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  • SL&RG 18 FINALLY MAKES ALAMOSA
    Posted Thursday, January 31 2008 at 2358 h MST
    Over a month after their departure from Oregon, the first of the SL&RG steamers finally made it to Alamosa today. The two and their tenders were pulled from the Walsenburg interchange by SLRG 459 in a special daylight move today. #20 was dropped off at La Veta due to tonnage restrictions, and will be brought to Alamosa by tonight's regular manifest. Earl Knoob of the SLRG posted photos in [this thread] on NGDF. "SD45X" posted some from his chase of today's run on Trainorders.com [here]. Earl states that unloading is currently planned for next Tuesday (5-Feb-2008). - NDHolmes

  • END OF THE LINE FOR 5371?
    Posted Thursday, January 31 2008 at 0958 h MST
    I've received several reports this morning that the end may finally be here for 5371. Reports are that the unit will not load and continuously reports slipping wheels, suggesting issues with the rather unique Positive Traction Control (PTC) system that the Grande installed on the SD40T-2s. The unit is being sent to Metro East Industries in St. Louis for removal of the PTC system. From there, I don't know what will happen to it, though previously it was rumored to be going to the Utah State Railroad Museum in Ogden after retirement. Either way, it's scheduled to be picked up by Friday morning by MRONY, and thus it should make it to Denver on Saturday.

    Update (1-Feb-2008 - 0001h): A new report from Seth on the D&RGW list shows that its mechanical file has been updated to read "Send unit to Denver for retirement". Looks like no visit to MEI after all. That's probably a good thing, since MEI is known for cutting things up as well as fixing them... Still will most likely come over on MRONY-1, arriving Saturday. We'll see tomorrow morning. -
    NDHolmes

  • SL&RG STEAM IN PUEBLO
    Posted Sunday, January 27 2008 at 1817 h MST
    It was a nice warm day out there today, so I figured a drive to Pueblo to look for the SL&RG steamers was in order. (Realistically, I figured a drive anywhere was in order - how many days in a Colorado January can you comfortably take your convertible out?) The two and their tenders are indeed down there, having arrived about 0730h this morning on MNYPU. UP had them buried between two lines of cars and up near the old Rio Grande yard tower, making them only accessible via telephoto lens. Within the next couple days, they should go south to the Walsenburg interchange, and then travel via the nightly La Veta freight to Alamosa. My guess is in Alamosa by Tuesday at the latest. For those interested, photos posted [here]. - NDHolmes

  • AMTRAK 5 DELAYED BY TRACTION MOTOR FAILURE
    Posted Saturday, January 26 2008 at 2138 h MST
    Most of you who follow Amtrak probably know that they've been suffering a spate of bearing failures on P42 traction motors over the last year. One hit the westbound California Zephyr as it was climbing out of Denver Saturday morning. AMTK 99 suffered a locked rotor at some point between leaving Union Station and Fraser, causing the train to go from being 17 minutes late at Denver to 8 hours and 29 minutes late departing Fraser/Winter Park. - NDHolmes

  • SL&RG STEAM IS MOVING
    Posted Saturday, January 26 2008 at 1902 h MST
    Only a bit over two weeks after arriving in Denver, the new SL&RG steam engines are once again moving. As you'll recall, UP got them all the way to Winter Park on 4-Jan-2008 before figuring out they wouldn't fit through one of the minor tunnels on the Moffat. They were subsequently sent back around via Wyoming, and arrived in Denver on 11-Jan-2008 via MGRDV (Green River, WY - Denver, CO, manifest). Since then, they've been sitting at 36th Street yard due to more clearance problems on the connector to North Yard, as well as some reported billing/paperwork snafus (as reported by Earl on NGDF).

    Charlie McCandless reported to the Colorado Railfan list and NGDF that at roughly 1700h today, the steamers were indeed moved to North Yard. If all goes well, that should put them out on Sunday night's MNYPU, into Pueblo early on Monday, and possibly to the SLRG interchange in Walsenburg by Monday night. By Tuesday morning, the SLRG might have its long-awaited new engines.

    Update (1/27 - 0045h): In what can only be described as a remarkable feat of speed for UP, the two steamers apparently have already left Denver. I just got a report that the two are on MNYPU, which left Denver a bit before 2200h this evening. Look for them in Pueblo by Sunday morning. -
    NDHolmes

  • 5371 RETURNS TO DENVER
    Posted Tuesday, January 22 2008 at 2243 h MST
    DRGW SD40T-2 #5371, the last unit in full Rio Grande paint, is on its way back to Denver from its usual assignment in Helper, UT. The unit was picked up by MRONY-21 this morning, and is expected into Denver just after noon on Wednesday, 23-Jan-2008. This train can and does run early, though, so the unit may slip through any time in the morning, or even before daybreak. There's been no word on why 5371 is headed for Denver, but smart speculation would be that it's headed to Burnham for work.

