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Thread: Video: Trona Branch - Coal to Searles plus Saltdale.

  1. #1
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    Default Video: Trona Branch - Coal to Searles plus Saltdale.

    James provided a link to a guy exploring Saltdale, or what's left of it, and it got me thinking as to how the railroad (SP?) would have serviced it back in the day....say, a year or two before Saltdale ceased operations (1975).

    There is just the very short spur, projecting towards the south off the mainline, so I thought that the logical way to drop-off and pick-up the few hoppers would be with a train heading to Searles - it couldn't be done using a service returning to Mojave unless the hoppers were coupled ahead of the locos.

    I also considered that perhaps a loco sited at Searles would run down to Saltdale to pick them up and take them back to Searles, but then I figured that would be a waste of fuel, energy and time and I couldn't imagine the railroad wanting to waste anything, let alone money!

    So I put together a little scenario where a coal train leaves Mojave for Searles (to deliver fuel for the power station at Trona) and will pick up the salt hoppers at Saltdale, drag them to Searles, drop the coal off at Searles, pick up either a load of potash or a consist of empty coal hoppers, add the laden salt cars and then return to Mojave.

    Is this how they did it?

    Here is Part 1 of the exercise.......leaving Mojave. It's short (6+ minutes) and is in hi-rez (1440).

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  2. #2

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    Goon, may be of interest the RRs can charge customer up to 250miles extra & still be considered part of local/regional travel, even if appears to be heading away from intended customer if you will. Now usually don't try to tack on an extra 250 miles, but, one the customer must agree on when signing their john hancock. Was a big to do long ago, &, 250 miles was put inplace as result. Now, interchange is another story, for which the RR has to be very careful of what gets charged customer, too many ICs taking place within routing, RRs forced to eat excessive costs. RRs to help customers to some degree with costs, find cars being placed out of the way so to speak, sidings etc. esp., if no holding yd somewhat close at hand, &, along corridors. Movement by rail not cheap, &, often users are 1/2 time customers, before moving by other means. The ones that get a larger break are often able to own/lease fleets etc. making rail travel more profitable.

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by SMRY View Post
    Goon, may be of interest the RRs can charge customer up to 250miles extra .....etc
    Not quite sure what your point is.

    Are you saying that this is the method they would have used or that they would have run a loco down from Searles or maybe out from Mojave just to pick up the salt cars?
    Which would be the most likely method?
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  4. #4
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    I don't know the area but what I'm seeing is whatever the cost is simply gets passed onto the customer. So whatever gets the job done the customer would pay the premium being much more economical than anything else. I think things changed as more trucks and the interstate system allowed competition. Which is why you see some lines such as around Edison and the spurs down Magunden area no longer requiring service. But there was a time where they were the only economical way.

    Today the railroad focuses on exports of bulk commodities to China etc. along with IM transport and even cross country transport to bypass using the Panama Canal. Lumber from Canada heads down south, paper products etc. General goods tend to be around for transload facilities.

    Light power moves are not unheard of to run from a place such as Mojave just to pick-up. The light power uses far less power and can operate track speed pretty much the entire way not having to worry about losing speed in the grades. I'd imagine they would certainly try and capitalize by bringing cars in from Mojave as well possibly extras for interchange etc.

    Thanks

    Sean

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by SurvivorSean View Post
    .....whatever the cost is simply gets passed onto the customer. So whatever gets the job done the customer would pay the premium being much more economical than anything else. I think things changed as more trucks and the interstate system allowed competition......
    Thanks for your input, Sean, but it still doesn't satisfactorily provide an answer to what would they have done 50 years ago?

    When Southern Pacific (as it was in 1974...I should have used SP locos ) was in operation to not only Trona but also out to Owenyo, how would they have handled pick-ups and drop-offs at Saltdale?
    I have searched the internet for any SP info relating to Saltdale....and also for any of the operators of the salt harvesting....but without success.

    I s'pose we'll never know exactly how SP did it.

    EDIT:
    I found this fascinating reference site when searching.
    https://www.abandonedrails.com/
    Last edited by seagoon; 01-27-2021 at 02:25 AM.
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  6. #6

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    In this case / setting a local team be assembled from MJ to service the Airport area, along with all the little spots til reaching Searles, make their turn & return. The yrs your modeling Trona saw dedicated service of its own. Often the movements were seen by the RR as unit trns, which as a rule were known as point ABBA. MJ/Searles/Searles/MJ is an all day affair. The product coming out of Trona itself very heavy & in large quantities, their movements too saw dedicated service. Once those heavy cars got underway from Searles & the amount of movement dedicated crews not about to stop for PickUps/SetOuts til reaching MJ. That was the smaller trns duties to service other customers. move overflow, also to grab badorders, should the unit trn been forced to make an emergency setout. Even then if the emergency car could be dragged to Searles the unit trn would often do so. Then another determination at Searles IC would be preformed. If TRC felt could safely drag car with them to Trona, they would do so, for they maintained cars. If too bad a go team would fix in the field. If felt was not safe to move further, TRC would kickback/refuse car, UP would be responsible for repairs. All this would be determined at IC, for its costly & no RR wants to be stuck with the bill. Most of the time though, with TRC/UP maintaining tite business relationship many many years, BadOrders were shared & TRC often preformed those repair duties for both parties. Another neat note, way back when, used to be a loop at Searles that bypassed todays tunnel just southeast of Searles Yd. believe R8 modeled just a snipit of that feature. The tunnel is a newer feature, At Searles was the wye, & traffic had to both climb/descend portion of Red Mt. believe was known.
    Last edited by SMRY; 01-27-2021 at 07:58 AM.

  7. #7

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    last message quit on me. also at Searles UP/SP used to continue north/Northwest from Searles to Lone Pine. Trying to recall the big commodity that moved from that area, seems charcoal jogs the O'l mem banks. May be another nice feature to semi-model if indeed trying to maintain/model history. Course if trying to rivet count, then the entire operation for UP/TRC is mute as the old mainline is no more leaving Searls, The tunnel is the only way in/out these days., R8s included tunnel models a later time frame. Myself, model all the time frames mixed together. only way to keep R8 alive.
    Last edited by SMRY; 01-27-2021 at 08:36 AM.

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