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CO/NM TOURIST TRAIN UPDATES
Posted Friday, April 28 2006 at 1122 h MDT
I've not had much time to spend updating the site (or responding to email, so if you're still waiting, I'm sorry - I'll try to finish up the backlog this weekend), and in the meantime a million interesting little bits on the Colorado tourist lines seem to build up. None large enough for their own news story, but worth mentioning together.
First, from the C&TS front: The Friends have acquired the Richard Dorman collection of historic photographs, which has a large contingent of Rio Grande narrow gauge photos. Press release [here].
The Friends have also come to the rescue and chipped in to resolve the Fixed Asset issue - essential items that were purchased by the RGRPC but for which they were never reimbursed and thus, never transferred to the Commission. The RGRPC offered a price of $130k, the Commission was willing to pay $105k, and the Friends closed the gap to ensure that these critical items would remain on the railroad and not be sold elsewhere. Read the Friends press release [here].
The State of Colorado is finally starting to live up to its obligations to the railroad. Thanks to the tireless efforts of Colorado State Senator Lewis Entz (R-Hooper, CO), the railroad will be getting $1.3 million this year from Colorado. In addition, New Mexico will be providing a million for track/locomotive repairs, as well as $535k in operating cash.
I can't remember if I mentioned this previously, but a new operator has been selected for the railroad - the Cumbres & Toltec Scenic Management Corp. Probably the best explanation of the new company is on the Friends site [here]. The new operating company has purchased some 13,000 used but solid standard gauge ties from the UP (removed from the ex-Grande main near Rifle, I've read). They're slowly being cut and installed on the east end of the railroad. In addition, the phones are back up and running, the new reservation system is nearly ready, winter repairs to the locomotives are almost complete, and things are general look good.
Due to the turmoil during the usual vacation planning season, and the number of stories on the railroad's turmoil that made the mainstream media, remember that they need all the help they can get to spread the word that the C&TS is open for business this year. Tell your friends, tell your enemies, but one of the most important things right now is to tell people that the C&TS is running. Opening day will be 27-May-2006, with trips running through 15-Oct-2006.
Per Jay Wimer at the Goat, RGS Galloping Goose 5 is returning to the C&TS this year. It'll be on the railroad between Wednesday, 7-Jun-2006, and Monday, 11-Jun-2006, running different trips each day. Call the C&TS reservation line for more information - 1-888-CUMBRES - or see the official website.
As for Colorado's other ex-Rio Grande narrow gauge, the Durango & Silverton is making the news with their new firefighting plans. It's looking like it may be another dry year in southwest Colorado, and certainly any repeat of 2002 would be devastating. So, the D&S is investing heavily in firefighting technology. Read all about in the Denver Post [here].
The new tourist trains running over the San Luis & Rio Grande are also starting to take shape. Power for these trains will not be the F40M-2Fs that have been delivered, but apparently some F10s (Paducah rebuilt GM&O F3 units) that have not yet arrived on the railroad. I saw this in Railfan & Railroad, and then saw that it had been confirmed by Earl Knoob. Their website now features online ticketing and a webcam that watches the downtown yard.
Jason Midyette posted a few pictures of progress on Colorado & Southern #9, the narrow gauge 2-6-0 being restored for operation at the Loop. When this started, I publicly stated my doubts about whether anything good would come of tearing down 9, and I have to say I was wrong. It looks beautiful, and we should see it operating again this year. See the photos [here].
JOINT LINE RAILFAN MEET - SAT, 30-APR-2006
Posted Wednesday, April 26 2006 at 1602 h MDT
The first Joint Line Railfan Meet for 2006 is coming up on Sunday, 30-Apr-2006. The meet, organized by railfans Mike Keithly and Lee Ryan, will be held at the usual location - in the park at Palmer Lake, CO. The meet officially starts at 1000h near the north side parking lot. Things are reasonably informal - lunch is your own responsibility (though The Depot restaurant across the street is quite good), and the meet will run until everyone leave. Weather for Saturday is projected to be in the low 60s and partly cloudy, so dress appropriately. Sorry on such short notice, but I'm still trying to catch up from being gone and noticed I'd missed this one. - NDHolmes
D&RGW HERITAGE SD70ACe
Posted Tuesday, April 11 2006 at 1347 h MDT
While we're on the subject of SD70ACes today, I see that Tom Stolte of Oddballs Decals posted a bit from UP to the D&RGW list. The D&RGW Heritage series SD70ACe is scheduled to be mid-June 2006 in Denver. It will be followed by the CNW Heritage unit a month later, unveiled in Chicago, and a month after that by the SP unit, unveiled at Roseville, CA. - NDHolmes
NEW BNSF SD70ACes ON THE JOINT LINE
Posted Tuesday, April 11 2006 at 1336 h MDT
BNSF 9370 and 9371, two brand new SD70ACes, are currently leading a southbound TXUX coal train on the Joint Line. I caught up with it just north of Palmer Lake, CO, about 1215h, and as of writing this (1330h), it's in Colorado Springs. I believe these are the first BNSF SD70ACes to actually move over the Joint Line, and it's one of the first revenue runs anywhere for the two units. (Update 1350h: They're not the first. They're maybe second and third. First went to BNSF 9376, which was apparently one of the trailing DPUs on a southbound TGNX train last Saturday. Thanks to Tyler for the correction.) Photos available [here]. - NDHolmes
JOINT LINE BOEING MOVEMENT
Posted Monday, April 10 2006 at 1018 h MDT
On Sunday, 9-Apr-2006, special high/wide train J-MISNEW (Missoula, MT, to Newton, KS) came down the Joint Line with a bunch of empty Boeing fuselage carriers and a few other Boeing cars. While power across Montana had been MRL F45 #392, that was changed at Laurel, MT, to BNSF 7137, an old green ex-BN SD40-2, along with some ugly MRL SD45 (one of the grey, unrepainted ones). The MRL unit and a few stack cars on the back were apparently dropped at Denver, and 7137 continued on its own. Photos of the move can be found [here]. - NDHolmes
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