May 14th, 2019

Trains, Wonderful Trains

Plate Train

Union Pacific is doing a rail replacement project on the Nevada Subdivision that runs in front of Fernley House. Some days ago a rail trail dropped lengths of rail alongside the tracks. We've seen piles of ballast appear as well, but that must have happened while we weren't looking. Today, a different sort of train dropped the next set of supplies.

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This train makes a lot of racket while unloading all of that metal. I took some video to give an idea of how loud.

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I assume that a train similar to this one will be through in a few days dropping bundles of ties, after which the crews that turn rails, ties, tie plates, ballast, and spikes into a railroad track will arrive.

This being a main line, it has to be relaid every few years. Typically the main line rails, if not obviously damaged, can be re-used for lighter-duty tracks. But if the rails are shot, they can of course be melted down and re-rolled, and lots of the metal pieces can similarly be recycled. Only railroad ties are a problem. They're toxic, being creosote-treated wood, and it takes specialty installations to dispose of them safely.