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    Posted Sunday, January 30 2011 at 2334 h MST
    I'm going to try to start 2011 off right - at least one trip report each month. January's is pushing right up against my deadline, but I made it.

    This month's covers what several of us agree was the bargain photo special of the decade - last summer's special on the San Luis & Rio Grande (aka the Rio Grande Scenic Railroad), with 2-8-0 #18 pulling five heavyweight cars. Fourteen hours, two crews, thirteen run-bys on the seldom-photographed La Veta line, beautiful weather, standard gauge steam, and only $58.

    In addition, I've tacked on a few photos from two weeks ago, when 18 pulled its first regular, open-to-the-public trip over La Veta during the winter. The engine was already hot from an AARPCO special, so they put it on the front of the regular Saturday Winter Wonderland train. The train sold out, filling two domes and the club car to capacity. Thanks to Nathan Z. winning a season pass in their photo contest using one of his shots from the August trip, he went for free and I went for half price. Another bargain trip way too good to pass up.

    The new trip report is posted [here]. -

    Posted Saturday, January 29 2011 at 2108 h MST
    On 14 Dec 2010, C&S 2-6-0 #9 was finally moved by truck from Palisade, CO, to its new home in Breckenridge. This move has been over a year in the making. Over a year ago, I photographed the engine in Palisade, CO, in a near-finished state from its most recent restoration. Finally in December this came to fruition, but I hadn't gotten the chance to go see its new accommodations yet. On my way back from the western slope today, I stopped for a few twilight shots of the new engine shed - it really looks quite good, though 9 needs a bath already. Now if they ever get the tender, it'll be in good shape again.

    Photos of the new enclosure taken this evening (Saturday, 29 Jan 2011) can be found [here]. -

    Posted Friday, January 28 2011 at 2038 h MST
    Roger Hogan reports that repairs for the Cumbres & Toltec's Lobato Trestle are moving forward. The contract for the new girders has apparently been let to Stinger Welding of Coolidge, AZ, who specializes in steel bridge fabrication. Beams are expected on site in New Mexico in late March - early April. NMDOT is doing project management, in addition to providing a large chunk of the funding, and is currently looking to let the construction contract. Completion is still expected in mid-May 2011. - NDHolmes

  • LOOP GETS WSL #9 and CyZ 2-8-0
    Posted Friday, January 28 2011 at 2031 h MST
    The Georgetown Loop has just signed a deal with the Midwest Central Railroad where the GLR will overhaul and lease West Side Lumber Shay #9 for 7-10 years, and permanently acquired former Ferrocarril Coahuila y Zacatecas 2-8-0 #1, an 1897 outside frame Baldwin from Mexico.

    Shay 9 - the twin of former Ashby Loop Shays 8 and 10 - has been in Iowa since its acquisition from West Side Lumber back in 1966. It only gets run a few days every year - largely during the Old Threshers Reunion - and thus is in very good shape. It'll be shipped to Silver Plume any day now.

    To run #9 on an FRA-governed railroad, it will need the full FRA Form 4 inspections and paperwork done. This will be handled by the Loop prior to placing the engine in service (hopefully) this summer.

    Meanwhile, Georgetown Loop #12 will be headed for Iowa and the MCRR to take the Shay's place. Then, in July, the MCRR will ship off the former CyZ 2-8-0 to Colorado. Presumably, this is to give them time to get #9 out of the shop and in service. Once there, the Loop and History Colorado (the former CHS) will undertake the rebuilding of the 2-8-0.

    In the end, 9 will go back to the MCRR in Iowa, and the MCRR and Loop will swap titles between 12 and 1. The Loop will wind up with a rebuilt heavy 2-8-0, and the Midwest Central will get #9 fully rebuilt, #12, and enough additional cash to complete the restoration of their #2. -

    Posted Wednesday, January 26 2011 at 1114 h MST
    Last spring, D&RGW C-16 #278 was removed from her long-time home on the bridge at Cimarron in preparation for an overdue restoration.

    This past weekend, the next stage of that restoration started - the move from the National Park Service yard at Cimarron to Palisade, CO. Presumably the contract for restoration has been given to John Braun's Mammoth Locomotive Works, given that 278 is stored at the same site that C&S 9 was during her restoration.

    278 made the move on Saturday, 22-Jan-2010, and the tender followed the next day. Two photos of the move can be found on NGDF [here], and more details about the move and restoration can be found [here]. -

    Posted Wednesday, January 5 2011 at 1000 h MST
    I'm just starting to catch up on things, and realized I'd never posted anything about the first winter steam trip on the Rio Grande Scenic (the passenger side of the San Luis & Rio Grande).

    From the press release:

    "Engine No. 18 will be warmed up and put on the tracks for the first time in January. It's rare to have steam to operate in the winter. Trip will include a photo run by in the mountains to capture the billows of steam with the pines and snow covered Rocky Mountains as the backdrop.  Aboard you'll ride high to remote valleys inaccessible by cars to view pristine natural winter settings. Lunch is available for purchase on this ride. Seating will be limited so don't delay in making reservations.

    Departing Saturday January 15th from Alamosa, the ride includes a short stop in the quaint mountain town of La Veta. Warm beverages will be available for purchase to enhance your winter ride experience. January Steam Special departs at 10:00 a.m."

    The price will be the same as the regular train - $58 adult dome, $48 senior/child dome; $48 adult club car, and $38 senior/child club car. The trip will include a run-by somewhere up in the mountains if weather permits, so dress warmly and bring those cameras. More details and reservations can be found on the official website [here].

    Update (1/5 - 1050h): I just got a followup from the RGSR/SLRG's webmaster, letting me know that they'd almost sold out the consist they had planned and have added another dome. Sounds like tickets are selling well, so don't delay! -

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