Major Class 1 Construction in past 50 years

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WhartonAndNorthern
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Major Class 1 Construction in past 50 years

Post by WhartonAndNorthern » Wed May 22, 2019 12:25 pm

I know we've mostly been in an era of consolidating: merging and shedding redundant track or downgrading lightly used routes. But I was curious, has any Class 1 embarked on a major construction project in the past 50 years? I'm not talking about adding short connectors between tracks acquired from predecessor roads (e.g. NS Vermillion Connection) or tracks built/extended for commuter lines or double track added back where it had previously been ripped out. Nor am I interested in areas where vertical clearances were improved.

The most recent large project I could find was Flathead Tunnel and the 60 mile bypass the BN had to build in 1970 due to a new dam.

Has any Class I built a new tunnel, a cutoff, or laid track for a new route? Or done some soft of curve elimination or grade improvement?

J.D. Lang
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Re: Major Class 1 Construction in past 50 years

Post by J.D. Lang » Wed May 22, 2019 2:09 pm

Burlington Northern built the Orin line to the Powder River Basin coalfields in Eastern Wyoming during the Mid-Late 1970s. Brand new route.
J. Lang

The EGE
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Re: Major Class 1 Construction in past 50 years

Post by The EGE » Wed May 22, 2019 2:25 pm

Just barely missing the 50-year mark, but perhaps worthy of note: the SP Palmdale Cutoff, completed 1967.

WhartonAndNorthern
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Re: Major Class 1 Construction in past 50 years

Post by WhartonAndNorthern » Thu May 23, 2019 11:35 am

J.D. Lang wrote:Burlington Northern built the Orin line to the Powder River Basin coalfields in Eastern Wyoming during the Mid-Late 1970s. Brand new route.
Thanks! I figured someone might have expanded into the new coalfields
The EGE wrote:Just barely missing the 50-year mark, but perhaps worthy of note: the SP Palmdale Cutoff, completed 1967.
Definitely! I wasn't familiar with it and while it was more than 50 years ago it's after the steam era and after the jet era began (passenger service was in its decline).

eolesen
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Re: Major Class 1 Construction in past 50 years

Post by eolesen » Fri May 24, 2019 7:12 pm

Arguably, the double and triple tracking done by the BNSF and UP on their respective transcons is still worth noting.

The UP has almost completely double tracked what was largely a single track Sunset Route between Colton and El Paso. BNSF has done the same plus areas of triple track on the former ATSF transcon.

In Los Angeles, you have the Alameda Corridor project which built 10+ miles of below-street level trench between Long Beach and East LA, plus the San Gabriel trench which looks to do the same thing along the UP Alhambra Sub. You also have about a half dozen flyover projects between Chicago and LA, which while not as exciting as a new line, still represent some significant investments.

mtuandrew
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Re: Major Class 1 Construction in past 50 years

Post by mtuandrew » Thu May 30, 2019 10:54 am

Do you count the 1990s Amtrak NEC electrification NHV-BOS, their West Side Access project, or the reconstruction of the Pist Road Branch innthr 1980s?

bostontrainguy
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Re: Major Class 1 Construction in past 50 years

Post by bostontrainguy » Fri Jun 07, 2019 5:34 pm

Sure, Kansas City Southern.

WhartonAndNorthern
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Re: Major Class 1 Construction in past 50 years

Post by WhartonAndNorthern » Mon Jun 10, 2019 11:05 am

eolesen wrote:
Fri May 24, 2019 7:12 pm
Arguably, the double and triple tracking done by the BNSF and UP on their respective transcons is still worth noting.

The UP has almost completely double tracked what was largely a single track Sunset Route between Colton and El Paso. BNSF has done the same plus areas of triple track on the former ATSF transcon.

