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    Posted Thursday, February 27 2014 at 2252 h MST
    The new Price River Terminal - transloading Uinta Basin crude oil into railcars at Wellington, UT - shipped its first complete unit train of oil on Tuesday, 25 Feb 2014. The facility came online in December of last year and has been shipping blocks of cars, but this is the first solid unit train being moved. Most Uinta oil is moved to the nearby refineries in North Salt Lake, as it's a very heavy, waxy oil that will solidify if not kept warm. Most likely, that's where these units trains are headed.

    With the general lack of traffic moving over Soldier Summit these days, it's a nice change to see something new. One of these days I'll get back over there and hopefully photograph some of these moves. -

    Posted Thursday, February 27 2014 at 0001 h MST
    Matt Darling sent me five photos taken by his father, Wayne Darling, of the two new Amtrak ACS64s being transported by the eastbound California Zephyr today. Matt and Wayne hail from Grand Junction, and Wayne caught them as they passed through town around 1300h today. I've put them in an album [here]. Thanks to both of you for sending these over! - NDHolmes

    Posted Tuesday, February 25 2014 at 2331 h MST
    A report on Trainorders says that new ACS64 units 607 & 608 will be sandwiched into the consist of today's eastbound Zephyr out of Emeryville, CA. That means they'll be crossing over the former D&RGW tomorrow (Wednesday, 25 Feb 2014) during the day. If anybody gets shots, I'd appreciate a few to post. - NDHolmes

    Posted Monday, February 24 2014 at 1731 h MST
    Back in 1880, Jackson and Sharp cranked out D&RG narrow gauge coach #46 in Wilmington, DE, and shipped it west. Little did they know that 134 years later, that coach would not only still be in service, but upgraded to one of the premiere cars on the surviving narrow gauge.

    #46 didn't particularly have a glamorous existance. It became D&RG coach 270 in 1886, and was eventually relegated to work train service in 1924 as kitchen-diner D&RGW 0270. It continued its mundane existance in maintenance service until the D&S was founded in 1982, and was then rebuilt again back to being D&S coach car "Pinkerton".

    Now the D&S is upgrading the car again to be part of its parlor car fleet, rather than just an ordinary coach. The newly rebuilt car will be named "Yankee Girl", and should join the fleet by the start of the Summer 2014 season.

    The Durango Herald has an article about the conversion [here]. -

    Posted Monday, February 24 2014 at 0625 h MST
    There will be new passenger power to ride behind out of Alamosa this year. SLRG 9925, an E9AM, arrived in Alamosa in January. The unit was built as one of the CB&Q's stainless E9A units in 1954 (CBQ 9995, to be exact), and later was rebuilt by Morrison-Knutsen as an E9AM for BN and Metra (the Chicago commuter agency) as their 9925. After running out its last miles in commuter service, it bounced around between owners for a while before being purchased by Iowa Pacific (the SLRG's parent company), who had it repainted in IC-inspired colors in 2013. It was shipped west in December, got hung up in Iowa with an undisclosed mechanical issue before Christmas, and finally arrived in Alamosa in late January.

    I took a drive down south on Saturday afternoon, and found 9925 in the Alamosa yard with SLRG 1100 (the F unit). I've posted a picture of it [here].

    That said, 9925's arrival also brings up what's been rumored now for several months. Sources who should know tell me that there won't be steam at all on the Rio Grande Scenic this season. Much like last year, reports from Alamosa are that SLRG 18, their ex-LS&I 2-8-0, is stored inside the shed with no winter work going on. As far as I could see, that appeared to be true on Saturday, as 18 was nowhere to be found. Their website also supports the "no steam in 2014" theory, as there's no mention at all about steam in any of the trip information. -

    Posted Friday, February 21 2014 at 2311 h MST
    Yvonne of the Durango & Silverton (aka "BoxcarBetty" on NGDF) has posted what's currently in the works for D&S Railfest 2014. The event is currently scheduled for Thursday, August 14, 2014, through Sunday, August 17, 2014. The proposed (but not final) schedule is posted [here]. - NDHolmes

    Posted Tuesday, February 18 2014 at 2158 h MST
    As of two weeks ago, today's #6 into Denver (today being Tuesday, Feb 18, 2014) should have been the first train into Amtrak's new digs at the remodeled Denver Union Station. Early last week, I got news that it had been slipped, and today would not be the day.

