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MORE IN AND OUT OF TTCI
Posted Thursday, June 20 2013 at 1604 h MDT
Yesterday, the third and final shipment of Amtrak equipment to TTCI for testing the ACS-64s moved down the Joint Line. Power was Amtrak 97 and 12, followed by eight Amfleet cars and one oddball that appears to be a Horizon car. (It's hard to tell - I haven't gotten a good look at it, as it's quite distant in most posted photos.)
Meanwhile, the yellow Caterpillar SD70ACe 1201 has emerged from TTCI and is sitting at the fuel rack in Pueblo this afternoon. It's due to catch a ride east tonight/tomorrow on BNSF's HKCKDEN.
In related news, ACS-64 602 is supposed to be unveiled today out in California. It, like 600 and 601, is supposed to work east over the California Zephyr. Unlike its siblings, however, this one is supposed to right on to Delaware without stopping at TTCI. - NDHolmes
MOVIE FILMING WITH 463 STARTS ON C&TS
Posted Thursday, June 20 2013 at 1545 h MDT
Former D&RGW K-27 463, recently restored to operation, will star in a movie currently being made on and around the C&TS. There's no official word of the title, but all signs point to it being Seth MacFarlane's "A Million Ways to Die in the West". Stars in the film (other than our beloved K-27, of course) include Amanda Seyfried, Charlize Theron, Neil Patrick Harris, Liam Neeson, Seth himself, Sarah Silverman, Giovanni Ribisi, and a host of others.
463 has received a large fake headlight (oddly reminiscent of some early RGS headlights), a removable but hideous balloon stack for the filming, and the tender has been relabeled with "D&RGW" in big white letters. Pictures of the modified 463 can be found [here].
A number of freight cars have also been relettered for filming. They carry the letters "D&RGW" in a very strange logo (looks like a banner flying over a stylized representation of an old fabricated tube plow), and the words "Southern Railway". Since I'm guessing you can't quite picture it, [here's a post with pictures].
463 double-headed with one of the K-36s on today's Chama-Antonito train. It was 463 in the lead, then 488, then then regular passenger cars, and then a string of the relabled freight cars. At Cumbres, the broke the train in half, and 463 proceeded on to Antonito on its own with the freight cars in tow. Roger Hogan has posted photos of the move [here].
I can't say as I'm too fond of the 463's look, but it's nice to see big-budget movies returning to the C&TS for filming. And at least the thing is painted in realistic colors with semi-realistic lettering and numbering.
Hopefully the movie company will be held to returning the equipment to its correct appearance upon their departure. This is a lesson learned from our recent night shoot with caboose 0579, which is still missing all of its lettering on one side because of a movie shoot several years back. - NDHolmes
ANYBODY WANT TO BUY WOODSIDE?
Posted Wednesday, June 19 2013 at 1125 h MDT
Yes, that's right, apparently Woodside, UT, is for sale. The abandoned town near milepost 581 of the D&RGW Utah desert mainline is for sale - at the downright crazy price of $3.9M. For that insane number, you get an abandoned, run down gas station and 700 acres of desert, with a lineside view of the former Grande. It's also got frontage on US Highway 6, which is probably why the price tag is so bizarrely high.
For those interested, see [this article] from the High Country News. - NDHolmes
DRGW 0584 LOST TO ROYAL GORGE FIRE
Posted Thursday, June 13 2013 at 2333 h MDT
As many of you are already aware, the hot, windy, dry weather that's settled over Colorado this week has allowed a spate of wildfires to pop up and spread with amazing ferocity.
I don't mean to in any way diminish the huge impact of these fires to people's homes and lives. It's certainly top on my mind personally, as I have a number of friends who have either already lost their homes or are evacuated and just don't know. However, every other news organization is already covering that. So I'll stick to what this site does best - covering the fires as they relate to the D&RGW and Colorado railroading.
One of the first to start, the Royal Gorge Fire, began to the southwest of the Royal Gorge Bridge and spread to the northeast. In the process, it jumped the canyon roughly at the bridge site, and burned most of the park structures. DRGW K-37 499 and caboose 0584 were on the northeast end of the park, and most of us feared the worst for the old wooden caboose.
Sadly, it's true. D&RGW 0584, one of five narrow gauge 26' "long cabooses" built by the Grande in 1900, is a complete loss. You can see it [here] as it appeared the last time I photographed it in 2010. Fox 21 News (KXRM) out of Colorado Springs posted [a number of photos] from the Royal Gorge Park that show the damage. The pertinent one here is [this one (#4)], showing only a pile of metal and ashes behind 499 where 0584 used to be.
Hopefully we can get word to the right people in Canon City and the Royal Gorge Park that the metal remains need to be saved and hauled off to the dump. Even if they're not used to build a replica 0584, they could still go into other historic D&RGW cabooses in need of restoration.
FYI, for those wondering, my house is miles away from the flames and in almost no danger no matter which way this thing goes. My office, on the other hand, is right up there in the thick of it. Our management decided to kick us out yesterday when we were put on voluntary evacuation, and then this afternoon, officials converted that to a mandatory evacuation. So I'm working from my couch for at least the next few days. - NDHolmes
SATURDAY'S AMTRAK JOINT LINE MOVE
Posted Sunday, June 9 2013 at 0024 h MDT
As expected, Amtrak moved another of their new ACS-64s (AMTK #601) down the Joint Line today. The units are coming in on the California Zephyr from the Siemens plant building them in California. They're then switched out in Denver and taken south to Pueblo and east to the TTC interchange at Avondale as a special move. Today's train was AMTK 133, AMTK 601, AMTK 19, and AMTK 90200 (ex-F40PH "cabbage").
I actually managed to get my lazy butt out of bed this morning to catch the move. Photos and the story of today's train can be found [here] in sort of a half-news gallery, half-trip report.
The first of these engines (AMTK 600) showed up two weeks ago and moved in much the same fashion. Matt Darling caught up with it around Grand Junction and sent me a few shots, which I've posted [here]. Thanks to Matt for sending those in. - NDHolmes
HERE COMES ANOTHER ONE - ACS-64 601
Posted Thursday, June 6 2013 at 2226 h MDT
Another new ACS-64 was connected to the eastbound Colorado Zephyr at Emeryville, CA, on Thursday morning, 6 Jun 2013. That'll put it across Colorado tomorrow and into Denver tomorrow night. I would assume this one will move south around first light on Saturday, but don't have any confirmation on that yet.
And yes, thanks to those who sent pictures of the move of Amtrak 600 two weeks ago. I'm sorry I haven't gotten them posted yet, but I will soon. Been a busy couple of weeks around here. - NDHolmes
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