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February 1983 - Page 12


for the same period and for the six months ending in September they were lower than any prevIOus six-month period in a decade. The first 4-crew cab modification is being applied to G P 3 5 76 1 , calling for removal of the water cooler stand and its reinstallation in a housing outside the cab. This will permit an additional crew seat in the cab. The cabinet modificati o n projects from the rear left of the cab onto the walkway and extends to the roof line. The access doors are where the wall was, allowing full use from the cab. Once approved by the UTU, similar modifications will be applied to other units used in 4-crew assignments where no caboose is to be used and G P 9 222 i s a tentative candidate to receive the next modification. The first special passenger movement of 1 983 operated on January 1 0, departing Council Bluffs' Fox Park with nine cars for Salt Lake City to pick up U P's Mr. Brown, A A R and Congressional representatives. Stops called for overnighting at Las Vegas, a tour of Santa Fe's Barstow facilities o n January 1 3, overnight at East Los Angeles and t he train returned on January 1 4. The 54-year-old Spanish-style depot at M organ, Utah was donated to that city o n December I . I t will be used for various city functions. 0

SOUTHERn PACIFIC
C

CHARLES M. CADWELL

o m mute service on Southern Pacific has become a topic of considerable concern as a result of a complete d isagreement between the railroad and the state of California. The state, through its transportation department Caltrans, won a long many-year court battle in late 1 982 that led to the inauguration of commuter service over S P rails between Oxnard and Los Angeles last October ( PA CIFIC NE WS, I ssue 243) . The controversy of whether or not to operate the train, and its operating cost, h owever, has not subsided and even includes a short session in which the railroad refused to run the trains. Service began October 1 8, a M onday, using equipment leased by the state from Amtrak in the form of General Electric P30CH units and Amfleet coaches. Amtrak services t he equipment at its former Santa Fe facility at Redondo Junction. The big U-boats and Amfleet coaches were rather hurriedly replaced by Southern Pacific passenger equipped G P9's and double-deck commuter coaches from the San Francisco-San Jose commute pool, i ncluding the cars painted in the Caltrain colors but not the equally colorful geep. Four Chicago Transit Authority double-deck commute cars were also leased by the state and brought west on Amtrak, but as these cars require head-end power for heating, and as no Southern Pacific locomotives are equipped to provide this electric power, they remain out of service along with the banned-from-commuter work General Electric locomotives that are fitted with H EP. The Oxnard commute schedule calls for two trains each way every weekday. The trains run south into Los A ngeles U nion Passenger Terminal in the morning and return north every evening. Costs for operating the service have been a problem since the first train made its first run. S outhern Pacific says that t he state of California must

p ay $588,000 a month for operati o n of the controversial southern California commute run. Caltrans, on t he other hand, claims the cost o f running the four traiils s h ouid only be $70,000 each m o nth. Un fortunately, less than I SO p assengers are ridi ng the trains, dramatically s hort of what the state expected and' most feel i nsufficient for any continuation of the runs. The new state governor wants to stop the four-train commute service in July when the current inaugural funding runs out rather than continue the planned three-year project, but new statio!1 stops in February are expected to boost Iidership and strong local support does still e xist to at least give the trains a fair chance for proving their value. On February 7 and 8 the trains did not operate as a result of t he railroad's refusing to continue service without being paid. The SP says that as of that date it was owed $2.4 million by Caltrans. As the d iscontinuance was without state public utilities commission approval a federal court quickly ordered the railroad to resume running the trains and service started again February 9. The Southern Pacific, h owever, had made its point and the fate of the commute train battle is far from over but for now, at least, t he trains are operating. Southern Pacific has announced that it has developed plans to entirely rebuild the former Rock Island Railroad Armourdale Yard at Kansas City. With over $5 million in federal loans, the $ 1 2 million project will rehabilitate sixteen classification tracks, receiv),ng yard and the locomotive servicing facility. As listed in the railroad's work plan, the project includes 29,000 new ties and 6 1 ,000 tons of ballast, proving than even yard work can be a major undertaking. Revival of the Armourdale Yard, which began in mid-January, will take place in the midst of ongoing train operation there. To date the terrible California storms with an extreme abundance of wind, rain and snow have not been too disastrous on the Southern Pacific. Subsidiary Northwestern Pacific, in the California redwoods, has been in and out of service north of Willits but maj o r long term blockages have not taken place. I t m ight be noted, though, that traffic on this railroad , which is almost totally dependent on the depressed lu mber industry, is at a severe low and operational costs are excessive; but the occasional abandonment or sale rumor is just that, a rumor. The steep climb over D o nner Pass has not been without its own problems related to a maj o r accumulated snowpack, but flangers, rotary p lows and constant work have kept the line open for all but short periods of time throughout the winter. Remem ber those stored rather new S D40T-2 units being kept at Eugene, Oregon? Well, lumber business in the Pacific Northwest has made a dramatic improval recently and t he ten S D's are back at work along with many other sisters (rom elsewhere around the system. A significant number of lumber m ills that were closed have been reopened and as a result considerably more tonnage is moving on the railroad. (Lee Temple) For the San Francisco-San Jose commute service Caltrans has rejected its recent bids for the acquisition of 48 new cars. The state had expected bids of about $650,000 per car, but the bids submitted averaged about $ 1 . 2 million per car, probably because of a 50-year life specification as part of the requirements. Caltrans now plans to rephrase the bid d o cument and request new bids. Meanwhile in San Francisco, one problem after another crops forward to block extension of train service from the current Fourth Street statio n to the waterfront for several of the daily runs. The proposal is now way behind schedule and remains blocked as of this writing. 0

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