North American RR's coming back big time

Discussion in 'HO Scale Model Trains' started by rhtastro, Apr 21, 2008.

  1. Don7

    Don7 Member

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    Check out the map for CN, note how easy it is to move goods to Chicago and Texas for that matter from Prince Rupert. Note that the grades on the route also are advantageours to the shipper CN. I read that CN had purchased 75 new engines to handle the first phase of the two phase project. Second phase is approx. 3 times the number of containers. As the BC Northwest is dependent upon the US housing market the forest economy is to say the lease most depressing. Hence the container facility is a god send to the economy.


    IMX Terminals and Ports

    CN’s rail network connects to the Port of Prince Rupert in British Columbia on the Pacific coast
  2. sgtcarl

    sgtcarl Member

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    If anyone really is interested in rail facts and figures, visit the R/R's websites. As an example, nscorp, csx, and bnsf. You will get the "straight skinny" from the railroads, themselves. I think you might also enjoy some of the photos on nscorps' website.
  3. rhtastro

    rhtastro Member

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    I've noticed lately in the financial pages how "old tech" is making a comeback in the U.S. That's mining, steel production, agriculture and of course the railroads. It's 1878 again. Even Amtrak is prospering. With diesel at 5 dollars a gallon out here on the west coast the trucks and trailers continue to pile up on the RR's more and more. That means that model RR's also have a good future. Tell your kids to forget computers and to get into agriculture. We will always need to eat. :thumb::thumb: bob
  4. rhtastro

    rhtastro Member

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    Trains gaining as sensible alternative to cars

    Due to $4.30-4.60 a gallon gas out here in CA (oops, $4.50-4.75 now a week later) the passenger train has made a great comeback in the last few months. "Ridership is booming on three intrastate Amtrak lines that are managed and paid for by the state: the Capitol Corridor from the Bay Area to Sacramento and Auburn, the San Joaquin from Oakland to Bakersfield, the Pacific Surfliner from San Diego to San Luis Obispo" " In the last three months , we've seen a phenomenal increase in all three corridors," said "bill Bronte, chief of Caltrans division of rail. The Surfliner, the state's busiest train, carried 2.7 million passengers in the 2007 budget year, while the Capitol hauled 1.45 million and the San Joaquin caried 805,000. Anyway, the usage is way up in CA. Now what we need is an "Ice Train" from Frisco to LA running at 150 MPH. Or, how about one from Vancouver to San Diego. The freight trains are also way up as I hear them near my ranch at 5 to 10 minute intervals now. It's the $5.20 a gallon diesel that gets credit for that. There sure are a lot less trucks over on the 5 freeway and those that still drive are going much slower these days. Things are a changin. :mrgreen::mrgreen: bob
    Trains gaining as sensible alternative to cars
  5. rhtastro

    rhtastro Member

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    More trains needed for demand

    Due to high gas prices, now $4.69-4.89 out here, it seems that ridership on U.S. railroads (Amtrak) is way up this year but there is a scarcity of rail cars to expand the service. Many popular trains are sold out on certain dates in advance. A lack of foresight by congress and the prez has caused this situation. However, this could change if one of the present candidates is elected next fall or could stay the same if the other is elected. Guess which one is for the RR's and which one is against. A new congress would help too. If this sounds political, it's not really, I just want to see the RR"s prosper and carry their load in overall transportation needs. It's good for conservation of resources (fossil fuels) and good for the environment in general. Also, with the new popularity of trains, it might follow that model trains will regain their popularity too, especially with the young. Read the following article for details on the RR's. They're making a big comeback, for sure, no matter what the politics dictate. There is a large decrease in truck and auto traffic in my part of CA already and it will become more evident as oil increases in price. Some airlines are going belly up as well. Are you ready for $10-12 gas. :mrgreen::mrgreen:wall1It's coming to a station near you and if you live in Europe it's almost here now. http://www.nytimes.com/2008/06/21/business/21amtrak.html?r=1&hp=&oref=slogin&pagewanted=all
  6. Mountain Man

    Mountain Man Active Member

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    The trains passing through Pamler Lake and Monument - the Monument Pass - used to be almost solely coal trains, but now mixed freights are almost as common and the track crews are working constantly to upgrade and maintain the right of way. Judging by the mixture and the frequent presence of unique cars in te mix, I would guess that carload shipments are becoming common. For example, on one of yesterday's trains, there was a single car loaded with plywood, a single bulk grain carrier, and scattered throughout the length of the consist, three small boxcars widely seperated, leading me to think they would be bound for different destinations. There were other cars running as singletons as well, spaced out to suggest that they would be dropped off individually at various times.