    From two folks who should know, I have a new date for y'all... As of yesterday, the date is now Feb 28th. No idea which train, but I presume the transition will take place during the workday and it'll be #6 again doing the honors.

    I'll let you know if I hear anything more. -

    Posted Monday, February 17 2014 at 1833 h MST
    Amtrak 6 - the one that left Emeryville on Feb 14 - was beset by problems between Grand Junction and Dotsero on Saturday. It was on time into Grand Junction, and then managed to lose almost four hours getting to Glenwood Springs. (There was a report of a sinkhole east of De Beque that opened up on Friday, per Jan Girarot on the DRGW list. No idea of the trouble spot caused further delays on Saturday.)

    You might think that's bad enough, but things were about to get worse. Apparently due to serious slides in Glenwood Canyon, it was delayed another 13+ hours at GWS. It finally departed eastbound around 0130h on Sunday morning. At least Amtrak let the passengers out to explore town while they were stuck.

    The beleaguered 6(14) finally made Denver around 1315h on Sunday. At least that was still 12h30m ahead of #6(15), which was 7 hours late and arrived at 0225h this morning. (Again, was only a couple hours late until Grand Junction - Glenwood, where it took a 4 hour hit.)

    With the heavy snowfall this year and somewhat abnormal temperature swings, it's going to be one of those springtimes. No need to come to the Rockies - they're coming to you! -

  • WILLIAM J HOLTMAN, 1921-2014
    Posted Monday, February 17 2014 at 1808 h MST
    William Joseph Holtman, the last president of the D&RGW, passed away last Tuesday, Feb 11, 2014. After stepping down from the SP (post-merger) as Vice Chairman, he and his wife lived out their retirement in Lakewood. Funeral services were this morning. More information can be found in his obituary on the Archdiocese of Denver Mortuary Chapel website. - NDHolmes

    Posted Friday, February 14 2014 at 2105 h MST
    The official grand opening was announced via RTD's email list this morning. The date is Friday, 9 May 2014. There will be a ribbon cutting (along with the usual bloviation by politicians, I'm sure) at noon on the corner of 17th and Wewatta, and then an afternoon of grand opening celebrations. That's all the details at this point, folks.

    Also, Amtrak is supposed to return to DUS sooner than the official reopening. The word early last week was that the first Amtrak was supposed to roll back in to Denver Union Station on the evening of Tuesday, 18 Feb 2014. However, reports from late in the week (and a different source) indicate that it has now been pushed back by two weeks. I'll update you as I can get more information. -

    Posted Sunday, February 9 2014 at 2326 h MST
    I saw a post from Jeff Carlson on Trainorders today that BNSF is sending their two modified SD70ACes (9130 and 9131), the liquified natural gas fuel tender, and engineering cars "Canyon Diablo" and "Kootenai River" to Pueblo from Topeka. They were supposed to depart around 1130h CST on Sunday, and presumably they're going to the test center. I don't actually know for sure they're going into TTCI - they may be coming up for high altitude testing.

    For those two don't know what the contraption looks like, [here's a picture]. -

    Posted Thursday, February 6 2014 at 2157 h MST
    Report from Larry Green is that a BNSF northbound manifest derailed about ten cars in Sedalia today. He reports "Second unit in consist new KCS Bell. All cars and units still upright for the most part.  One set of wheels off a box car has rolled down the street and parked themselves at gas station." - NDHolmes

    Posted Monday, February 3 2014 at 2252 h MST
    The John W. Barriger III National Railroad Library has digitized JWB3's collection of photos taken over his years as a railroad executive and placed them online. Barriger was never an officer of the Rio Grande, but apparently made several trips over the Grande's various lines, photographing it off the back platform.

    The images have almost no metadata, but look to have been taken in the late 1940s and early 1950s based on the signals and mix of steam/diesel power. Most of the locations are recognizable or can be deduced from the photos around them.

    The Rio Grande section of the collection can be found [here]. -

    Posted Monday, February 3 2014 at 1907 h MST
    Just a heads up - the former Milwaukee Road Skytop "Coffee Creek" is on its way to Alamosa under reporting marks SLRG 3311. A report by SD45X on Trainorders this morning says it's on the back of DILKCK (Dilworth, MN, to Kansas City, KS) today, and should be making its way south through western Iowa about now. I'd look for it to come in KCKDEN later this week. BNSF will probably drop it at Pueblo so UP can move it to Walsenburg. - NDHolmes

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