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Western Railroad Discussion > Bridges of Eureka County (NV)


Date: 06/30/20 11:22
Bridges of Eureka County (NV)
Author: sdrake

Or maybe more accurately, some of the bridges (and tunnels) of Palisade Canyon on the Humboldt River in Northern Nevada.  Palisade is (or more accurately, was) a town site about 10 miles south of Carlin, NV or about 30 some miles west and south of Elko.  Both the ex-Southern Pacific and ex-Western Pacific lines follow the Humboldt River while I-80 takes a straighter line west from Carlin. Palisade was the northern terminus for a narrow gauge railroad, the Eureka & Palisade Railroad that ran south about 85 miles to Eureka, Nevada.  It was built in 1875 to carry silver-lead ore from Eureka, Nevada, to the what was then the Central Pacific.  At one point Palisade had 2 railroad stations, probably an assortment of bars and other places of ill-repute, a post office and about 300 residents.  The narrow gauge railroad quite in 1938 and the post office left in 1962.  Now there is one large ranch, a quarry and maybe one other residence but I could not tell if is currently occupied.  About 15 years ago, this establishment had the most amazing collection of Christmas light decorations including a biplane and a flying saucer along with Santa's sleigh and reindeer, etc.  I am not sure it was visible to anyone other than the railroad crews and the Amtrak passengers.  The Western Pacific and Southern Pacific lines were run as a directional pair with the Western Pacific line carrying eastbound traffic and Southern Pacific carrying westbound traffic.  Recently, UP has put in new signals that are bi-directional but most of the traffic seems to still be east on the ex-Western Pacific and west on the ex-Southern Pacific. 

The pictures in the following sequences were taken on Friday afternoon June 19th and Saturday morning June 20th.

Image 1 is a eastbound local with SD-40s 1620 and 1636 crossing the Humboldt on the ex-Western Pacific.  I am just south and on a hill above the main ranch at Palisade

Image 2 is the same local recrossing the Humboldt and entering a short tunnel at Palisade.  The buildings above the bridges is where all of the Christmas light decorations were located.

Image 3 is an eastbound BNSF trackage rights train crossing the Humboldt on the ex-Western Pacific.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 06/30/20 13:05 by sdrake.








Date: 06/30/20 11:46
Re: Bridges of Eureka County (NV)
Author: broken_link

Nice shots of the classic truss bridges and great location that I hope to get out to sometime. If UP does switch up the direction of running in that area to be more bi-directional, it could open up some interesting opportunities where the lines cross over each other, etc.

Sean

sdrake Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
>  Recently, UP has put
> in new signals that are bi-directional but most of
> the traffic seems to still be east on the
> ex-Western Pacific and west on the ex-Southern
> Pacific. 
>
> Image 1 is a eastbound local with SD-40s 1620 and
> 1636 crossing the Humboldt on the ex-Western
> Pacific.  I am just south and on a hill above the
> main ranch at Palisade
>
> Image 2 is the same local recrossing the Humboldt
> and entering a short tunnel at Palisade.  The
> buildings above the bridges is where all of the
> Christmas light decorations were located.
>
> Image 3 is an eastbound BNSF trackage rights train
> crossing the Humboldt on the ex-Western Pacific.



Date: 06/30/20 11:47
Re: Bridges of Eureka County (NV)
Author: sdrake

Image 4 is a westbound stack train led by UP 2620 on the ex-Southern Pacific coming out of the tunnel and crossing the Humboldt River at Palisade.  This would be a better location in the earlier morning as I was definitely on the wrong side of the tracks by this time in mid afternoon.

Anyway, I left this spot and relocated about a mile or so west of "town".  I hiked up a hill where you can see the ex-WP crossing over the ex-SP and both railroads cross over the Humboldt River and waited  There are 4 different truss spans with the 3 bridges.

Image 5 is an eastbound stack train led by UP 5264 on the ex-WP crossing the Humboldt on a deck truss bridge.  I am about to lose the sun in this location.  You can see the "road" that accesses this area under the right side of the bridge.  It is not bad here but is rather rough in other spots.

Image 6 is the same train crossing the ex-SP line on the flyover bridge.  The flyover truss has a major diagonal offset.  You can also see the 2 different truss spans where ex-SP lines crosses the Humboldt








Date: 06/30/20 12:13
Re: Bridges of Eureka County (NV)
Author: sdrake

As the shadows were creeping up on me I started back down the hill to my track and camper.

Image 7 is a grab shot that I got as I was packing up of a westbound local on the ex-SP crossing the second span where the line crosses the Humboldt.  Note that these are the same locomotives as in the first 2 images, with UP 1636 now leading UP 1620.

I camped the night along the river between the 2 lines on BLM land.  In the morning, I messed up a possible shot of the westbound Amtrak but it was really before dawn and the light was not good.  It might have been OK if I had been set up, etc

Image 8 is a bit after dawn of a long westbound mixed freight crossing the Humboldt with UP 7986 leading.  Note that the train is behind the truss bridge on a concrete deck bridge supported by the piles that are in the picture.  The older truss bridge is now used for the access road.  This is right where I had camped for the night and is a reasonable spot except the bugs can be bad.

After breaking camp, I crossed over to the south (and east) side of the tracks where I had the sun at my back and climbed up a hill where I had a view of the same 3 bridges at the crossover location.

Image 9 is a westbound loaded double grain train with 2 lead locomotives, 3 mid-train DPUs and a rear DPU.  It came right as I was setting up.








