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Tower26

The BNSF Northwest Houston/Ft. Worth corridor should be doubletracked

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This thought came to me as I was studying the ATSF in North Texas on the net and living by a segment of the BNSF line in Houston. I began to see what benefits it may have as it was once a main for the BN and a second main for the now BNSF. Pierce yard/Junction where BNSF's exBN North Intermodal Hub once stood is many staging tracks east/west . West of Pierce yard toward the BNSF/UP Hardy diamond , it is possible that the line can be doubled west for intermodal traffic once again .  Houston is also growing freightwise. It also possible that it may see superliner passenger traffic which would be better than taking a bus to Longview to catch a train going north or northeast . Learning about the Tower55 project in Ft. Worth , it may have an impact on the line . I wouldn't rule it out . The line runs  200 miles north of Houston via Teague/Waxahachie to the immediate south of Dallas splits northwest to Tower55 and Alliance Yard in Ft. Worth . It is a huge portion of trackage what is called the BNSF Gulf Division . I understand how important HSR is . I see this as a idea to increase freight traffic between Houston and DFW which would help with retail, jobs and congestion on the tracks in and out of the city to the northwest.

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I would think that with the Panama Canal expansion and what ii is expected to bring to the Houston area, we'd see freight rail improvements coming up soon.

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Completely agree, Tower26. With the merger between the two companies, I had wondered to myself when or if BNSF would double track this extremely important line into Houston. I believe the line does have a bit of double trackage on parts of it, lessening at least some of the costs incurred by such a project. I know there is a double line in existence coming out of the Teague yard, and may go as far south as Donie. Another double commences near Jewitt, then I guess the next would be near the yard near Magnolia.

Tower, how would the wye and diamond, with the Mo-Pac line at Hardy, be reconfigured in a double track? Would it result in having to be on either one line or the other to make the transition from BNSF to UP, or vise versa? Would both tracks even have a wye, or would the train be forced to shift to the parallel track, with only one line spurring off?

I ask because the UP main is double tracked, and would make for a potential double wye, with both tracks involved, that I've never seen before in my railfanning. Is this even feasible considering that the 2nd wye would be forced to cross its own parallel track? Of course, just doubling it produces a quadruple diamond, and that alone stands as pretty spectacular to me.

Edit: Substituted UP for MP. Just can't get that Missouri Pacific out of my head for the Hardy line, lol.

Edited by Purpledevil

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The diamond 1 to 4 interlocked segments if doubletracked would have the option of 1 to 4 spurs for interchange or trackage rights. A wye is a 3 way directional known as a triangle used to turn trains or locomotives around in similarity to turntable or to alter a train's route it is composed of 3 turnouts LH/RH/WYE switches . Some quadruple diamonds have single or double crossovers to negotiate routes just before a train or trains approach the diamond or quadruple diamond . It is possible that spurs can be added depending on whichever company or companies is in agreement in allowing interchange activity or trackage rights, as a matter of fact there are two active spurs at this junction and there is a remnant of a third with a fixed penant and is overgrown with shrubs or  completely removed altogether or reopened . 

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I'm going to show my ignorance on trains in general, but how can I look at the greater Houston area's freight track-age and understand the flow? I can look at a map of roads and understand the flow of cars. 

 

Is there a quick read that can bring me up to speed?

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One quick read is the Txdot Rail section on the Txdot website . Look up Houston Rail Subdivisions .

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I would think that with the Panama Canal expansion and what ii is expected to bring to the Houston area, we'd see freight rail improvements coming up soon.

 

Not only that, but I understand that on the existing network there are increasing rail freight delays that are beginning to have knock-on effects on other industries in Texas.  People tend to forget about rail, but it is critical for a lot of sectors.  Like Tower26 says investment in the rail network helps with retail and jobs.  It defeats the purpose of some of the investment in expanding port capacity if the rail network is insufficient to support it.  

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