course, there is now some talk of limiting train lengths by LAW, which would kind of nullify the need for the four-mile sidings concept.

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Posted by Fred M Cain on Monday, December 11, 2023 1:31 PM

Croteaudd,

Ah, yes ~ !  I remember the signals on the line through the Imperial Valley well ~ !  You surely know that that line also once had passenger trains up until around 1950 (I do not have the exact date in front of me).  I believe (correct me if I'm wrong) but it was the Imperial Limited.  After running from L.A. to Calexico, it crossed the border into Mexico, then headed east over the inter-American line to Algodones after which it crossed back into California and rejoined the mainline at Araz Jct.  I'm not sure what the eastern terminus of the Imperial was but having to cross and recross the border like that was a major headache for the Espee.

Anyhow, that was the story behind the searchlights on the Imperial Valley line as told to me long ago by an SP conductor.  As you pointed out, they remained in service long after the Imperial was gone.

However, the story behind the signals on the Santa Fe's old Foothills Subdivision is a bit more bizarre.  This was actually reported on a couple of years ago in one of the raifan magazines, I can no longer recall which one, but I don't think it was TRAINS.

Bringing us back on topic to the West Phoenix line, you could very well be right about this.  But I still think it defies logic.  But that's just the way a lotta stuff is nowadays - illogical.

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Posted by croteaudd on Monday, December 11, 2023 12:49 PM

Fred M. Cain:

About signals on little used lines (like the West Phoenix Line), let me relate a few examples, and share what I know.

Fifty years ago, the Niland, Calif to the Mexican Border line, now UP’s Calexico Sub off the Sunset Route, had Automatic Block Signals (ABS).  Apparently, many trains traversed that line with agricultural products from Imperial County and the like.  As rail shipments dried up and trucking got cheaper, Southern Pacific applied for permission to de-signalize the line and got it!  So, all the signals disappeared.  I personally saw those target signal over fifty years ago and then they all disappeared.  The line is now “dark” territory.

Second, I make reference to the Santa Fe Super Chief route on the old Second District between Pomona and Irwindale, Calif.  That stretch now sees the Gold Line (L line, changed to the A Line) commuter light rail trains, and the new construction of the line to Pomona; but also on a separate track freight service.  That now BNSF branch line is signaled also, and sees only a train a day and back, if even that.  That line recently had its old signal upgraded to new, modern ones.

Now, back to Arizona and the West Phoenix Line and upgraded signals that see only a local a day!  It is understood that to remove those signals government approval is necessary, and the process is expensive and cumbersome.  Maintaining those dirt cheap (said figuratively) signals is way cheaper than going through the government regulatory removal process!

 

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Posted by Fred M Cain on Monday, December 11, 2023 8:32 AM
You mentioned someone else having a conversation with signal installers that were working west from Phoenix to near Arlington.  May I suggest UP had decided to replace all the old signals because parts were running out on the old ones…  <SNIP>   I don’t believe those signalmen knew the whole story.  Interestingly, about that time, the far western end of the Phoenix Line had signals upgraded too, 
 
Croteaudd,
 
I respect your theory on this as good as any.  Clearly, I have thought of this myself in the past.  However, what continues to puzzle me about such an explanation is to why they would install new signals on a line that sees only a daily way freight.  The Roll end of the line might even be operated on an “as needed” basis.  It would seem far more logical to have simply removed the signals, returning the line to “dark territory”.  Someone once suggested in order to do that they might need either Surf Board approval, the Arizona PUC approval or both and simply wanted to avoid the trouble.
 
 
But still, such an approval process would likely to have been cheaper than new signals, I would imagine.  However, if your theory is right, then that signal crew might’ve been bothered or irritated by my friend and simply blown him some s___.
 
"Researched this topic more myself.   Amtrak started this whole rumor with it's plan to serve Phoenix again."
 
Milwaukee Road,
 
Indeed, I am often puzzled and occasionally irritated by some of Amtrak’s actions.  Who was responsible for coming up with that map indicating the blue line running through Phoenix?  Was this a concrete, etched-in-stone plan with a definite timeline or just a sort of “we’re gonna do this someday” kinda thing?
 
Also, one has to wonder if the person who drew up that map was even aware of the fact that the middle section of the WPL is moribund and out of service. Perhaps they did – or not.
 
“SP built the line initially for passenger train access to Phoenix not freight train access.   So the West Line is engineered for high speed passenger with some restrictive curves (50 mph).
 
This is true; you are right about this.  David Myrick has some excellent documentation on this in his treatise The Railroads of Arizona Volume II.
 