Date: 06/30/20 12:25
Re: Bridges of Eureka County (NV)
Author: sdrake

Image 10 shows the mid-train DPUs while the headend is already out of view.

Image 11 is the rear DPU.  In the upper right the train is re-crossing the Humboldt on another concrete deck bridge on the ex_SP line.  The train probably has 220 cars in addtion to the locomotives and is 2 normal grain trains couple together to make one super long and heavy train.

Image 12 is a westbound stack train led by UP 9064 crossing the Humboldt on the double span truss bridge.








Date: 06/30/20 12:43
Re: Bridges of Eureka County (NV)
Author: sdrake

Image 13 is the same stack train where the head end power has just re-crossed the Humboldt on the concrete deck bridge.  You can see more of the access road.  The place where I had camped is out of sight just round the bend at the top right.

Image 14 is a eastbound stack train that led by UP 5901 crossing the Humboldt on the deck truss bridge on the ex-WP.   This location favors eastbounds so I was glad that I finally got the eastbound train.

Image 15 is the same train on the flyover through truss bridge.  This shot shows just how skewed the truss is.








Date: 06/30/20 13:03
Re: Bridges of Eureka County (NV)
Author: sdrake

Image 16 is a closer up view of the 2 mid-train DPUs of the eastbound stack train crossing the deck truss bridge.

Image 17 is a westbound BNSF trackage rights train led by BNSF 5544.

Image 18 is a wider angle view of the same train stretched along the river.  The BNSF trains always seem to have a high proportion of tanker cars.

After this I packed up and drove over to the Hogan tunnel area but other than one train at night and the 2 Amtrak trains at night there was nothing in the late afternoon on the 20th or the next day until I left around 2 PM. 

A note about the access roads to the locations in Palisade Canyon.  I only drove about 2 miles off the paved road but the road is rough in spots and is right next to the tracks in some places with one short spot that I was not sure that would be sufficient clearance between my pickup camper and a train.  There is enough sight line to see that there is not a train coming in either direction but I would not want to have a problem there.  Anyway, another a road that favors high clearance and tough tires.








Date: 06/30/20 13:09
Re: Bridges of Eureka County (NV)
Author: sdrake

broken_link Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Nice shots of the classic truss bridges and great
> location that I hope to get out to sometime. If UP
> does switch up the direction of running in that
> area to be more bi-directional, it could open up
> some interesting opportunities where the lines
> cross over each other, etc.
>
> Sean

I did see one eastbound local that was running on what is normally the westbound track but the pictures were nothing special so I did not post any shots of that train.



Date: 06/30/20 15:12
Re: Bridges of Eureka County (NV)
Author: callum_out

Excellent photo essay, interesting area with lots of history. 

Out 



Date: 06/30/20 15:28
Re: Bridges of Eureka County (NV)
Author: 3rdswitch

A great area in the past with way more trains. Good job.
JB



Date: 06/30/20 21:43
Re: Bridges of Eureka County (NV)
Author: Ritzville

Very NICE series!

Larry



Date: 06/30/20 23:28
Re: Bridges of Eureka County (NV)
Author: wpamtk

When I was last there in 1991, where the access road was right next to the track there were SP-style track car indicators (little semaphores in round windows) every so often. I suppose they're gone now. That trip, I got a flat tire out there--took a long time to change it as I had to frequently stop what I was doing to photograph a train. 



Date: 07/01/20 11:33
Re: Bridges of Eureka County (NV)
Author: stanhunter

I believe the access road seen in photos 10-18 is the original Central Pacific right of way, which minimized river crossings to save money.  Later realignments straightened the SP out using a number of bridges.

Great photos of an interesting area that is not covered very much.  

Stan Hunter
Fair Oaks, CA



Date: 07/01/20 12:18
Re: Bridges of Eureka County (NV)
Author: callum_out

We were doing an install up at the Barrick facility in the Carlin Trend and thought it might be great fun to tube the Humboldt.
Well that lasted until the still very chilly water and the lightning storm ended things. 

Out 



Date: 07/01/20 19:28
Re: Bridges of Eureka County (NV)
Author: sdrake

callum_out Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> We were doing an install up at the Barrick
> facility in the Carlin Trend and thought it might
> be great fun to tube the Humboldt.
> Well that lasted until the still very chilly water
> and the lightning storm ended things. 
>
> Out 

I was out there some years ago and saw people tubing the Humboldt.  I have also been out there when I could walk accross the river with mid-high water proof boots and not get wet feet.  There was probably enough water this year for tubing but the water might still be a bit cool.

wpamtk Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> When I was last there in 1991, where the access
> road was right next to the track there were
> SP-style track car indicators (little semaphores
> in round windows) every so often. I suppose
> they're gone now. That trip, I got a flat tire out
> there--took a long time to change it as I had to
> frequently stop what I was doing to photograph a
> train. 

I do not ever remember seeing the track car indicators but I probably did not get out there until around 2000.  I beleive that all SP signals are long gone.  I do remember seeing signals that had 3 lights in a triangular pattern but everthing is now the standard UP 3 light signal in a vertical pattern and now have LED lights.  At one point there were track car signals on the UP near Caliente, NV.  These had the advantage for the railfan that they would indicate a coming train before the normal signals would light up but they have also been gone for decades.  I always consider it a good trip if I do not get a flat tire and have learned that having good tires is a must.  I have also carried a second spare much of the time.



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