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3/7/2002



Rail News: Rail Industry Trends

U.S. Class Is bunch trackwork into 2002 maintenance blitzes


Whether they refer to them as maintenance "blitzes," "jamborees" or "swarms," U.S. Class Is plan during 2002 to condense weeks worth of trackwork into numerous four- or five-day windows.
CSX Transportation is planning three large and two small Jamborees, under which multiple gangs install rail and ties, surface track and perform bridge work while traffic is detoured for several days.
Between March 17-21, CSXT plans to shutdown its Montgomery, Ala.-to-New Orleans mainline to install 60,000 ties, surface 50 track miles and renovate numerous bridges; May 26-29, curfew its Vincennes-to-Evansville, Ind., mainline to install 62,000 ties and surface 55 track miles; and Aug. 15-18, shutdown its Trent-to-Deshler, Ohio, mainline to install 70,000 ties and surface 62 track miles.
On a slightly smaller scale, CSXT plans to install 42,412 ties and surface 59.3 track miles on its Fitzgerald Subdivision April 1-5, and install 67,842 ties and surface six track miles on its Henderson Subdivision June 2-5.
Meanwhile, fellow eastern Class I Norfolk Southern Railway plans during the July 4th holiday week to conduct an annual "mini-blitz," under which several gangs will install 2.32 miles of curved rail and surface 35 track miles on a Western Pennsylvania coal-field line.
In the West, Union Pacific Railroad plans this year to conduct four maintenance swarms, under which several gangs install ties and rail, and surface track during nine-hour windows.
The railroad by late March expects to finish a swarm on its Sunset Route in Arizona, to be followed by swarms on its Cherokee Subdivision in Oklahoma, May-July; Powder River Subdivision in Wyoming, June; and Toyah Subdivision in West Texas, July-Oct.
Burlington Northern Santa Fe, too, has "blitzing" in mind. The Class I plans between Jan. 7 and Aug. 20 to conduct various 24x4 tie-gang maintenance blitzes on its Gulf, Southwest, Texas, Springfield, Nebraska, Twin Cities, Montana and Chicago Divisions.
During the 24x4 blitzes, BNSF places out of service a stretch of track for four days to enable gangs to install ties.
While that work is being done, other crews install rail relays, weld track, replace turnouts or upgrade highway crossings to take advantage of the traffic curfews. BNSF plans to install about 523,000 wood ties during the blitzes.
Jeff Stagl


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