• Sunset Route Two-Tracking Updates

  • Discussion about the Union Pacific operations past and present. Official site can be found here: UPRR.COM.
Discussion about the Union Pacific operations past and present. Official site can be found here: UPRR.COM.

Moderator: GOLDEN-ARM

  by Backshophoss
One of those bridges was the "El Paso & Southwestern RR",that SP tagged the "south line" to Douglas AZ,along the US/Mexico border.
There were 2 Branch lines that reached the Current UP Mainline,From Deming to Hermanns and from Lordsburg to Hatchita in NM.
Both have torn up ages ago.
The only remaining section of the EP&SW RR is from Benson to Douglas AZ,as a shortline "San Pedro & Southwestern"
  by K P Harrier

Backshophoss (7-8/30):

Outside of terminal areas the line is only two-tracks, and no triple-tracking has taken place, at least not that I know of, and I’ve been in Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, as well as California reference the Sunset Route.

From Estrella (west of Maricopa, AZ) is all single-track, except for about 10 miles in the Mohawk area. Of course, in the Wellton area SP two-tracked that area decades ago. On the California side, most of the line is two-tracks, except for several stretches here and there, and in the Los Angeles area. There has been some word circulating (in print in another magazine) that Arizona is not conducive to two-tracking, hence, UP is not spending a whole lot of money there for two-tracking.

Thanks. Backshophoss, for the background material on the El Paso & Southwestern. It is hard to believe SP’s Sunset Limited passed through New Mexico and Arizona on that southern EL&SW route until the line’s abandonment circa 1961.


Since you are a moderator here, what is with all the delay and delay and delay now in approving new posters? Is Railfan & Railroad Magazine so close to bankruptcy they can’t take a moment to approve new posters? Or, is the philosophy that they don’t want threads like this that appeal to a wide audience and is viewed over and over and over again, but prefer looky-lieu types where the cost of seeing an ad is small instead of the higher cost of the same people repeatedly seeing an ad without moving them? I’m trying to figure out what I’m seeing … and hopefully, with accuracy …

Your input would be most enlightening.

Best to all,

  by K P Harrier
A Visit to Colton, CA

Thursday, August 2, 2018

Someone at the Colton Signal Dept. is becoming quite artistic, as a trailer for use in the field has been paint in a stunning fashion (background)!

https://s26.postimg.cc/5emrb4bnd/2018-0801-01.jpg" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

On the above photo’s bottom are spools of signal cable on site, in the fenced (and barbed wire) yard.

In the fenced yard, in the background, in the center, is a CP box from way over on Tehachapi, a CP no longer needed when the section was two-tracked, CP SP352 WALONG.

https://s26.postimg.cc/6gwxto9w9/2018-0801-02.jpg" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

A Sunset Route train goes over the Colton Flyover (new in 2013) as BNSF Transcon workers work on the UP track for UP locals that crosses the BNSF.

https://s26.postimg.cc/mf5njsweh/2018-0801-03.jpg" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

https://s26.postimg.cc/xri91lkix/2018-0801-04.jpg" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

It seems everybody was in the repair act, as the City of Colton had the La Cadena Driver underpass closed with equipment and workers all over it.

This Sunset Route section was two-tracked by Southern Pacific circa 1976.
  by Milepost 947
"The only remaining section of the EP&SW RR is from Benson to Douglas AZ,as a shortline San Pedro & Southwestern"

It should be noted that current Lordsburg Sub mainline between the east end of Tucson and Vail is on the original EP&SW right-of-way. The original SP right-of-way between the two was abandoned to allow construction of a military base (Davis-Monthan Air Force Base). Also, one of the two tracks between Vail and Mescal (the faster one that goes over the big bridge at Pantano) was built by the EP&SW. Finally the UP (ex-SP) line heading northeast out of El Paso towards Santa Rosa was constructed by the EP&SW as well.
  by Backshophoss
MP 947 welcome to the board.
Was only considering the trackage West of El Paso into AZ when I did that post,basically from the new UP yard in Santa Teresa.
East of there everything UP and BNSF twists,turns and jumps over each other to El Paso Union Station.
  by jstolberg
I have a report today of 8 freights stacked up in El Centro. Any problem?
  by K P Harrier
Could you elaborate more on this?

Eight, you say? How long were they, and did they have power on them? Were they all going the same way? Were they side by side or all in a row on the branch mainline, with crossings cut?
  by jstolberg
Sorry, I got the info second hand. Someone familiar with the El Centro area commented that he saw 9 freights and only 1 was moving. Over 600 cars on the remaining 8. The situation was not usual.
  by Backshophoss
Niland to Calxeico is one of UP's interchange points with the Mexican RR's, El Centro is the only yard and a "home base" to a couple of Locals
Some cars from Mexico may not be fit for interchange under FRA rules.
Other than the branch to Plaster City and the T&T(SD&IV) interchange,this was one of the former SP's backwater branches.
Holtville was a busy AG business branch,most the rails are buried under pavement. :( :( :(
  by K P Harrier
K.P. may be in the Yuma, AZ area an unknown sometime before October to check out the Positive Train Control signal conversion status there and at the nearby Wellton. It has been three months since that area was visited, and new signals were just starting to be erected in the conversion process in that specific area back then. Plans are sketchy at present, and dates unclear. If the trip takes place as hoped, K.P. will post several photos in this “Sunset Route Two-Tracking Updates” thread of his findings. Until then, K.P.’s postings should be quiet.
  by K P Harrier
A Visit to Yuma-Wellton, Arizona

Saturday, September 22, 2018

New Signals and Second Guessing the Illogical

Part “A” (of A-B)

This post highlights some photos taken on the above date, a trip that found the NEW signals in the Yuma-Wellton, AZ stretch finally activated, but in such a way as there is an illogical aspect to that activation, and K.P. makes some interpretive predictions with this two-part series.

