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Pictorial: New double track project on the CNO&TP, Burnside Ky

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  • Pictorial: New double track project on the CNO&TP, Burnside Ky

    A year or so ago, I mentioned that the NS was looking at adding a new section of double track between CP Woods (Somerset KY) to CP Grove (just North of Burnside Ky). After the new crew change facility at Burnside opened, it quickly became apparent that the 4.3 miles of single track North of the new depot was going to be a bottle neck...and it very quickly became a huge problem..

    NS installed a pair of new yard tracks at Burnside (from Burnside, South to CP General), long enough to hold entire trains when they needed to wait for rested crews before the new facility was opened, and those extra tracks and crossovers get plenty of use. The bottle neck problem is caused by the fact that the vast majority of the 60+ trains a day that are changing crews at Burnside are "step-on's" with a quick crew change on the mainline. While there is plenty of capacity for Northbound trains to stop and not block any crossings, most all of the Southbound trains are long enough that they hang back on single track North of Grove, meaning that the Northbounds cant depart until a Southbound does.

    The single track portion is part of the original CNO&TP alignment, and has several sharp curves, deep cuts and a sizable bridge over Pittman Creek at Elihu KY. Average speed through that section is 40Mph, but Northbound trains are fighting a nearly 1% grade as they climb out of the Cumberland River valley, further reducing speeds. During the busy times of the day, Southbound trains are often stacked up as far North as Science Hill and Gradison as they wait for a chance to get across single track and change crews.

    The project actually began in 2012 as crews began to survey and move utilities. The first dirt was turned over around the 1st of March of this year, and since then the construction crews have been moving fast. To date (05/18/13) they have started on the new bridge over Pittman Creek, installed new signals near MP 163 that will become the "new" CP Woods (which is about a mile South of the current end of double track) and have been blasting to widen cuts and grading the new track bed as far South as MP 165.5) I have not heard of a completion date, but I would venture to guess it will be pretty close to done by the end of this year.

    Saturday May 18th, Carmon and I made our way South and spent the majority of the morning documenting the work that has been done so far. I intend to get down there on a fairly regular basis to get new images as work progresses. I have created a new gallery over on Pbase that will only have shots from this project, and will be updating that a as often as I can..

    Below are a few from the 18th, and the link to the new galley will take you to the whole set. These will be added in chronological order as the project moves along.. Link >>>>>> CP Woods to CP Grove Double Track Project Photo Gallery by E.M. & Carmon Bell at

    A Southbound empty ballast train passes a crew installing a new culvert near MP 165.0 off the Jones Knob road bridge

    Northbound 174 from the same location, looking South.

    Looking South towards Burnside, with the sides of the new cut near MP 165 littered with debris from one of the many old houses that had to be removed. The old bar you can see still standing was next in line to go, and is probably already gone by the time you read this.

    I found this rather funny, and I am sure that there is a story behind it. While everything else between the Railroad and Highway 1274 has been dozed down, One old house and the outhouse in back have not been touched. Crews have piled up dirt and rock all the way around them, but they still stand.

    A Northbound grain train passes under the soon to be replaced Jones Knob bridge as a crew works on a new culvert under the tracks near Elihu, Ky

    Northbound 170 comes around the curve at MP 165.5, with piles of rock visible in the background This was about as far South as we observed any major work being down at this point. This is roughly halfway to CP Grove.

    New signals stand turned away from the tracks at MP 163. From the looks of it, there will be a new crossover installed here, about a mile South of the current end of double track at CP Woods

    Southbound 173 eases across the Pittman Creek bridge. You can see the new concrete abutments, wing walls and center pier that have been poured. This bridge has always been very difficult to shoot, but all of the construction has removed all of the tree's, opening up the view drastically.
    E.M. Bell, KD4JSL
    Salvisa, KY