Rio Grande News

    Posted Sunday, July 20 2014 at 1724 h MDT
    The V&S Railway has been thwarted in their efforts to expediently scrap the east end of the Towner Line. In mid-May, V&S applied to abandon the east end, from Towner at 787.5 to near Eads at 808.3. A comment from the Public Land Surveyors of Colorado pointed out significant issues with their filings, most significantly that about half of the proposed abandonment sits on Federal land grants, whereas V&S claimed there were none. As a result of the PSLC comment and other question-raising issues, the Surface Transportation Board has categorically denied their exemption request. I wouldn't call it a long term win, but at least the STB is not just rubber stamping this one.

    That said, Mother Nature didn't do the west end any favors this week. Last Tuesday (July 15, 2014), a strong thunderstorm dumped sufficient rain north of NA Junction (where the Towner Line and BNSF's Pueblo Subdivision join) to cause flash flooding. Those floods overtopped the sides of the Colorado Canal, an irrigation ditch that runs along the north side of the railway and Colorado Hwy 96. The resulting torrent of water submerged both the road and railway where 96 crosses over the line between NA Junction and Olney Springs. The road survived fairly well, but the railway suffered a few washouts. Pictures from my drive through the area today are posted [here]. -

    Posted Friday, July 11 2014 at 1048 h MDT
    The C&TS will be running a mixed freight/passenger photo train on August 12 & 13, powered by K-27 #463. The passenger cars will be along to transport riders, and will be dropped at the various run-bys to provide an authentic-looking freight train.

    Tuesday's run will be from Chama to Antonito, with no passenger cars hauled up the west side of Cumbres Pass. A chase bus will be provided to get shots up and down the hill. At the top, passengers will board the train and head for Antonito. Wednesday will reverse the trip and run back to Chama. A bus will apparently be provided back and forth to Antonito for those wanting to stay in Chama the whole time.

    The cost is $195 for one day, or $375 for both. I've got mine for both days, so I'll hopefully see some of you down there.

    Edit: I forgot to mention - the official railroad page for the trip can be found [here], and has details and booking information. -

    Posted Friday, June 27 2014 at 1602 h MDT
    The SLRG has brought another three of their ex-LMX B39-8E locomotives to Colorado - SLRG 8537, 8539, and 8548. The three already have SLRG reporting marks, but have been on the AZER and TNMR for the last few years. Only 8537 is in full SLRG maroon paint - the other two are rustbucket LMX grey patch jobs. - NDHolmes

    Posted Friday, June 20 2014 at 1615 h MDT
    The Cumbres & Toltec Scenic has replaced their old radio system with a modern digital NXDN-based system as of May 2014, according to reports on both Trainorders and NGDF.

    The signal is now all digital, so analog scanners will no longer work for monitoring the C&TS. No NXDN-capable scanner is yet made, so at the moment your options are do it the old-fashioned way (sit, wait for smoke), buy an NXDN radio and have it programmed to be receive-only (expensive, inflexible), or investigate software defined radio solutions that can decode NXDN (bulky, requires a receiver and a laptop to do the decoding).

    This is what we have to look forward to with all railroad radio transmissions in the next 5-10 years as analog is phased out.

    There's a certain irony in one of the oldest Colorado railroads being the first to convert to the most modern radio technology, but given their insular nature and need for better radio coverage, it makes sense. -

 Other Rio Grande Websites
  The most comprehensive D&RGW site out there
 Rio Grande Modeling & Historical Society
  The Rio Grande Modeling and Historical Society
  Kevin Morgan's D&RGW Site (formerly - Route and historical info, as well as photos
  An excellent site by a Mike B., a professional railroader and former D&RGW employee
 More Rio Grande Websites...
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 Recent Trip Reports
DRGW 463 Returns
   Posted: May 24, 2013
 After twelve years in storage and various states of restoration, D&RGW 463 returns to service on the Cumbres & Toltec for her 110th birthday year. - NDH
CRRM Goosefest 2012
   Posted: Dec 15, 2012
 For the first time in sixty years, five of the six remaining RGS Galloping Geese (plus the replica of RGS 1) are all in the same place. - NDH
Train Festival 2011
   Posted: Aug 9, 2011
 A week of chasing, riding, and photographing the trains of Train Festival 2011 in Rock Island, IL - NDH
Many more Trip Reports...
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