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Amtrak Depot, Flagstaff, AZ

Amtrak Depot, Flagstaff, AZ
Prakash Tendulkar - May 20, 2006

 

IRFCA AZ chapter decided to visit Flagstaff on May 20, 2006 for "safe" rail fanning. Since Amtrak Depot building is purchased by City of Flagstaff (using "Booze and Bed taxes" according to brass plate on wall) and houses Visitor's Center, photography was permitted. 

In fact, we were surprised to see many rail fans that came from distant places simply to watch trains go by. 

Flagstaff is located approximately 250 kms north of Phoenix, AZ and home of transcontinental RR traffic. The traffic is heavy with 50 70 freight trains a day  traveling at 45 miles/h (72 kms/h), most of  them intermodal. 

Speed restriction is because of two RR Crossings after sharp curves reducing sight of vision for RR crew. 

The consist at head contains 4-5 locos with 4000 HP each but occasionally, you will see empty chemical tanker rake with just 2 locos in the consist. 

It's a double track division and both tracks are bi-directional. Platform for Amtrak trains is situated between two RR crossings. 

BNSF has an office of Divisional Engineer located few feet east of Amtrak Depot and has restored Southwest 2-8-0 on display. City bought this loco when lumber mill closed. 

When we reached (almost) Amtrak Depot, we were greeted by eastbound freight train and were held up at RR crossing. 

Next two westbound trains passed in quick succession in 15 minutes. After almost 30 minutes of lull, eastbound train announced her arrival with blasts of horns from the other side of hill giving us plenty of time to be prepared for photo session. 

Soon after we returned from lunch, two trains traveling in opposite directions at the same time greeted us. This scenario repeated 7 minutes later, too. 

After lull of 30 minutes, westbound train showed up. To our surprise, it was on "wrong" track. No, the tracks are bi-directional. 

30 minutes later, two westbound trains appeared within couple of minutes, each occupying separate track. 

As we headed home, we saw new alignment by BNSF being prepared to permit road over-bridge to be built couple of miles east of Amtrak Depot. 

As I-40 passes over RR tracks, we could see BNSF yard with few locos and freight trains.

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