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Union Pacific’s legendary Sherman Hill crossing of America’s Continental Divide is arriving on Train Sim World 2
Union Pacific’s Sherman Hill: Rich in history, humming with tonnage, home to dramatic western scenery, daunting to tame – and arriving on Train Sim World 2 on November 25th!
Sherman Hill: Historic and Evolutionary
As the Union Pacific, under the guiding hand of General Grenville Dodge, built America’s great Transcontinental Railroad westward along the North Platte River and across America’s High Plains, it was what is today known as Sherman Hill which posed the first of many great engineering and construction challenges.
West of Cheyenne reared up the Laramie Mountains and America’s transcontinental divide, and as Union Pacific’s construction crews worked toward Laramie in 1867-68, the rail line necessarily grew ever more rugged and required unforgiving grades. West of Granite Canyon, the railroad climbed to its original summit – named Sherman in honor of Civil War General William T. Sherman – at an elevation of 8,247 feet and with a maximum grade of 1.92 percent. Further west, an enormous 650-foot long, 127-foot-high wooden trestle was required to cross Dale Creek. This original edition of Sherman Hill was brutal and dangerous, especially in winter, and at one time hosted more than a dozen snowsheds due to its high elevations and required regular use of steam helpers on its eastern slope.
In 1897, the legendary Edward H. Harriman took control of the then-struggling Union Pacific. The Harriman era would modernize, and bring greatness, to the Union Pacific Railroad. One of Harriman’s first endeavors was to improve the railroad’s Sherman Hill crossing. Most remarkable, and important, was a relocation in 1901 of virtually the entire UP main line from Buford, 26 miles west of Cheyenne, to Laramie. Utilizing a more southernly routing from Buford to Hermosa, the line’s new Sherman Summit stood at 8,015, feet, lowering the UP’s transcontinental divide crossing by 247 feet. Dale Creek was spanned three miles further south than the original trestle location, where today’s towering Dale fill rises 115 feet above the 800-foot-wide ravine.
Key to the new line was 1,800-foot-long Hermosa Tunnel and west of that point, the new line was laid on a path north of the original line. Between Buford and Hermosa, the original trackage was abandoned in 1901. Harriman’s changes reduced the ruling westbound grade of Sherman Hill from 1.92% to 1.55 percent.
Over the coming decades, Union Pacific continued to improve the route, notably double tracking the line and drilling a second Hermosa Tunnel bore in 1918. Then, in the 1950s, came an even-greater new addition. In 1951, Union Pacific made the decision to build a new line – to become known as the Harriman Cutoff or Track 3 – between Cheyenne and Dale (the existing lines being Tracks 1 and 2). For the route in Train Sim World 2 you will be able to carry out operation on Track 1, Track 2 and the Borie Cutoff – With 73 miles to explore. In modern times, Sherman Hill has served as the Laramie Subdivision of Union Pacific’s Wyoming Division.
Super Railroading and Super Power
Whatever the era, Sherman Hill has been home to a brand of super railroading which has challenged the skills of railroaders and captivated train enthusiasts. Union Pacific’s task of moving enormous tonnage over great distances and rugged terrain such as Sherman Hill gave the railroad a decades-long thirst from super power, embodied in the unique UP 4-12-2s and famed 4-8-8-4 Big Boys of the steam era, the “Big Blow” gas-electric turbines of the 1950s and 1960s, and the likes of UP’s 6,900-horsepower EMD DDA40AX super diesels of the 1970s.
Today, Sherman Hill is the realm of third-generation diesel powerhouses, working both as head-end power and DPUs (distributed power units). The upcoming Train Sim World 2 Sherman Hill route, extending 57 miles from Cheyenne to Laramie, will feature a meticulously re-created EMD’s six-axle 4,300-horsepower SD70ACe accompanied by the veteran second-generation EMD SD40-2 (a type UP has rebuilt, updated, and reclassified as the SD40N). And joining the diesel power on the Train Sim World 2 route will be a selection of contemporary freight equipment.
Sherman Hill for Train Sim World 2 will bring to life contemporary railroading and the route will be bustling with the passage of intermodal (stack), manifest, and unit trains. Across Sherman’s challenging grades and dramatic American West scenery, you’ll take the throttle of thousands of horsepower to keep the tonnage moving.
Sherman Hill arrives for Train Sim World 2 on 25th November for Xbox One, Xbox Series X|S, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Epic Games Store, and Steam!
Stay up to date with everything Sherman Hill, and more by following @TrainSimWorld on Twitter and Facebook.
You can also take your very first look at Sherman hill tonight on Railfan TV - Join Matt and Nat on Twitch or YouTube at Midday PDT / 8 PM BST / 9 PM CEST. We will be answering questions about the route on tonight's broadcast. Head to the forum link below to get your questions in now!
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