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Western Railroad Discussion > Ex CN&W track to Casper and Lander, WY


Date: 05/30/12 19:32
Ex CN&W track to Casper and Lander, WY
Author: dgraves

I travel from Ft Collins to Casper, WY quite often for business. From Orin Jct to Casper, you can see the abandoned C&NW in places. Just wondering what year the track was abandoned and if UP has trackage rights on the BNSF from Orin Jct to Casper? If so, is the C&NW line still intact out to Lander?

It seems ironic that there were ever two lines in this part of Wyoming. Seems like there would not be a whole lot of on-line business in such arid country.



Date: 05/30/12 20:39
Re: Ex CN&W track to Casper and Lander, WY
Author: Guernsey_Switch

CNW used to have rights, but pulled out of the area all together, I think in the 90s. I believe the tracks west to Lander were pulled up in the second world war. There are still tracks in place east towards Lost Springs, WY that would have gone to Casper, but I am not sure exactly where they end. From my source, the sulfur business didn't pick up until after CNW left the area and the BDW started operations in Bonneville, WY.
I can try to get more info. Send me a PM if interested.
Guernsey_Switch
BNSF Engineer student
Denver, CO

Posted from iPhone



Date: 05/30/12 22:11
Re: Ex CN&W track to Casper and Lander, WY
Author: BNSF6400

The C&NW built there own line from Orin, WY to Lander, WY; it was completed in 1907. In World War II, the 102 miles between Shoshoni and Casper was abondoned and connections built so the C&NW could run on the Burlington Route (present day BNSF Casper Sub). The line was cut back from Lander to Riverton in 1972. In believe there was a lumber mill in Riverton which kept the line there running. Sometime later, the C&NW got trackage rights over the Burlington Northern from Orin to Casper and operated a small "island" operation in Casper on a short section of their original track. I believe Union Pacific abondoned this operation all together right after the merger, letting BNSF switch the few remaining ex-C&NW customers in Casper.



Date: 05/30/12 22:43
Re: Ex CN&W track to Casper and Lander, WY
Author: TCnR

Also found the abandoned trackage out there near Douglas and become interested in the stories. Here's a couple of TO threads from the archives:

http://www.trainorders.com/discussion/read.php?11,2590632,page=1

http://www.trainorders.com/discussion/read.php?11,2387720,2387882#msg-2387882



Date: 05/30/12 22:47
Re: Ex CN&W track to Casper and Lander, WY
Author: ironmtn

You can see the right of way in places from US 20 between Casper and Shoshoni. On the south side of US 20, if memory serves. I never checked if the rail was still in place, but the last time I made that trek about a year ago (it's known as the "loneliest" or "longest drive in Wyoming" -- which if you know the state is saying something), I could certainly see the ROW of the old "Cowboy" in places. There is a small switching line in Shoshoni, too, that may occupy a remnant.

There definitely is one place where the rail is still in place, as you've noted. That's further east near the former point of Fisher, west of Shawnee. See the second to last photo in this series which I previously posted. Also shown are images of the UP Powder River Sub that follows the Cowboy's alignment from the east exit leg of the Orin Line out of the PRB at Shawnee eastward to Lusk.

http://www.trainorders.com/discussion/read.php?1,2703280,2703416#msg-2703416

If the rail is in place west of Casper, it will probably look a lot like this image. Just less bunch grass and a lot more sagebrush. What, you were expecting zoysia?



Edited 5 time(s). Last edit at 05/30/12 22:56 by ironmtn.



Date: 05/30/12 23:10
Re: Ex CN&W track to Casper and Lander, WY
Author: ironmtn

TCnR Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Also found the abandoned trackage out there near
> Douglas and become interested in the stories.
> Here's a couple of TO threads from the archives:
>
I missed these when initially posted last year. Sorry that I did -- great stuff.

