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CALIFORNIA ZEPHYR CANCELLATIONS
Posted Wednesday, February 28 2007 at 1012 h MST
After several days of service problems on the western end of the route due to extremely heavy snow over Donner Pass, Amtrak is having problems getting trainsets where they need to be in order to run the Zephyr (trains 5/6). A report on Trainorders says that today's westbound 5 out of Chicago is cancelled, likely because of the extreme lateness of getting the 6s that left Emeryville on 25-Feb-2007 and 26-Feb-2007 into Chicago. 6(25) was about twelve hours down into Denver yesterday, and 6(26) was about fifteen down near Mesa Siding in Utah yesterday (no word on expected Denver arrival for today's scheduled train, but it will almost certainly be tomorrow mid-morning to noon). That same weather system is hitting Colorado today, so the usual round of weather-induced problems on the Moffat may cause these already late trains to lose yet more time.
As I piece more of the picture together, I'll update this. - NDHolmes
BIG TIME CRIME ON THE RAILS... IN HELPER?
Posted Wednesday, February 28 2007 at 0018 h MST
I know it's only quasi-train related, but it does involve Amtrak and Helper, UT. Apparently five guys were ejected from the eastbound California Zephyr in Helper on 19-Feb-2007 for smoking pot. In the resulting police search, the cops found some $700,000 in US Savings Bonds that they'd stolen from a house in Sparks, NV, and turned the five morons over to the FBI. It's not every day you find such high crime in sleepy little Helper! Read the story [here] on the Las Vegas Sun's website. - NDHolmes
END OF THE MONTH ODDS AND ENDS
Posted Monday, February 26 2007 at 2343 h MST
The SD40T-2 renumbering continues to make room for this year's next SD70ACe order. In addition to the three reported on 12-Jan-2007, there have been the following additional renumberings (thanks to Sean Graham-White and the Loconotes list for these):
- UP 8620 (ex-DRGW 5363) became UP 2892 on 19-Jan-2007
- UP 8599 (ex-DRGW 5407) became UP 9872 on 22-Jan-2007
- UP 8617 (ex-DRGW 5359) became UP 2890 on 22-Jan-2007
- UP 8595 (ex-DRGW 5403) became UP 2933 on 22-Jan-2007
Bill Parker caught up with UP 2882 (ex-DRGW 5342) as it passed through Reno today, and noticed theunit has a large black sheetmetal patch on the rear now. (Photo [here]) Looks like a wreck repair - anybody know what happened to the unit?
When you think of big Rio Grande steam, most think nothing survives - that it was all cut up at the end and sold for scrap. As it turns out, the tender for D&RGW Class M-68 #1800 survives. I received a few photos anonymously of where it sits today - acting as a shed inside the old CF&I mill grounds in Pueblo. It's clearly 1800's tender - you can see both the Rio Grande on the side and the 1800 on the end. See photos [here]. Add that to the list of Rio Grande artifacts that you never knew survived.
Also, there's a fair amount of new stuff scanned and posted:
- 7 new Passenger Timetables from 1951, 1952, 1962, 1963, 1964, 1965, and 1966.
- A very interesting advertising brochure trying to build tourist traffic on the narrow gauge.
- Seven new Equipment Summaries from 1948-1962
- Two new Employee Timetables from the Grand Junction Division - 121 from 1941 and 136 from 1952.
- A whole bunch of old photos from my collection scanned in and added to the rosters, particularly of the GP7s, GP9s, FTs, F3s, and F7s
FAREWELL, MR. RICHARDSON
Posted Sunday, February 25 2007 at 1616 h MST
Yesterday, I saw the sad news posted that one of the greatest men in Colorado railroad preservation had passed away. Robert W. Richardson passed away sometime early Saturday morning in his native Pennsylvania, at the age of almost 97 (a few months shy).
He needs little introduction to most of you - your bookshelves are likely brimming with Colorado history committed to paper by his hand. If you've ever visited the Colorado Railroad Museum, you've seen the fruits of his lifelong work to preserve equipment, even when the power-that-were at the Rio Grande would have rather seen scrapped. His Narrow Gauge News, published by his business partner Carl Helfin and himself from the Narrow Gauge Motel in Alamosa, was instrumental in capturing the twilight years of the Grande's narrow gauge system. It was also instrumental in capturing the fascination of railroad fans around the nation and spreading that infectious narrow gauge fever. Most of all, without his tireless efforts, such valuable artifacts of the narrow gauge as RGS 42, RGS Goose 2, DRGW 346, DRGW 318, DRGW caboose 0500, and countless others would have never been saved.