    Speaking of which, I passed by a new stretch of track yesterday that had been replaced with concrete ties, and was immediately struck by how close together the ties were. Anyone know the precise spacing - the presence of a work crew prevented my from climbing up and using my tape measure.

    As mentioned before, the biggest handicap to American railways is the lack of the old infrastructure that served the nation so extensively. For a long time I have watched the old sidings and rails gradually ripped out of Denver and Colorado Springs, and the Royal Gorge Route turned into a privately owned tourist railroad. Now, when increased capacity and trackage is at a premium, it isn't there any more and many, many destinations are completely unreachable by rail. The government needs to invest in rail transport just as it did in the National Highway sytem, in order to keep up with changing economic realities.
  7. sgtcarl

    sgtcarl Member

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    I have been watching this blog for awhile, now. The US cannot afford to electrify the RR's until it sheds the idea that all new power plants have to be coal fired. The local power company has, once again, decided to raise it's rates by more than 24%. They don't wait until the Commerce Commision has okayed it, they just do it, then whine like heck when the state denies the request. They won't give up until they get their way. They have requested permission to build another coal fired plant in West Virginia. I don't understand why they aren't required to build more nuclear power palnts? If they don't have the resources they need, then why not let the Europeans come here to show us how to do it?
    Oh, well I guess we'll never know. wall1
  8. Don7

    Don7 Member

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    The people in North-West BC are for anything that helps the economy. This area is financially hurting like so many forest dependent areas.
    In addition to the container facility in Prince Rupert there has just been an announcement of a new Potash facility to be built in Prince Rupert as well. This means a lot more rail traffic from Saskatchewan mainly as that is where the bulk of the Potash is coming from.

    In addition to that the container facility is just about to be tripled. Note on a map Prince Rupert to Chicago - that is were the bulk of Asia goods are destined form. Check the CN map

    http://www.cn.ca/specialized/ports_docks/map/en_KFPortsMap.shtml
  9. rhtastro

    rhtastro Member

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    Sgtcarl, you're right on. We need the power but not from dirty coal. Half the CO2 emitted in this country is from coal fired power plants and we now know what that does to our climate. Coal fired plants also emit large quantities of radioactive elements, thorium and uranium, which is in the coal. The average level of CO2 in the atmosphere has gone up from 300 ppm to abut 375 ppm over just the last 50 years. That's getting very close to the point of no return for warming of the Earth. Nuclear power is the only answer. We need to raise nuke power generation from 20% in the US to a much higher level. France is at about a 90% nuclear level and they export power to Germany which won't build them. Germany is building more coal power plants. Go figure. When gas gets to 7 dollars a gallon, which it will soon, in this country, all hell will break loose. Then we'll see nukes going up but too late. People will be screaming for lack of air conditioning and heat for their houses and lack of fuel for driving to work. Electric cars and trains will be the salvation, but we need the power to do that. Where do people think the power will come from when they plug in their car batteries every night. Trains will have to be electric as many are in Europe now. That's our future. Coal is in the past.
  10. Russ Bellinis

    Russ Bellinis Active Member

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    There are quite a few post in this thread bemoaning the loss of infrastructure due to the railroads pulling up old sidings and branches, as well as the replacement of boxcars with intermodal. I don't think it is a question of do we use trucks or the railroad? I think the sensible solution is for both to work together. Here in So Cal, many of the old sidings would not be useful for the railroads to deliver freight on because the old warehouses have been torn down, or remodeled into loft apartments or other uses, while the industries have moved out to new mega warehouses 40 -50 miles East of downtown L.A. There is rail service to those warehouses, but a more likely use of resources is for the railroad to bring in trailers or containers and then let truckers deliver the freight locally. I think the future for the railroads is to move the majority of freight across the country, while trucks pick up the trailers/containers from the local intermodal yard and deliver to the local businesses. The railroads are more efficient moving large shipments of freight vast distances. The trucking companies are more efficient at making local deliveries. UPS as an example has run the "tightest ship in the shipping business", to use their tag line, using just this method for years.
  11. Mountain Man

    Mountain Man Active Member

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    Perhaps, but I'm one of the "bemoaners", and I was thinking more specifically - very few small towns have any rail access at all, which means cheaper rail freeight is not an option.

    Secondly, I was thinking of the inability of America to provide passenger service to the majority of Americans.

    Rails can do a lot more than carry entire trains, as has been amply demonstrated throughout Europe.
  12. Mountain Man

    Mountain Man Active Member

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    Yeah - our own government is our worst enemy in this case.

