California Zephyr Denver stop

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LookingGlassTie

OBS Chief
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Nov 9, 2016
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521
Hey guys,

Out of curiosity, I was looking at the California Zephyr route map on the Amtrak site. I noticed that the route coming into DEN is like a "point" or a "V" shape as opposed to passing through Union Station. What I mean is that when the Zephyr comes in either from CHI or from EMY, it "terminates" in Denver, and then has to go in the opposite direction (sort of) to continue on its way.

If that is indeed the case, where in the vicinity of the station are the locomotives moved to the other end of the consist?

Maybe I need some clarification on that?
 

greatcats

Conductor
Joined
Feb 27, 2006
Messages
2,385
The train backs into the station in Denver and the locomotives stay on the same end.l
 

niemi24s

Conductor
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Feb 11, 2015
Messages
2,243
I don't think the locomotives are put on the other end of the consist. The train is simply turned around on a wye and then backed into the station. Google Earth shows the trackwork. YouTube has some videos too.
 

FrensicPic

Conductor
Joined
Jan 15, 2012
Messages
2,999
Tampa, FL has the same set up.

Any other stops in the Amtrak system like this?
Not quite the same but, the Texas Eagle #22 has to do a rather lengthy reverse move south out of the station to a junction and then proceed forward to Chicago on another line.
 

SubwayNut

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Nov 17, 2011
Messages
1,406
The City of New Orleans needs to back in and out at both Chicago Union Station and into New Orleans (I don't know if it needs to do a back up move when it's leaving).
 

Hotblack Desiato

Service Attendant
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Jan 16, 2012
Messages
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The City of New Orleans needs to back in and out at both Chicago Union Station and into New Orleans (I don't know if it needs to do a back up move when it's leaving).
The City of New Orleans and the Carbondale trains all have to back into/out of CUS due to lack of a forward connection to the St. Charles Air Line.
 

LookingGlassTie

OBS Chief
Joined
Nov 9, 2016
Messages
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I had looked at the Google Maps satellite view a while back and I was trying to figure out the track configurations at DEN. At first, I thought that the tracks went into a tunnel just southwest of the station but it would appear that they just "terminate" there.

The "wye" arrangement makes sense, though.
 

DennisInGeorgia

Train Attendant
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Oct 28, 2008
Messages
79
Most often the CONO will back into CUS but last time it was late enough that it pulled in head end first. Sleepers were on the rear so that was a lonnnnng walk.

Sent from my iPhone using Amtrak Forum
 

Hotblack Desiato

Service Attendant
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Jan 16, 2012
Messages
186
Most often the CONO will back into CUS but last time it was late enough that it pulled in head end first. Sleepers were on the rear so that was a lonnnnng walk.

Sent from my iPhone using Amtrak Forum
I suppose it's possible for them to do that by doing basically a three-point turn on arrival. If they pull in past the Halsted stop on the BNSF Metra Line, then reverse onto NS, then they could pull forward into CUS. This would avoid the need to wye the train if it's turning back for the southbound City (saving time needed for servicing).

It has been so long that I've lost track of equipment rotations, though. Does the CoNO still share equipment with the Texas Eagle? I recall that being an on-again, off-again rotation, but don't know where it stands at the moment.
 

zephyr17

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Jul 22, 2009
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4,032
The CZ has always had to be wyed at Denver even the pre-1970 CB&Q/D&RGW/WP incarnation to get from the Burlington to the Rio Grande. Denver Union Station was designed as a through station with a north/south orientation. However, the mainline was relocated to the west sometime in the 80s (I think) and so the unused (since Amtrak's inception) rail connection to the south was cut.
 

Palmland

OBS Chief
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May 25, 2006
Messages
838
The CZ has always had to be wyed at Denver even the pre-1970 CB&Q/D&RGW/WP incarnation to get from the Burlington to the Rio Grande. Denver Union Station was designed as a through station with a north/south orientation. However, the mainline was relocated to the west sometime in the 80s (I think) and so the unused (since Amtrak's inception) rail connection to the south was cut.
And what a mistake it was. Nothing wrong with the current back up move of the CZ. But, someday they will want to provide rail service south of Denver along the front range. It could still be done but much longer than a straight head on connecition that was there in the past. So short sighted.
 

LookingGlassTie

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Nov 9, 2016
Messages
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The CZ has always had to be wyed at Denver even the pre-1970 CB&Q/D&RGW/WP incarnation to get from the Burlington to the Rio Grande. Denver Union Station was designed as a through station with a north/south orientation. However, the mainline was relocated to the west sometime in the 80s (I think) and so the unused (since Amtrak's inception) rail connection to the south was cut.
Ohhhh ok that makes sense
 

railiner

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Mar 20, 2009
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The SFZ also had to reverse directions at Denver in its day, to get from the BN to the UP or vice versa...however, when it went all the way into the Cheyenne station, since it would have to reverse directions again, they just pulled the train backwards for the hundred miles between Denver and Cheyenne, and ran the engines around the train at Cheyenne (at Denver they changed engines). When the SFZ later bypassed Cheyenne, and moved the stop to Borie, they did not have to reverse directions there.

