BNSF track projects, WA State 2014

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#1
BNSF has some capacity-expansion and long-needed maintenance projects lined up for Washington in 2014.

On February 7, a tie gang will begin on the Sumas Sub installing almost 42,000 ties between Sedro Wooley and Sumas. They will be doing that into mid-March.

On March 12, a shoulder ballast cleaner and high-speed surfacing crew will begin work on the Yakima Valley and Stampede Subs. They will start at SP&S Jct. in Pasco and work their way west to MP 72, about nine miles east of Palmer Jct.

On March 14, a production undercutter will begin undercutting Main 2 between Ballard and Mukilteo, MP 6.5 to MP 28 - one month for that work. Between May 6 and May 19, they will work from Voltage, WA to Malaga. May 21 to July 7, undercut between Leavenworth and Skykomish.

On June 23, there will be a P-811 machine changing out wood for concrete ties on the Bellingham Sub. This is part of the ARRA/high speed rail work. It looks like they will be putting in concrete ties between Samish and Ferndale on select curves. That will take them into early August. Much later in the year, also on the Bellingham Sub, it looks like English might get a new track laid. Rumor has it BNSF wanted three tracks, but was not willing to pay what the property owner was asking. The Mt. Vernon siding extension might happen, too.

Over on the east side of the state, there is a capacity project on the Lakeside Sub. Starting from Pasco and going east, Cactus siding will get extended about two miles on each end. At Cunningham, the 2 main track gets extended to the west by a couple miles. Sand 2 main track gets a three mile extension to the east to Lind. At Tokio, the siding gets extended three miles west. Between MP 36 and MP 38 a new siding called Lamphier will be built. Finally, Babb connects to Cheney with about 6.5 miles of 2 main tracks. The grading on all of these is either complete or nearing completion. The track work should start April 8 at Cactus.
 
#3
What is "undercutting" and why is it done?
Picture a 10' chainsaw bar on its side cutting out the ballast underneath the ties. It is done to clear fouled ballast and to restore the drainage function of a clean ballast section. The machine filters the spoils, keeps the good ballast and shoots the dirt out from a conveyor belt. Just enter "undercutter" in Youtube and you'll get a lot of videos.
 
#5
Anything on the list for Vancouver and SW WA?

Concrete work is continuing on the trench under the Columbia River bridge.

The new turntable pit concrete work appears finished.

Jefferson St. and 8th St. crossings are gone.

Bruce
 
#6
BNSF has some capacity-expansion and long-needed maintenance projects lined up for Washington in 2014.

On February 7, a tie gang will begin on the Sumas Sub installing almost 42,000 ties between Sedro Wooley and Sumas. They will be doing that into mid-March.

On June 23, there will be a P-811 machine changing out wood for concrete ties on the Bellingham Sub. This is part of the ARRA/high speed rail work. It looks like they will be putting in concrete ties between Samish and Ferndale on select curves. That will take them into early August. Much later in the year, also on the Bellingham Sub, it looks like English might get a new track laid. Rumor has it BNSF wanted three tracks, but was not willing to pay what the property owner was asking. The Mt. Vernon siding extension might happen, too.
more questions mark...you had to expect em... :)

is the sumas sub just regular maintenance? or is there a plan to increase traffic on that line?

and with english, is this just a result of the increased oil traffic? they just built the 4 marsh tracks in the last year or so, for parking the oil and coal trains...i imagine they want to add tracks at english for add'l storage/staging due to increased traffic? are the marsh tracks already maxed out in terms of their usage?
 

BNSFEng

Locomotive Engineer!!!
#7
From my lonely view from the cab, the Marsh tracks are already being used to capacity from the talk I hear. English must be expanded and Mount Vernon lengthened ASAP so we don't go into grid lock. Hiring and training a bunch of new Conductors and Engineers will help, too.
 

BNSFEng

Locomotive Engineer!!!
#8
Anything on the list for Vancouver and SW WA?

Concrete work is continuing on the trench under the Columbia River bridge.

The new turntable pit concrete work appears finished.

Jefferson St. and 8th St. crossings are gone.

Bruce
Ostrander is being rebuilt now with high speed switches and new cantilever signals. The intermediate signals are being replaced, also for that control point.
 
#9
Ostrander is being rebuilt now with high speed switches and new cantilever signals. The intermediate signals are being replaced, also for that control point.
As are MP 85 and Ridgefield South. There is an accumulation of shipping containers, bungalows, and cantilever parts on the ground at Vader. Big spools of orange conduit and other items recently showed up at Chehalis Junction.
 
#12
is the sumas sub just regular maintenance? or is there a plan to increase traffic on that line?
Regular maintenance. Ties have been wanted for a couple of years, but the money went elsewhere.

and with english, is this just a result of the increased oil traffic?
Just as an observer, I would think so. Up on the Cherry Point Sub, BP started receiving crude oil trains in 2014. Two symbols I've noted so far are Berthold, ND to Arco, WA and Tioga, ND to Arco, WA.
 
#13
What does a "high speed surfacing crew" do? Shoulder ballast cleaning is obvious, and kinda interesting to see.
These guys follow the SBC with a continuous action tamper and ballast distribution machine. Immediately following the tamper, and a permanent part of the whole machine, is a stabilizer which further compacts the ballast.

Tamper:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0I-dygdwNzU
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WdhS1yJ90PE

BDS Ballast Distribution System:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qFvIx-ZWxBs
 
#15
Yes, thank you. I'll have to find some time to watch these guys in action. Now to get Amtrak back on this line (or maybe a pipe dream, Cascades type service) and cut the tunnel!
 
#18
One can't help but think they do... Lots of shortsighted mistakes were made, that have been very expensive for BNSF.

Will the changes in how oilers are routed have an effect on the three crossings of the Cascades and who goes where? Will this force then to move faster on capacity issues in the NW?
 
#19
Wonder if they wish they had kept the SP&S between Spokane and Pasco?
I doubt it, personally. That line was expensive to maintain, and remote with limited access. It was prone to rockfalls and much of it had slide fencing, in and of itself expensive to maintain due to the fact one small rock through a wire could throw a red signal. Not to mention the line had several very high and long trestles. Also, between Cheney and Fish Lake, there is a portion of track (now the Fish Lake trail) that runs through a deep volcanic rock cut... the track literally sat in a creek atop rock and ballast; in other words, water followed the track bed on both sides. That can't have been good for maintaining top track condition at an economical rate.
 



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