To review some history here, prior to 1926, Phoenix was served by a stub end branch that ran north out of Maricopa to Tempe and then on to downtown Phoenix.  It was built to light standards and suffered frequent wash outs.  By the ‘20s, winter “snowbird” traffic to Phoenix was growing by leaps and bounds.  So, a lot of pressure was put on the SP to build a new line that would “put Phoenix on the mainline”, so to speak, so that through passenger trains could stop there.  Mesa and Chandler were also important stops at one time.
 
My idea that I’ve been wondering about is the concept of using the Phoenix line once more for what it was intended to be used for in the first place – i.e. for through trains.  Except they wouldn’t be passenger trains this time but rather hot intermodal trains.  Fast intermodal trains from the Midwest to California could have double stack container cars blocked on the ass end of the train.
 
During a quick stop at Phoenix, the equipment for the Valley could be dropped, a new FRED placed on the ass end of the remaining westbound train and a crew change accomplished all in 15 minutes or less.
 
The rest of the train could then shoot west to L.A.  One issue here, there is a very bad, tight radius curve on the east side of Mesa and another one southwest of downtown Tempe.  If they were to try and run a 3-mile long monster through those curves, they might have a problem.  But 5000-6000 feet would likely be doable.  In the old SP days, the daily Phoenix-Tucson manifest would occasionally reach that kind of dimensions. 
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Posted by CMStPnP on Saturday, December 9, 2023 2:13 PM

Researched this topic more myself.   Amtrak started this whole rumor with it's plan to serve Phoenix again.    The local papers in Arizona are speculating this means reactivation of this line (East and West).   It was stated in one article UP maintains and holds onto the line because it is making bank on the communications lines along the right of way and sees potential to sell additional rights for potentially power transmission.  Also stated that UP uses parts of the line still. 

There was also speculation it could be used as a commuter rail line but I too scratch my head about that unless they are talking about future urban sprawl not yet here.   SP built the line initially for passenger train access to Phoenix not freight train access.   So the West Line is engineered for high speed passenger with some restrictive curves (50 mph).

Phoenix to Tucson has been visited by the Amtrak candyman and promised money for study of a future Amtrak corridor so that has stirred some recent dreams as well locally.   I think they got $500k like other emerging corridors did to do a study.

Additionally read that UP is laying new track in Mesa to access another part of it's trackage or a new customer........forget which.

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Posted by kgbw49 on Saturday, December 9, 2023 12:39 PM

It would seem that Campo Yard would be the likely candidate to host an intermodal pad. About 15 miles down the 202 to the Duncan and Son Lines container depot at Laveen, AZ.

https://www.duncanandson.com/

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Posted by blue streak 1 on Friday, December 8, 2023 11:08 PM

Lets not forget that Drayage from LAX <> PHX is long haul.  A driver cannot make a round trip due to HOS. Also many out of CA state drivers cannot operate their rigs in California due to various restrictions.  If UP has international containers waiting for as long as a day or more to get out and into Long Beach then using train IMs makes sense. 

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Posted by dehusman on Friday, December 8, 2023 10:39 PM

croteaudd
So, anyway, speeds can be deceptive, and are much, much slower than we think, as seen with the Super Chief. 

I realize that.  Average train speed is way below 40.  However there were expedited Z trains that had schedules that were around 40 mph.

But on the other hand, if the trains go typical train speed, lets say 20 mph average, that means that the transit from LA to Phoenix is in the 20-26 hour range.  Would that be competitive with a truck that can make it 8 hours or less?  If that isn't competitive with trucks, then once again, there isn't much reason for the UP to upgrade a line to provide service that won't be competitive and therefore not have enough volume to justify the upgrade. 

If you can't compete on transit time, then you have to compete on rate.  Will a low enough rate to lure shippers away from trucks generate enough return to pay for the upgrades?  Generally the UP doesn't like to underbid rates just to gain volume.

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Posted by blue streak 1 on Friday, December 8, 2023 10:33 PM

There is a possibility that commuter rail could go from Buckeye <> Tucson.  If it does then the Phoenix sub from downtown Phoenix to the CP at Gila sub of the Phoenix bypass maybecome congested.  Up may feel that the fluidity would be reduced so much that the Wellton branch would need to be restored.