In Los Angeles, you have the Alameda Corridor project which built 10+ miles of below-street level trench between Long Beach and East LA, plus the San Gabriel trench which looks to do the same thing along the UP Alhambra Sub. You also have about a half dozen flyover projects between Chicago and LA, which while not as exciting as a new line, still represent some significant investments.
Definitely, I think BNSF is down to maybe 3 single track chokepoints on the Southern Transcon, one being the Missouri River Bridge west of KCMO. I did not know about the Alameda Corridor, thank you for that.
mtuandrew wrote:
Thu May 30, 2019 10:54 am
Do you count the 1990s Amtrak NEC electrification NHV-BOS, their West Side Access project, or the reconstruction of the Pist Road Branch innthr 1980s?
Absolutely not. I'm not interested in passenger railroad improvements. I'm interested in privately funded freight railroads making large capital investments (sometimes with public assistance) in the modern era. I want to know: did any one fire up a TBM to build a new tunnel (Flathead was done "traditionally") or attempt something on the scale of the Lackawanna Cutoff in the face of modern environmental regulations and NIMBY-ism.
bostontrainguy wrote:
Fri Jun 07, 2019 5:34 pm
Sure, Kansas City Southern.
Details? Most of NS-KCS's Meridian Speedway was existing railroad.

mtuandrew
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Re: Major Class 1 Construction in past 50 years

Post by mtuandrew » Mon Jun 24, 2019 8:57 pm

WhartonAndNorthern wrote:
Mon Jun 10, 2019 11:05 am
bostontrainguy wrote:
Fri Jun 07, 2019 5:34 pm
Sure, Kansas City Southern.
Details? Most of NS-KCS's Meridian Speedway was existing railroad.
I’m pretty sure that KCS was given rights to rebuild an SP branch that UP had abandoned and ripped up in southern Texas. It wasn’t ever a high-volume line but KCS built it out to something that rivals anything in the UP and BNSF system.

EDIT: yes, Victoria to Rosenberg, TX. Here are two articles, one from Progressive Railroading: https://www.progressiverailroading.com/ ... ast--20345
and the other, an assessment of the project by AREMA in a very interesting 23 page PDF: https://www.arema.org/files/library/201 ... roject.pdf

WhartonAndNorthern
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Re: Major Class 1 Construction in past 50 years

Post by WhartonAndNorthern » Mon Aug 19, 2019 5:00 pm

WhartonAndNorthern wrote:
Mon Jun 10, 2019 11:05 am
I want to know: did any one fire up a TBM to build a new tunnel (Flathead was done "traditionally") or attempt something on the scale of the Lackawanna Cutoff in the face of modern environmental regulations and NIMBY-ism.
Two modern era tunneling projects I've learned about:
  • CP built a second tunnel through the Rogers Pass area (Mount Macdonald Tunnel) in the late 80s using a TBM for part of the construction.
  • CN built a replacement St. Clair Tunnel in the early 90s.

Mark0f0
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Re: Major Class 1 Construction in past 50 years

Post by Mark0f0 » Sat Nov 16, 2019 11:33 pm

BC Rail -- Tumbler Ridge Subdivision, northern BC.

per Wikipedia: (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/BC_Rail)
In the early 1980s the railway built a new line and acquired another. The Tumbler Ridge Subdivision, an 82-mile (132 km) electrified branch line, opened in 1983 to the Quintette and Bullmoose mines, two coal mines northeast of Prince George that produced coal for Japan. It has the lowest crossing of the Rocky Mountains by a railway, at 3,815 feet (1,163 m). There are two large tunnels under the mountains: The Table Tunnel, 5.6 miles (9.0 km) long, and the Wolverine Tunnel, 3.7 miles (6 km) long. Electrified owing to the long tunnels and close proximity to the W. A. C. Bennett Dam and transmission lines, it was one of the few electrified freight lines in North America. Although initially profitable, the traffic on the line was never as high as initially predicted,
I also believe there has been some major railway construction in Northern Quebec/Labrador in support of iron ore mining.

CP also built a new subdivision in Saskatchewan recently to connect a K+S potash mine at Bethune, Saskatchewan to the CP mainline. An internal CP newsletter called the project the most major CP construction project since the abeforementioned Mount Macdonald tunnels.

edit: technically BCR was not a Class I railway...

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