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MPI HSP-46 IN PUEBLO
Posted Sunday, October 27 2013 at 2041 h MDT
An example of the newest diesel passenger locomotive in North America showed up in Pueblo today - the MotivePower HSP-46. Unlike previous MotivePower, Inc. (MPI) products, these units aren't built from EMD drivetrains. The units are GEs, equipped with a GEVO-12 engine and AC traction (essentially passenger GEVOs), housed within a full-width carbody and riding on a new design of B trucks.
MBTX 2003 came south on Friday, and will be moving to TTCI over the next few days to complete testing and validation on the design. This isn't the first HSP-46 released - MBTX 2000 (in primer, like 2003) went to GE Erie for testing, and 2001 is painted and on MBTA property out in Boston (but not yet operating).
MBTA has 40 of these on order at this point, with options for more, and they'll be delivered through the rest of 2013 and 2014.
Photos of today's sighting of MBTX 2003 can be seen [here]. - NDHolmes
SD70ACe-P4 TESTING ON THE RATON SUB
Posted Friday, October 25 2013 at 0032 h MDT
Two weeks ago, BNSF was testing out EMD's new 4-powered-axle variant of the SD70ACe on the grades and curves of Raton Pass. This week, they moved up the line about 70 miles to Timpas, just outside of La Junta, where they were doing higher speed testing of the same test set (two ES44C4s, two SD70ACe-P4s, and two DC GEs).
Thanks to a heads up on this one, I managed to play hooky from work on Tuesday and headed out to see the action. By action I mean repetitive runs up and down the same boring ten miles of track. Perfectly straight, with only a few signals and small bridges for photo props. Not a lot you can do with that, especially when the test set is coming on at 70mph.
I also managed to get photos of ATSF 1024, La Junta's resident 2-6-2, at her new location high above US 50 as you come into downtown. The engine was moved in April, and is now lit at night and has received some much needed paint. Also, as I was walking around the engine, I found a bit of a surprise that will soon be added to the display. You'll just have to see the pictures.
Photos from the trip are posted [here].
UP SPECIAL EASTBOUND
Posted Wednesday, October 23 2013 at 1315 h MDT
Word on Trainorders is that there's a UP special (SHEDV-23, Helper to Denver) following Amtrak 6 across Colorado today. Power is UP 8810, followed by UP passenger cars UPP 1605 ("Powder River", sleeper) and UPP 100 ("Arden", business car). No word on what the purpose of this special is/was, or where it's going after Denver. - NDHolmes
UTA SUGAR HOUSE STREETCAR TESTING
Posted Thursday, October 17 2013 at 1913 h MDT
The Salt Lake Tribune reports that the Utah Transit Authority's new S Line (formerly known the Sugar House Streetcar) stepped up operations to a full schedule of test trains today (Thursday, 17 Oct 2013). The Sugar House line is built atop the old Rio Grande Park City / Sugar House Branch, which was sold to UTA in 2002. The line is scheduled to open to the public on Sunday, 8 Dec 2013.
For the full article, see [this link]. - NDHolmes
EMD SD70ACe-P4 TESTING ON RATON
Posted Tuesday, October 8 2013 at 0929 h MDT
Just as an FYI, EMD and BNSF are testing the new SD70ACe-P4 units on Raton this week. A P4 is a standard SD70ACe, but with only four powered axles and - rumored - one inverter per axle rather than one per truck as in previous EMD AC designs. It's EMD's answer to the ES44C4 from GE.
The test train is two SD70ACe-P4s, four GEs to act as a braking load, four hoppers, and two passenger cars.
No, it's not directly D&RGW-related. Sorry. - NDHolmes
BOB LAMASSENA PASSES AWAY - 1914-2013
Posted Monday, October 7 2013 at 1713 h MDT
Yet another of the big names in Colorado rail history has passed away. Robert A. LaMassena, noted railroad photographer, historian, and author, passed away on Tuesday, 1 Oct 2013. Bob left us a great deal of his amassed knowledge through his books - the most notable to most Rio Grande fans being "Rio Grande... to the Pacific!" RGTTP is an invaluable piece of work, and is still my go-to reference for the Grande's often convoluted historical timeline.
The first I'd heard of this was John Manion's note to the RGMHS list this afternoon, so my apologies about being slow to post this. John also noted that there will probably be a memorial service at CRRM in the near future. Details will be posted as I hear them, so if someone has more details, please email me. - NDHolmes
TIER 4 TEST UNIT COMING WEST
Posted Thursday, October 3 2013 at 2030 h MDT
GECX 2022, one of GE's Tier 4 test units, is on its way west to TTCI in Pueblo, along with GE test car GECX 100. At last report, they were in Galesburg, IL, and the ACI tag on 2022 may still be reporting as UP 2022. I'll try to update the news page when I see reports of it moving west.
Update (4 Oct 2013 - 1550h):The unit and test car were spotted west of Omaha today on a BNSF manifest. They're moving! Expect arrival into Denver tomorrow, I would think, and then movement down the J/L either later this weekend or early next week.
Update #2 (5 Oct 2013 - 1211h):The train passed Yuma at 1000h and Akron at 1145h this morning. Lead motor is reported to be BNSF 5089. Should make it into Denver this evening. - NDHolmes
MOFFAT UP AND RUNNING
Posted Thursday, October 3 2013 at 2023 h MDT
Reports on Trainorders are that the Moffat Tunnel Sub is once again open for business. Apparently the eastbounds have begun flowing as of late this afternoon. Here's to a job well done by all the UP and contract construction forces who made this possible! - NDHolmes
ELK CREEK MINE ABANDONS LONGWALL MACHINE
Posted Thursday, October 3 2013 at 1705 h MDT
Oxbow Mining's Elk Creek Mine, located on the ex-DRGW North Fork Branch, has abandoned its longwall mining machine in place and laid off 150 employees. The machine has been shut down since January when unusually high levels of carbon monoxide were detected. As excess CO (and reportedly visible smoke) is a sign of spontaneous combustion, that section of mine was sealed off in an attempt to smother the affected area. Unfortunately, the area of suspected combustion was behind the longwall face, so sealing the area trapped the machine inside.
Today, Oxbow announced that they're permanently sealing that section of the mine and abandoning the machine in place. With that, half their workforce (150 of ~300 employees) lost their jobs. The mine will still produce coal from other areas using continuous mining techniques, but their capacity is significantly reduced (about 20% of normal, as I understand). That may never happen - the mine was expected to close around 2017-2018, and a new longwall will run $50-100M. Regardless, it makes for a significant blow to the area's economy and for long term traffic on the North Fork. - NDHolmes
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