It may be concrete ties are coming down in life cycle cost enough that
their advantages over wood ties are worth the investment, or the UP is
planning for possible higher speed rail. Train speeds much over highway
speeds (70 in many places, 75 in others) require the use of concrete
ties. This is just speculation on my part, and maybe a bit of hope.
Sure would be nice to have another option for those trips where another
state is just in the way. (IL to OK has MO in the way. I44 in MO is
Puckdropper <puckdropper(at)yahoo(dot)com> wrote in
As I noted earlier, concrete ties have been the norm for mainlines
for the last 20 years or so. With a heavily used track, the rail
cuts into wood ties and they have to be replaced every couple of
years. The counterpart to that is that concrete ties are very
stiff, so the subroadbed has to be built very strong, so that the
ties don't flex at all. For a less-used secondary line, it makes
more sense to put less money into the roadbed, and use wood ties
which will flex without cracking.
No, you can use wood or concrete at any speed. It's the weight
and number of trains that makes a difference, not the speed
(speed limit for freight trains is 69mph, for passenger 79mph
except for a handful of "high speed" lines. As you might guess
by the weird numbers, those are set by the Federal government).
With airline seats being designed for 12 year old children, yeah,
having an adult alternative would certainly be nice :-)
Yes! Boy, was that a surprise the first time I went that way.
Who'd expect to find a volcano in the middle of New Mexico?
But definately very much worth stopping and taking the walk
up to the top.
(that's actually US87...north out of Amarillo, take a left
at Dumas (and swear at the traffic light), thru Dalhart,
Texline, Clayton, Capulin, and eventually Raton. As a
Southern boy, it always surprises me to be going thru
cotton fields up that way).
Good...just thought I'd mention it as being worth the stop if you had
always just driven on by...
87/64 run together from Clayton to Raton. 64 then goes back south and
west on over to Cimarron while 87 follows I25 north. Since we are used
to 64 in OK far more than 87, that's the nomenclature we think of it
Re-reading earlier posting I see I did flip 56 and 64, though...56 goes
on to Springer while 64 goes northwest to Raton from Clayton...
Sometime if you have the time to take another hour or so driving time
and it's been a good year moisture-wise, try taking NM 72 east out of
Raton and just follow it along the Johnson Mesa/Plateau. It'll end up
taking you to Folsom and then you can take 456 (caution, it's got about
20 mi of gravel road/track; avoid on a rainy day) along the Black Mesa
and end up in Boise City or go on south there and come back to 64/87 at
Des Moines just east of Capulin. Gorgeous country with miles you'll see
nary a telephone post, even.
We came back from Santa Fe by the long route a few years ago in August
after a wet year and it was as pretty a drive as I've ever
taken...looked more like the KS Flint Hills country instead of NM that year.
While that's true from a physics standpoint, I believe it's also a
government requirement that higher speeds be done only on concrete ties.
It's been a while since I came across it, but speeds above something like
100 mph required concrete ties and full grade separation.
Excuse the delay... I had to go watch a train. :-)
The explanation I read years ago about the speeds were based on highway
speeds + 15 mph, which is considered the threshold for wreckless driving
in some states. 65 + 15 = 80, minus 1 is 79. (Thus "safe". ha ha ha)
That's really confusing to me, Puckdropper. I would think that the
faster you go, the less chance you have of being "wreckless." Hell, I
see the way some of these idiots drive at less than 20 miles per hour
and they STILL have wrecks. They'd be reckless if they were parked in a
(sorry, couldn't resist!"
Puckdropper <puckdropper(at)yahoo(dot)com> wrote in
Hmm, not sure if that's a FRA requirement or not - it's been a
while since I was involved with that stuff, and there's two
different things the government calls "high speed" (one being
anything over the normal 79mph limit, and the other being Acela
style 150mph speeds) which have different rules.
Definately all forms of high speed require enhanced signalling
and grade crossing control, with Acela speeds needing grade
seperation. And now, of course, PTC will be required.
As a practical matter, you'd use concrete ties, whether required
by regulation or not.
In the case of trains it's because the Federal regs use the
phrase "less than". Passenger trains must operate at less
than 80mph. So the railroads, logically enough, set 79mph as
the speed limit. In cases where the Fed rules don't apply,
they use multiples of 5 like everyone else.
Those overlapping route numbers are a pain...at least on a
paper map they print them both, I dunno how people that
depend on Google Maps and the like survive, because they
often only show one. (worst is in NC where I-74 overlaps
with US74, something the designers of the Interstate system
specifically set things up to avoid, but apparently the NC
DOT didn't read the manual).
Noted. I hope some day to be able to spend more time out
there just looking around...I'd like to take US60 across
thru Clovis and Belen and then look around Albuquerque.
Was out there on business years ago and couldn't make any
time for sightseeing...
