TS20: Red River Runner
Written by: Gary Dolzall.
Coming soon, the Union Pacific Livonia Division: Monroe Subdivision route for Train Simulator will feature contemporary railroading in America’s “Deep South”
Union Pacific’s sprawling 32,000-mile route system stretches from the American Midwest to the Far West and also ventures into the distinctive southern region of the U. S. – and soon, you’ll experience railroading in the “Bayou,” hill, and river country of Louisiana with the Union Pacific’s Livonia Division: Monroe Subdivision route for Train Simulator!
Union Pacific’s Monroe Subdivision, as re-created in the upcoming Train Simulator Livonia Division: Monroe Subdivision route, is a vital portion of the Union Pacific, serving as a segment of UP’s direct rail link between America’s Upper Midwest and the Gulf of Mexico.
Stretching 97.5 miles between Monroe and Alexandria, Louisiana in the American “Deep South,” and following the paths of the historic Red River and meandering Quachita River, the Monroe Subdivision was an important line of the Missouri Pacific. One of Middle America’s great railroads, the Missouri Pacific (often nicknamed the “MoPac”) operated lines running both north-south and east-west through much of the middle portion of the United States. During its modern era, the Missouri Pacific stretched from St. Louis and Memphis south and southwest to New Orleans and to Texas, and westward through the Plains States to Kansas City, Omaha, and Pueblo, Colorado. In 1969, the Missouri Pacific acquired a portion of the Chicago & Eastern Illinois Railroad, which allowed the MoPac to reach America’s railroad capital of Chicago, Illinois. At its zenith, the Missouri Pacific system extended over 11,000 route miles.
A successful and innovative railroad, Missouri Pacific represented an attractive merger partner and in 1980 Union Pacific announced an agreement to acquire the Missouri Pacific, which was formally merged into giant UP in December 1982.
In the Union Pacific era, the Monroe Subdivision has been operated as part of the railroad’s Livonia Division, which was renamed the Livonia Service Unit and, more recently, the UP’s Gulf Coast Service Unit. The contemporary Monroe Subdivision is a busy steel artery for the north-south movements of heavy manifest traffic, with much of the tonnage being agricultural, chemical, and petrochemical products moving in covered hoppers and tank cars.
Motive power on the Monroe Subdivision is typically six-axle high-horsepower General Electric and Electro-Motive locomotives such as the Union Pacific GE ES44AC and EMD SD70M which will accompany this route, with locomotives such as EMD GP38-2s or SD40-2s (which will also be included with the route) handling yard and local freight duties.
Union Pacific train movements over the Monroe Subdivision most typically operate between North Little Rock or Pine Bluff, Arkansas and Addis (near Baton Rouge) or Livonia, Louisiana, although some trains operate from as far north as St. Louis. Livonia, 90 miles south of Alexandria, is home to Union Pacific’s modern and sprawling 555-acre Livonia Yard, which serves as a major handling point for tonnage moving through the Gulf Coast region. Originally planned by the Missouri Pacific, the yard was completed under UP ownership in 1994 and further expanded in 1997.
With major yards at both Alexandria and Monroe and extending through a mixture of rolling hills and flat Louisiana “Bayou” country alongside the Red and Quachita Rivers, the Monroe Subdivision is home to challenging railroad operations that mix grades, fast-running, and heavy tonnage. The Monroe Subdivision is also rich in junctions and interchanges with other rail lines, including connections with Union Pacific’s Shreveport line at Alexandria, Kansas City Southern lines at Mallin and Monroe, and short lines Arkansas, Louisiana & Mississippi and Delta Southern at Monroe. Indeed, the town of Monroe, Louisiana has become a popular train-watching location in the South.
The Livonia Division: Monroe Subdivision route is being masterfully and authentically crafted by Skyhook Games with collaboration from Trains and Drivers. A selection of seven realistic career scenarios, based on actual UP operations and created for Skyhook Games by High Iron Simulations, will be included with the route.
Get ready for modern and marvelous railroading in America’s Deep South – with the Livonia Division: Monroe Subdivision route, coming soon to Train Simulator! – Gary Dolzall
Contemporary railroading in the captivating river, “Bayou,” and hill country of Louisiana is coming soon to Train Simulator with Union Pacific’s Livonia Division: Monroe Subdivision route! UP EMD SD70M 4790 and a sister are crossing the historic Red River (sometimes also called the Red River of the South) with northbound tonnage in tow. Screenshots by Gary Dolzall.
The Livonia Division: Monroe Subdivision route stretches 97.5 miles between Monroe and Alexandria, Louisiana, and is a vital portion of the Union Pacific system, serving as a segment of UP’s rail link between America’s Upper Midwest and the Gulf of Mexico. At sprawling Alexandria Yard, a pair of Union Pacific GP38-2s are handling switching duties while a duo of UP ES44ACs roll past with a southbound manifest. Note: Screenshots depict content while in development.
Numerous rail crossings, junctions, and interchanges dot the Livonia Division: Monroe Subdivision route and southbound Union Pacific ES44AC 5353 is curving through the Monroe Subdivision’s junction with UP’s Reisor Subdivision north of Alexandria.
At Antonia, Louisiana, approximately 22 miles north of Alexandria, Union Pacific EMD GP38-2s work a large lineside lumber facility. The Livonia Division: Monroe Subdivision route will include four Union Pacific locomotive types: the GE ES44AC and EMD SD70M, SD40-2, and GP38-2.
UP GE ES44AC 7600 and a sister are southbound with tonnage and meet a northbound freight on the line which features a mix of single and double track (above). The northern portion of the route features some flat country and fast running and UP EMD SD70M 5053 is easily keeping pace with the autos on parallel U. S. Highway 165 (below).
Available soon, the Train Simulator Livonia Division: Monroe Subdivision route makes its way through the Deep South’s Bayou, hill, and river country, offering plenty of railroading challenges. Union Pacific GE ES44ACs span the meandering Quachita River near Riverton, Louisiana.
It is a rainy day in Louisiana as a set of veteran Union Pacific EMD SD40-2s handle subdivision local work and switch lineside shippers near Erco (above) and south of Monroe (below).
At Monroe, UP GP38-2 550 works the elevator adjacent to the railroad’s yard complex (above). In addition to sizeable yard facilities, Monroe is host to lineside shippers and interchanges with Kansas City Southern’s Vicksburg Subdivision and two short lines, offering extensive switching opportunities. On the north side of Monroe, UP GP38-2s are returning from the KCS yard with interchange (below).
Dawn is just breaking at Monroe Yard as a pair of aged but able UP EMD SD40-2s prepare for another day’s work. Monroe is the northern end of the upcoming Livonia Division: Monroe Subdivision route. North of Monroe, the UP line becomes the railroad’s McGhee Subdivision.
Get ready for distinctive and captivating contemporary railroading in America’s Deep South, with the Union Pacific Livonia Division: Monroe Subdivision route – coming soon to Train Simulator!
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TS20: Red River Runner