Union Pacific 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.

Trainfanne54

Railfan Nebraska
I spend my days off railfanning the UP Omaha Subdivision at 159th and Pacific Street. I would like to know why it has been so dead? I have not seen any loaded coal trains this week, and hardly any traffic. I thought their were 20 to 25 trains that come through on the omaha sub. Everytime I go I see 2 trains. Thats it. I know Union Pacific is busy out by north platte and gibbon, ne. It has just been so dead recently. Are they going on the blair sub? Sometimes I think there is more trains on the BNSF Omaha Sub than the UP. I would just like some answers.
 

brad_in_omaha

Active Member
I saw a Loaded Coal on Sunday around 6pm, Tuesday around 5pm and again at Sunset, and again Wednesday around 5pm.

I think some of it may be your timing. I seem to see a lot more trains on the UP Omaha Sub in the morning than in the evening.

I can't stand to sit around at wait for trains. I know most railfans like to sit in one spot and wait, but I like to drive around a find them. I look at the signals and if I see a lot of Red (or dark in the case of 159th and Pacific), I move on and keep looking.
 

Trainfanne54

Railfan Nebraska
I wonder if that has something to do with Obama. I know that BNSF hauls more coal than UP. I heard there is over 150 trains a day out by North Platte, NE. You would think the Blair and the omaha subs would get at least half of them. I also heard alot of the UP trains are going south.
 

brad_in_omaha

Active Member
I think that was the right number a few years ago. Not sure if its still the same.

What ever that number is, I would say that more than 1/2 of those trains go south at Gibbon towards KC. Then of that half or less that is left, more than half of those use the Blair sub.

So even if, on a busy day, there are still 150 trains at NP, I would assume 80 are heading "NorthWest/SouthEast" on the Marrysville Sub and 60 are heading "East/West" on the Columbus Sub. Then I would guess that of that 60 probably 35 take the Blair Sub leaving the other 25 for the Omaha Sub. That's barely over 1 per hour.

Again, these numbers are just a guess...
 

rrnut_99

Member
I live in northwestern IL beside the UP Geneva Sub. The train counts for the e/w main (Overland Route) are way down. About half of what it was a few years ago. I think Global 4 affected traffic levels, as many of those trains run over the BNSF now. And the already mentioned coal train decline.
 

Abilene Ks Railfan

Active Member
I have seen lower train counts too,but there has been some maintenance gangs out working in western Kansas so that would explain My low counts. I have seen normal coal movements, some go on east towards KC, and some do go south from here.
I also like to sit in a certain spot, rather than waste high priced fuel driving around.
 

JeffLH

Member
Coal has picked back up, but still isn't what it once was. Intermodal also is up, with a couple of more Z trains, although not as hot as the Lathrop or Salt Lake City Zs, making regular appearances. Most eastbounds that change crews (short pool) at Fremont, go via Omaha. Most eastbounds that change at Mo Valley (long pool) go via Blair, aka the "short way." For a short pool to go the "short way" the dispatchers take into account the size of the train and how close any westbounds, especially long pools, are. The second track between Duffy and W. Kennard really haven't changed traffic flow too much, except for eastbound long pool trains.

There is track work (replacing broken concrete ties that replaced broken concrete ties) going on east of Denison, IA. They just went on their off cycle, but should start up again next week. When they are working, it seems to throw off traffic as they sometimes stage trains to keep traffic down when the gang is working during the day. They may also be temporarily detouring some trains at times via other routes to miss the work entirely.

Jeff
 

brad_in_omaha

Active Member
I also like to sit in a certain spot, rather than waste high priced fuel driving around.
I always buy cars that get 20 MPH or better. Sunday I drove 154 Miles when I was railfanning. Which is way more than I normally drive. With the exception of chasing the Steam Locomotive, I don't normally drive 1/2 that amount railfanning. However with this extreme case where I made a huge loop, even at $4, I only spent $28... Not bad for a whole day of fun. I could have gone to a baseball game on Sunday and spent more than $28.

