Strives For Newberry Road Overpass
As exclusively first reported through this website, blade trains are being
pointed to Newberry Springs.
The first blade train's arrival at 7:57 P.M. on Saturday, July 16, 2011, went
seemingly flawless. A Union Pacific's leading locomotive (No. 4159), linked to a BNSF
locomotive, led the estimated mile-plus westbound unit train past the Newberry rail sidings,
and then slowly backed the blade cars into them.
The Newberry Road grade crossing was minimally impacted as was the Mountain View
Road crossing a mile west. The following day, however, Mountain View Road was blocked for a
total time of one-hour during 75-minutes of rail car switching.
Backing westbound blade trains into the sidings will hopefully become the routine
practice; however, such may not always be possible if the western portion of the sidings are blocked
by other rail cars. Consequently, a higher degree of urgency in obtaining a rail over-crossing
for vehicular traffic on Newberry Road has led Community Alliance to reestablish contact with the
County of San Bernardino Transportation Division.
It is customary that the California PUC biannually places a "call" to the state's
counties requesting rail crossing improvement requests. Based upon criteria to establish the
highest priority, such as neighboring population, vehicular traffic counts, accidents, number of
crossings by school buses, average number of daily trains, et cetera, crossings throughout the
state are rated as to the most needy for improvement.
If a "call" is placed this year which is normal, this will be the first year in
which the Newberry Road crossing at the BNSF tracks has applied.
As to priority, Newberry Road is expected to be near the bottom of the list.
Silver Lakes main entrance road is Vista Road off-of National Trails Highway which is regularly
blocked by rail traffic. Silver Lakes has unsuccessfully applied for an over-crossing for
over a dozen years. It's priority is also rated low. A factor that Newberry Road may
trump Vista Road in a listing is that Silver Lakes does not have active sidings nearby where Vista
Road can be blocked for an extended period. Delay of emergency responders is a highly rated
Should an over-crossing ever be built for Newberry Road, the Community Alliance
would like to see the existing railway crossing equipment be moved 3-miles east and the Fort Cady
grade crossing be reestablished. This would be the only rail crossing in Newberry Springs near
Interstate-40 ramps and could play a key role in emergencies.
The reestablishment of a rail crossing at Fort Cady Road is highly unlikely as
railroads have spent decades closing down as many grade crossings as possible along their tracks
and they vigorously fight any new ones.