Sunday, August 09, 2020

Union Pacific Stack Train at Pleasanton Ridge

I was driving on I680 when I saw containers next to the freeway. Uuuuuuuh, shiny! A train!

Naturally, I had to get off the freeway and take a closer look. When I caught up with the train, it was slowly creeping to a stop for a red signal at CP FO38 at the south end of the siding from CP Hearst, just a couple miles north of Sunol.

UP 7791, an AC45CCTE, is hanging out in the sun.

There was a single mid-train helper: UP 7083, an AC44CW, mostly in the shade of lineside trees.

The train extends a couple cars beyond the turnout at CP Hearst. The siding is 4,175 ft long, which puts the train at about three quarters of a mile, or 1250 meters.

The maximum train length on most lines in Germany is 700 meters. Yes, those American trains are long ...


Hakk said...

The UP runs some eastward trains across northern Nevada with train lengths of 15,000 feet (4,572 meters)

Bernhard Beck said...

That's impressive! However, sidings and other tracks in the area are sized for trains that long. The standard main line siding length in many parts of Europe is less than 750 meters. They simply have no choice but to run shorter trains.

I think that difference is rooted in history and geography. Especially in the Western US you have 100's of miles of track through the desert or other similarly empty areas. It's worthwhile to have long trains with complex control systems like DPUs, yet can still be operated by a single engineer.
The rail network looks like a hub and spoke system, while Europe looks much more like the US North-East with a dense mesh of shorter connections.