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    Posted Tuesday, December 20 2011 at 1519 h MST
    The folks from the Georgetown Loop are apparently in negotiations to purchase a small Baldwin from Colombia. The engine is Ferrocarriles Nacionales de Colombia #48, an outside-frame Baldwin 2-8-2 built in 1928. It weighs in at 47 tons and has about 19klbs of tractive effort.

    There was an erroneous report that the purchase was already a done deal, but it's not. The straight scoop on the #48 deal, straight from Jeff Badger himself (who was reportedly one of the individuals sent down to inspect her), can be found on NGDF [here]. -

    Posted Tuesday, December 20 2011 at 1339 h MST
    Word from Utah (thanks to Don Strack and Joshua Bernhard) is that a contractor is busy removing the rails on the Rio Grande's former Tintic Branch. Union Pacific filed to abandon the line in September of 2007, and was granted abandonment on 2 Jan 2008. Don has a very helpful map for understanding the whole line (from the D&RGW days) on his UtahRails site [here].

    Since abandonment, the line has been operated by a subsidiary of the Ophir Minerals & Aggregate Group in order to store cars and service the linestone quarry at Keigley and the grain elevator at Elberta.

    Reports are, so far, that the contractor has pulled about three miles of rail at the west end of the line. Presumably they won't pull back any further than Elberta, since the grain elevator there still receives occasional service, but that's not for certain at this point.

    Posted Sunday, December 11 2011 at 2337 h MST
    Since it was such a nice day out there, I decided to go run the Towner Line this afternoon just to check on the status of the line. The short version is that the whole route is still intact, but V&S has already moved empty rail carriers into the siding at Stuart (just west of Towner) in preparation for scrapping. They've been there at least a week or two (possibly longer) - there's no wheel marks in the snowdrifts to the east, and there's a mighty collection of tumbleweeds underneath. I'll be curious what they use for scrapping power, since V&S's only motive power left the line in August 2009.

    I'll post a bunch more photos tomorrow when I'm slightly more awake, but for now I give you a couple pictures of the rail carriers [here].

    Posted Thursday, December 8 2011 at 1931 h MST
    A&K Railroad Materials (via their subsidiary, the V&S Railway) has made their final payment to the State of Colorado on their purchase of the Towner Line, and has immediately announced their intent to abandon and scrap it. See [this article in the Pueblo Chieftain].

    Not that this is unexpected - most of us have felt it was just a matter of time until A&K scrapped it out. They are, after all, a railroad scrapping company and have a record of buying properties just to part them out. (Colorado & Wyoming from Jansen to West Elk, anyone?) The State still has the first option to repurchase the line, but given Colorado's dire straits, I really doubt the legislature would be willing to part with the estimated $15M to repurchase the route. (Again, see [this other] Chieftain article.)

    I'd expect A&K won't wait long to start lifting rails. If you want pictures of the Towner Line intact, I'd do it in the next few weeks. -

    Posted Wednesday, December 7 2011 at 2212 h MST
    Several of you have written asking for one, so out of popular demand and a need for something to hang in my office next year, I've put together a 2012 calendar from my photography. It's a little heavy on narrow gauge steam this year, but I figure most of you won't mind that much. As usual, these darn things are expensive enough, so I'm not making a dime - what you buy it at is the manufacturing cost, and I'm selling them directly through Lulu.com again. For a preview, see [this page] on my personal website, or go directly over to Lulu [to buy one]. - NDHolmes

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