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24 Hours on UPs Triple Track through NE

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24 Hours on UPs Triple Track through NE
Posted by t.winx on Monday, September 10, 2007 7:19 PM
Hello fellow railfans,

On Sunday 8-26-07 I caught 143 trains in 24 hours around Kearney NE! Surprising eh? I didn't think it would be that busy, but I'm not complaining (though it was the cause for some very interupted sleep that night!). Included was an incredible 79 Coal trains (42 WB mt and 37 EB lds), 33 Freight/Grain/Potash etc (20 EB and 13 WB), 22 Intermodal (11 both ways), 6 Auto (1 EB, 5 WB) and 3 others (1 EB pass. special led by drgw heritage and 2 WB pipe trains)!

Is there a way to tell grain apart from potash/soda ash? There were some trains with solid reporting marks, like CGAX (cargill - probly grain eh?), TILX, CMO and some trains with a mixed bag of hopper cars.

Also, does anybody know the destination of loaded coal trains with UCEX, AEPX, COEH, OVEX or CAEG reporting marks? Thanks

I also stayed 24 on Wednesday 8-28-07 and caught 139 including 77 Coal, 41 Freight/Grain/Potash, 16 Intermodal, 4 Auto and 1 unknown (I forget why its unknown). Again, I didn't think it would be that busy, especially for a wednesday.

Traffic was moving pretty good across Nebraska but I'm still confused over why it moves so slowly across Iowa and Illinois. I travelled 30 all the way from Illinois. I paced a stack train out of Clinton and he was moving well - low to mid 60s - then all of a sudden around mechanicsville he stopped completely I guess because of congestion into Cedar Rapids (Why?). After a break from the tracks, I see more stopped WBs into Marshalltown (WHY?). I stayed the night in Carroll that evening and never saw my WB stack train. About 7am the next morning he finally arrives moving about 40-50mph with the next WB an hour ahead of him (WHYYY?). I then head towards Kearney and arrive at about 5pm. At 5:33 the same train shows up 15 minutes behind a WB JECX coal train. It's shocking to see how clogged this line is across IO and IL, but atleast NE is moving well (atleast this far from North Platte). Why were the trains just stopped going into every major city? Is there still a single track bridge at Cedar Rapids, because that would explain one thing. The edelstein connection was making more sense the farther I drove!

If you have any questions let me know. I'd be glad to answer!
Tyler
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Posted by jeffhergert on Saturday, September 15, 2007 11:42 PM

 t.winx wrote:

Traffic was moving pretty good across Nebraska but I'm still confused over why it moves so slowly across Iowa and Illinois. I travelled 30 all the way from Illinois. I paced a stack train out of Clinton and he was moving well - low to mid 60s - then all of a sudden around mechanicsville he stopped completely I guess because of congestion into Cedar Rapids (Why?). After a break from the tracks, I see more stopped WBs into Marshalltown (WHY?). I stayed the night in Carroll that evening and never saw my WB stack train. About 7am the next morning he finally arrives moving about 40-50mph with the next WB an hour ahead of him (WHYYY?). I then head towards Kearney and arrive at about 5pm. At 5:33 the same train shows up 15 minutes behind a WB JECX coal train. It's shocking to see how clogged this line is across IO and IL, but atleast NE is moving well (atleast this far from North Platte). Why were the trains just stopped going into every major city? Is there still a single track bridge at Cedar Rapids, because that would explain one thing. The edelstein connection was making more sense the farther I drove! 

Congestion around Cedar Rapids is usually because of trains or yard engines working at Beverly Yard on the Southwest side of CR.  Fairfax, just west of Beverly, is where the CTC ends until just a couple miles east of Marshalltown.

Marshalltown also has a yard where some trains work.  Since both places are the end of CTC, trains will also be stopped to let other more important trains get around them onto the stretch of current of traffic track. 

Out around Missouri Valley (the beginning of the single track Blair sub to Fremont) is another place where westbounds get held if a more important train is coming.  When they are "sorting" trains, a few hours being stopped is not unusual.

Concerning Carroll, there is a 55mph permanent speed restriction thru town.  Throw in a couple of on again/off again temporary slows in that general area and 40 - 50 mph is not unusual.

