Black Rock City railroad station?

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falk
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Black Rock City railroad station?

Post by falk » Tue May 17, 2005 8:16 pm

Here's a thought: There are railroad tracks that run right past BRC. Why not install a siding and a (seasonal) station? I think an awful lot of the stuff that arrives by truck could be more economically transported by rail. In fact, I'd bet that many of the vehicles that arrive in BRC could be ferried in on flatcars cheaper than the gas to drive them up.

Plus, I'd love to see vintage passenger cars arriving at the station.

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Re: Black Rock City railroad station?

Post by Lassen Forge » Tue May 17, 2005 8:48 pm

falk wrote:Here's a thought: There are railroad tracks that run right past BRC. Why not install a siding and a (seasonal) station? I think an awful lot of the stuff that arrives by truck could be more economically transported by rail. In fact, I'd bet that many of the vehicles that arrive in BRC could be ferried in on flatcars cheaper than the gas to drive them up.

Plus, I'd love to see vintage passenger cars arriving at the station.
That would be way doable - you need to get the OK from the BLM to use the land (with a use plan and whatnit like the LLC for BRC, since it would not be part of the BRC complex) and an OK from whoever the company (SP? Santa Fe?) who owns the rail ROW.

But this is actually do-able, might be a cool set-up,, and tho a lot of work would be almost as fun as doing, say, a post-apokilipyik camp... >grins<

You need a liason for the LLC (since we'd be within their permit zone), a liason for the county, a liason for BLM for using Blackrock playa space, and a liason for the Railroad Co. Can all be the same person but better be law and engineering and whatnot savvy.

Also you *may* need to install a temporary "spur" (thru the RR co) for servicing, but I can see this, depending on what the rail traffic thru the area is.

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Post by Badger » Tue May 17, 2005 9:58 pm

That would be way doable - you need to get the OK from the BLM to use the land (with a use plan and whatnit like the LLC for BRC, since it would not be part of the BRC complex) and an OK from whoever the company (SP? Santa Fe?) who owns the rail ROW.

But this is actually do-able, might be a cool set-up,, and tho a lot of work would be almost as fun as doing, say, a post-apokilipyik camp... >grins<
Do-able not. A great idea especially for folks looking to bring their stuff from afar but railroad right of ways is pretty much off limits. The RR companies aren''t inclined to allow any sort building on their property. Private property as I understand it.
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Post by falk » Tue May 17, 2005 10:23 pm

Well, I wouldn't suggest we add a siding to someone else's tracks without permission, but maybe we could get it? "Dear RailRoad company: if we pay for it, would you please add a siding at this location in the Black Rock desert for the purpose of moving people and cargo?"

Then there's the matter of actually hiring trains to come in.

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Post by sputnik » Wed May 18, 2005 6:21 am

I know some camps use rail shipped containers to get their stuff from places like Boston and NY. It would seem to make more sense to have this dropped locally rather than trucked from Reno or wherever. OTOH, the infrastructure is already setup somewhere else. There would have to be a fairly high committment to use this "station" for a number of years before the RR would invest in even a quarter mile of siding.
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Post by Lassen Forge » Wed May 18, 2005 8:49 am

I don't think the RR co (I think it's an SP line) would pay for the siding, but they just *may* go for it if it were done without any cost to them and to their engineering standards.

The Railway ROW *is* all private property, so you'd need them to grant you a permit to tie into their system and access their property to use it. Otherwise it's no different than a manufacturer having a rail spur to their warehouse or factory door, except the "business end" would be on Federal land.

This is *not* a project that could be done overnight, but if, say, one could get a staff to do the engineering, legal, and liason work, (and maybe get a congressman or 2 on board) and get the funding, it might be do-able in a year or 2. The hardest part is it would take considerable commitment to make it happen. Environmentally, I don;'t think it'd be a concern - after all, they're talking about putting a coal burning generating plant 8 miles away, in the same desert. (Now there's an idea - betcha the plant would have a rail spur itself... maybe that would be the tie in...)

On the other hand... in the right place it would also serve as a rail spur (speaking of spurs) for the Nevada Properties, which may end up being a boon to the LLC. Something they may wish to consider (and a helluva gift *to* Burning Man). It would also show a commitment to the area...

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Post by AntiM » Wed May 18, 2005 9:05 am

Thye UP has a spur into Gerlach alreasy. The playa's too soft for tracks. Larry thinks it was 7 cents a ton oper mile to ship goods, plus a fee.

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Post by dragonfly Jafe » Wed May 18, 2005 9:20 am

AntiM wrote: The playa's too soft for tracks.
This says it all, in my opinion. It is, after all, a lake for a good portion of each year.

