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    Posted Wednesday, April 24 2013 at 1628 h MDT
    We all thought that the two model railroad clubs in the basement of Denver Union Station were safe from the redevelopment. Both competing development groups gave assurances to RTD and the public that, should they win the contract, the model railroads would be allowed to stay and be highlighted as part of the building's historic nature. In a quote published in the Denver Post back in 2011, when Union Station Alliance was trying to win the development contract, their own Dana Crawford was quoted as saying, "We want to make it more of a museumlike place. They're a huge asset to the community, and we want to give them more exposure because they aren't seen enough." Their [own development proposal] even shows them in the basement, and has a whole slide devoted to the message of, "The Platte Valley & Western Model Railroad Club and Denver Society of Model Railroads will remain in the basement of the station."

    The two clubs are very much part of Union Station's history. The HO scale Platte Valley & Western has been in the basement for the past 35 years, and the O scale Denver Society of Model Railroaders has been there for 80. Legend has it that the DSMR was given space in the basement because members were the ones who mucked out the space after the 1933 Cherry Creek floods filled it with mud and debris. Both clubs mothballed their layouts in April 2011 to protect them during the construction and anticipated reopening in 2014 based on those assurances from the development groups.

    Despite those assurances, the Union Station Alliance has now decided that at least one of the clubs needs to go for the sake of the redevelopment. They've given notice to the Platte Valley & Western to tear out the layout and vacate the space. They have about a month to tear out 35+ years of modeling efforts, and are basically homeless. They're planning to save as much as possible in storage until another suitable location can be found. The Denver Business Journal has more in their story [here]. The status of the Denver Society of Model Railroaders' O scale layout is still in question - their website says that despite the news articles, they've not received official notice yet.

    The statement from the developer - as quoted by a Westword article about the situation - is: "As with the renovation of any historic building, there is a time in a renovation when removing hazardous materials and environmental abatement work must begin. This work will allow the building to be renovated to current building code and current life safety standards. As we begin this process, we must remove all items from the basement storage area in order to allow this work to be done. In addition to the abatement work, we will be installing new mechanical systems in the basement of Union Station." If that's true, then their 2011 statements about keeping the layouts would appear to me to be, at best, completely inept project planning. At worst, well, I leave that to the reader's conclusions based on what evidence shows they said two years ago when they wanted to win the contract, and what they've said in the last couple weeks now that they have it.

    If you know of space, or can help them in other ways, I'm sure they'd be grateful for any and all help - contact them via [their website]. The Riverfront Park Community Foundation has already given a $25,000 grant to assist them in storage and finding a new location. Also, you can contact your RTD Board member or contact the developers directly through their website and let them know how you feel about this change in plans. Unfortunately it's probably too late to stop the demolition of the PV&W layout, but it never hurts to send a message that the public does care about the commitments they've made to preserving these historic Denver treasures. -

    Posted Tuesday, April 16 2013 at 1438 h MDT
    As we say every spring here in Colorado - don't bother coming to the mountains, they'll be coming to you. As the ground begins to thaw and water begins to run, the torrent of rocks starts down the hillside towards highways, railways, and towns. The effects of erosion has plagued the Grande since its earliest days, and this year's no exception.

    There's a report on Trainorders of a decent rockslide in Glenwood Canyon between Shoshone and Grizzly. Apparently trains backed up all over the place, and there's an Operation Lifesaver special running out of Glenwood today just to add to the mix. -

    Posted Friday, April 12 2013 at 2244 h MDT
    The Talgo Series VIII trainset that went into the Transportation Test Center back in early December emerged today to head for its new home in the Pacific Northwest. Amtrak P42s 179 and 79 picked the cars up from the Avondale wye at approximately 1030h this morning and headed for Pueblo. Apparently UP was doing some work at Pueblo Junction and in the process severed some critical control cables. With all the general head-scratching, hand throwing of switches and talking the train through signals, they would up leaving via the Santa Fe side (rather than the Rio Grande side, as originally planned) around 1515h.

    I managed to escape the office at about 1530h and caught up with the movement at Buttes (just south of Fountain, at approximately milepost ~95). However, it turned out to be a frustrating chase through bad traffic and crappy weather, so while I followed him from Buttes to Castle Rock, I only got about five decent photo ops. The results of today's chase are posted [here].

    I haven't heard yet what the routing west of Denver to Portland will be, but I'll post an update if I hear anything. I would suspect it will leave Denver tomorrow or Sunday. -

    Posted Thursday, April 11 2013 at 1002 h MDT
    The Friends have announced that 463's inaugural charter trip over the C&TS. Unlike last year's announcement of basically the same trip, 463 is actually finished and ready to go this time. As you've read in previous news blurbs, it's already been out on test runs to Lava and back.

    The trip will leave Antonito at 0830h on Monday, 20 May 2013, and run over to Chama with run-bys and lunch at Osier included. The price is $185 for tourist class, $125 for coach ($115 for Friends members), and $95 for Friends members attending a work session. There's a night photo shoot in Chama to follow for $50 (limited to 25 people).

    Full details can be found [here] and tickets can be ordered through the Friends office in Albuquerque by calling 505-880-1311.


    Posted Thursday, April 11 2013 at 0951 h MDT
    I just saw a post on Trainorders that says Amtrak 5 is detouring via Wyoming today. One of the follow-up posts by "SP8595" indicates a possible derailment near Pinecliffe. 6 is also showing a service disruption, so I'm guessing it's also being detoured.

    If I see any more details about the derailment, I'll post them. -

  • D&RGW 463 RUNS!
    Posted Tuesday, April 9 2013 at 1646 h MDT
    As the sequel to the other day's post of "D&RGW 463 Lives", I can now report that not only does it steam, but it actually runs. They did a shakedown run with her today from Antonito out to Lava and back. Rich Murray posted a few of Craig McMullen's photos of the run [here]. - NDHolmes

    Posted Tuesday, April 2 2013 at 1002 h MDT
    I waited until this morning to post this, as if I hadn't, nobody would believe that it wasn't a joke.

    Effective yesterday evening, Union Pacific renamed Clay siding on the Moffat Tunnel Sub to "Eisele" with General Order 22. (Clay is the one at MP 21 on the upper west side of the Big Tens, visible up on the hillside to the west. It was also known as Fireclay in distant D&SL history, after the small town and local clay deposits suitable for fire bricks.) The siding is presumed to be named after Charley Eisele, a UP Senior VP of Strategic Planning & Administration who retired in February 2013. -

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