Seattle Sub - UP Trackage rights question

Railroadforums.com is a free online Railroad Discussion Forum and Railroad Photo Gallery for railroaders, railfans, model railroaders and anyone else who is interested in railroads. We cover a wide variety of topics, including freight trains, passenger and commuter railroads, rail news and information, tourist railroads, railway museums and railroad history.

pschuman21

New Member
Hello there, I was wondering if someone could explain to me how UP operates over the BNSF from Tukwila to Seattle and Northward? I believe i've seen UP trains going over Stevens Pass, but I might be mistaken. And if possible how UP leaves Tacoma and onto BNSF Southward? I'm curious how BNSF and UP workout trains going Northbound and Southbound, who get's priority and whatnot. Thanks for reading.
 

thaddeusthudpucker

Meat Popsicle
What you saw over Stevens Pass was most likely a consist of UP units that BNSF is using to power a BNSF train. UP does not have trackage rights over Stevens Pass.

UP does however have trackage rights from Portland to Tacoma on the BNSF, an arrangement that goes back to the NP/GN days. Between Reservation and Black River, UP has its own trackage, which started out as Milwaukee Road which UP had rights that were bought. When Milwaukee Road went bankrupt and abandoned the Pacific Extenstion, it went to the UP.

I believe UP has a few customers in Everett, but they have a haulage agreement for BNSF to haul their cars to Everett. UP also has rights on the Puget Sound and Pacific out to Hoquiam, WA where it serves the Port of Grays Harbor.

As far as priority, I believe the rundown is that Amtrak has highest priority, then BNSF and UP trains. There is probably a clause in the contract that a BNSF dispatcher can't pigeon-hole a UP train for too long, and that would also effect te dispatcher because having a train die on his railroad means that time is lost on trackage that he needs to use because a dead train is sitting on it.
 

bcp

Member
From:
http://www.wrvmuseum.org/journal/journal_0705.htm

While Milwaukee construction was in preliminary stages, other wheels were busy turning at the corporate headquarters of the Union Pacific (UP) which had been trying since at least 1901 to gain entry to Seattle. UP President Harriman, preferring to use the tracks of other companies in preference to building his own, had approached NP several times in an attempt to negotiate trackage rights from Portland to Seattle, but was rebuffed each time. Finally in 1906 Harriman began his own survey north from Vancouver Washington, including a tunnel from the general area of Tacoma's Nalley Valley through the hillside under Center Street, emerging above the present site of the State Historical Society and Federal Courthouse (Old Union Station). Portions of this 8500-foot tunnel actually were dug, and today present occasional problems for city engineering personnel. If all this activity was a ruse (as some historians think) to persuade NP management to grant trackage rights to his railroad, it worked. In 1909 an agreement was formalized-the UP would use NP tracks to Tacoma. As for getting from Tacoma to Seattle, that piece of the puzzle was a little easier to figure out. Albert J. Earling, President of the Milwaukee Railroad, was also a member of the UP Board of Directors. When UP applied to Milwaukee for joint usage of a portion of Milwaukee's line north of Tacoma, it was quickly granted. The UP would become a tenant of Milwaukee between Tacoma and Black River Junction, (near present Southcenter). From that point to Seattle the UP would build new tracks.

Bruce
 

thaddeusthudpucker

Meat Popsicle
Also, the very southern bit of the Seattle Transit Tunnel actually started out as a rail tunnel for UP and MILW to head north, Milwaukee of course already having assets up around Belingham and Everett, as well as on the Olympic Peninsula that were only accessible by rail barge.

I actually find this sort of history to be fascinating... Keep it coming!
 

Bill Anderson

Well-Known Member
Also, the very southern bit of the Seattle Transit Tunnel actually started out as a rail tunnel for UP and MILW to head north, Milwaukee of course already having assets up around Belingham and Everett, as well as on the Olympic Peninsula that were only accessible by rail barge.

I actually find this sort of history to be fascinating... Keep it coming!
That is very interesting. I just assumed the tunnel was dug to accommodate passenger trains at the UP-Milwaukee station.
 

thaddeusthudpucker

Meat Popsicle
Later it was certainly used to be able to run around an Olympian Hiawatha by a Bipolar, but as far as I know the original intent was to head north.
 




RailroadForums.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com

RailroadBookstore.com - An online railroad bookstore featuring a curated selection of new and used railroad books. Railroad pictorials, railroad history, steam locomotives, passenger trains, modern railroading. Hundreds of titles available, most at discount prices! We also have a video and children's book section.

ModelRailroadBookstore.com - An online model railroad bookstore featuring a curated selection of new and used books. Layout design, track plans, scenery and structure building, wiring, DCC, Tinplate, Toy Trains, Price Guides and more.

Affiliate Disclosure: We may receive a commision from some of the links and ads shown on this website (Learn More Here)

Top