Monday, July 9, 2012

Tunnel 18 In Newcastle

Union Pacific finished their tunnel enlargement program in November of 2009 (above) -- in order to accommodate double-stack or container traffic (as shown below) over Donner Pass. I summarized UP's new container traffic capabilities over the Roseville Subdivision here.

I created this post to illustrate one way that UP had altered tunnels so that the extended heights of double-stack well cars could be accommodated. Those photos in that post included:

Those photographs were, oddly enough, of the western portal to Tunnel 18 (excellent historical reference to Tunnel 18 here, from Tunnel 18, finished in 1909 -- the year of its construction is engraved in granite atop each portal entrance -- is at UP's milepost 119 and is 991 feet long, double-tracked. Its west and east portals and "wing-walls" are constructed from granite blocks hewn out of the rock through which the Central Pacific had to blast in the 1860s, high in the Sierra Nevada mountains.

Tunnel 18 was holed in 1909 as part of Southern Pacific's double-tracking program at the time. The original line -- built by the primarily Chinese workforce of the Central Pacific Railroad -- contained only one roadbed. The second line was laid in order to lessen the severity of grade for newer (also heavier and longer) trains and engines, but it necessitated the creation of more tunnels (as well as more cuts and fills) to enable that purpose -- hence, Tunnel 18. Probably the finest overall reference material for Donner Pass is John Signor's book "Donner Pass: Southern Pacific's Sierra Crossing," published by Golden West Books.

Below, you can see my video reference for Tunnel 18:

This video is a "first" for many reasons. It represents my first attempt at video editing, as limited as it may be by the software. It represents my having to become much more familiar with YouTube and how it is handled and massaged. And it represents an attempt to make this blog a bit more professional.

Since the assembly of the video, I've shot a number of additional videos for editing, awaiting insertion into my YouTube channel.

My sincerest apologies for not having created a post here for two months but work is, after all, work, and frequently gets in the way of what I'd certainly prefer to be doing.

Take care and be safe. More videos coming.


If you have any comments or reactions to the video, please respond.


Well Seasoned Fool said...

Clearly, they got the expansion right as shown by the last train.

That first train had a lot of engines. Were some deadheads (shut down) do you think?

Know very little about video. Perhaps a wee bit slower on the panning?

Interesting to watch.

Given the coating on the rails, there must be an oiler near by (if that is what they call it).

Bloviating Zeppelin said...

WSF: yes indeed.

And yes, two were dead. Downhill.

I could pan slower but then I could have, that day, simply fallen on my back like a turtle and died. It was friggin' 105-degrees that day.

You can see the flange oiler pad and box as I panned in one shot towards the west portal.


Bloviating Zeppelin said...

Got a nice video of an Amtrak California Zephyr meet at Switch 9 coming up.

One east, one west.

Phenomenally rare.