Moffat Tunnel

Discussion in 'Amtrak Rail Discussion' started by denmarks, Jan 13, 2017.

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  1. Jan 13, 2017 #1

    denmarks

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    I am trying to place the Moffat Tunnel into the California Zephyr timetable. This is what I have so far. The distance between Fraser-Winter Park and Denver is 22 miles. The distance from Fraser-Winter park to the tunnel is about 8-10 miles. The tunnel is about 6 miles long. That seem to make it only about 10 miles from Denver. I would like more accurate info. Based on distance and time the train goes very slow.

    CITY TIME MILE

    Train 5

    Denver 8:05 AM 1038

    Moffat Tunnel ? ?

    Fraser-Winter Park 10:07 AM 1100

    Train 6

    Fraser-Winter Park 3:50 PM 1100

    Moffat Tunnel ? ?

    Denver 6:38 PM 1038
     
  2. Jan 13, 2017 #2

    the_traveler

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    Whatever siding I'm sitting on!
    It goes slow, because it is climbing the Front Range right out of Denver, gaining more than 2,000-3 000 feet. Plus, there are numerous curves and tunnels before the Moffat Tunnel and the crossing of the Continental Divide.
     
  3. Jan 13, 2017 #3

    brianpmcdonnell17

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    Denver-Fraser/Winter Park is 62 miles, not 22. So if the tunnel is 8-10 miles from Fraser/Winter Park and is 6 miles long, that would place it 46-48 miles from Denver. Considering a westbound travel time of 122 minutes, that would give an average speed of about 30.5 MPH which is not bad considering an elevation gain of around 4,000 feet.
     
  4. Jan 13, 2017 #4

    PerRock

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    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 13, 2017
  5. Jan 13, 2017 #5

    denmarks

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    You are correct. My brain was in time mode rather than miles.
     
  6. Jan 13, 2017 #6

    denmarks

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    Here is an update. Any comments?

    CITY TIME MILE

    Train 5

    Denver 8:05 AM 1038

    Moffat Tunnel (East) 9:42 AM 1086 estimate

    Moffat Tunnel (West) 9:52 AM 1092 estimate

    Fraser-Winter Park 10:07 AM 1100

    Train 6

    Fraser-Winter Park 3:50 PM 1100

    Moffat Tunnel (West) 4:05 PM 1092 estimate

    Moffat Tunnel (East) 4:15 PM 1086 estimate

    Denver 6:38 PM 1038
     
  7. Jan 13, 2017 #7

    chakk

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    That is pretty close to the expected time for arrival and transit thru the tunnel -- assuming the CZs are on time and there is no conflicting freight traffic.

    I believe the UP railroad's operating rules require about 10 minutes of exhaust ventilation time between .

    different trains entering the tunnel.

    Also, there are doors at the portals to the tunnel, which are kept closed when no trains are around. The exit door opens as a train already inside the tunnel nears the exit. Riding on the CZ inside the tunnel,you may notice your ears "pop" when the exit door opens and the atmospheric pressure inside the tunnel is relieved.
     
  8. Jan 14, 2017 #8

    WoodyinNYC

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    I'd say you need to consider comment #4 above, where Per Rock says the Winter Park stop is 250 feet beyond the west portal. You assume that takes 8 minutes. You can't both be right about that.

    Search for an earlier thread about the return of this special train. iirc one or more commenters emphasized that the Winter Park stop used for this train is NOT the same as the Fraser-Winter Park stop. That station requires a shuttle bus to get to the Winter Park resort.
     
  9. Jan 14, 2017 #9

    KmH

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    The last time I was on the CZ (October) we had to stop just below the Big 10 Curve so a descending freight train could use the Big 10 first.

    We were stopped for about 30 minutes.

    The Fraser/Winter Park stop is some 10 minutes or so after/before the Moffat Tunnel west portal entrance.

    So basically from Denver Union Station to the east portal of the Moffat Tunnel is about 1.5 hours if there are no stops on sidings for other train traffic.

    Going up or coming down the CZ only goes about 30 mph between the Big Ten and the Moffat tunnel according to the GPS recordings I made on my last CZ trip.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 14, 2017
  10. Jan 14, 2017 #10

    PerRock

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    Correct. There are two separate stations, the CZ only stops at Fraser, the Winter Park Express only stops at Winter Park.

    But using the WPE schedule you should be able to work out the schedule for the CZ.

