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Wednesday, June 13, 2012

12-06-13 PHOTOS: Nevada Desert

Like I said last week crossing from the Roseville Sub to the Nevada Sub at VISTA, just east of Reno, is more than just a distinction on paper. Without warning a modern two track main line with at least a somewhat modern layout and signaling abruptly changes into a single track with passing siding model main line complete with a pole line. Oh, all the trees and vegetation also vanish as well to be replaced by rock, sand and scrub. Just like the name of the subdivision implies we have entered the great state of Nevada and there's not a whole lot there to see.

No point beating around the bush so you can check out all of the photos here and the line timetable here (page 20). If you enjoy great scenery I urge you to check out the extra photos as there are a lot of good ones that didn't get included below.

After passing VISTA we cross the first of many bridges over the Truckee River, this one with a truss and I-80 in the background. The Nevada sub roughly parallels I-80 to begin with before splitting off to follow US highway 95.

Slide fence along the steep sides of the Truckee River valley.

Split post searchlight signals were the rule of the day.  Note the "marker" on the eastbound signal is actually another H-2.

At the west end of the Patrick siding we encounter the only signal bridge on the entire subdivision. 

The massive condensing unit installed at this coal fired power plant help recycle increasingly scarce water resources

The water in the Truckee river served as a lifeline for a small strip of green vegetation.

Industrial sidings in Fernly, NV.

In replacing a searchlight dwarf with a searchlight mast the signal department inadvertently created some habitat for some sort of bird. It actually seemed that a new style signal mast without some sort of nest on it was the exception, not the rule.

Railroad pole line crossing some salt flats.

Which was not far away from some desert marshland.

Defect detector at MP 297.  Note the pole-line power.

Welcome to Burning Man country.

More of the same at MP 309. Mileposts are still counting up from San Francisco. The truck on the right is on US 95.

Several hundred miles to the north the BNSF Hi-Line needed fences to keep the snow off the tracks. Here they need them to keep the slowing sand off. East end Parran siding. 

Split mast-on-box searchlights with a radio base station.

Site of that deadly collision between an Amtrak Train and dump truck last June. No changes have been made to the crossing with US Route 95.

Intermediate signals eventually switch over to SP style target color lights such as this example at Milepost 323.

After dinner I got back to my post in time to catch this photo of our train departing the Winnemucca station under a classic Southern Pacific cantilever mast. 

East of Winnemucca the Nevada Sub ends and the Elko sub begins. The Elko Sub is famous for its use of Directional Running on two adjacent single track lines. Back in the day both the Southern Pacific and Western Pacific built single track lines through the Truckee River valley. To make their operations more efficient the two roads combined the two lines into a single double track line with each railroad being responsible for movements in a single direction. The Southern Pacific route is used for westbound movements and the WP route eastbound. In the early 1980's the WP was absorbed into the UP and only in 1996 were the two united into a single subdivision with the UP/SP merger although both lines kept their original owners' flavor with SP and WP style signals and mileposts etc.

The switchover is made at WESO Interlocking (get it?) and from here east the lines operate under single direction ABS rules again.

Puff of exhaust as our train accelerates eastbound.

WP style signal head used on our part of the line.

Both lines running side by side at the NV State Road 789 crossing. Most of the time the lines were significantly farther apart.

Truss bridge.

I was a bit happened from time to time by catastrophic backlighting, but did pass the time by taking some video recordings as our train passed over a UP defect detector.

With the sun safely behind some mountains I could take photos again, although I was losing light fast.

Hawk tending its nest on a WP style pole line pole which also held the milepost signs. Millage on track #1 was calculated via the WP route to San Francisco via the more northerly route over the Sierra-Nevada mountains.

My camera was working hard to record anything in the ever decreasing light. Here we see a short section of CTC installed to reach some sort of mining quarry back beyond I-80.

Limited pole line replacement is in evidence here at CLURO where a siding has also been taken out of service.

The light level got so low that soon my camera stopped picking up colors. :-\ Here we see the WP line (track 1) crossing over the SP line (track 2).

Last photo of the evening at about MP 636 (WP). Those two bright red squares are quarter mile posts lit up from the twin red lights on the back of my train which should give you an indication of just how dark it had gotten out. 

Anyway, it is time for me to head back to my sleeping compartment. Next time when I wake up and have some breakfast we can start again in the Utah desert, which is basically the same as the Nevada desert except you can't gamble, drink alcohol or coffee and all the prostitutes have become extra wives.

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