Then there is the issue of creating a railroad that is used for a few weeks (and a hazard the rest of the year to other users)...

Now if you want to ship to an existing spur/siding, and truck it from there, that might be feasible.....

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Post by theCryptofishist » Wed May 18, 2005 9:46 am

'nother consideration: As those of us who've ridden much amtrak can attest, when you rent access to the railroad from a company, you are lower priority traffic. There may not be a problem for some of the freight to sit on a siding for hours, but anything time sensative--including people and theme camps--is dicey. And I sure don't know where you're going to get vintage trains. (Oh know, mutant train cars, dog help us all.) It's an appealing, romantic idea, but I don't find it practicable.
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Post by Badger » Wed May 18, 2005 2:11 pm

The Railway ROW *is* all private property, so you'd need them to grant you a permit to tie into their system and access their property to use it. Otherwise it's no different than a manufacturer having a rail spur to their warehouse or factory door, except the "business end" would be on Federal land.
Again, not to rain on anyone's parade but given the amount of very, VERY intense scrutiny the railroads are looking at by local governments re. under reporting accidents and the ensuing litgation associated with many of them you can be damn sure that any attempt to contact will be met with a resounding 'no.'

Maes me think that someone might want to spin off another thread dealing with people looking to have have larger than normal amounts of equipment taken to/from the playa for the event.
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Post by nipples » Wed May 18, 2005 2:30 pm

Thanks AntiM & all for the railroad input.

Had not thought of them for transport, but, duh, we cross the tracks coming into Gerlach.

Might be cheaper than trucking.

Oh, & Badger is PROBABLY right, that this might go well in preparation threads, etc..

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Post by falk » Wed May 18, 2005 2:54 pm

AntiM wrote:Thye UP has a spur into Gerlach alreasy. The playa's too soft for tracks. Larry thinks it was 7 cents a ton oper mile to ship goods, plus a fee.
Union Pacific tracks already run within a couple of miles of the city: sat photo

I wouldn't suggest running a spur out into the playa, but surely a siding could be put in and shuttles run from the city.

Hell, at 7¢/ton/mile, it would be economical for people to put their RVs on flat cars and ship them out.

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Post by AntiM » Wed May 18, 2005 3:31 pm

Where are you envisioning the siding?

Earlier I meant to say there's a siding/spur in the town of Gerlach. You won't get closer than that even on the east side. Freight tracks and passenger tracks, while physically the sane, are two very different legal/liability things; that's why Utah has such headaches talking light rail and negotiating with the UP. You might not be able to get passenger cars out to Gerlach if the UP is being pissy. The UP is very good at pissy.

My limited familiarity with the UP is because Larry used to work for Armadillo express, a shuttle service for the UP rail crews. Gerlach is one of the service sidings, although not a heavily used one.

RVs could be shipped, but they would not be high priority. The trains are slow and get delayed all the time. UP charges fees if the goods just sit at their sidings too. Also, freight gets misrouted and your camp could end up anywhere.

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Post by robotland » Thu May 19, 2005 12:11 pm

Let's not lose focus on the REAL priority- Monorail service from Center Camp to The Man.
There WILL be a shortline narrow-gauge railroad in Hushville this year- A twenty-foot run from the observation deck of my structure to the playa floor. Casey Jones, you better watch your speed!
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Post by theCryptofishist » Thu May 19, 2005 1:04 pm

AntiM wrote:Also, freight gets misrouted and your camp could end up anywhere.
Actually, the more I think about this, the better it sounds. Not only is the map not the territory, but the territory isn't the territory. Load your camp up and wherever it lands--there's your burn. A great chance for radical self-relience too.
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Post by Badger » Thu May 19, 2005 1:42 pm

Load your camp up and wherever it lands--there's your burn.
Sounds good in theory but I'd hope my belongings didn't end up in east LA.
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Post by theCryptofishist » Thu May 19, 2005 3:09 pm

Ah, but you could sell tickets to people to watch you ranger your way out of that situation and become a rich man.
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Post by b00m3rang » Wed Jun 08, 2005 11:01 pm

I have a feeling it would end up looking something like this...

http://www.rockinghamremembered.com/CoalTrain.html

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Post by Chai Guy » Wed Jun 08, 2005 11:43 pm

So much for going by the book huh?


I do remember reading about a group from NYC that ships all there gear out by rail, from NYC to Reno. Apparently it's the cheapest way for them, but also a logistical nightmare (they actually contract with a company to do most of that for them, if memory serves).

