Rail Awareness in Nevada

Coffee Tracks - Mustang Exit off I80

Our “Pack of Rats” gathered Saturday morning by the Chevron station at the Mustang exit off of Interstate 80. This area was chosen so that we could take a look at how things have changed in this area since the railroad was put in circa 1868. In a wonderful book, The Central Pacific Railroad Across Nevada – 1868 & 1997, we got a glance at the past geography and compared it to what currently exists.

After this, we headed down the dirt road to the East (old interstate 80) and ended up at milepost 255. While at this location, we discussed the following:


  • How to read the milepost markers – 2553 means mile 255.3 as measured from San Francisco, CA.
  • Checking the white light on the Control Shed – if it is steady white, all is good. If it is flashing or out, call the RMCC and ask for the Signal Department and explain what milepost you are at and the condition of the light.
  • The 9.2 yellow marker along the side of the tracks indicates the mileage of the gas pipeline from the Sparks Yard.
  • If we see homeless camps on railroad property, go to the Union Pacific Railroad Response Management Communication Center website: UP: Response Management Communication Center (RMCC) At this point, scroll down and choose the correct option for your issue.
    • We have often wondered whether or not Union Pacific actually does anything with what we report. I have good news! They do respond.
      • I submitted a problem with a blue ENS sign missing from the crossing at Fourth Street in Reno. I went today to check the status of this – it has been replaced.
      • I reported that a Union Pacific gate at the end of Spokane Street was locked in the open position. When I checked this today, the lock was gone. Yeah! But the gate is wide open. I will submit another request to have a Union Pacific lock put on the gate in the locked position.
      • I reported approximately 10 homeless encampments between Sutro Avenue and “the trench”. Good news is that the camps I mentioned and photographed are gone. The bad news, there are new encampments emerging in that area. I will once again send in a request with photographic documentation.
      • The gaping holes reported to Union Pacific have yet to be repaired. Once again I will submit photographic documentation to Union Pacific.

What can we take away from this? Keep reporting what you observe in the appropriate way, with photographic documentation if possible. We may not always see the results of these reports, so do not get discouraged. Keep up the reporting!


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