There has also been track work going on in the Eastern Nebraska area.  The concrete tie machine (TRT) has been in that area.  I don't remember exact dates as to where it was when.  It's now working between Grand Island and Gibbon.  When it's on it's work cycle, it slows up everything.  At night when the machine and associated gangs aren't working, they leave all the machinery on the main and single track around it.  That's because it would consume too much time to set it up in the morning and break it down in the evening.  Where there is CTC, trains can pretty much follow each other on signal indication in either direction.  That will cause delay, but where there is current of traffic, each track signalled for only one direction, some trains will be running "wrong main."  This means they will have flagmen every few miles.  Only one train may be between flagmen at a time.  So the second train may have to stop and wait for clearance to proceed.  This can back up trains a long way.  When they were working west of Fremont, they held trains at Boone, Iowa from being called out so they would arrive in the Fremont area about the time they would start going west thru the single track.  At least that's what they would try for.  

Throw in a few unforseen events, a train having problems or a broken rail and that too can bog things down.  The more trains, the farther back the effect goes.

Jeff      

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Posted by MP173 on Wednesday, September 19, 2007 9:57 PM

143 trains in 24 hours.

Wow.  That is all I can say.

 

ed 

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Posted by blhanel on Thursday, September 20, 2007 7:54 PM

 t.winx wrote:

Is there still a single track bridge at Cedar Rapids, because that would explain one thing.

That bridge was expanded to double track back in 2000.

In addition to the Beverly Yard traffic, they've also been working on installing a new interlocking/crossover just to the east of Beverly.  Last I saw, it still wasn't operational. 

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Posted by t.winx on Friday, September 21, 2007 3:45 PM

Heh, I didnt know Carroll had a 55 limit. I guess I thought some seemed to be moving faster.

Thanks for replying,

 

Tyler
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Posted by lammermeier on Wednesday, September 26, 2007 8:54 PM

For the past three summers, I, too, have spent from 48 to 72 hours watching the parade along the triple-track UP mainline in Gibbon, Nebraska.  Sleeping in my car in the small "railroad" park across the street (U.S. 30) from the mainline, I have seen between 120 and 140 trains per 24 hours (and I may have missed some as I have dozed off).  Slightly over 50% are coal trains.  What I find amazing, say, compared to 30 years ago, is the number of manifest trains now is almost nothing.  30 years ago, the majority were manifest.  I have also spent a good part of my train "marathon" in Grand Island near the BNSF and UP crossing.  More coal trains there than in Gibbon (BNSF) is over 90% coal.  Fewer UP trains than in Gibbon (where the Marysville Sub divides eastward to Kansas City), but there are still well over 100 trains a day.  I find both locations very friendly and easy to watch trains (although the photo vantages are not the greatest).  Grand Island, in addition, has a motel on the west side of town near the overpass where there is excellent train watching even at night.  And, it is reasonable.

 

P. Lammermeier

Lima, Peru

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Posted by crpulse on Saturday, November 3, 2007 2:03 PM
 lammermeier wrote:

For the past three summers, I, too, have spent from 48 to 72 hours watching the parade along the triple-track UP mainline in Gibbon, Nebraska.  Sleeping in my car in the small "railroad" park across the street (U.S. 30) from the mainline, I have seen between 120 and 140 trains per 24 hours (and I may have missed some as I have dozed off).  Slightly over 50% are coal trains.  What I find amazing, say, compared to 30 years ago, is the number of manifest trains now is almost nothing.  30 years ago, the majority were manifest.  I have also spent a good part of my train "marathon" in Grand Island near the BNSF and UP crossing.  More coal trains there than in Gibbon (BNSF) is over 90% coal.  Fewer UP trains than in Gibbon (where the Marysville Sub divides eastward to Kansas City), but there are still well over 100 trains a day.  I find both locations very friendly and easy to watch trains (although the photo vantages are not the greatest).  Grand Island, in addition, has a motel on the west side of town near the overpass where there is excellent train watching even at night.  And, it is reasonable.

 

P. Lammermeier

Lima, Peru

What was the name of the hotel?

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Posted by spokyone on Saturday, November 3, 2007 4:45 PM
 lammermeier wrote:

  I have also spent a good part of my train "marathon" in Grand Island near the BNSF and UP crossing.  More coal trains there than in Gibbon (BNSF) is over 90% coal. 