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Posted by croteaudd on Friday, December 8, 2023 9:07 PM

Fred M. Cain:

You mentioned someone else having a conversation with signal installers that were working west from Phoenix to near Arlington.  May I suggest UP had decided to replace all the old signals because parts were running out on the old ones, and such was a convenient time because the Sunset Route was having two-tracking Estrella to Tucson in full sway.  I don’t believe those signalmen knew the whole story.  Interestingly, about that time, the far western end of the Phoenix Line had signals upgraded too, but it was often with used equipment.

dehusman:

Your calculations of train vs. auto comparisons on various routes make for some interesting comparisons.  My experience, though, tells me those calculations are unrealistic and way, way off.  That is said NOT in a mean way, but from what I’ve personally seen.  You will agree with me at the end of this write-up!

I’m from the Cajon Pass area in Southern California.  I’ve seen railroad timetables for fifty-five years.  The Super Chief was Trains Nos. 17 and 18, then with Amtrak the Nos. were 3 and 4.  It is not sure what current timetables say, but for years that train was average speed given as just over 40 M.P.H. San Bernardino-Barstow, Calif.

Once, I drove from the Cajon Pass area to Nebraska, spending a night in a motel midway.  After being at my destination and trackside the next day for a few hours, UP 2429 (then an SD60M) passed westbound.  My wife called on the cell phone.  There was a crisis back home, and she requested I return home.  I went to my room, slept till about 4 A.M., packed-up and left for California.  In southern Utah, I stayed overnight at a motel.  Back on the road early morning, I got to Yermo, Calif and saw my friend, UP 2429 that I saw in Nebraska.  Back home, I found everything solved and fine!

So, anyway, speeds can be deceptive, and are much, much slower than we think, as seen with the Super Chief.  Humans have to eat and sleep, and crews need to be changed, and deal with sidings on single track, and stopping at crossovers because a train is running around another.  And average speed goes down and down and down …

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Posted by azrail on Friday, December 8, 2023 12:33 PM

samfp1943

 

 
Fred M Cain

Group,

Check out this line from the TRAINS Magazine new wire:

Union Pacific to open new international intermodal terminal in Phoenix - Trains

Could the reopening of the West Phoenix Line be for behind?  Only thing is, they mentioned "drayage".  It's not completely clear to me if containers moving to Phoenix from West Coast ports would actually move by rail or be drayed?

 

 

   Seems like Uncle Pete may be watching and learning from their competitiiion? 

     BNSF aS ALREADYJ Anounced and is starting to build their left coast containjer consolidation operation ( Bakersfield)  and UP was feeling they were victimized?

.Here is a partial lift from the TRAINS Newswire article linked by Mr.Cain:

FTA:"...

“We are excited to offer regional shippers and receivers in Arizona a fast, sustainable rail option to move product into and out of Southern California that is cost competitive and removes trucks from our nation’s congested highways, with an ability to expand offerings and grow in the future,” Kenny Rocker, UP’s executive vice president of marketing and sales, said in a statement.

The new facility will open with drayage support provided by Duncan & Son Lines, a family-owned logistics firm in Buckeye, Ariz., that primarily focuses on international container drayage from the ports of Long Beach and Los Angeles. Duncan & Sons will dray all imports to its 25-acre container yard at Laveen Village, Ariz., which is about 15 miles from the terminal.

UP says it will begin daily service between Phoenix and the ports of Los Angeles, Long Beach, and its Intermodal Container Transfer Facility in Long Beach during the first quarter of 2024.."

Phoenix area seems like a bit of a stretch, milage-wise;  but I'd bet the brain trust at UPRR, has "veted" this option, as best for 'Uncle Pete'.

I live on the BNSF at Mulvane; and have noted the 'traffic' here, both East, and Westboundm,  has been steadily picking up, in both directions: (since  earLy AM 3 stackers EB and 2 WB; 1 WB -FAK,m and a EB Hopper Train, all rolling at speed. Seems like the doubele tracking between Rose Hill and Augusta, is having the desired results fr BN$F ?

 

 

BNSF is already planning a new intermodal/logistics facility in Surprise.

https://www.railwayage.com/freight/class-i/report-bnsf-moves-ahead-on-arizona-intermodal-project/

UP already owns a reload/storage facility in West Phoenix..through its LOUP division. They recently acquired PCI, which operates the facility at the corner of 35 Ave and Buckeye. But it is about a mile off of the UP West Phx Line, on an industrial spur.

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Posted by dehusman on Friday, December 8, 2023 11:51 AM

The question I have is what is the advantage to the customer for the West Phoenix line?  I'm not seeing one.

LA to Phoenix by highway is about 390 miles, a 6-7 hour drive.

LA to Phoenix by rail via W Phoenix is about 425 miles and via Piccacho is about 525 miles.

