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February 1993 - Page 45

Chicago was a feeble enterprise during its first month. CN trains 340/341 have been providing superior scheduling for some meager consists. Over Thanksgiving weekend, two 341 trains were spotted with around 10 empties in tow. A typical train ranges between 20-30 cars, and longer on those days when potash or sul fur unit trains are moved in concert with regular manifest business. Motive power for 340/341 remains two pairs of Grand Trunk Western SD40-2s alternating with CN international service SD40s.

Delivery of GP28Ms from MK has acceler ated, with No. 1 5 1 9 on line as of Nov. 23. All of these units remain based at North town, though have been wandering to oth er points on the system . . . The Alliance, Neb., backshop has also been busy with eight more C33-7s and one C36-7 placed into service . . . Ten coal service SD40-2s were moved from Alliance, Neb., to Spring field, Mo., . . . Pacific Pride GP38 2075 has been rebuilt to Dash 2 standards at West Burlington, Iowa, and was returned to In terbay in Seattle in mid-October.

ity south of Boise-Cascade's paper mill in International Falls, Minn. Paper products are increasingly moving by container, with connecting carrier equipment now spotted amongst a sea of BN America containers. This trend will reportedly change in early 1 9 9 3 as a large chunk of this lucrative business will be handled south of Superior, Wis. , by Wisconsin Cen tral. At this writing it is unknown whether WC plans to continue handling this traffic on doublestack equipment or shift to long trailer flats used in its Chica go-Green Bay, Wis. , corridor.

Motive Power News

H ola, Mexico

E -unit U pdate

BN is reportedly very impressed with the 9500-series SD60MACs , particularly on heavy grades of the eastern Rocky Moun tains. With an expected upswing in the economy in 1993, BN may feel confident enough to acquire at least 50 SD60MACs or SD70s, but 50 new units may not be enough to replace the 88 SD40-2s and 3 5 C30-7s that will reach the end of 15-year leases in 1993 . . . BN has leased all three EMD BL20-2s and assigned them to North town for maintenance . . . The first set of " Third Generation" hump power is now in service at Murray Yard in Kansas City. SD38P 6264 and TEBC6 slug 6291 were de livered to BN at Paducah, Ky. , on Nov. 4 and moved west for service . . . BN now has 35 GP38-2s, with 14 based at Spring field, Mo. , four at Glendive, Mont., and 1 7 at Northtown . . . The ten 6300-series SD40-2s leased from EMD have been trans ferred from Alliance, Neb., to Denver . . .

Hoping to reap the benefits of the North American Free Trade Agreement, BN has been marketing its new rail connection with Mexico at Presidio, Texas, in a venture with short line South Orient Railroad. Service started on Sept. 18 with 40 carloads moved by early November. A temporary glitch de veloped at that time, however, as South Ori ent uses 1 1 miles of Southern Pacific main line to reach Presidio. South Orient pre sumed that former Santa Fe trackage rights were transferable, a claim that SP has ar gued. SP filed suit seeking to stop BN from diverting traffic off its own route. A settle ment has been reached, allowing BN to pro ceed with marketing plans.

The sale of surplus 9900-series E-units from the Chicago commuter pool has begun, with MARC purchasing the six "best" units. The first three units were moved to Cicero, Ill. , for preparation to ship east in early December. Concurrently, the two Es reacquired by BN are preparing for a full time return to service in 1993. The 9920 was slated to be released from the West Burlington (Iowa) shops around Jan. 4 after being overhauled. The 9919, though not yet shopped, was was shipped to ILS in Bethel, Minn., for repainting, apparently in the ex ecutive scheme. On Jan. 13-14 one of the Es (probably the 9919) was scheduled to haul a K.C.-Denver director's special in concert with Fs BN-l and BN-2.
Thanks to B urt Arneson, Mike Blaszak, Mike Cleary, Jim Durham, Daniel Grossell, Mike J(jriazis, Bill Maltby; NORTHWEST RAIL FAN, Tom Robinson and TRAFFIC WORLD.

BN and Boise-Cascade

O ne of BN's traffic coups in recent years is building a major container loading facil-

A Tough Season

November and December continued to be tough months for Amtrak with late trains dotting the system. The Southwest Chief due in Los Angeles on Thanksgiving Day had very little to be thankful for other than finally reaching its destination, albeit 1 5 hours late. A variety of problems plagued that train, from motive power failures to a diner that didn't work. When the train fi nally made it to California, the power was Santa Fe B40-8W 180, GP35 2946, F40 249 (the only unit that worked for the entire trip) and P32BH 5 1 7 , which died en route. Santa Fe units were picked up at La Junta and Trinidad, Colo. The train was so late that a replacement set of equipment had to be assembled in L.A. to become east bound No. 4 that evening and met a tardy NO. 3 at Pomona. This was not an isolated event, howev er, as the NO. 3 scheduled to arrive L.A. on Dec. 7 did not get in until early on Dec. 8 , 16 hours and 63 minutes late after endur ing mechanical problems with a car, a dead locomotive, a " dead" crew, a broken rail and the need for additional supplies for the dining car.

The California Zephyr due in Oakland on Dec. 7 was eight hours and 51 minutes late, arriving just after 2 a.m. on Dec. 8 . Then two days later, NO. 5 was behind a UP freight derailment west of Salt Lake City, where it sat for two hours before run ning back to Salt Lake and continuing westward, arriving Oakland 6 a.m. on Dec. 1 1 . Credit goes to the crews that s erviced that train, and got it back on the road eastward that morning without delay. Delays to the Coast Starlight w ere, for tunately, not of the same magnitude. The problem is that on any given evening you can count on at least an hour's delay to No. 11 into L.A. On Dec. 9, No. 11 was three hours 21 minutes late out of Santa Barbara, and took an additional 22 minutes delay meeting the San Diegan at Strathern siding in the Simi Valley. The segment between Oxnard and L.A. has been like a mine field since Metrolink commuter service started on Oct. 26, with a number of interesting situations presented, such as meeting trains at Strathern, Chatsworth, Burbank, or Glendale due to operating restrictions and the distance between sidings. It appears that trains such as San Die gan No. 784 fall down quite a bit; on bad days the train straggles into L.A. an hour

late. Supporters of Amtrak have been very concerned about the poor performance of Amtrak trains (such as No. 784 or No. 1 1 , which conflict with outbound Metrolink Moorpark trains) . The conflict was to a great degree anticipated in talks between SP, Amtrak and Metrolink. When there is a conflict between an Am trak and a Metrolink train, preference is giv en to the train headed toward L .A. in the morning, and o utbound in the afternoon, with no penalty for an Amtrak train delayed by a revenue Metrolink move. Never in the 21 years since SP started handling Amtrak trains has it had to deal with multiple priori ties, so this sets an important precedent that other commuter operators will want to take note of. Another party to this situation is Caltrans, which funds a good portion of the intercity service within California.

New Equipment Ordered

An important step for Amtrak was the re cent announcement that a 50-car order for View liner sleepers had been awarded to Morrison Knudsen. Beside the first 50 cars, there is an option for an additional 227 cars of various types that would be built later,
PAC I F I C RAILN ews 45

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