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What do you call skydiving lawyers?

Post by Metramonkey » Fri Jul 08, 2005 7:17 pm

Skeet. :?

This is starting to sound like lawyers.

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Post by diane o'thirst » Fri Jul 08, 2005 7:44 pm

I'm probably going to catch hell from DPW for saying this (and I KNOW someone's going to snarl "radical self-reliance" at this), but would a spur going into or near 200 Acres be a possibility? Offload camps there, pick it up with a truck, take to the Playa and back after the Burn, load back onto a train? (Edit to avoid confusion — the <i>camps</i> in question would be responsible for the pickup and dropoff, not DPW)

I've thought of "train freighting major campwerks to the Playa" before and didn't pursue it, but it makes sense. Imagine how much more elaborate art/camps/performances would be.

We already have an airport. The engineers horn hello to us when they pass by every year. And frankly, the train industry needs all the help it can get in this country...
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cost and logistics, or maybe a simpler work around

Post by Metramonkey » Sat Jul 09, 2005 6:29 am

Here's an idea or two: First, get an aerial survey map of the local track system and try to find a spur close by preferably a private one, ie maybe a local industry that uses cars for shipping and receiving, usually large manufacturers and/or processors have private spurs going into their facilities. Reason being that a private spur maybe easier to negotiate with if they will allow you to either build a simple switch yard and rail out to the playa, or maybe in the interest in local commerce or self interest, at least allow you to set up a staging area.

While the cost of developing this system will probably be quite expensive, in the long run, ie over a period of many years the system may actually pay for itself, like most rail systems.

A second idea is to develop a plan that the state of Nv would endorse as being beneficial to their environment. The way to get a railroad to develop a capitol project is have the state or municipality behind the plan and offer contributing funds toward the development.

As far as contacting the railroad and getting anything resembling a response would be to approach their real estate and development department, these guys usually have a feel for which projects are no-gos versus projects that have potential.

Realisticaly laying a track system is not cheap, especially given the nature of the environment.

Good Luck, and if you dreamers should decide to pursue this, let me know as I would be glad to help. I happen to be a paralegal for the railroad.

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Post by safetythird » Tue Jul 12, 2005 11:11 am

This idea has merit. Not only for freight but for RVs too. There are adventure tours that you can take with your RV, on a rain. Basically drive your RV onto a flatbed car, secure it down I imagine and that's it. Relax and enjoy the ride.

Tracks to Adventure

If a train can get burners within 100 miles of Gerlach then we'll have saved countless gallons of fuel, tons of emissions, the heartbreak of breakdowns and just maybe a life or two.

It makes sense. Now, can we make it happen?

S3
(Who really wants to try one of these track adventures)

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Post by diane o'thirst » Tue Jul 12, 2005 2:04 pm

The problem here is that people are labouring under "can't." Call me an optimist (I prefer "can do"), but I believe it would be worthwhile to at least look into.

I'd be willing to jump in on a project like this but I don't know where to start and I'm not entirely sure where I'd contribute (though I am an armchair architect). Maybe getting together a contingent and approaching the ORG would be a good first step. It's their event, after all.

Another personage to contact would probably be the town of Gerlach itself. See if they'd be open to having a train station there. Do they even have a town council?
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Re: cost and logistics, or maybe a simpler work around

Post by falk » Tue Jul 12, 2005 9:26 pm

Metramonkey wrote:Here's an idea or two: First, get an aerial survey map of the local track system and try to find a spur close by preferably a private one
See the sat photo I posted earlier. You can see that the track passes within two miles of the event. A siding and platform right there would be ideal.

The same track also passes right through Gerlach, maybe 10 miles away. AFAICT, that's the only place anywhere near BRC that would do.

As far as I can see, the only options are a siding in the desert near BRC, or a station in Gerlach.

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Post by Kinetic IV » Tue Jul 12, 2005 9:43 pm

Any proposed siding alongside the playa would mean that the BLM would have to approve the access roads leading in and out of the site....depending on where it's placed. The permit process would be a royal pain and then there's the cost of putting in a siding that would be used maybe 2 weeks out of the year.

Right now the railroads are running at capacity in most places so putting in a new siding will not be high on their priority list. But Gerlach has an existing siding....you have easy access to paved roads vs. a sometimes wet playa to deal with, no federal permits or temp closures to negotiate, and no groups like StopBM coming in saying oh my it hurts the environment, stop the madness. And in the end it comes down to $$$ as it always does. Using the existing infrastructure would cost much less and has a much better chance of approval from the RR than a new siding would. At least that's my take on it.
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