At 50 mph it's 8.5 hours vs 10.5 hours.  At an average of 40 mph its 10.6 hrs vs 13 hours.  

If I have a 5pm departure from LA on a 40 mph avg. train it will get to Phoenix at 4 am via W Phoenix vs 6 am via Piccacho.  Either way it's avilable for next day delivery.

How many customers in Phoenix will want their boxes at 4 am vs 6 am? Probably not many.  Why should the UP spend millions of dollars to upgrade a line so boxes can sit in a parking lot a couple extra hours waiting to be picked up?

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Posted by Fred M Cain on Friday, December 8, 2023 10:18 AM

croteaudd

<SNIP>

In my opinion, any reopening of the line would cost more than UP could ever make!  But a commuter service from Buckeye to downtown Phoenix MAY be workable.  And as the ridership grew, extending the Phoenix Line farther west seems feasible.

<SNIP>

Croteaudd,
 
I just can’t believe that reviving the West Phoenix Line would cost the UP far, far more than any potential future benefit that they might get back from such an investment.
 
I strongly suspect that the "guesstimates" posted on that RAILPac site that I’d linked to earlier are probably high. Possibly even very high.  You and I were in agreement that estimates are purposely made as high as possible in order to attract dollars into a local economy.  I think that RAILPac got their figures from a study done by the Arizona DOT if I remember right.
 
But ~ !  If a private company such as UP were to do the work, they’d find a way to pinch pennies and get the most work done for the lowest possible price.  That’s just the way business works – as opposed to government agencies.
 
Here is some second-hand information that I posted a few years ago that can be either taken at face value or with a grain of salt, as you wish.
 
The UP began replacing and installing new, automatic block signals starting near the downtown Phoenix yard heading west. They went almost all the way to Arlington before the work was stopped.   As they passed through the Litchfield area, a local railfan, who I’ve had some correspondence with, approached the signal crew and asked them why they were installing new signals on a line that only saw one local way freight per day at the very best.
 
He was told "because we’re gonna reopen this line next year."  That was in 2013.  What happened?
 
If this story is true, my guess is that the work was either postponed or even derailed completely due to a combination of an economic downturn and the obscenely expensive PTC mandate.  That’s a guess but I don’t know.  A change in top level management may have also played a role.
 
But, here we are today with this big promise of new, fast intermodal service between California and Phoenix.
 
If this is to succeed big time, I just cannot see how they could run a service like that by way of Picacho Junction.  Hell, they’d have to go half way to Tucson before snaking through a tight radius wye and then proceeding back west again.  Make sense?  Probably not although it could be made to work especially during the early first year or two of the program.
 
But here is a more intriguing thought:  What about a really HOT intermodal train from Chicago and/or Memphis to L.A. by way of Phoenix?  Intermodal equipment for the greater Phoenix area could be blocked on the ass end of the train and dropped at Phoenix.  Eastbound movements could do that in reverse as well much the way as those old, hot refer blocks of years ago that I’d mentioned.
 
I just can’t believe that UP management hasn’t thought of that.  Did you see the interview in the latest issue of TRAINS with the new president Jim Vena?  Although he gave no specific details, he sounds both very service and expansion minded.  Just B.S.?  Quite possibly, but maybe not.
 
Once again, I have been guilty of speculation.  But that’s all we can do because we really don’t know what UP’s intentions really are with regards to the WPL.  But I strongly suspect that within a few years we may know for sure.
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Posted by croteaudd on Thursday, December 7, 2023 10:13 PM

azrail:

‘Commuter rail to where?' you asked.  This thread is about the West Phoenix Line and possibly resuming service on it.  In my opinion, any reopening of the line would cost more than UP could ever make!  But a commuter service from Buckeye to downtown Phoenix MAY be workable.  And as the ridership grew, extending the Phoenix Line farther west seems feasible.

Concerning autonomous trucks delivering Intermodal containers to the Phoenix area, I believe UP sees it as a great profit mechanism with great potential.  Personally, I’m inclined to believe such will eventually be OUTLAWED!  Here in California automatic running red light ticketing got the wrath of the electorate and was outlawed.  Autonomous trucks I believe will suffer the same fate, and UP’s investment in such will become a total loss.  But that is just an opinion. 

To all:

Fred M. Cain is right, that thoughts on the West Phoenix Line should be posted in this thread.  Anything else should be posted elsewhere, except for a slight mention.