    Peter
     
  11. Jan 15, 2017 #11

    railiner

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    This thread sparks fond memories of riding the Ski Train in the seventies, when members of my group would always conduct a "Tunnel Pool", for a buck....the closest guess to the actual elapsed time transiting the Moffat would win the jackpot.... :)
     
  12. Jan 15, 2017 #12

    chakk

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    Speed limit in the tunnel is 40 mph. The CZ will usually transit the tunnel near full speed of 90 seconds per mile. The ski train will be slower in the western half of the tunnel due to the station stop just west pf the west portal.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 15, 2017
  13. Jan 16, 2017 #13

    niemi24s

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    One of the most interesting aspects of most railroad tunnels (to me at least) is the route prior to the construction of the tunnel. Like the Cascade tunnel, I find the original route quite interesting and this pieced-together old topographic map does a good job of showing it:

    Original Route & Moffat Tunnelc.jpg

    Some of this route is still visible on Google Earth.
     
  14. Jan 16, 2017 #14

    KmH

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    Is this heaven? No. It's Iowa.
  15. Jan 16, 2017 #15

    WoodyinNYC

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    So that was the scenic route! Very nice map, thanks.

    If I were the Pharaoh, the next time the seven hard years roll around, I'd hire the unemployed and hungry to rebuild the route. Not quite as fruitless as digging holes to fill up again, or sweeping the leaves into piles to blow in the wind, but same principle: the 'job' is worth doing because it gives a paycheck to the desperate many who can't find anything in the private sector.

    Only in this case, the job would also be worth doing to have a second route for use by passenger trains heavily used by tourists taking the view. It would get the two daily (one round-trip) California Zephyr consists off the freight route and out of the tunnel, greatly pleasing the Class I freight host. That could be a bargaining chip to get a slot for another Amtrak frequency, perhaps a corridor/tourist train Denver-Fraser/Winter Park-Glenwood Springs-Grand Junction.

    Just a day dream on a sunny winter's afternoon.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 16, 2017
  16. Jan 16, 2017 #16

    trainman74

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  17. Jan 17, 2017 #17

    chakk

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    Much of the old route over Rollins Pass hung on as a dirt road accessible to autos. But many years ago, a tunnel on the route collapsed and the thru route had been severed ever since.
     
  18. Jan 17, 2017 #18

    niemi24s

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    The route prior to the first Cascade tunnel is highlighted green below and is equally (if not more) interesting:

    WASkykomish1905,05Snapf.jpg

    Thank goodness those old topo maps are made available on the USGS website. A good portion of it is visible on Google Earth.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 17, 2017
  19. Jan 17, 2017 #19

    RPC

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    "...I'd hire the unemployed and hungry to rebuild the route." I dunno - in the summer it would take four hours to go between the points that became the tunnel portals and in winter trying to keep the route clear made Donner Pass look like shoveling your driveway...in Florida. There's a very good reason the tunnel was built. That said, I do wish they could "uncollapse" the tunnel, re-opening the Rollins Pass route to four-wheel-drive vehicles and mountain bikes.
     
  20. Jan 17, 2017 #20

    WoodyinNYC

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    Wow! Hairpin turns at either end.
     
  21. Jan 17, 2017 #21

    JoeBas

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    Those were actually switchbacks.

    \

    \

    \

    -------- <--reverses direction

    /

    /

    /
     
  22. Jan 17, 2017 #22

    looshi

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    Switchbacks, actually. The tunnel saved a lot of operational cost and time.
     
  23. Jan 17, 2017 #23

    Karl1459

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    I have to say, if you were spend cubic billions of dollars, that rebuilding (in standard gauge) the old South Park route Denver-Leadville and the Colorado Midland Leadville to Grand Junction would be more scenic and spectacular.

    Realistically lets hope for some improvements to advance to a functional national passenger rail system (the usual suspects... SEA+PDX - SLC - LAX, Chicago - Miami, daily Cardinal and Sunset, a chicken in every pot, and early retirement for all)
     
  24. Jan 18, 2017 #24

    ehbowen

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    As long as we're daydreaming, how about...?
    Restored through narrow-gauge service from Alamosa to Durango, and connecting service along the old Rio Grande Southern from Durango to Ridgway? (Oh, yes...the Chili Line as well!)

    Reopening the Pacific Extension of the old Milwaukee Road...complete with electrification all the way from Harlowton to Tacoma?

    Rail service all the way to the east, north, and west entrances of Yellowstone Park?

    Restoring the Rock Island as a true transcontinental...it gets the old El Paso & Southwestern from Tucumcari/Santa Rosa through Douglas and Tucson to Phoenix while Southern Pacific keeps the present line through Deming, Benson and Maricopa? (West of Phoenix Rock Island gets trackage rights on SP via Yuma and on Santa Fe via Wickenburg and Cadiz.)

    Passenger service to and across the Strait of Mackinac from Lower Michigan to Sault Ste. Marie?

    I think that's enough for this morning....
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 18, 2017
  25. Jan 18, 2017 #25

    chakk

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    I believe Amtrak does market some connecting bus service between Grand Rapids and across the Straits to St. ignace.
     

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