Freight Rail News and Happenings

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mulad
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Re: Freight Rail News and Happenings

Postby mulad » December 31st, 2015, 7:39 pm

BNSF posted a year-end construction update with some pretty impressive numbers. Nationally, they spent $6 billion on their system, which included adding 120 miles of double-tracking and 900 miles of CTC signaling (I believe that's a prerequisite for how they're doing PTC signaling). For the Northern Transcon (their main route through Minnesota from Chicago to Portland), they say that half of it is now double-tracked.

I hope they will outline next year's upgrade plans soon -- I'm mostly wondering when they'll upgrade signaling on the Hinckley Subdivision that gets most of the way to Duluth.

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Re: Freight Rail News and Happenings

Postby froggie » January 3rd, 2016, 4:50 pm

I recall a fair bit of double-tracking under construction on both sides of Williston when I took the Empire Builder this summer. Also recall some double-tracking near Big Lake or Becker.

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Re: Freight Rail News and Happenings

Postby mattaudio » January 31st, 2016, 9:47 pm

Per the TCWR railfan group on Facebook, the Dan Patch swing bridge in Savage is undergoing repairs. Sounds like TCWR plans on using it this summer to deliver to the Port of Savage. Photos here: https://www.facebook.com/groups/1664377 ... 3/?fref=nf

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Re: Freight Rail News and Happenings

Postby SteveXC500 » February 1st, 2016, 12:37 pm

No date reference on the City of Bloomington's website, but they do provide some info.

https://www.bloomingtonmn.gov/swing-bri ... w-railroad



Edit: City of Bloomington news from 2/1/16

https://www.bloomingtonmn.gov/about-blo ... 2016-02-01

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Anondson
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Re: Freight Rail News and Happenings

Postby Anondson » February 8th, 2016, 10:27 pm

Letter to the editor of the SLP SunSailor says whistle-free quiet zones aren't all that.

http://sailor.mnsun.com/2016/02/07/lett ... iet-zones/

What do the rail fans have to say about everything regarding whistle-free quiet zones. Both Hopkins and SLP are said to be seeking upgrading the rail crossing where SWLRT crosses at grade to meet the whistle-free quiet zone regulations.

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Re: Freight Rail News and Happenings

Postby mattaudio » February 12th, 2016, 10:55 pm

City to approve settlement with BNSF regarding the ROW dispute in NE Mpls:
http://www.minneapolismn.gov/www/groups ... 173677.pdf

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Re: Freight Rail News and Happenings

Postby mattaudio » February 19th, 2016, 8:19 pm


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Re: Freight Rail News and Happenings

Postby mattaudio » March 27th, 2016, 7:48 pm

Maybe this is old news, but I thought the Louisiana Ave SWLRT station plan was interesting since it shows a new elevated connection between the TC&W and the Canadian Pacific (MN&S trackage). This fits in well with the desire of TC&W to serve Port of Savage by way of the Dan Patch Bridge they're fixing up.

Also of note is the ridiculous park & ride situation killing TOD potential, but I'll save that for the SWLRT thread.

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Anondson
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Freight Rail News and Happenings

Postby Anondson » March 27th, 2016, 8:10 pm

It is a bit old news, many are ecstatic to have the weird wye running through the industrial park crossing multiple streets at grade removed. I worry the TC&W traffic to Port of Savage ends up growing to a point it affects the at grade crossing on Excelsior Blvd unacceptably.

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Re: Freight Rail News and Happenings

Postby mattaudio » March 27th, 2016, 9:32 pm

Grade separation would be tough at Excelsior... It would involve a massive cut for Excelsior with steep grades, as I'm assuming it would be tough to get much elevation by embanking the railroad due to adjacent crossings and land uses.

Too bad Hwy 100 wasn't built with rail down the middle similar to freeways in L.A. and Austin TX. Bonus would have been better passenger rail service opportunities at 494, Grandview, Excelsior, etc.

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Re: Freight Rail News and Happenings

Postby DanPatchToget » March 31st, 2016, 7:49 am

In addition to TC&W rehabbing the Dan Patch Bridge (Savage Swing Bridge) on the MN&S, CP Railway improved curves on the line to allow 20 mph. speed, up from 10 mph.

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Re: Freight Rail News and Happenings

Postby JT$ » March 31st, 2016, 9:36 am

mattaudio wrote:Grade separation would be tough at Excelsior... It would involve a massive cut for Excelsior with steep grades, as I'm assuming it would be tough to get much elevation by embanking the railroad due to adjacent crossings and land uses.

Too bad Hwy 100 wasn't built with rail down the middle similar to freeways in L.A. and Austin TX. Bonus would have been better passenger rail service opportunities at 494, Grandview, Excelsior, etc.

Image Image
Was this even a part of discussion when Hwy 100 was built or had major reconstruction done? Seems too narrow to have rail throughout, and especially around Excelsior Blvd.