    Update (1/22 - 2254h): According to a post on Trainorders, the unit is getting a continuous wheelslip indication and is headed in to have it fixed up.


    Update #2 (1/23 - 0740h): Sorry, everyone, but it's not coming - at least not on today's MRONY. The unit was left behind in Grand Junction last nigh

    Note the symbol mentioned above - apparently Union Pacific has ended the experiment of running the manifests out of Provo, and is now sourcing them directly from Roper Yard in Salt Lake City again. So, as of this last week, MNYPV and MPVNY are no more, replaced again by the MNYRO and MRONY. (Thanks to Kevin Morgan for the above two items.)

    Oh, and just in case anybody was wondering, the two steam engines are still sitting in UP's 36th Street Yard. What, you expected them to have moved? -
    NDHolmes

  • SLRG 18 & 20 CONTINUE TO SIT IN DENVER
    Posted Saturday, January 19 2008 at 1749 h MST
    Long after most of us anticipated they'd go south to at least Pueblo, the San Luis & Rio Grande's two new steam engines continue to sit in Union Pacific's 36th Street Yard in Denver. The reason for their lack of progress is not known, but I've heard rumors/theories that there are more clearance problems - most likely with the BNSF underpass along Brighton Blvd. That's just a rumor, though, and has yet to be positively confirmed or disproven.

    I made a quick trip up there today to see if I could get a shot of them, and they're just barely visible from public property (with a little help from a 400mm lens). The pair and their tenders are parked in the northeast part of the yard, buried in the middle of what appear to be a rip (repair in place) tracks or possibly an old loading area. See [this] Google Maps aerial photo for a better view - the pair are on the middle track in the paved area at the center of the map. I've posted photos of the pair [over here].

    Thanks to Ben H. for keeping an eye on them through the week and emailing me periodic updates that they had indeed not moved. -
    NDHolmes

  • MID-WEEK NEWS ROUNDUP
    Posted Wednesday, January 16 2008 at 1046 h MST
    First, to answer the question that everybody's asking, the SL&RG steam engines are still in Denver. According to a tip I got via email this morning, they're on the easternmost side of North Yard, about a half mile south of I-70. Per Earl Knoob via NGDF, the two are supposed to move on tonight's M-NYPU (Wednesday, 16-Jan-2008), and then possibly be delivered to Walsenburg on Thursday night. It's possible they could be in in Alamosa by Friday morning if they were hauled over on the regular nightly freight.

    Update (1/16 - 2205h): I misunderstood the earlier email - apparently the units were still sitting over at 36th Street. No idea if they'll make MNYPU tonight or not. Oops, sorry Ben.

    Update #2 (1/17 - 0830h): Per this morning's trace, it doesn't look like they moved overnight as expected. Looks like they're still sitting in Denver.

    In conversations with Mr. Ed Ellis of Iowa Pacific at the SL&RG's groundbreaking on 4-Jan-2008, the AAR has approved the SL&RG's new hay car prototype for interchange service. The SL&RG hopes to capture some of the approximately 100 truckloads per day of high-protein hay that leave the San Luis Valley for feed lots in Texas, Oklahoma, and beyond. Look for trial runs soon. For an idea of what the prototype looked like about a year ago, there's a picture [here].

    While not directly D&RGW related, Amtrak's eastbound California Zephyr was terminated at Omaha yesterday. A derailment at Halpin, IA, on the BNSF blocked its eastward progress, and shortly afterwards a derailment on UP's ex-CNW main near Carroll, IA, blocked the usual detour route. So, passengers were bussed across Iowa and yesterday's #6 was turned to become #5.

    A few new things have been added to the website lately. Probably the most notable is the excellent photography of Chuck Zeiler, taken mostly in the summer of 1965 on both the standard and narrow gauge lines. Take a look [here]. One of the more interesting batch of negatives I've acquired recently is three 4x5s of DRGW 1804's 4-Feb-1941 boiler explosion just north of Burnham. I've added scans to 1804's [roster page]. There are also a few others I've acquired of RGS Goose 5 on display in Dolores back in the late 1950s, nearly 50 years before she was returned to service. They're over [here]. Enjoy! -
    NDHolmes

  • SL&RG STEAM IN DENVER
    Posted Saturday, January 12 2008 at 1025 h MST
    I received a helpful tip yesterday afternoon that the two steam engines were inbound to Denver on the M-GRDV-10. It was called out of Speer at 1145h, but apparently didn't get out on time, since it only passed Carr at 1515h. I was stuck at work all afternoon, though, and I haven't seen anybody who got out to take pictures of the move. A quick trace check this morning shows that they're still in Denver - my guess would be a departure on tonight's M-NYPU. Normally this would be an overnight move, so hope for delays on the Joint Line to push it into daylight tomorrow!