I will try to get photos posted up later today, but I think I got my best ever railroad photos Sunday too!

Coal has picked back up, but still isn't what it once was. Intermodal also is up, with a couple of more Z trains, although not as hot as the Lathrop or Salt Lake City Zs, making regular appearances. Most eastbounds that change crews (short pool) at Fremont, go via Omaha. Most eastbounds that change at Mo Valley (long pool) go via Blair, aka the "short way." For a short pool to go the "short way" the dispatchers take into account the size of the train and how close any westbounds, especially long pools, are. The second track between Duffy and W. Kennard really haven't changed traffic flow too much, except for eastbound long pool trains.

There is track work (replacing broken concrete ties that replaced broken concrete ties) going on east of Denison, IA. They just went on their off cycle, but should start up again next week. When they are working, it seems to throw off traffic as they sometimes stage trains to keep traffic down when the gang is working during the day. They may also be temporarily detouring some trains at times via other routes to miss the work entirely.

Jeff
Thanks for the Update Jeff.
 

njurgensen

Railfanning Meteorologist
Coal has picked back up, but still isn't what it once was. Intermodal also is up, with a couple of more Z trains, although not as hot as the Lathrop or Salt Lake City Zs, making regular appearances. Most eastbounds that change crews (short pool) at Fremont, go via Omaha. Most eastbounds that change at Mo Valley (long pool) go via Blair, aka the "short way." For a short pool to go the "short way" the dispatchers take into account the size of the train and how close any westbounds, especially long pools, are. The second track between Duffy and W. Kennard really haven't changed traffic flow too much, except for eastbound long pool trains.

There is track work (replacing broken concrete ties that replaced broken concrete ties) going on east of Denison, IA. They just went on their off cycle, but should start up again next week. When they are working, it seems to throw off traffic as they sometimes stage trains to keep traffic down when the gang is working during the day. They may also be temporarily detouring some trains at times via other routes to miss the work entirely.

Jeff
Can someone explain to me what the terms "short pool" and "long pool" are? Is that referencing the length of track where trains can tie down as they wait?

I see 1 UP train a day here in Lincoln, and sometimes it only has five or so cars in tow. Also saw a fairly large unit grain be brought down to the sidings here at the Lincoln Airport for storage. Hope traffic can pick back up.
 

BakerFan1001

Pre-ISRR Engineer
There are some unfair answers I will say: 1. Coal has many restrictions. 2. Since 2009, the economy has fallen dramatically and has impacted the industries of freight. 3. Trains aren't used as much since 2009 when the economy shifted downward. For example: I recorded times of CSX freight trains on the B&O or so called ex-Shelbyville Secondary in Indianapolis, Indiana. In 2006, CSX was frequent on this line: The first train was a coal train since Citizen's Coke Plant was near and the second train only took 1-2 hours to come by at 13MPH approx. So 2009, was a failure for the train industry
 

JeffLH

Member
Can someone explain to me what the terms "short pool" and "long pool" are? Is that referencing the length of track where trains can tie down as they wait?

I see 1 UP train a day here in Lincoln, and sometimes it only has five or so cars in tow. Also saw a fairly large unit grain be brought down to the sidings here at the Lincoln Airport for storage. Hope traffic can pick back up.
Short pool and long pool refer to the crew districts and the crew change points. In this case, the short pool I'm talking about works out of Boone, IA to Fremont, NE. The long pool works out of Clinton, IA to Missouri Valley, IA. The Nebraska side also has short and long pools, based out of Council Bluffs, Fremont or North Platte. The long pools tend to get most of the intermodals, auto racks and salad shooters, and one manifest train. The Iowa side long pool also quite often gets grain and ethanol trains going to/from Blair. (They don't spot/pull Cargill, a local zone crew does that part.) Most everything else usually goes to the short pools.

Jeff
 




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