Sunday, June 21, 2009

Tie Distribution Progresses Northward to Novato and Petaluma

During the week of June 14, Balfour Beatty forces distributed ties on the 11 miles of Northwestern Pacific mainline between Ignacio and Haystack Bridge on Petaluma's south side.

In the above photos made by Nate Muhlethaler on the morning of June 18, the work train crept through Burdell (milepost 31.3) and dumped ties. This station just north of Novato features a track scale for weighing railcars and a 6078-foot-long siding for meeting trains.

With no more ties to distribute, the work train retraces its steps east to interchange six empty cars with the California Northern at Lombard. In the above picture made by Nate Muhlethaler on June 18, the crew runs around its train on the Ignacio wye so that the engine (on the NWP mainline south to San Rafael in this view) will be on the head end. This move provides better visibility for the engineer and eliminates the need to shove the train the full distance to Lombard. The overpass pictured carries State Highway 37 over the wye.

In the above image made by Christian Goepel, the work train takes a curve in rural Sonoma County within sight of the Roche Winery and the Nascar Sprint Cup Series being held at the Infineon (Sears Point) Raceway on June 19.

As captured by Kevin Sheridan, early morning light bathes the work train at Black Point on June 19. Within minutes, the Black Point Bridge closed and the work train crossed the Petaluma River en route to Lombard. One-time NWP customer Kelleher Lumber is just out of view to the left.

In this June 19 view by Kevin Sheridan, the Balfour Beatty crew runs around its train on the wye at Schellville, so that it can shove the six empty cars to Lombard.

Presently there is no ideal means of interchanging cars between the NWP and California Northern near Lombard. Interchange is conducted on the NWP mainline approximately one mile east of Brazos (at the point where ownership of the line changes) and there is no siding or yard for Balfour Beatty to run around its train for the return to Schellville. The contractor must shove all outbound cars for nine miles between Schellville and Lombard.

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