 

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Posted by Backshop on Thursday, December 7, 2023 4:57 PM

azrail

Commuter rail to where? Most of the residential development on the West side of PHX is miles away from the SP line. And we have a decent grid street system plus I-10, Loop 303/101 and a future east-west freeway that will run from Loop 202 to Hwy 85(the projected route of I-11)

 

All immaterial.  Some here just want to ride the choo-choo train. Haven't you ever been to a train show?  It's very "enlightening", some of the people that you see there.

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Posted by azrail on Thursday, December 7, 2023 10:13 AM

Commuter rail to where? Most of the residential development on the West side of PHX is miles away from the SP line. And we have a decent grid street system plus I-10, Loop 303/101 and a future east-west freeway that will run from Loop 202 to Hwy 85(the projected route of I-11)

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Posted by croteaudd on Thursday, December 7, 2023 7:46 AM

Fred M. Cain and Super Hope for the West Phoenix Line

Much of Union Pacific’s ex-Southern Pacific West Phoenix Line is mothballed and basically without hope.  However, rebuilding that line to a wondrous two-track commuter route is not as crazy as one would think!  Two examples are given, both in Southern California.

First, Santa Fe’s old Super Chief Route though Pasadena.  That line was rebuilt to a wondrous electrified two-track commuter line, and is being extended to Pomona, and eventually then even further to Montclair.  Ridership is great!  BUT no one has yet figured out how to solve the thorny problem of when THAT low fare line meets the high fare line at Pomona!

Second, the Perris Valley Line.  Basically, there is NO ridership between Riverside and South Perris, even after a Riverside authority spent $250 million rebuilding that ex-Santa Fe line.  Now, that entity is spendings millions and millions more to two-track a big part of the line!

So, in Arizona, it is just a matter of promoting the West Phoenix Line to the RIGHT people!  Dangling one or two billion dollars in Federal money in front of politicians therein has to get someone’s attention!

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  • 295 posts
Posted by croteaudd on Wednesday, December 6, 2023 12:12 PM

diningcar:

May I suggest the reason things are ‘not clear’ is because UP might not want things to be clear!  It should be remembered that UP bought, according to a TRAINS newswire some months ago, as I recall a 10% interest in an autonomous firm.  Of course UP would be ‘unclear’ about something like that, because if UP got the wrath of labor, labor could destroy UP politically and shareholder-wise.  Obviously, this all is only theory, but I think you will agree that there is a very strong possibly that that may be the way things are!

Fred M. Cain made a valid point, that this thread is about the West Pheonix Line.  However, if UP had autonomous trucks delivering containers, that could very well put a death stroke to ever reopening the West Phoenix Line.

  • Member since
    July 2014
  • 565 posts
Posted by Fred M Cain on Wednesday, December 6, 2023 11:25 AM

diningcar

<SNIP>

Can anyone with UP connections get them to furnish a map showing how they will move the containers within the City.

 
Dining Car,
 
Well, that’s a most interesting thought but remember, the subject thread is actually about the West Phoenix line (WPL).  I only brought up the subject of UP’s intermodal plans because I believe they might have implications for the future of the WPL
 
As far as trucks on city streets, I wouldn’t have the foggiest idea.  You could try contacting the UP but, quite frankly, I find it hard to believe they would give you that information.  Indeed, they might not even have a plan for that in the first place.
 
What follows is a URL to Union Pacific’s official new release on the subject.  There is a guy’s name, a Mr. Keith Jones, at the bottom of the article along with an e-mail contact for him.  You can give it a shot:
 
 
I was actually toying with the idea of e-mailing him myself and asking him that if the new service really takes off and does well, would they consider reopening the WPL?  Somehow, I have a sneaking suspicion of what he’d say, assuming he responds at all.  It would be just like that last two times I inquired about this.  “We have no plans to abandon the line but neither do we have any immediate plans to reopen it”.  Or, words to that effect.
 
Now, what follows here is a link to a RAILPac article that contains a lot of info.  There might be some speculation but the piece also contains a lot of factual information:
 
 
SP fans might be interested in the copy of Espee’s Special Instructions from 1965 they posted showing speed limits on the line.  It seems to me like RAILPac did some homework here.
 
And now just for fun and Kix & Cheerios, here is a Youtube video of a cab ride over the line while it was still under the jurisdiction of SP.  Take note that there were still a few lower-quadrant semaphores in service on the line.
 
 
The SP was a most colorful railroad indeed!  I miss the SP and am saddened that it’s gone.  But I guess that’s just the way life is.  Times change, that’s all.  There is nothing under the sun made by the hands of man that will last forever.  What else can we say?

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