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    Posted Saturday, October 25 2003 at 2330 h MDT
    I've been hard at work today, overhauling some of the internals of the site in addition to getting new material ready to post. Probably the most exciting addition from today is Chuck Conway's photos of the Rio Grande in 1970s Colorado. Chuck was nice enough to get these ready to go quite a few months back, and I've been an incredibly slothful webmaster and not done a darn thing with them. That's changed, and you can now see them in the newly-reworked Contributed Photos section.

    Also, in the new material category is a new set of track charts covering the Craig Branch in 1963. This is part of the batch that Tom McConnell sent me about two years ago, and as you can see I'm more than a little behind processing and posting things. The charts are available at this link. Update (10/27 - 1000h): More new stuff! I've added 1963 track charts for the Tennessee Pass line and for Pueblo-Walsenburg. -

    Posted Saturday, October 25 2003 at 1159 h MDT
    There's another article in the Rocky Mountain News today about the new proposed north-south rail corridor that would replace the existing lines along the Front Range - the Front Range Sub and the Greeley Sub south of some point, the Limon Sub west of some point, and of course, the Joint Line itself. Once again, the talk is flying about building a rail corridor to the east, leaving the Joint Line open for commuter rail, or, for the more conspiracy-oriented among us, possibly more highways or development. The article can be viewed in the online version here.

    For lack of a better name, I'm going to start referring to this project as Joint Line Version 2. While I've considered project names like Get that D@#$ed Train Out of My Town, they just seemed a bit pointed. While this might seem a bit negative, it's just that I'm a bit skeptical about the true motivations of this project, and if I, the taxpayer, am going to get the privilage of paying for another multi-billion dollar boondoggle, much like DIA, when there are so many other shortfalls we could be looking at correcting.

    Also, on a less cynical note, the Colorado Zephyr reports on Trainorders this morning that the first batch of SP AC4400CWs is being cycled through Burnham to have their prime movers worked on and upgraded to have auto-starting capability. This will allow units to automatically shut down when not in use, saving fuel. If it's anything like the Intelligent Fuel Saver system that GE installed on several CP AC4400CWs, it will shut the locomotive down if it's idling for more than 30 minutes, the outside temperature is good (45F+), and it hasn't shut itself off within some prescribed interval (2 hours for CP). If any of these conditions change by much, the unit starts back up without crew intervention. -

    Posted Wednesday, October 22 2003 at 0040 h MDT
    Ryan Martin posted this shot of a Rio Grande tunnel motor, patched to UP 7877. This unit is apparently some sort of "Peak Power Program" unit from VMV/Paducah, for when Union Pacific needs a few extra horsepower. The real question - what tunnel motor is this? It's clearly from the series from 5341-5373, due to the ratchet handbrake, and the retained classlights and front-mounted horn help narrow it down. My best guess, at the moment, is that it's ex-DRGW 5356 (ex-UP 8614), due to what appears to be a black-painted numberboard area. 5356 was an oddball amoungst Rio Grande units in that the area around its numberboards wasn't painted in Aspen Gold. Sean Graham-White has promised details in the October UP Roster Update, but if anybody has any information sooner, I'd certainly appreciate it. Also, if anybody else sees this thing running around, I'd appreciate photos. Update (22-Oct 2336h): It's confirmed - Sean Graham-White confirmed on the Loconotes list tonight that UP 7877 is former DRGW 5356. Also, for SP fans, UP 7876, the other T-2 in the program, is former SP 8547. - NDHolmes

    Posted Wednesday, October 8 2003 at 2226 h MDT
    I just have an assortment of good tidbits from the past week... First, from the ex-DRGW motive power department, David B. Davies posted a photo of ex-DRGW 5372 in its new RJ Corman paint on his website. The photo is about halfway down this page. ex-DRGW 5398 has surfaced as NREX 5398 running around Southern California on the BNSF.

    Paul Birkholz posted several photos of the work train, powered by DRGW 3121, that ran up to the new bridge at Avon on the Tennessee Pass line. For those unfamiliar with the line, this is well into the out-of-service trackage. The bridge is a result of a new Home Depot and Wal-Mart being built on the "wrong" side of the tracks. Photos from Avon - (#1 , #2 , #3. Photos from tying up at Walcott - (#1 , #2)
    For Paul's notes about these photos, see the DRGW list mirror here.

    Today, two wind turbine trains delivering wind generator gear to Wyoming passed over the Joint Line, one loaded, one returning empty. David Gnuse was nice enough to report this on multiple sources - Trainorders as well as the DRGW and Colorado-Railfan lists.

    As a note, I'll be in Southern California (at the FedEx station in El Segundo) for somewhat over a week working and railfanning, so updates and real-time information might be slow. -

    Posted Sunday, October 5 2003 at 1528 h MDT
    One of the prototype SD70ACe units, GM's 710-based Tier II-compliant unit, was the third-to-last unit on MNYPU this morning. GM 72 / GMDX 1002, the third of these units to be produced, started off from London a couple weeks ago, passing through Proviso in Chicago on 25-Sep-2003. Looking rather like a mini-SD90MAC, these units are based on mostly the same internals as an SD70MAC, except for the 710 engine, which has somehow been made Tier II-emissions compliant. I'm guessing it was done with some sort of precooler on the air intake, since the radiators have been reconfigured and look larger than those on a 90 (I think). It's also much shorter than a 90, more along the length of a 70. After being alerted to its presence by my wife (who was driving past it on the freeway), I ran out the door and chased it from Colorado Springs down to Pueblo. Here's a few photos, for those interested: Left Front (Photo 1, Photo 2); Left Rear (Photo 3); Right Front (Photo 4); Right Rear (Photo 5); and Right Top (Photo 6). - NDHolmes

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