Amtrak stations where 70 mph fast freights run?

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Amtrak706
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Amtrak stations where 70 mph fast freights run?

Post by Amtrak706 » Fri Dec 14, 2018 3:08 am

Posted this in Western Railroads but that forum seems to not be that active. Mods please remove this if it doesn’t fit here, but I figured I might at least try and ask here too.

I will be in San Francisco for a few days next week, and I will be able to go railfanning one of those days. My goal is to find somewhere to see full speed, 70 mph intermodal action. Since I won’t have a car, it will need to be at an Amtrak station. I have narrowed my possibilities down to a few stations on the BNSF Bakersfield Sub (Madeira or Turlock-Denair) but I have no idea if these are safe/comfortable places to stake out for a few hours without a car. If anyone has info on this or other spots to suggest that would be great.

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Rockingham Racer
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Re: Amtrak stations where 70 mph fast freights run?

Post by Rockingham Racer » Fri Dec 14, 2018 7:29 am

Can't help you, but you allowed only 5 minutes for an answer before posting the request here. And in the middle of the night to boot! :-D

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Amtrak706
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Re: Amtrak stations where 70 mph fast freights run?

Post by Amtrak706 » Fri Dec 14, 2018 2:04 pm

Rockingham Racer wrote:Can't help you, but you allowed only 5 minutes for an answer before posting the request here. And in the middle of the night to boot! :-D
When I said the Western forum was not active, I meant based on looking at the frequency of posts in the past few months, not some crazy impatience for an answer to my question.

I know there are lots of unreasonable people among us railfans, but give me the benefit of the doubt man! Lol

electricron
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Re: Amtrak stations where 70 mph fast freights run?

Post by electricron » Fri Dec 14, 2018 8:44 pm

I’m not even sure any freight train runs in the USA at 70 mph anywhere, and specifically near active passenger train platforms at stations.
FRA regulations limit freight train speeds across the entire country to 60 mph over Class 4 tracks, and 80 mph on Class 5 tracks.Wiki explanation follows
https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rail_sp ... ted_States" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
“Class 5 track is operated by freight railroads where freight train speeds are over 60mph. On parts of the BNSF Railway Chicago–Los Angeles mainline, the old Santa Fe main, ATS equipped passenger trains such as Amtrak's Southwest Chief can operate at up to 90 mph (145 km/h)”

Additionally;
Class 6 tracks allows freight and passenger train speeds up to 110 mph.
Class 7 and 8 tracks are limited to the Amtrak owned portions of the NEC.

The only corridors Amtrak’s plans to run trains at a max speeds of 110 mph (Class 6) are Chicago to Detroit and Chicago to St.Louis.
The only corridors Amtrak runs trains at a max speeds of 90 mph (Class 5) are LA to SD and LA to Chicago.

Even if freight trains are allowed to go faster, few freight locomotives are equipped with ATS to do so. Freight operators would rather save fuel and earn a higher profit than get their loads to their destinations faster.

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Amtrak706
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Re: Amtrak stations where 70 mph fast freights run?

Post by Amtrak706 » Fri Dec 14, 2018 9:59 pm

electricron wrote:I’m not even sure any freight train runs in the USA at 70 mph anywhere, and specifically near active passenger train platforms at stations.
FRA regulations limit freight train speeds across the entire country to 60 mph over Class 4 tracks, and 80 mph on Class 5 tracks.Wiki explanation follows
https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rail_sp ... ted_States" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
“Class 5 track is operated by freight railroads where freight train speeds are over 60mph. On parts of the BNSF Railway Chicago–Los Angeles mainline, the old Santa Fe main, ATS equipped passenger trains such as Amtrak's Southwest Chief can operate at up to 90 mph (145 km/h)”

Additionally;
Class 6 tracks allows freight and passenger train speeds up to 110 mph.
Class 7 and 8 tracks are limited to the Amtrak owned portions of the NEC.

The only corridors Amtrak’s plans to run trains at a max speeds of 110 mph (Class 6) are Chicago to Detroit and Chicago to St.Louis.
The only corridors Amtrak runs trains at a max speeds of 90 mph (Class 5) are LA to SD and LA to Chicago.

Even if freight trains are allowed to go faster, few freight locomotives are equipped with ATS to do so. Freight operators would rather save fuel and earn a higher profit than get their loads to their destinations faster.
Yes it does. BNSF, UP, and CSX all have significant portions of Class 5 track where their freight trains are allowed 70 mph. ATS has nothing to do with this - some form of cab signal system or ATS (or PTC starting in 2019) is needed for any train to exceed 79 mph, which is why Amtrak needs it to do 90 mph on that same Class 5 track. The freight trains that do run at 70 are all high priority intermodal, autorack, or reefer trains with constant contact bearing equipped trucks that allow it, and these trains are usually assigned enough horsepower per ton to maintain 70. Manifest and all other unit trains run a maximum of 55, but usually less as they do not have enough power to maintain 55 across terrain.

Backshophoss
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Re: Amtrak stations where 70 mph fast freights run?

Post by Backshophoss » Sat Dec 15, 2018 1:49 am

You are in Farm Country for the stations you lisited,Stockton has a diamond crossing with the UP in the downtown area,
not too far from the Amtrak station there.
Check the post in the Western forum!
The Land of Enchantment is not Flyover country!

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Rockingham Racer
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Re: Amtrak stations where 70 mph fast freights run?

Post by Rockingham Racer » Sat Dec 15, 2018 7:27 am

Let me try to be more helpful than previously. The Denair station is in a semi-residential neighborhood from what I could tell on Google Maps. There are a few businesses in the area, too. A few residences have swimming pools. Draw your own conclusion there.

The speed limit for freights through the area is 70 MPH according to a track chart I have.

Denair would seem to fit the bill, and it's a lot closer to SF than Madera. YMMV.

This discussion board, BTW, seems a lot more oriented to "eastern things". Trainorders, OTOH, is very oriented to "western things" railroad wise, and that's probably why you didn't get much of a response here. :wink:

clutch
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Re: Amtrak stations where 70 mph fast freights run?

Post by clutch » Sun Dec 16, 2018 5:07 pm

Davis CA might just work. Freights are 30 mph thru the station but that is only about a half mile stretch. 70 MPH is freight speed on both sides of the station on the former Southern Pacific mainline. Twenty passenger trains stop daily in Davis. Very nice downtown home to UC Davis. Two bridges east of the station to watch trains from. About 1/2 mile and two miles. When in Davis need to watch for bicycles lots of them. Can take a uber west to Dixon CA to watch 70 MPH trains also a safe downtown. Have been watching trains in Davis for sixty years.
Clutch, California

ExCon90
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Re: Amtrak stations where 70 mph fast freights run?

Post by ExCon90 » Mon Dec 17, 2018 4:04 pm

I don't know what freight-train speeds are through Suisun-Fairfield, but there's enough passenger frequency to give you a lot of flexibility in getting there and back. Freight traffic is heavy in that territory. Oakland Coliseum sees much the same freight traffic, and you can get there on BART anytime that's convenient, but I suspect Suisun-Fairfield is better if you want speed. Santa Clara on Caltrain sees the same freight traffic, but the trains mostly cross over at that point, so probably 40 mph max.

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