Illuminating discussion, too, especially some of rob_l's insights. Now I know why the pick-up blocks I used to always hear dispatchers arranging with through freights evaporated. And I always thought that it was just because the traffic moved to doublestack boxes, or was lost to trucks through routine competition. And what is it that we hear from politicians of certain stripes about the costs of the heavy hand of regulation? More stringent air tests and pre-trip inspections. Never woulda thunk it!



Edited 3 time(s). Last edit at 05/30/12 23:13 by ironmtn.



Date: 05/31/12 05:38
Re: Ex CN&W track to Casper and Lander, WY
Author: tolland

There is a really good railroad museum in Douglas that uses the old C&NW depot for it's main building. The site for this museum is:

http://www.cityofdouglaswy.com/index.asp?Type=B_LOC&SEC=%7B63CFBE16-2DAF-4FF9-AFB0-6598ED6C4323%7D

As mentioned, the UP pulled out of Casper not long after the C&NW merger. At one time, there was a short stub of C&NW trackage left in place that went to "Bar None" west of Casper. I don't know if it's still in place. It was served by BN after C&NW left town.

Best,
Jim Burrill
Ft. Collins, CO



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 05/31/12 05:41 by tolland.



Date: 05/31/12 09:30
Re: Ex CN&W track to Casper and Lander, WY
Author: BNSF6400

ironmtn Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> If the rail is in place west of Casper, it will
> probably look a lot like this image. Just less
> bunch grass and a lot more sagebrush. What, you
> were expecting zoysia?

Additional note: The last run by C&NW from Casper to Riverton and back was September 14-15, 1988. The track from the west BN connection to Shonshoni is still in use by a local shortline/industrial user, I believe they use it for car storage. The rest from Shoshoni to Riverton is gone, some of it is a paved bike trail. Except for a single industry served by BN with a nearby connection on the west end of town, the entire C&NW track in Casper is gone, with much of it now the "Casper Rail Trail".



Date: 05/31/12 19:09
Re: Ex CN&W track to Casper and Lander, WY
Author: rob_l

BNSF6400 Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> I believe there was
> a lumber mill in Riverton which kept the line
> there running.

Don't know about any lumber mill in Riverton. The principal traffic which kept the line in to Riverton was barley.

Best regards,

Rob L.



Date: 05/31/12 20:29
Re: Ex CN&W track to Casper and Lander, WY
Author: KD7ZST

tolland Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
>
> As mentioned, the UP pulled out of Casper not long
> after the C&NW merger. At one time, there was a
> short stub of C&NW trackage left in place that
> went to "Bar None" west of Casper. I don't know if
> it's still in place. It was served by BN after
> C&NW left town.
>

Occasionally in 1997 and 1998, I would look in the 'tube' (MCS/TCS) to see what was going on in Casper. The #181 was the assigned power and according to the maintenance history, fed card periodic inspections (with the exception of TIs) were being performed in Casper by MICs. I assumed at the time that trackage rights from Fisher Jct to Casper were no longer in effect if it wasn't being shipped/traded out for PIs.

In the mid 90s, I worked with Jerry Drager at the BHC in Hill City. He was a retired CNW trainmaster/traveling engineer and his territory encompassed Casper and the line out to Riverton. He told me that he was on the last train out of Riverton to ensure that all company material, cars, etc. had been removed. They left BN rails at Illco (west of Casper) and tied up in Casper.



Date: 05/31/12 20:54
Re: Ex CN&W track to Casper and Lander, WY
Author: BNSF6400

rob_l Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Don't know about any lumber mill in Riverton. The
> principal traffic which kept the line in to
> Riverton was barley.

My understanding was the lumber mill was in operation in 1972 but later closed down...barley for Anheuser Busch was what the line survived on in the final years.



Date: 06/01/12 09:47
Re: Ex CN&W track to Casper and Lander, WY
Author: TCnR

I'd heard about some magic source that AB was relying on, didn't know the details. They still deliver clean C&NW hoppers to the 'Bud' plant in Fairfield Ca.
> -----
...barley
> for Anheuser Busch was what the line survived on
> in the final years.



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