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Western Railroad Discussion > Eastbound Z Trains, Sunset Route (SoCal)


Date: 09/09/21 01:23
Eastbound Z Trains, Sunset Route (SoCal)
Author: cchan006

Based on my past visits to SoCal, I'd count on 2 eastbound Z trains on the Yuma Sub on Sundays, usually seeing them after a late breakfast.

It has been reported here (forgot who, but thanks for the headsup) that these Zs run somewhat later now, probably due to PSR. That was true this past Sunday where I was loitering on the Yuma Sub. Based on what I heard from the hotbox detector at MP 545.3, I knew there was an eastbound marine stacker crawling up San Timoteo Canyon on Main 2.

As I drove past El Casco, I noticed the signals were lit green for eastbounds on both Mains, so I kept driving east, guessing that maybe DS 244 was setting up a passing maneuver for the "morning Z." I waited on the east side of the crossing west of Hinda, and once I confirmed the pass, I drove further to see if I could document the passing maneuver. (Clip 1)

I drove onto Cabazon to document the entire Z train with FXE 4042 4th in consist, which was caught by BeaumontHill earlier in the week:

https://www.trainorders.com/discussion/read.php?1,5319063

Plenty of trailers on this long 5x1x0 eastbound Z (Clip 2).

- Ran into one of 4 original GEVO demonstrators, UP 5695 later in the day, going east.

- Video of the 5x1x0 eastbound Z.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 09/09/21 11:32 by cchan006.

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Date: 09/09/21 01:37
Re: Eastbound Z Trains, Sunset Route (SoCal)
Author: cchan006

My scanner alerted me to another train on Main 1, thanks to the hotbox detector at MP 545.3. It was obvious there was no westbound on Main 1 between Beaumont and Redlands, so I guessed (correctly) that a second eastbound Z was coming up Beaumont Hill, also set up to pass the slow eastbound intermodal (which ended up parked at Beaumont summit to deal with open container doors).

In the meantime, I loitered between Cabazon and Palm Springs, and ran into a westbound manifest. I gave it chase, and once I saw the 2nd eastbound Z descending Banning, I tried to document both trains near Robertson, where the Rock Train originates.

- I caught up to the westbound manifest after the meet, near Banning.

- Transformer load on this train, QTTX ?13060 (lead digit might have been blocked).

- Video of the meet near Robertson. Autoracks up front, and plenty of trailers on this Z also.

That's it for the report.



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Date: 09/09/21 08:48
Re: Eastbound Z Trains, Sunset Route (SoCal)
Author: ABHoffmann

cchan006:
 
With long PSR trains these days, it looks like from your video the railroad had plenty of room and time to get trains around each other.  Such is the Sunset Route in California, but Arizona has some long stretches of single track.  Have you been out that way lately and video documented if Arizona is pretty free flowing also, or has UP run into long waits incidents?
 



Date: 09/09/21 13:48
Re: Eastbound Z Trains, Sunset Route (SoCal)
Author: PasadenaSub

Nice coverage, Charles.  Did you catch any manned helpers on the hill on Sunday?  I saw a pair pushing on the rear of a westbound stack train Labor Day morning at El Casco (which I initially mistook as DPs).  About 30 minutes later, they came back by me heading east.

Rich



Date: 09/09/21 18:04
Re: Eastbound Z Trains, Sunset Route (SoCal)
Author: cchan006

ABHoffmann Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> cchan006:
>  
> With long PSR trains these days, it looks like
> from your video the railroad had plenty of room
> and time to get trains around each other.

Still saw some westbound congestion, which I didn't document, so my video doesn't tell the whole story. Besides, it's my opinion that DS 244 (in Omaha) can pull off smoother passing maneuvers thanks to the Colton Flyover + DS 250 (in San Bernardino). Many years ago, trains would be waiting in both directions when it was the Colton Diamonds.

Don't forget the single track section between Thermal and Salton. Good thing UP extended the siding at Mecca for the monster trains. Otherwise, the occasional mini-congestion there might be worse.

> Arizona has some long stretches of single track.  Have you
> been out that way lately and video documented if
> Arizona is pretty free flowing also, or has UP run
> into long waits incidents?

I was around Yuma earlier this year. Seems they don't do much fancy passing maneuvers, as trains seemed to depart based on priority out of Yuma in either direction. The short single track sections (Colorado River to the west, the "mountain" section to the east to Wellton) might be forcing them to keep it simple? Having trains run at closer speeds to each other and have them "pass" at yards and crew change points might be better than what I documented, fancy passing taking up a lot of territory, and taking away a main track?

I've seen Yuma Sub turn into a parking lot quickly when something unforeseen happens, like trains needing to stop to call up "PTC Help Desk."

As for the long single track section west of Estrella, I've seen dispatcher clear trains siding at a time, or fleet them directionally ("wait for 6 at Estrella"). Parking trains on the main east of Estrella might be OK, but there are many under-9000' sidings to the west that's too small for PSR-sized monsters.

Keep in mind of "mini delays" around Vail east of Tucson, where trains often cross over, even if it's double-tracked. Anyway, ask again when someone posts a report from Arizona.
 



Date: 09/09/21 18:11
Re: Eastbound Z Trains, Sunset Route (SoCal)
Author: cchan006

PasadenaSub Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Nice coverage, Charles.  Did you catch any manned
> helpers on the hill on Sunday?  I saw a pair
> pushing on the rear of a westbound stack train
> Labor Day morning at El Casco (which I initially
> mistook as DPs).  About 30 minutes later, they
> came back by me heading east.
>
> Rich

Thanks Rich. The slow eastbound stacker might have had manned helpers. I was too busy with the Zs to confirm, but I'm guessing based on radio chatter I recall. Furthermore, that slow stacker behaved like it was getting manned helpers, stopping for an extended time near Mt. Vernon, then stopping at Beaumont summit, where manned helpers are often taken off.



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