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    Posted Friday, January 17 2003 at 1403 h MST
    Today (17-Jan) at 1230h, a northbound BNSF manifest derailed 5 cars at the Englewood crossovers on the Joint Line. This is in the rail corridor running from Denver-Littleton, and apparently the derailment has all three mainlines locked. Thanks to Jim B. and the Colorado Zephyr in this thread over on Trainorders for the news. - NDHolmes

    Posted Thursday, January 9 2003 at 1442 h MST
    Bruce C. from Silt just reported on both Trainorders.com and the DRGW list that UP sent two storage moves up the Tennessee Pass mainline today from the west side. Both movements were strings of empty coal cars moving up as far as Walcott. The first string was lead by SP 121 and UP 7522, the second by SP 179 and 180. Bruce has posted photos over on Trainorders of Train #1 and Train #2. - NDHolmes

    Posted Wednesday, January 8 2003 at 2108 h MST
    By way of Paul B., this was crossposted to the Rio Grande list tonight: "If anyone's interested, I overheard M/W talk today about grinderactivity planned for tomorrow (1/9) for Palmer Lake, CO, and north.The plan I heard was to get the grinder from Kelker and have it readyto run at Palmer Lake sometime between 7:30-8:00am. They are goingto grind Main 2 from Palmer Lake for 2 miles north, then head back tothe single track. Then they are going to grind on Main 1 (againsttraffic) all the way from Palmer Lake to Sedalia at which point theyare going to crossover to Main 2." I know some of you are interested in rail grinding operations, so I thought I'd pass this along. - NDHolmes

    Posted Saturday, January 4 2003 at 2132 h MST
    Kevin Morgan posted what I believe to be the first photos on the net of the 2002-2003 Winter Ski Train runs. His Train Logs now include about three dozen photos from the 21-22 December 2002 runs, and can be found here. - NDHolmes

    Posted Wednesday, January 1 2003 at 1101 h MST
    As most of you are aware, the RGRPC gave up trying to operate the C&TS under the old contract with the Commission. When the railroad was closed due to fire danger last summer, they notified the Commission that they would be moving off the property in late October 2002. With no operator for next season lined up, the Commission is currently trying to find a new operator and write up a new contract, or risk not operating at all or operating it themselves. Yesterday, the Friends posted the RFP responses on the website for public comment. You can view them here. Thanks to Jay Wimer for pointing this out over on the Goat. - NDHolmes

    Posted Wednesday, January 1 2003 at 0943 h MST
    Operational Changes: MDVRO/MRODV, the Denver-Roper through manifests, were eliminated in early February, following on the heels of the elimination of ZDVRO/ZRODV. New signals have been installed on the Dotsero Cutoff and along the Joint Line. The crippling threat of forest fires brought both the Durango & Silverton and the Cumbres & Toltec to their knees - to the point that, at this time, there is no operator for the C&TS next season.

    However, it's been a rough year for those wanting to see Rio Grande power. The last big mainline Rio Grande-powered trains were in 2001 (five over Soldier Summit in March 2001, five on MRODV in Feb 2001, etc.) - this year, it was rare to find a single motor on a train, let alone four or five of them. The only Rio Grande strongholds were the Dirt Train in Utah, the Montrose Local (drawing one or two until recently), and the locals out of Denver and Pueblo. As of late, both the Canon City local and MPUAA/MAAPU have been drawing three DRGW GP40-2s.

    Roster Changes: The last two GP60s, regularly holding down assignments like the Ski Train and MDVPU/MPUDV, were patched into UP in late January, closing out the GP60s. The last DRGW SD45 on UP rails (though long retired), 5326, was shipped out to the scrapper in April, closing out that group. Last year at this time, we had ten tunnel motors still on the roster, and now we're down to six. Not bad, really - twelve months, and only 4 units retired or painted. To the fallen we add 5375 (January), 5365 and 5384 (May), 5377 (December). As for the SD50s, we had two coming into 2002, and two going out (5503 and 5507).

    The GP40-2s are also holding their own, numbering around 20, having lost only one (3120 - August) in 2002. In addition, during April, UP cleaned out the dead Rio Grande power at Burnham, shipping it all out to Yermo in California or to scrappers in the east. There is hope - 5413 and 5391, thought to be destined for the torch at Larry's Truck Electric, were pulled and sent for rebuilding by a division of the Wheeling & Lake Erie for service in Maine. Also, the NYS&W has acquired at least one ex-Grande motor for use. Don't forget 3011, the GP30 still in Loveland but destined for preservation by the Colorado Railroad Museum.

    Anyway, as we close out 2002 and take time to account the important stuff in life (family, friends, etc.), also remember how fast the Grande is disappearing. Two years ago, signs of the road were still everywhere. Today, they're infrequent and fading fast. Enjoy it while you still can. -

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