July 29, 2008
Reader Question on Rail
I have no idea... can someone help?
Where can I find information on any areas in the U.S. that have underground high speed lines for Union Pacific?
July 29, 2008 10:56 AM
al m Says:
The underground high speed line directory?
Check the transom?
(yuk! yuk! yuk!)
July 29, 2008 11:39 AM
lurker b Says:
I don't know that you're going to find "high speed" lines, but here are some projects that have undergrounded freight tracks in urban areas:
Reno ReTRAC (UPRR)
Alameda Corridor - Long Beach/LA (UPRR & BNSF)
July 29, 2008 2:24 PM
Thank you for the links. If you find more information I would really appreciate it if you shared it here. Thanks.
July 29, 2008 4:43 PM
Alexander Craghead Says:
Do you mean undergrounded fiber optic lines? Or do you mean underground rail lines?
If the former, they are all over the place, and you'd best contact the state and talk to someone at the PUC.
If the latter, easy answer: none. Union Pacific has no "high speed" rail lines anywhere. The only HSR in the USA is on the Amtrak Northest Corridor, and has nothing to do with UP.
July 29, 2008 5:13 PM
The UP does have a mile of so long tunnel under North Portland, it runs from Swan Island to the BNSF bridge. As far as I can tell it was tunneled, not cut and cover, but I don't know for sure. (Anyone know when it was built?) It isn't high speed, (25 mph?) although I suspect that has a lot to do with the type of traffic is sees and the curves/switches at the ends, and not so much with the limitations on the tunnel in particular.
July 30, 2008 9:01 AM
Yeah, the tunnel is slower speed mostly because of where the trains enter and exit. Generally the Portland area has morbidly slow access for rail, a real rough spot without a serious infrastructure change and motivation from the state and city.
July 30, 2008 6:00 PM
Erik Halstead Says:
Adron wrote: Yeah, the tunnel is slower speed mostly because of where the trains enter and exit. Generally the Portland area has morbidly slow access for rail
I beg to differ.
Yes, the tunnel is not "high speed" nor does it need to be. The tunnel's south portal is very close to a classification yard. Based on UP's system network, no "fast" trains would ever need to use this tunnel - a hotshot intermodal from Seattle headed eastward on the UP would swing around the junction at North Portland Junction and head east, thus negating the need for the tunnel. UP doesn't run any trains from Seattle to points south of Portland, so no hot-shots would run through the tunnel without stopping at Albina Yard.
The tracks leading north and east of Portland are very well maintained and in good condition; trains can run 79 MPH on all three routes save for occassional curvature speed restrictions. The problem is congestion within the Vancouver-Portland terminal, not the tracks leading in/out of Portland.
South of Portland, you have a problem between Woodburn and Brooklyn Yard - specifically Hito Hill, running along the Willamette River and through Oregon City. No improvement within Portland is going to improve this; only a major investment of millions of dollars to realign the route (along with parallelling Highway 99E) will fix this route - which would be burdened with massive opposition by environmentalists due to the impacts to the river bank and the rock cliffs in the area.
The congestion occurs because of constraints in the areas around the yards which restrict the railroads' abilities to effectively switch within the yards, the inability to expand or rebuild yards, and the need for transfer runs between yards. Building a tunnel underneath the ESID is not going to fix problems at Albina, Barnes, Brooklyn, Lake, Vancouver and Willbridge Yards. And I doubt Portland is going to allow any of these yards to be expanded to make them more efficient. It will only serve to spend millions (if not billions) in "transportation dollars" to benefit a few select developers in the Eastside, while neglecting city-wide needs and doing little to nothing to improve rail access in the city.