The first photo is of CP SP738 EAST YARD (M.P. 737.5), the end of two-tracks at a WYE switch, which wye was common in Southern Pacific days. Surprising, a new cantilever signal bridge was erected. Old file photos show the OLD cantilever signal bridge with only a single head, whereas the new, left signal (for Main 2) on the bridge has a red over type signal.

PHOTO LINK: https://i.postimg.cc/ZqVWPC66/2018-0922-01.jpg" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

In that above photo, the track ballast is old, indicating the equilateral (wye) switch was never changed out to a left-handed one, which would be needed to match the new red over type signal (left) now present.

For logical theming, we now go over to CP SP771 WELLTON (M.P. 770.8). Main 1 (the north track, left mast) has a red over signal, theoretically for an eastbound to cross over to the single-track Main to the east. The top single-head red is for a flashing red over red to go on to the Phoenix Line, which the railroad now termed here the Roll Industrial Lead. That ABS line has a manual derail, explaining the red over signal.

PHOTO LINK: https://i.postimg.cc/3ryZRTHt/2018-0922-02.jpg" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

It just so happened when K.P. was by CP SP771 WELLTON, a local came off the Roll Industrial Lead.

PHOTO LINK: https://i.postimg.cc/23RyjvfN/2018-0922-03.jpg" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

PHOTO LINK: https://i.postimg.cc/WpQwqHNT/2018-0922-04.jpg" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

In the town of Wellton, from Ave 29E, an eastbound view showing CP SP771 WELLTON in the distance:

PHOTO LINK: https://i.postimg.cc/ydxkLsTt/2018-0922-05.jpg" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

A telephoto of CP SP771 WELLTON from the same Ave. 29E: Note the WYE switches are still present.

PHOTO LINK: https://i.postimg.cc/Vvb5cgpF/2018-0922-06.jpg" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

While we are at Ave. 29E, a view of the new cantilever signals there, now in service.

PHOTO LINK: https://i.postimg.cc/9MkzSK8M/2018-0922-07.jpg" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

So, the new signaling, WHILE NOT UNSAFE, does NOT presently conform to the CP trackage. Perhaps sometime later, the track may (“may”) be rearranged to match the new signals at CP SP738 EAST YARD and CP SP771 WELLTON.

K.P. has long been thwarted in checking out CP SP753 DOME and the known old wye switch there, and what type of new signaling is over there.

An easily accessed location is the western end of two-tracks at CP SP743 FORTUNA (M.P. 742.8). A new color light signal was erected here too.

PHOTO LINK: https://i.postimg.cc/43rW2RLW/2018-0922-08.jpg" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

Above, note the lower head on that west side eastbound signal only has two lamps. Theoretically, it should have a third lamp, for a red over green. Maybe CP designers didn’t want to confuse trainmen with a red over green for a 30 M.P.H. switch, seeing the east end of the four mile or so section of two-tracks has a 50 M.P.H. turnout.

Above too, note that the old, smaller CP box present in past views is gone! A new box, of the standard new type, is west of the west eastbound signal, by the public road where the camera was located.

PHOTO LINK: https://i.postimg.cc/bN33ctVD/2018-0922-09.jpg" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

PHOTO LINK: https://i.postimg.cc/8zcw1zxy/2018-0922-10.jpg" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

Continued in Part B to be presented Friday, September 28, 2018 by 9:00 A.M. Pacific Daylight Time, though posting may be earlier. About 10 more photos will be shown.
  by K P Harrier
A Visit to Yuma-Wellton, Arizona

Saturday, September 22, 2018

New Signals and Second Guessing the Illogical

Part “B” (of A-B)

At CP743 FORTUNA (M.P. 742.8), the east side westbound signals, the Main 2 one (right, south) with a red over type arrangement:

PHOTO LINK: https://i.postimg.cc/kGFrFMy3/2018-0922-11.jpg" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

PHOTO LINK: https://i.postimg.cc/xCMBnjhJ/2018-0922-12.jpg" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

While at that CP SP743 FORTUNA, an eastbound from Yuma approached. The looking westbound view shows the I-10 Freeway in the distance. That train had a high green.