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Re: Freight Rail News and Happenings

Postby mattaudio » March 31st, 2016, 9:57 am

No, it would have had significant ROW impacts. But that may have been offset by the value to be created by removal of the MN&S line through Edina and St. Louis Park.

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Re: Freight Rail News and Happenings

Postby Mdcastle » March 31st, 2016, 10:45 am

MN 100 wasn't really planned in an overall fashion after it was created in 1934 as a trunk highway belt-line. Aside from the original Lilac way segments and the sections supplanted by interstates, it's been build and interchange here, construct or reconstruct a couple of miles there. I recall back in the 1980s my parents were commenting about how they were always doing something to that road.

I-494 does have a master plan to leave space in the middle for "future transportation use", east of 169; that's why the wide bridges an Penn and Lyndale and the space in the median where it's been reconstructed between 100 and 169, but them more expensive parts of that concept east of 100 never got done.

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Re: Freight Rail News and Happenings

Postby mulad » June 3rd, 2016, 2:23 pm

Not really news, but BNSF recently put out a few primer videos on the basics of how rail lines work. One of them explains how railroads use sidings to allow trains to move in both directions on single-track lines. (This is something that I get asked about a lot.)



One of their other videos released at the same time discusses centralized traffic control (CTC) versus operation on a typical line using track warrant control (TWC). This is a more complex topic, so the video necessarily glosses over some things, but it helps explain things a bit.



Most of the U.S. rail network is single-tracked, and I believe most of it also uses TWC or other similar methods of controlling train movements, although CTC is being rolled out pretty widely now because of the federal government's mandate for positive train control (PTC), which is typically being implemented as a safety overlay on top of CTC systems. (CTC just allows dispatchers to control signals and switches remotely, but human train engineers are still watching those signals when they operate trains. PTC adds the ability to slow or stop trains if the engineer misses a signal, or goes too fast for a particular section of track, etc.)

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Anondson
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Re: Freight Rail News and Happenings

Postby Anondson » June 7th, 2016, 9:27 pm

Article on Minnesota's new state rail director.

http://www.startribune.com/state-s-new- ... ple%20News

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Re: Freight Rail News and Happenings

Postby mattaudio » November 14th, 2016, 2:21 pm

mulad wrote:A project to create a rail bypass on the west side of Willmar received a TIGER grant of $10 million.

https://www.transportation.gov/briefing ... ger-grants
It looks like a preferred layout (2B) was picked within the last few months, which involves substantial relocation of Hwy 12 along an entirely new alignment for a few miles on the west side of Willmar. https://www.dot.state.mn.us/d8/projects ... _ALT2B.PDF

Code: Select all

https://www.dot.state.mn.us/d8/projects/willmarwye/documents/20161016_WILLMAR_LAYOUT(11X17)_ALT2B.PDF
At what point would it simply just make more sense to connect this new alignment south to the west end of the Willmar freeway bypass, and 12 can bypass the city to the south? Bonus: Litchfield Ave could once again be a street for people.

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Re: Freight Rail News and Happenings

Postby DanPatchToget » July 24th, 2017, 6:03 pm

The East Metro Rail Yards Improvement Project had an open house in St. Paul today. Here is more information on the project-https://www.ramseycounty.us/your-govern ... nt-project

A study was done in 2012 and the recommendations included a flyover near SPUD, a third mainline track through Newport and St. Croix, and a new river crossing in Hastings. Unfortunately with BRT now chosen for Red Rock it seems these projects are less likely to happen, with the only passenger rail improvement in the foreseeable future being a second daily Empire Builder between SPUD and Chicago.

Since this topic has a lot to do with freight railroads I figured it would be okay posting here, but feel free to move it to the SPUD, Red Rock, second daily Amtrak, or other threads.

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Re: Freight Rail News and Happenings

Postby DanPatchToget » March 29th, 2018, 9:46 pm

Amtrak will no longer have private cars on scheduled trains or operate excursion trains. You may know the Milwaukee Road 261 group who operate the steam engine on excursions out of the Twin Cities. Amtrak provides the insurance to them so they can operate on freight railroads, so this will certainly have an impact on them.

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Re: Freight Rail News and Happenings

Postby seanrichardryan » March 30th, 2018, 8:04 am

DanPatchToget wrote:
March 29th, 2018, 9:46 pm
Amtrak will no longer have private cars on scheduled trains or operate excursion trains. You may know the Milwaukee Road 261 group who operate the steam engine on excursions out of the Twin Cities. Amtrak provides the insurance to them so they can operate on freight railroads, so this will certainly have an impact on them.
Welp, I guess the new robber barons will just have to buy their own engines now too- https://www.wsj.com/articles/wealthy-tr ... 1521727200
Q. What, what? A. In da butt.


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