P. Lammermeier

Lima, Peru

In September we followed the BNSF from Alliance to Grand Island. We passed 5 E/B coal trains and 1 manifest train. We met 17 W/B empties and 5 manifest trains. The dispatcher was moving 3 to 5 trains in a group. Many of the empties were stopped on sidings or bunched up on the double track portions.
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Posted by blhanel on Tuesday, November 6, 2007 12:40 PM

Hey Bob, re your new avatar, does this mean we can refer to you as "turkey"?Smile,Wink, & Grin [swg]

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Posted by spokyone on Wednesday, November 7, 2007 8:33 AM
 blhanel wrote:

Hey Bob, re your new avatar, does this mean we can refer to you as "turkey"?Smile,Wink, & Grin [swg]

Nah. I was thinking about what's for dinner on 11/22
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Posted by Los Angeles Rams Guy on Thursday, November 8, 2007 10:42 PM

I remember a couple of summers ago coming back to the Twin Cities from Pueblo, Colorado I was able to take one of my many sojurns on the "Overland Route", this time from Julesburg, Colorado to Ames, Iowa.  Coming into Ogallala I saw at least 3 stack trains that were stopped; presumably because of congestion in and around North Platte.  It seemed a bit more fluid east of Bailey Yard and North Platte but then when I got east of Missouri Valley it seemed to be crammed up again with trains stopped everywhere.  No wonder UP doesn't want Amtrak on the "Overland Route". 

Even though I remember the "Cities" Streamliners running through Marion on the Milwaukee Road as an elementary school kid up until 1971, I can only imagine what the glory days of the pre-1955 years must have been like on the CNW's portion of the "Overland Route".  Must have been so incredibly cool to see it all.  I even did a research paper in H.S. about passenger service in Iowa; even dedicating an entire chapter to the service on the "Overland Route" and the subsequent switch to the Milwaukee Road on October 30, 1955. 

"Beating 'SC is not a matter of life or death. It's more important than that." Former UCLA Head Football Coach Red Sanders
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Posted by cnwfan51 on Thursday, November 29, 2007 7:26 AM
    Jeff Hergert is correct on the flow of traffic in central Iowa. With the CTC extension in Eastern Iowa between East Marshalltown and Fairfax this will slow down the traffic as the new signals come on line. As a conductor out of Boone all I can say is welcome to our world  this is something that Jeff nad I deal with on a daily bases.  Hi Jeff CNW FOREVER   LONG LIVE THE ROCK ISLAND   Larry
larry ackerman
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Posted by Anonymous on Tuesday, February 5, 2008 12:20 AM

 t.winx wrote:
Hello fellow railfans,

Also, does anybody know the destination of loaded coal trains with UCEX, AEPX, COEH, OVEX or CAEG reporting marks? Thanks

UCEXUnion Electric Co.

COEHConecuh Valley R.R.
AEPXAmerican Electric Power Service Corp.
OVEXOhio Valley Electric Co.
CAEGCoffeen and Western R.R.

Info. from http://www.nakina.net/reportc.html

Unless something has changed recently, and as far as actual locations perhaps someone else could give you that answer?

 

Been off the last few days (Thank goodness), hopefully your dad ended up with something good on the latest set o' bids.

 

 

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Posted by t.winx on Tuesday, February 5, 2008 6:14 PM
 Marquette8 wrote:

Been off the last few days (Thank goodness), hopefully your dad ended up with something good on the latest set o' bids.

I think he's alright. He's kinda scared about going to Prentice though....shhh, don't tell him I said that..Whistling [:-^]

 

Tyler
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Posted by Anonymous on Tuesday, February 12, 2008 1:17 AM
 t.winx wrote:
 Marquette8 wrote:

Been off the last few days (Thank goodness), hopefully your dad ended up with something good on the latest set o' bids.

I think he's alright. He's kinda scared about going to Prentice though....shhh, don't tell him I said that..Whistling [:-^]

 

Well hopefully he won't get "redirected" to too many yard extras, as Road Train Randy won't shut up about it and that is enough to drive everyone nuts.

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Posted by Anonymous on Friday, February 15, 2008 12:15 PM
 Marquette8 wrote:
 t.winx wrote:
 Marquette8 wrote:

Been off the last few days (Thank goodness), hopefully your dad ended up with something good on the latest set o' bids.

I think he's alright. He's kinda scared about going to Prentice though....shhh, don't tell him I said that..Whistling [:-^]

 

Well hopefully he won't get "redirected" to too many yard extras, as Road Train Randy won't shut up about it and that is enough to drive everyone nuts.

Down to Rapids for a yard extra yesterday, though with good ole Pennington. An entertaining day I am sure.

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Posted by t.winx on Friday, February 15, 2008 9:14 PM
You guessed it. He said Pennington even let him try some of his food.
Tyler

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