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Western Railroad Discussion > El Paso, TX (part 2) Mountains and Grades


Date: 05/11/18 13:45
El Paso, TX (part 2) Mountains and Grades
Author: inCHI

A second post of images and video from El Paso, which I traveled to for 2.5 days for the first time. I was very intrigued by the sudden change of terrain west of the Rio Grande, where the dense urban development suddenly drops off and there are views that make it seem like you are miles away. Specifically, the road to Mount Cristo Ray takes you over both UP mains and you can see this rugged deep cut that is right after the bridge over the Rio Grande. I caught two trains there, on two separate days. And, both times, I could have seen move but in this location with the tracks on separate alignments I missed movements on the other tracks that occurred at the same time.

1/2. In this first post, a 111 car unit train of mostly UP covered hoppers climbs the grade towards Santa Theresa, NM. Then, on another day, a stack train does the same. In the video, I cut short the grain train to keep the video length down. I also was packing a crummy tripod where camera movement wasn't smooth.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 05/11/18 14:03 by inCHI.

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Date: 05/11/18 13:51
Re: El Paso, TX (part 2) Mountains and Grades
Author: inCHI

Stepping backwards geographically a bit, I explored where I could see trains across the bridges over the Rio Grande in the morning with mixed success. Behind the University of Texas-El Paso there are trails around the hillside. The views are partly blocked by the highway, construction, or other development. But it was worth a shot, because at these locations, the background is mountains in Mexico.

3. A rack train heading west on the northern-most track
4. A view of it snaking through that route
5. This time with sunlight, a mixed freight heads west, but I couldn't find the right spot quickly to get those poles out of the way.



Date: 05/11/18 13:54
Re: El Paso, TX (part 2) Mountains and Grades
Author: inCHI

7. As the train heads over the Rio Grande ...
8. That freight had a long cut of 50' boxcars on that front that have it an interesting look, shown hear as it climbs past Anapra, where the track is right next to the border.



Date: 05/11/18 13:57
Re: El Paso, TX (part 2) Mountains and Grades
Author: inCHI

9. At Anapra, I caught the rear of a freight on the southern-most main track at Anapra as the DPU's shoved hard up the grade. The signal on the other main is for...
10/11... this other mixed freight, rounding a curve with the northern part of El Paso visible in the distance on the hillside.



Date: 05/11/18 14:02
Re: El Paso, TX (part 2) Mountains and Grades
Author: inCHI

And, lastly... on the way to El Paso a couple photos of a failure of sorts. I made the gamble to try some dirt roads off of I-10 that head to Lanark. As I drove down the one that led me trackside at a slow speed, four westbounds(!) passed by, then right when I got closer to the tracks #1 followed behind them. My travel partner was not amused by the quality of the roads, and clearly I had missed almost everything that could pass by, so back to I-10 it was.



Date: 05/11/18 14:17
Re: El Paso, TX (part 2) Mountains and Grades
Author: bradleymckay

Nice photos. On that 7795 west: I think that was the MKBWCX (Manifest Kirby Yd, San Antonio to West Colton Extra). This train has the distinction of handling the majority of the Mexican beer (think Corona and many of the others) that come up out of Mexico at the Eagle Pass gateway, going west. Unfortunately, many the boxcars used in this service are "unsightly". Regardless, it's big business for UP.



Allen



Date: 05/11/18 15:19
Re: El Paso, TX (part 2) Mountains and Grades
Author: Cumbresfan

A second post of images and video from El Paso, which I traveled to for 2.5 days for the first time. I was very intrigued by the sudden change of terrain west of the Rio Grande, where the dense urban development suddenly drops off and there are views that make it seem like you are miles away. Specifically, the road to Mount Cristo Ray takes you over both UP mains and you can see this rugged deep cut that is right after the bridge over the Rio Grande. I caught two trains there, on two separate days. And, both times, I could have seen move but in this location with the tracks on separate alignments I missed movements on the other tracks that occurred at the same time.

Be careful up there. I don't believe the border at the top is fenced and I have heard of Mexican gangs robbing hikers at the top. Down below the Border Patrol is supposed to maintain a presence but I didn't see many when I came through on #2 last month.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 05/11/18 17:55 by Cumbresfan.