    Update (1/13 - 2224h): The two did not move on the Saturday night train (and in fact, hadn't even left 36th St. Yard as of yesterday), so they're still in Denver. Keep an eye out for them either on Sunday night's train or maybe Monday's. -
    NDHolmes

  • SL&RG STEAM OUT OF SLC
    Posted Monday, January 7 2008 at 0941 h MST
    Kevin Morgan reported on the Colorado Railfan list this morning that the two steam engines are indeed on MROGR-07 this morning, leaving Salt Lake a bit before 0900h. The lead motor is UP 9779 for anybody in Wyoming who might want to catch it. (Yes, it does seem like maybe we should change our name to slrgrailfans.net or something these last few weeks, but quite frankly, they're making most of the interesting news on the former Rio Grande lines lately.) - NDHolmes

  • SL&RG BREAKS GROUND ON NEW ALAMOSA SHOP
    Posted Sunday, January 6 2008 at 1421 h MST
    Last Friday, 4-Jan-2007, officials from the San Luis & Rio Grande broke ground on their new, $3 million, 26000 square foot Alamosa shop. Currently the railroad has no indoor maintenance facilities, since Union Pacific demolished the Alamosa roundhouse in 1997. The new structure, measuring 150ft by 175ft, will contain four tracks, with provisions for a fifth, and also house the railroad's new offices. Construction will start immediately, managed by Colorado Construction of Alamosa, and is expected to be complete by late summer.

    One of the more interesting tidbits is that one of the first things done will be to dig a 22 foot pit to house the railroad's new drop table. Purchased out of an old SP shop in Sacramento, the table will greatly ease the task of dropping drivers from steam locomotives.

    In somewhat related news, the Alamosa County Social Services offices currently located in the old Alamosa depot are also being moved to a new building. This will enable the railroad, in conjunction with a new Colorado Welcome Center, to take over the real Alamosa depot and start using it for passenger operations.

    My photos of the event can be found [here]. The Alamosa Valley Courier was also there, and has coverage [here]. -
    NDHolmes

  • SLRG STEAMERS BACK TO UTAH, AROUND VIA WYOMING
    Posted Friday, January 4 2008 at 2208 h MST
    As reported yesterday, the SLRG steam engines tripped a high/wide detector near Fraser and made it within a few hundred yards of the Moffat Tunnel before being set out on the siding at Winter Park. The Moffat itself was apparently not the problem, but rather one of the smaller tunnels coming down the Front Range into Denver. Since they won't fit, the two SLRG steam locomotives and their tenders are headed west again, having been picked up by MNYPV-04 today. They'll wind up back in Utah, and then make their way east across Union Pacific's Wyoming mainline to Cheyenne, where they'll turn south for Denver. Looks like it'll be sometime next week before those of us on the east side of the Divide see them.

    In other news, I've added a bunch of photos to [this gallery] of the two during their first visit to Provo, UT. These come courtesy of Mark Utley and Nolan Coleman. Thanks to both of you!

    Update (1/6 - 1044h): Kevin Morgan reports via the DRGW list that the two steamers and tenders arrived at Roper Yard (Salt Lake City) late last night, and will be added to MROGR (Roper-Green River, WY manifest) on Monday. -
    NDHolmes

  • SLRG STEAMERS IN GRAND JUNCTION
    Posted Wednesday, January 2 2008 at 1413 h MST
    Heads up along the Moffat - "KoloradoKid" on Trainorders.com just posted that the two ex-Mount Hood 2-8-0s have arrived in Grand Junction, CO, as of 1145h this morning. Presumably they'll head on east to Denver shortly.

    (Update - 2332h 2-Jan-2008): Matt Darling sent in a few photos of the two in the Grand Junction yard today - you can see them [here]. Thanks, Matt, from all of us who can't get out to see them in their trek across the country. If anybody else has photos of these two - or the domes - in transit, I'd greatly appreciate permission to add them to the album covering this unique movement.

    (Update #2 - 1135h 3-Jan-2008): Per Joe McMillan, via the D&RGW list, the two have been set out at Winter Park, CO. Apparently they tripped the high-wide detector. So, don't be looking for them in Denver today. -
    NDHolmes

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