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Union Pacific in Council Bluffs

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Union Pacific in Council Bluffs
Posted by SD70Dude on Saturday, June 3, 2023 3:47 AM

So lately a certain local resident who lives next to the UP line along South 12th Street in Council Bluffs has come to prominence for complaining very loudly and often about trains stopping next to his house and blocking crossings in his neighborhood.  He goes by "Shawn B" on youtube and has almost a video per day for the past year, here's just one example.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7raVGPq-jlY

While his rants are entertaining, I now find myself on Google Earth trying to figure out how Council Bluffs ended up with such a maze of track and so many crossings without warning devices on residential streets, and I'm a little confused about who originally owned what and how things evolved.  Some information about the history of the UP network there would be greatly appreciated.

Greetings from Alberta

-an Articulate Malcontent

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Posted by tree68 on Saturday, June 3, 2023 8:03 AM

That line looks like it feeds into a "regular" yard (situated EW) and an intermodal yard a little further south.

It appears to run down the middle of the street for some 7 blocks.

I wonder if that stretch gets used as staging for either of the yards when the yards aren't ready to receive a train.

In which case I think I'd be upset, too.  

This has shades of the problem in LA with trains stopping in bad "hoods" and getting looted.  Maybe some better planning by the railroad would prevent the problem.

The linked video doesn't show the train, just the locomotives, so we don't know just what would be involved in backing up "ten feet..."

The topo maps on Historicaerials might provide a clue as to the line's lineage, through the various vintage maps they usually have for a given location.

LarryWhistling
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Posted by SD60MAC9500 on Saturday, June 3, 2023 8:44 AM

Council Bluffs was a major interchange point to Union Pacific. Just a few of the lines that went to CB; Wabash, Rock Island, Chicago & Northwestern, Illinois Central, CB&Q, Milwaukee Road, Chicago Great Western.. or at least the ones I can think of at the moment.

Fun fact.. When UP was built there was no bridge between CB and Omaha. Trains and railcars had to be ferried across.

UP made the right choice to settle on CNW for Chicago entry. As their Missouri Valley Bypass avoided this area giving a faster lower mileage route to Fremont, NE. 

Rahhhhhhhhh!!!!
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Posted by timz on Saturday, June 3, 2023 12:20 PM

SD70Dude
I'm a little confused about who originally owned what

You've looked at the 1950s topo maps?

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Posted by kgbw49 on Saturday, June 3, 2023 8:48 PM

The Council Bluffs track structure was a cornucopia of connections.

This is an Iowa map of railroads circa 1902. It expands up quite well on a large screen. The legend is in the upper right corner.

https://iowadot.gov/maps/msp/historical/pdf/1902railmap.pdf

 

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Posted by tree68 on Saturday, June 3, 2023 10:33 PM

kgbw49
The Council Bluffs track structure was a cornucopia of connections.

I took a quick look at the 1958 topo on historicaerials - in my brief visit I saw IC, CNW, Wabash, CGW, Milwaukee, and UP, and a spiderweb of tracks.  I probably missed some.

 

LarryWhistling
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Posted by jeffhergert on Sunday, June 4, 2023 1:15 AM

The line is called the 12th street line. Shawn B lives west of it ac couple houses down on I think 6th Ave, the one with the Do Rock Inn, a closed bar next to the track.

The line was the CNW connection to the UP yard. The BNSF crosses it at the south end of the residential area. Further down the IAIS crosses it. The BNSF xing is protected by an automatic interlocking. The IAIS xing by stop signs. Both diamonds have recently been replaced. 

Up at the north end where the line begins, there is a bar, The Railway Inn. It was the CNW's passenger depot. It replaced a much grander depot, but I'm not sure when. I've seen a picture of a CNW steam engine in front of the "modern" depot.

The original RI yard was just east of the 12th street line. It was replaced in the early 1950s by the one further east that the IAIS uses.

The IAIS owns the track from the xing west to the east end of the northern portion of the UP yard. The northern most track, and a short siding are called the RI westbound and RI eastbound. It was originally the double track RI connection to get to the UP bridge. One of the tracks according to a UP Bridge Subdivision time table was owned by the MILW.

The tracks south of the old RI connection is the Pool yard. It's where all the railroads delivered and received cars to the UP.

Going down around the curve at the very south end, where the auto facility is, the CBQ and Wabash once had a connection. The yard complex beginning from the right (east) and working west is the Hump yard (No hump anymore), the east yard, west yard, diesel tracks that lead up to the ramp, the train tracks, the Ryba and Ryba Jounior, and then the elevator tracks. The elevator blew up in the late 70s\early 80s.

The reason trains stop on the 12th St line isn't to annoy Shawn B. That's how far out trains doubling, tripling, even quadrupling together get when done and trying to build air for the air test to make the train whole.

My personal best so far was to have every crossing blocked including the one on the main track north of the 12st connection.

Jeff

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