    AMTRAC isn't even a viable option unless you either live in the East Coast in the "corridor", or in one of a few major cities in the West. To the best of my knowledge, the only stop AMTRAC makes in the entire state of Colorado is Denver, and when my parents wanted to travel to Colorado Springs from northern California, they had to arrange private transportation to go three hundred miles to Sacremento to catch the train, and I had to travel almost one hundred miles up to Denver to get them.

    That isn't "rail passenger service" by any stretch of the imagination, and it certainly is zero help in cutting back on fuel usage.

    Meanwhile, bus travel is also a joke in America. Gone are the days when Greyhound stopped everywhere, and the Trailways Golden Eagle service rivaled anything else on the ground. Greyhound is shabby, crowded, poorly run and operates filthy buses from equally filthy rerminals. The terminal in Denver, which is where I had to go again just to catch a bus, was locked up after midnight to keep the homeless and the drug dealers out.

    We gone a long way - all of it downhill.
  13. rhtastro

    rhtastro Member

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    You are all right, public transportation, train, bus, etc is dismal in the US because we haven't needed it until now. But now that trucks and autos are on the down list because of fuel prices, there is only one way out. It's trains and busses. They will make a comeback when the need gets great enough. The way things are going, that may be next year. But it will take 10 years to do it. Put the rails right on the freeways here in the west. There won't be many cars using them with 7-10 dollars a gallon gas. All we need to do is attack Iran and we'll see it happen PDQ. Bob
  14. rhtastro

    rhtastro Member

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    MM, I live near Redding in N. CA where Amtrack stops twice a day between Medford and Sacto. Your folks must live on the OR border to be 300 miles from Sacto. They could have picked up the train closer to home. But I admit the service needs a lot of help. It goes through here at night, not a good time for sure. It only is good on a few lines in CA and the east coast. Not nearly good enough. It will have to change and quickly. Because we don't have much time left before the gas is too expensive to drive. Bob
  15. Russ Bellinis

    Russ Bellinis Active Member

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    I think there are really 2 major problems facing AmTrak. #1 it is funded by a congress that doesn't see a need for passenger rail service outside of commuter lines in big metro areas. It is not unlike the same government that dismantled the U.S. Navy freight system because we could supply any country anywhere with C5a air craft and do it quicker than with relatively slow ships. Then we needed to resupply Israel a few years back and discovered that there was such an air traffic bottleneck over Israel that it took 2 months to send in as much goods as one ship could do in 10 days. Shortly thereafter, when Sea Land Service decided to get rid of their Sl7 steam turbine ships in favor of more economical diesel powered ships, the government bought the entire fleet of l7s and retrofitted them as roll on roll off ships for the Navy.

    The second problem facing AmTrak is that even though the freight railroads signed an agreement giving passenger trains priority over freight when they turned over passenger service to AmTrak, they have ignored their agreement and the government has not enforced it. The result is that AmTrak can not possibly run a train on time faced with 2, 3 or longer hour delays while waiting for the freight railroads to clear the mainline of freight traffic to give AmTrak a window to go through. AmTrak will run on time when the freight railroads are given enough of a fine to make it economically unfeasible to hold up a passenger train while they move their freight trains through the system.

    Finally public transportation has to be mass transit to be profitable. That probably means that small towns and country areas will continue to be dependent on private cars. For much the same reason, freight service to small towns will continue to be done by trucks. It is just more economical for goods to be shipped to the nearest large city by rail and then distributed to small towns by truck from the rail center. If we had not dismantled the interurban light rail system we had in much of this country in the 1920's and 1930's, we could sure use it now, but it would have been lying unused for at least 50 years, so the cost to restore it would have probably equaled the price now to build new lines.
  16. Mountain Man

    Mountain Man Active Member

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    They do - Yreka - pretty much the last stop going north on I-5. For railroad history buffs, it has a special significance: When the Southern Pacific's Oregion and California line bypassed the town by 6 miles in 1868, the town decided to build their own, and opened the Yreka Western Railroad in 1889 with nine miles of track. The YWRR is still operating today, with two diesels. a Baldwin Mikado 1914 2-8-2 (#18 - not in service), 47 boxcars, two observation cars, one caboose and 11 miles of track still connecting it's customers to the SP junction in Montague. Every so often, the owner rolls out one of the observation cars and gives the locals a tour of the line.

    You can trace the whole railroad, all eleven miles of it, from one end to the other on Google Earth.

    steamtrain