September 3, 2019
UINTA BASIN RAILWAY PROJECT
To Whom it May Concern:
Rather than a purpose-built 80-mile line having limited use otherwise and some likelihood of near-term obsolescence - due to depletion of the resources given as the sole purpose for construction - a more generally useful option would seem appropriate. The proposal below notably lacks the spiral tunneling and switch-backs of the Preferred Option, and has a top-of-rail summit about a thousand feet lower. While it does cross property on which pipelines are present it might be this restriction is a little overly restrictive. The proposal here envisions passenger traffic passing over an existing freight railroad (UP - for 40 miles east of Ogden) and the trackage in question - despite the mountainous terrain - appears well suited for additional tracks, or actually to have been four-tracked in places at some point. The oft-repeated-in-documentation-of-this-sort assertion about forty-foot-high reinforced concrete walls running the length of mixed-use trackage seems excessively restrictive also - as mixed use has been the norm traditionally, when there was significant risk of explosions not present now, and passenger trains can be reinforced at the ends as a precaution against a cornfield meet or descending runaway freight trains. Naturally: normal, legally required precautions as to maintenance of rolling stock and tracks should apply for mixed use, and railroads are responsible for the condition of their properties. U.P. is well known for the high standard of condition of their roads, though perhaps a bit NIMBY-ish with regard to passenger trains.
The hope with a private, state or federally sponsored passenger service, would be to make the carrier an offer so desirable they cannot refuse - as far as upgrades necessary for a viable passenger service go - however that has never to my knowledge been tried.
TO DUCHESNE, ROOSEVELT AND VERNAL
by way of the
PROVO RIVER VALLEY
COBBLE CREEK PASS,
A 3.95-MILE TUNNEL
PINE VALLEY ROUTE
(suggest a name-correction if anyone knows better)
The proposed mixed-use alignment consists of three segments starting with the initial leg out of Ogden over tracks of the Union Pacific - 39 miles - with proposed stations at Riverdale, Uintah, Mountain Green, Morgan and Henefer. The proposed alignment then exits the UP Main Line near the big curve at Echo, beginning its second leg - 12.8 miles - passing over a believed-serviceable grade-separated connection that crosses Route 80 on a curved single-track bridge. This disused 12.8-mile segment would serve proposed stops at Coalville and Wanship where the line would then diverge from the existing railroad grade to an approximately-77-mile (as fully half the curves haven't been drawn yet) proposed alignment - with stops at Rockport Station (a made-up name) Kamas, Woodland, Lookout (another made-up-name) Hanna, Tabiona Sta. (made up) and Duchesne. Two additional segments needed to reach Roosevelt and an ultimate Vernal terminal station are not included in the picture but are shown below. It is expected the Seven County Infrastructure Coalition would find easy access for their needs somewhere between the proposed stations at Duchesne and Mylon.
COBBLE CREEK TUNNEL 3.95 MILES
The tunnel is shown with a flat-plane elevation throughout of 8325'. The curves at either end (west: R=1750'; east: R=2500') are necessary to avoid cuts that would be greater than 250'. While the grade on the west is consistent and gentle throughout (the grade shown works out to about 1.5% with this being the steepest on the western tunnel approach) the eastern grade encountered on exiting the tunnel is rather more problematic. At about thirteen miles of inclined plane any attempt to develop its length has resulted in extreme heroics of difference from the terrain so as to be impossible. As it is, relatively undeveloped, there are some fancy high bridges and embankments, some of which might be considered intrusive by residents along the grade's lower reaches, west of the red marker. The original layout as conceived was manipulated with an aim towards protecting the track from falling objects, which resulted in significant shortening of it's length also. The figures shown work out to a grade of 2.148%. But the crucial factor with this segment is to come up with some way of protecting the line from rockfalls and slides consuming it from above. This issue is therefore the test of the entire line's feasibility, absent some treatment or variation of the eastern summit grade that your commenter - who lacks proper experience or expertise in these things - has not yet explored.
Duchesne does not lend itself well to building railroads through it and this is an extreme case. While a railroad built along the river a hundred years ago might still be fine today, the intrusiveness involved in building one there now would present a complete non-starter - from standpoints of both the resulting crummy physical interface with conflicts and demolitions necessary to achieve it, and the impossible contortions of railroad geometry required to make that happen. The present alignment was arrived at after CONSIDERABLE thought and experimentation, and your commenter remembers being pleased with the relative cheapness anticipated for construction of the almost-exactly-one-mile-tunnel alignment - envisioned at the time several months ago - though could not say now exactly what revelation of believed economy led to this.
Desirable conditions of convenience and physical form seem to demand two stations. The one at the top, with the marker set in the proposed parking area across the road (part of an erstwhile real estate development that fell on hard times according to one picture I located which is newer than the 2013 imagery found here.) could be made to have a pleasing entrance passing under the road, leading - perhaps with complete protection from the elements - to a number of administrative offices and a public gathering place of the town and county currently present on the location there. (good for pols with NIMBY aspirations to nip them in the bud) The other station, labelled MAIN STATION, is set on a 3250'-radius curve, which thus would be straight enough for any reasonable number of station tracks using standard-length 85' cars. I believe this station would enable for Duchesne and the surrounding area a tourist attraction of extraordinary effectiveness.
DUCHESNE-ROOSEVELT 25.7 MILES
The distance to Mylon is less -16.8 - if immediate implementation without getting to Roosevelt is determined desirable for providing access to the mining material sites required by the Seven County Infrastructure Coalition. Roosevelt is considerably more amenable to rail access than Duchesne, and the route traverses a largely tangent detour to avoid the airport while hardly adding any distance, with at-grade access to a convenient central location in Roosevelt for its station there.
ROOSEVELT-VERNAL 29.9 MILES
A final ambitious extension save some connection on the other end to Grand Junction, this segment requires a short section of below-grade separation in Roosevelt, but could coexist with the road it parallels (given a four-lane upgrade conceived with it in mind, and visa-versa) requiring very little in terms of extreme difference in grade from that of the road that would require lateral separation from it.
Bruce W. Hain Queens, N.Y.
RAIL-NYC-ACCESS.COM September 3, 2019.
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