Stampede Pass Diary

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Just heard that tunnel 4 and possibly the attached snowshed have collapsed due to large boulders and trees. Stampede is closed at least 24 hours, with trains waiting in Auburn to depart. Happened sometime this afternoon.

Kevin
 
Is that the 'short' tunnel on the west side of the main tunnel? I walked through it before the line was reopened and noticed a lot of material washed inside the tunnel from runoff.
 
Photos published on a Stampede Pass Facebook page show where a falling boulder punched through the roof of the snowshed at Tunnel 4, and another boulder partway through. That's mountain railroading for you: rocks fall, trains stop.
 
I see that there is new rail laid out in numerous segments between Selah and Easton, especially in areas of heavy curvature. Wonder when the steel gang will do its thing. Traffic seems to be holding steady, although I wonder if they'll detour for bridge replacement days on Fallbridge. And yes Bristol and Pomona are still plugged with excess well cars, and there has been an empty(?) ballast car in the middle of Wymer for months, used to stash it on the house track.
 
I saw the power for the E-burg local (2 SD40-2's.....BNSF 1668 and 1836) taking 3 empty gons up the Stampede Sub towards Cle Elum/Easton on March 22nd. Never seen a local head up that direction as there are no industries to switch there anymore. I can only assume that they spotted the gons at Cle Elum for future use. They came back light a little less than an hour later.

Also saw a loaded work train heading East yesterday through Ellensburg. Led by a single ES44, with a dozen or so flats behind it all loaded with track laying equipment. Finished the work up by Easton perhaps?

-Kevin
 
I saw the power for the E-burg local (2 SD40-2's.....BNSF 1668 and 1836) taking 3 empty gons up the Stampede Sub towards Cle Elum/Easton on March 22nd.
The local took three gons of tie plates to Cle Elum. Rail relays just started this week around Pomona (I think). They'll work west through the Yakima Valley and Stampede Subs for a couple months.
 
More a MOW question than anything else: I've noticed that not only is new rail laid out in places in the Ellensburg Canyon, but there are also some sort of white packages every few meters along side the track, usually in areas where the line is across river from highway (that makes sense -- not a real pilferage problem there). They sorta lopk like large lunch bags. I'm guessing these are new pads and clips. Any MOW way types who can tell what those are? Or for that matter when they'll be actually changing these segments out?
 
As of today, I didn't see any sign of work actually starting, although there is rail laid out to a point near where SR823 crosses and rr east of the Pomona bridge.
 
Steel gang was working just rr east of Wymer Siding today. No pictures as I only had cell phone, and tracks are across river. Still wonder what is in those white bags...
 

BNSFEng

Locomotive Engineer!!!
Steel gang was working just rr east of Wymer Siding today. No pictures as I only had cell phone, and tracks are across river. Still wonder what is in those white bags...
Well, from what I remember, with that being concrete ties those bags contain the insulators and pads which the rail sits on to prevent tie deterioration. They discovered this was a problem back in the 80's that a bare rail on top of the concrete would cause the tie to be eaten away by some sorta electrolytic corrosion between the rail and the minerals in the concrete. I read a study of that many years ago and they had to test several different insulators to get the right type material that lasted a long enough time. Anybody else remember that problem?
 
I think it was also a problem of mechanical impact and abrasion; the tie pads are either rubber or nylon, that I've seen. A bad flat wheel can shatter a concrete tie (or crack the rail itself).
 
On Saturday (9-3-2016) my wife and I headed over to the Ellensburg Rodeo, we took a trip thru the canyon. We found a place to stop and have lunch along the sweeping curve near the west end of Bristol siding. Pretty quiet. There are cars stored in the siding.

Bristol.jpg

-KristopherJ
 



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