When I read the news, the book beside me on my desk was Colorado Rail Annual 19, open to "From Mixed Trains to Tourists" by Robert W. Richardson, as I was trying to pin down some event dates on the Silverton branch. I think that's probably most telling about just how much he's contributed to our hobby. Bob was there - documenting it and later putting his analysis to paper to share with all of us. Those of us who came after are just sitting upon the shoulders of such giants - Robertson, Kindig, Perry, etc. I regret that I only got the opportunity to meet him once, last year at the National Narrow Gauge Convention in Durango.
Farewell, Bob. You'll be missed, but absolutely never forgotten. Robert William Richardson, 10-May-1910 to 24-Feb-2007. - NDHolmes
GOOSE 5 ON THE C&TS THIS SUMMER
Posted Friday, February 23 2007 at 0004 h MST
I've received the announcement from several people tonight that RGS Galloping Goose 5 will once again be running on the Cumbres & Toltec Scenic again this summer. The schedule looks like this:
- Tuesday, 19-Jun-2007: Unload in Chama
- Wednesday, 20-Jun-2007: Chama to Antonito, bus return
- Thursday, 21-Jun-2007: Antonito to Osier and return
- Friday, 22-Jun-2007: Antonito to Osier and return
- Saturday, 23-Jun-2007: Antonito to Osier and return
- Sunday, 24-Jun-2007: Antonito to Chama, bus return
- Monday, 25-Jun-2007: Load up at Chama, return to Dolores
Fares will be $85 for the Antonito-Chama and Chama-Antonito runs, and $65 for the Antonito-Osier-Antonito runs. Update (2/23 - 1420h): I just saw that Jay posted on the Goat that the reservations system is not yet ready to handle the Goose trips, so please hold off on calling for reservations right now until further announcement. - NDHolmes
NEW TRIP REPORT - D&S 2007 WINTER PHOTO SPECIAL
Posted Thursday, February 22 2007 at 2224 h MST
Okay, I finally managed to get to sorting through the photos from last weekend's trip to Durango for the D&S's 2007 Winter Photographer's Special. It's not just the regular photo train, though - this year you'll also find night shots included from a special night photo shoot on Saturday, and of 478 painted up as Rio Grande 478 again pulling Saturday's regularly scheduled train.
You can read some of the details of the trip in the intro [here], or just skip ahead to the photos [here]. Enjoy, and sorry I'm a little slow on getting this posted. - NDHolmes
AMTRAK JOINT LINE MOVE
Posted Sunday, February 11 2007 at 2024 h MST
On Sunday, 11-Feb-2007, Amtrak made a special trip down the Joint Line to deliver Amtrak HHP-8 #658 (an 8000hp electric from the Northeast Corridor) and the FRA's new test car, DOTX 220. Power for the move down the Joint Line, since we don't have overhead electrification yet, was Amtrak P32-8BWH #518. Both locomotives came west on Sunday's California Zephyr. DOTX 220, on the other hand, was just released from Colorado Railcar and brought down to Denver Union Station for pickup on Saturday. The pair are headed for Pueblo's AAR Transportation Test Center, where the new car will be certified for 120+ mph operation. Based on what I heard from other fans today, there was a full Amtrak crew aboard, along a BNSF pilot and an HHP-8 qualified engineer straight from the NEC.
I picked the move up at Louviers around 1130h, and followed it down through Colorado Springs. Photos from today's unusual move can be found [here]. - NDHolmes
NEW TRIP REPORT - GEORGIA & FLORIDA
Posted Tuesday, February 6 2007 at 2323 h MST
Well, I haven't gotten anything else done, but I did manage to get everything put together from my recent Georgia/Florida trip. That wouldn't have gotten done either, except for the fact I finished most of it on the long, circuitous plane ride home last Wednesday night. Included are CSX Bone Valley phosphate trains, the Georgia & Florida Railnet, and the Georgia Central Railway, complete with their roster of rare high-nose GE U23Bs. Without further ado, the trip report can be found [here]. - NDHolmes
UP 1989 ON SKI TRAIN THIS WEEKEND
Posted Friday, February 2 2007 at 0728 h MST
I just got home from two weeks on the road, so I'm catching up a bit on news - sorry this is a little late being posted. UP 1989, the DRGW Heritage motor, will be leading the Ski Train this weekend. There are already photos posted of it tied on the front at Union Station on Trainorders, so it's confirmed. It's supposed to be some nasty weather this weekend, but hopefully somebody will make it out to see this unique move. - NDHolmes
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