Never taken it but interesting you mention NC as we were in VA/TN for
30+ yr before returning to family farm so all the kids grew up back
there; only the eldset, the elder son was born before we left school in
KS. He is in Raleigh so been over there a fair amount. US 64 meanders
all across the country and ends up its eastern terminus on Roanoke Island...
Spent quite a lot of time w/ Duke Power as started w/ the reactor vendor
for the Oconee station and was there for startup of Unit 1 then went the
consulting gig but continued to work for the B&W owners utilities for
years afterwards before eventually drifting over to mostly fossil as
nuclear work became more competitive and tiring to deal with the
increasing bureaucracy burdens...
Just out of curiosity, where in S TX are you starting from??? Possible
to suggest other touring guidelines, perhaps knowing starting point... :)
Mother's side of family settled in "The Valley" in the '30s around
McAllen/Pharr. Still have family on that home place and scattered from
there northwards. Don't get down there much; last and farthest we made
was a reunion in Bay City in fall of '98 while were still in TN.
I hear you on the regulatory burden - altho in fairness, the
scale of the problem when things go wrong with nuclear does
justify an excess of caution.
On the fossil side, I recall Duke being noteworthy for the
high efficiency of their powerplants back in the early 80s.
Dunno if that's still the case, or if everyone else has
I'm actually starting from the pointy end of Florida (Ft
I have family in Austin, and family in Ft Collins, and every
so often I take I long vacation and drive to both. There's
still a lot of alternative routes for sightseeing out west
(I've pretty much worn out all the alternatives in Fla).
It really was not so much the nuclear safety that was the problem, it
was the increased security practices and layers of duplication (even
before 9/11) that just made trying to work such a pita, especially for
offsite contractors it just became to be more trouble than it was worth
in my view when there was as stimulating work in the fossil side where
all one had to do was walk in once had site clearance...
It's mostly related to how old the plants actually are...at one time the
top-ranked plant by heat rate almost annually was TVA Bull Run owing to
it being one of the few super-critical cycles plants out there. It does
take a committed operations staff to make them run at or near their
peak, of course, so the utility mentality and particular plant
manager/operations staff do make a difference. But, Bull Run is an
early-60s plant so now it's down in the pack a ways.
In 2014, Duke had two of the top five (albeit they were 4 and 5)...
Ewww...that _is_ a fur trek...at least you do have the intermediary
wayside point in Austin. At least in our case until the kids were out
of high school both sets of grandparents were in the same place so one
trip made it to both. In doing that for 30+ yrs, we covered about all
possible routes as well, even those that on occasion went down through
AL and (once) as far north as Chicago (on that occasion was a side trip
to a cousin's place for a special event they were having plus a stop at
the younger son's place in N KY just across river from Cincinnati).
I suppose we should probably bring this to a close...enjoyed the chat...
:) Still puzzling over what I _think_ I recall about the rail lines out
there in E CO but I have to admit it's been a while and mayhaps I'm
placing things somewhat incorrectly...maybe by the time see the coal
trains we are already up to Kit Carson???? Oh well...
It's turned cold here so am trying to finish up year-end books and not
doing anything can avoid outside...was 3 F this AM; at all the way to 6
now--at least wind has let up. Got a snow covering over the wheat so
that is _a_good_thing_ (tm) ... but this is a diversion when tired of
what should be doing... :)
And Wood along the way to bring home... :-) That was my Uncles ploy.
It didn't work since Aunt brought home what she wanted as well.
I'd send him home with 40 or 50 pounds - but my trees that were cut
were always small. He wanted 24-36" diameters. He turned Hats!
My perception of California and the fault line has been ruined by the
Superman movie. I just can't think of the two together without thinking
about all the land in New Mexico and Arizona I should be buying. ;-)
Since the port of Los Angeles/Long Beach is the largest port
of entry into the USA, the answer would be almost anything
found on the shelves of the big box stores.
What is amazing is to see one of those unit trains heading
east out across the California desert.
I'm guessing that those trains are at least a half mile long.
They are visible from several miles and almost give the
appearance of being a model train layout.
After that, it would be the food grown in the central valley
headed east to the markets.
I bet that is a site to see.. I have seen long line trains in the middle
of nowhere in west Texas and probably 100 car plus trains making round
trip journeys hauling coal from Wyoming to a coal fired electric plant just
SW of Houston.
9,000 to 10,000 feet would be typical for a train on the
western railroads. If it's bulk, like coal, 10,000 tons;
if it's cans (intermodal containers) maybe 6,000 tons or
And yes, when you see one of those double-stack container
trains in open country like the desert, it looks like the
Great Wall of China moving across the landscape.
On 12/25/2014 9:48 AM, firstname.lastname@example.org wrote:
We're on mainline of UP and they run 'em as long as they have necessary
siding space for...at the moment they're averaging 18 long-route thru
trains daily...making for a lot of time at the crossing on main street;
fortunately they did build one overpass on east side of town a number of
years ago when rerouted the NS highway around town...
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