PHOTO LINK: https://i.postimg.cc/Cxr34Qb1/2018-0922-13.jpg" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

PHOTO LINK: https://i.postimg.cc/02nRzQQ7/2018-0922-14.jpg" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

Some other new signaling info (“info”):

Between CP SP747 BLAISDELL (M.P. 746.8) AND CP SP753 DOME (M.P. 753.3) is the 8360-foot CTC Kinter siding. K.P. presumes the east switch of said siding is the same as the west switch, with circular tri-light heads and likely old CP boxes. Two views of the west end:

PHOTO LINK: https://i.postimg.cc/sDsCfSVV/2018-0922-15.jpg" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

PHOTO LINK: https://i.postimg.cc/sfpRRKC6/2018-0922-16.jpg" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

Did you notice the Kinter siding, its old tri-light signal heads, and likely the CP box (plus the east end too) were unchanged? But yet, the CP box by the roadway at Fortuna (top views) was changed to a new one, at least a newer one.

On other matters …

The intermediate signals by the two lane Highway 80 in the area where westbound trains kind of head north for a bit to circumvent mountains.

PHOTO LINK: https://i.postimg.cc/R03jpLTT/2018-0922-17.jpg" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

PHOTO LINK: https://i.postimg.cc/LsrGcgCF/2018-0922-18.jpg" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

The new and old east and west signals of CP SP768 WEST WELLTON:

PHOTO LINK: https://i.postimg.cc/JzhwZLDv/2018-0922-19.jpg" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

PHOTO LINK: https://i.postimg.cc/QCDwtGZ6/2018-0922-20.jpg" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

So, that will give the forum something to chew on about the Southwest’s new signaling that came about because of the government’s Positive Train Control mandate.

In reassessing the two-tracking, outside of a few short sections in Southern California, K.P. does not feel any long sections of two-tracking will take place in the foreseeable future. The western Phoenix Line was supposed to reopen with some type of reinstalled signaling, but that seems to have been delayed by PTC, and that may be on indefinite hold. And, if (“if”) a new classification yard is in the future, K.P. somehow senses it won’t be built in Red Rock, AZ, but in New Mexico, possibly near UP’s new Santa Teresa complex west of El Paso, TX. K.P. suggests also UP may sense something we all don’t about the economy and “trade,” if the forum gets my gist …

This will end the series.
  by K P Harrier
An Inaccessible Line and Red Rock, AZ

At another forum the rail line through Carrizo Gorge (to and from San Diego and MEXICO on the west end that ultimately connects to the Sunset Route at Niland to the east) was inquired about and reported on by a few repliers. A newspaper link about the line through Carrizo Gorge indicated a rebuilt and startup line would see an estimated five to six trains a day at first. Because of the curves and very rugged terrain, the article indicated trains would be limited to only 60 cars. It did not say what type of cars those would be, Intermodal or loose boxcar types, or both. The article painted rosy prospects and bigtime progress towards reopening the line.

JUST BELOW PHOTO: The line through the Carrizo area heading EAST changes ownership to Union Pacific in Plaster City, and heads east to El Centro, where it wyes into the line (top left) from Niland and the Sunset Route.

PHOTO LINK: https://i.postimg.cc/X7tHL9qP/2013-0601-A.jpg" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

NEWS LINK: http://www.sandiegouniontribune.com/new ... story.html" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

It dawned on K.P. that the seemingly eternal delay in UP building the Red Rock (AZ) Classification Yard may be to insure that the Carrizo route is for real before UP forks out any money into a yard effort. It is unknown how much NEW boxcar type traffic would be brought to the Red Rock yard from San Diego and Mexico for classifying, but combined with eastbound cars to be classified FROM the Los Angeles area, the total sum might make a Red Rock facility worthwhile.

PHOTO LINK: https://i.postimg.cc/qv5mWCpP/2016-0930-B.jpg" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

A thought about the Carrizo route … That is pretty much a rugged line with very, very little access, EVEN FOR THE RAILROAD. Photos have been seen from over half a century ago of a train wreck on the line, with boxcars that had tumbled down the steep cliffs. The rail cars and their contents were just written off, and left where they came to rest. Apparently, it was deeming too risky (and probably too costly) for a salvage operation. In that light, it is wondered if in the current reopening of the line effort, if a mishaps somehow happens again, even if a locomotive derails and tumbles two or three hundred feet down an embankment, will the railroad see writing it off and leaving it there as the course of wisdom?
  by Backshophoss
Starting on page 28 of the march'18 issue of Railfan and Railroad is a story about the Baja Califrnia RR with a little background history
of the former SP Mexican operation, current ops, and future plans that will include the PSRM based at Campo in the US and the eastern interchange
at Plaster City with UP. plans include a tourist train operation using Gallery cars of either CB&Q or SP SFO commuter ops,
running from Garcia to Tecate and return.(Note: at present a 1 time every other month run)

Customs and Border Patrol may get a bit paranoid of any Cross border train pics at Tijuana/San Ysidro crossing point.
The tunnel border crossing at Division/Lindero Division is not yet active,along with talks of an inland Port of entry at Campo
for CBP and Mexican Customs for RR ops.
  by K P Harrier
There is only one month left before the extension of the Positive Train Control law runs out, and the railroads have to have mandated areas in service. Anybody hear if UP is going to make it? Has anybody been out to the Wellton-Estrella area of Arizona that can report on the progress of the conversion of target heads to color lights?