The same situation at 30th Street Station, Philadelphia, for thru trains between NYP and Harrisburg and beyond...
 

zephyr17

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Jul 22, 2009
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The SFZ also had to reverse directions at Denver in its day, to get from the BN to the UP or vice versa...however, when it went all the way into the Cheyenne station, since it would have to reverse directions again, they just pulled the train backwards for the hundred miles between Denver and Cheyenne, and ran the engines around the train at Cheyenne (at Denver they changed engines). When the SFZ later bypassed Cheyenne, and moved the stop to Borie, they did not have to reverse directions there.

The same situation at 30th Street Station, Philadelphia, for thru trains between NYP and Harrisburg and beyond...
Which is why Pennsy's Broadway Limited did not stop there. It stopped in North Philly, and headed directly towards Harrisburg at Zoo Interlocking.
 

railiner

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Mar 20, 2009
Messages
7,971
The SFZ also had to reverse directions at Denver in its day, to get from the BN to the UP or vice versa...however, when it went all the way into the Cheyenne station, since it would have to reverse directions again, they just pulled the train backwards for the hundred miles between Denver and Cheyenne, and ran the engines around the train at Cheyenne (at Denver they changed engines). When the SFZ later bypassed Cheyenne, and moved the stop to Borie, they did not have to reverse directions there.

The same situation at 30th Street Station, Philadelphia, for thru trains between NYP and Harrisburg and beyond...
Which is why Pennsy's Broadway Limited did not stop there. It stopped in North Philly, and headed directly towards Harrisburg at Zoo Interlocking.
Besides The Broadway, most of the other New York to Pittsburgh and beyond trains also bypassed 30th Street. The notable exception, was the last thru train of the day, The Pennsylvania Limited. It was pulled backwards between New York and Philly....
 

Palmland

OBS Chief
Joined
May 25, 2006
Messages
838
The SFZ also had to reverse directions at Denver in its day, to get from the BN to the UP or vice versa...however, when it went all the way into the Cheyenne station, since it would have to reverse directions again, they just pulled the train backwards for the hundred miles between Denver and Cheyenne, and ran the engines around the train at Cheyenne (at Denver they changed engines). When the SFZ later bypassed Cheyenne, and moved the stop to Borie, they did not have to reverse directions there.

The same situation at 30th Street Station, Philadelphia, for thru trains between NYP and Harrisburg and beyond...
Which is why Pennsy's Broadway Limited did not stop there. It stopped in North Philly, and headed directly towards Harrisburg at Zoo Interlocking.
Besides The Broadway, most of the other New York to Pittsburgh and beyond trains also bypassed 30th Street. The notable exception, was the last thru train of the day, The Pennsylvania Limited. It was pulled backwards between New York and Philly....
Interesting and prompted me to look at some old timetables. Back in the glory days (50's) the Pennsylvania Ltd was in the middle of the mid-evening fleet west. But towards the end, according to a 1966 OGR, it was the last train out. It appears the reason it went into 30th St was to pick up two sleepers for Pittsburgh from Phila. Earlier these had gone on all Pullman (sleeper) Pittsburgher and the Penn. Ltd was just another of many trains that skipped 30 st. In fact I recall seeing part of the endless PRR trains west at N. Phila. after arriving on a baseball special and also saw a PRSL train behind a K-4.
 
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railiner

Conductor
Joined
Mar 20, 2009
Messages
7,971
The SFZ also had to reverse directions at Denver in its day, to get from the BN to the UP or vice versa...however, when it went all the way into the Cheyenne station, since it would have to reverse directions again, they just pulled the train backwards for the hundred miles between Denver and Cheyenne, and ran the engines around the train at Cheyenne (at Denver they changed engines). When the SFZ later bypassed Cheyenne, and moved the stop to Borie, they did not have to reverse directions there.

The same situation at 30th Street Station, Philadelphia, for thru trains between NYP and Harrisburg and beyond...
Which is why Pennsy's Broadway Limited did not stop there. It stopped in North Philly, and headed directly towards Harrisburg at Zoo Interlocking.
Besides The Broadway, most of the other New York to Pittsburgh and beyond trains also bypassed 30th Street. The notable exception, was the last thru train of the day, The Pennsylvania Limited. It was pulled backwards between New York and Philly....
Interesting and prompted me to look at some old timetables. Back in the glory days (50's) the Pennsylvania Ltd was in the middle of the mid-evening fleet west. But towards the end, according to a 1966 OGR, it was the last train out. It appears the reason it went into 30th St was to pick up two sleepers for Pittsburgh from Phila. Earlier these had gone on all Pullman (sleeper) Pittsburgher and the Penn. Ltd was just another of many trains that skipped 30 st. In fact I recall seeing part of the endless PRR trains west at N. Phila. after arriving on a baseball special and also saw a PRSL train behind a K-4.
Good find! I wasn't going back that far into PRR history...just the era shortly before Amtrak that I am most familiar with from memory. But it is incredible, that amount of service that existed in the East/West timetable from that era, especially in light of the complete absence of a thru train between New York, Pittsburgh, and Chicago or St. Louis today. And not even looking at all of the other East/Midwest trains on other roads...
 

Palmland

OBS Chief
Joined
May 25, 2006
Messages
838
Yes, Railiner, it is hard to understand why trains to the Midwest from the east almost vanished. But then, what is now the rust bucket was alive and well.

And, looking at those trains they were full of all roomette as well as single room cars. The business traveler has long since flown away.
 
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