Date: 05/11/18 15:25
Re: El Paso, TX (part 2) Mountains and Grades
Author: inCHI

Cumbresfan Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
>
> Be careful up there. I don't believe the border at
> the is fenced and I have heard of Mexican gangs
> robbing hikers at the top. Down below the Border
> Patrol is supposed to maintain a presence but I
> didn't see many when I came through on #2 last
> month.

Things can happen but from my time there all I can say is that I find things over-hyped. The Border Patrol was certainly around that area and stopped to ask me what I was doing, and when I said taking photos of a train coming, that was it. Other times they passed by and didn't stop. In all cases, other people were going about their business. The fence is around in the flatter places, I won't get into thoughts on that. El Paso is also one of the safest cities and I experienced nothing that hinted otherwise.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 05/11/18 15:46 by inCHI.



Date: 05/11/18 16:37
Re: El Paso, TX (part 2) Mountains and Grades
Author: HardYellow

The first two photos....years ago, there were two tunnels there. They were day-lighted sometime in the 1960’s to accommodate the new tri-level auto racks. Maybe someone here knows the year. My first trip to El Paso, I had a old head conductor. I ask what happened to the tunnels. I remembered them from when I was very young, taking the Sunset from LA to New Orleans.



Date: 05/11/18 18:38
Re: El Paso, TX (part 2) Mountains and Grades
Author: RailFanAZ

Very Nice Series!  Thanks for Sharing.

Christina
Mesa, AZ
RailFanAZ.com



Date: 05/11/18 19:07
Re: El Paso, TX (part 2) Mountains and Grades
Author: BNSF-6432

Neat series. Really like #2

PQM



Date: 05/12/18 05:06
Re: El Paso, TX (part 2) Mountains and Grades
Author: jmbreitigan

Great series of photos. I like photos 1&2 in that cut.
John



Date: 05/12/18 05:59
Re: El Paso, TX (part 2) Mountains and Grades
Author: SP8595

Great series! #11 is pretty neat.



Date: 05/12/18 09:53
Re: El Paso, TX (part 2) Mountains and Grades
Author: railstiesballast

These two parallel lines are a quick study in changes in investment and construction between 1881 and about 1900.
The original SP, built as rapidly and inexpensively as practicable in order to head off the T&P before it got to El Paso, has sharp curves and less ambitious grading, and a lower level bridge over the Rio Grande.
The El Paso & Southwestern, built by the Kennecott (sp?) interests, spent more to obtain a straighter alignment, with tunnels and a taller bridge. This same comparison is evident between Tucson and Mescal, Arizona.
Roughly like comparing the NP vs. GN or the CP vs. the CN, in all cases the second named road was built later and had higher standards for grades and curves, but spent more money (because their investors had it).



Date: 05/12/18 12:50
Re: El Paso, TX (part 2) Mountains and Grades
Author: BCHellman

bradleymckay Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------

> This train has the distinction of
> handling the majority of the Mexican beer (think
> Corona and many of the others) that come up out of
> Mexico at the Eagle Pass gateway, going west.

In the past, beer was shipped in insulated box cars. Why have shippers moved to non-insulated boxes? Different packaging? Different brewing techniques?



Date: 05/12/18 16:46
Re: El Paso, TX (part 2) Mountains and Grades
Author: Dreamer

It was phelps dodge investors in the El Paso & Southwestern and they paid cash. The SP was busy driving business off and a frustrated James Douglas formed the El Paso & Southwestern in 1900 and pushed to El Paso to solve his transportation needs. He had connected to the Santa Fe at Fairbanks AZ and in 1894 when they started raising rates he shifted traffic to the SP. The Alignment you see today was not the result of engineering choices but rather a set of law suits over how the El Paso & Southwestern was going to enter El Paso. The SP basically blocked them into that route. They actually wanted to cross the SP in New Mexico and come in North side of the SP. Instead they crossed at the then stockyards where the El Paso Union Depot stands today. For those who think the EP&SW or the EP&NE were Harriman Lines Douglas ran his businesses his way and the list of the railroad officials he felt betrayed him can be seen at the U of A library. There was only one tunnel and it was removed by 1960 due to several issues.

Dreamer



Date: 05/12/18 19:51
Re: El Paso, TX (part 2) Mountains and Grades
Author: inCHI

Thanks for all the additional fascinating information!



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