Union Pacific opens Donner Pass tunnel to double-stacked cars

Time:2009-12-01 Browse:14 Author:RISINGSUN

THE Union Pacific Railroad (UP) has opened a new high-clearance route through the Sierra in addition to its existing single track that can accommodate double-stack intermodal containers moving from Oakland to the east.
The second Donner Pass track marks the completion of a 12-month project designed to move rail freight over a shorter, faster and more efficient route.
The old Sierra line, called by the former Southern Pacific Railroad employees as "The Hill" and also known as the Mountain Division between Roseville, CA and Sparks, NV (near Reno) offered certain challenges as it can become impassable in heavy snowfall, reports the Bay Area Public Transportation Examiner.
To overcome these challenges, UP has increased the elevation on this second track by 18,000 feet to improve tunnel clearances in 15 restricted tunnels between the California cities of Rocklin and Truckee; upgraded 30 miles of system signals to centralised traffic control standards to allow signal technology to control train movement; removed track, lowered the floor and reinstalled track in two tunnels; and installed rock bolts for added stability in five tunnels.
"The Donner Tunnel project is a great example of how Union Pacific capital investments continue to support our customers` ability to grow," said UP chairman and CEO Jim Young.
The release said that in addition to utilising the Donner Pass route for double-stack container rail traffic, the completed construction project will enable UP to operate up to 9,000-foot trains, a 58 per cent increase over the 5,700-foot trains that run through the alternative Feather River Canyon route, which is up to 73 miles longer than the Donner Pass route.