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Published by: Pentrex

Doublestacks Over Donner

Pentrex travelled to Donner Pass in the winter of 2009-2010, spending several weeks to capture the revitalized action that can now be found on the Roseville Subdivision.

The Union Pacific had just finished a 12-month project to increase the clearances in 15 tunnels and snow sheds on Donner Pass so that doublestack trains could again be routed over this crossing of the Sierra Nevada range.

Southern Pacific once ran doublestacks over Donner Pass but as larger containers with extra height evolved, its successor, Union Pacific, had been compelled to route its container trains over the Feather River Canyon instead, and traffic on Donner declined to a trickle of its former intensity.

However, in 2008 UP decided it would be worth the cost to “raise the roof” on the shorter, faster line to expedite delivery of intermodal freight by several hours when compared to the more lengthy transit of the former Western Pacific line.

As a result, traffic is now flowing over Donner in abundance!

You’ll see types of trains showcased here: grain trains, fruit trains, auto trains, general freight, and Amtrak’s California Zephyr.

We’ll show them battling the stiff grades and serpentine curves that railroaders face on Donner.

The spotlight, however, is on the enormous doublestack trains, some of them up to 9,000-feet long!

Once again, the sounds of laboring diesels hauling containers by the hundreds echo off the granite walls of this historic pass.

At last you can see those massive doublestacks slugging their way over the crest of the jaw-dropping 7,000-foot summit.

There is nothing quite like Doublestacks Over Donner!

Running Time 120 mins


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