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    Posted Thursday, June 26 2003 at 2244 h MDT
    Yes, it's real this time. No more rumors, no more passing deadlines. Jim Harrawood posted most of the following information to the DRGW list yesterday: "Effective at 12:01 am on June 29th, the following lines will be transferred through sale to the San Luis & Rio Grande Railroad (SLRG), a carrier under the control of the RailAmerica organization:

    1) The Alamosa Subdivision from milepost 180.0 near Walsenburg, CO, to milepost 299.30, the end of current UP ownership at Derrick, CO.

    2) the Antonito Subdivision in its entirety from milepost 251.7 at Alamosa to milepost 281.78 at Antonito, CO. This is a total of 149.4 miles." He also added that the SLRG will hold trackage rights for the last five miles between MP 180 and Walsenburg to interchange exclusively with the UP. UP, in turn, will be running 5-day-per-week trains from Pueblo to Walsenburg.

    As I get more news (and as RA posts an official press release), I'll post it. Update(6/27-0725h): RailAmerica finally put out a press release confirming the sale. It's posted on the web here.


    Posted Wednesday, June 25 2003 at 1648 h MDT
    The news isn't as bad as it could be. The CVRR derailment last week that we feared had wiped out four ex-DRGW GP30s has actually only claimed three - DRGW 3020, 3023, and 3024. The fourth GP30 was actually SWRR 4227 (not of DRGW heritage). That leaves them with DRGW 3004 and DRGW 3004 (in the same CVRR numbers). Chris Mains has posted photos of the wrecked units over on Trainorders in this thread. It looks like 3023 and 3024 might be rebuilt, but 3020 sustained some decent damage to the cab and carbody. Of course that's just speculation - the innards may have been jostled and banged up beyond the point of feasable repair. - NDHolmes

    Posted Tuesday, June 24 2003 at 1917 h MDT
    It's not painted as such, but five lease units are parked in Alamosa as future power for the San Luis Rio Grande - RailAmerica's subsidiary expected to purchase the Alamosa lines in the near future. Included are HLCX 4300-4302, HATX 801 and 803. All of these are some variant of GP40. HLCX 4300 is a rare GP40X with flared radiators and HLCX 4301 is former DRGW 3065. The heritage of HLCX 4302 is unknown, but my guess is that it's also an old SP or DRGW motor. HATX 801 and 803 are still painted for their Rocky Mountain Railtours service. 801 is an ex-B&O GP40, whereas 803 came from the SCL/SAL. Here's a photo of the whole string as well as a photo of just the GP40X. - NDHolmes

    Posted Tuesday, June 24 2003 at 0113 h MDT
    I've posted a new trip report from my trip over the Cumbres & Toltec Scenic last Saturday. While it's hard to take stunning photos as a passenger on the train, you will get to see some of the remote parts of the line that are impossible to railfan by car. It's good to see the railroad up and running again, with even a note of optimism, after last year's dismal season. So far, they've been close to sold-out on both weekends they've been running, and let's hope that continues through the summer. The abstract for the new trip report is here, and when you're done you can either click the "Read More" link at the bottom or just click here to skip the mindless blathering and get right to the photos. - NDHolmes

    Posted Thursday, June 19 2003 at 1919 h MDT
    For those between Denver and Winter Park, don't forget that Saturday, 21-Jun-2003, will mark the first summer Ski Train run for the summer season. This year, they're only running on Saturdays. - NDHolmes

    Posted Thursday, June 19 2003 at 1914 h MDT
    DRGW 5377 is now showing as been leased back to UP as of today, 19-Jun-2003. Speculation is that it's a short term lease, and not a longer-term renewal of the original lease. It and its counterparts from that order seem to all be out working locals and short-haul manifests as of today, after sitting in North Little Rock for almost a month.

    UP 8620 is filling the fourth tunnel motor spot in Helper. While it's unfortunately a full-Armour Yellow SD40T-2, we can at least remember that underneath it's ex-DRGW 5363 doing the work. It will probably be around for a while, as none of the other three active DRGW tunnel motors show any signs of moving towards Helper to fill the vacancy.

    Yesterday, a Cimarron Valley train headed by four ex-DRGW GP30s (3020 and three others) was put off the rails at Montezuma, KS - just outside Dodge City. All four units wound up on their sides, and the engineer suffered a broken arm (as well as other abrasions, like the conductor). Last I heard, the FBI has been called in, as there is suspicion that tampering with a switch was the cause. The Dodge City Daily Globe has an article with photos.

    In other, completely unrelated news, I'll be down on the C&TS on Saturday with my wife to ride (coach). So if anybody else happens to be down there, keep your eyes open for a mid-twenties guy with a Canon 10D and say hi. -

    Posted Wednesday, June 11 2003 at 1205 h MDT
    After a very hard 18 months for the Cumbres and Toltec Scenic, things are finally looking up. Locomotive 487 is rebuilt and had her first steam-up yesterday, thanks to a very devoted group of shop employees, EDA grants, and financial support from the state of New Mexico. The scheduled first run of the season will be a Chama to Antonito trip on Saturday, 14-Jun-2003. Apparently Saturday is sold out, but last I heard there were still seats for Sunday. I probably won't make it down for opening weekend, but I'm strongly thinking about next Saturday. Thanks to Jay Wimer and this thread on the Goat for reporting on the 487's steamup, and congratulations to all the people that made this feat possible. Update (6/11 - 1525h): Jay just reported that 487 was taken on a little test run up to the second crossing and back to Chama this morning, and all went well except for one of the driver bearings getting a bit hot. Hopefully that will be the only problem, and we're in business for Saturday's run. - NDHolmes

    Posted Wednesday, June 11 2003 at 1156 h MDT
    There's a lot of news from the past two weeks to catch up with, so here goes a very quick summary of what's happened in the Rio Grande universe since mid-May. There's a lot here to cover, so bear with me.

    The first thing is that the patching and painting has started up again - we've lost another GP40-2. DRGW 3094 was patched to UP 1353 at Roseville, CA, on 19-May-2003.

    In related motive power news, the lease has apparently expired on the SD40T-2 batch from the January 1977 order (EMD 766050, DRGW 5374-5385). These units are congregating at North Little Rock, AR, for return to their lessor, GE Capital (GECX). The unfortunate part is that this group includes one of the six non-repainted units - DRGW 5377.

    Also, I didn't catch this one initially, but on 21-May-2003, two UP freights collided near Gila Bend, AZ. The trains were on opposite tracks, going opposite directions - not a head-on as originally reported. Rather it was a derailment of one train into the other - not unlike the one at Plain several weeks back. Fortunately there were no serious injuries to the crews. Anyway, one of the units involved was UP 8602, an SD40T-2. I didn't catch this at first, but UP 8602 is former DRGW 5411. George Elwood's Fallen Flags site now has a few photos of 8602 in a post-wreck state: Photo #1 & Photo #2. Thanks to Ryan Martin for pointing that out on T/O this morning.

    Also, as if Amtrak's California Zephyr hadn't had a difficult enough time lately, the westbound Zephyr (#5) derailed at Dotsero on Wednesday, 28-May-2003. Apparently the first two express boxcars (cars 10 & 11 in the train) had a problem near the north switch of the wye and wound up derailed. For those who want the word from the original sources as well as a few photos from Lee Perkins, take a look at this Trainorders thread. Thanks to Paul Birkholz and Todd Busse for reporting this one.

    As many of you know, May-June is my big travel season every year, and as such I haven't been around much. That's why news has been so slow/non-existant lately. However, I'm now back home for a while after two Memphis trips and vacation for a week and a half in Montana. As would be expected, there are two trip reports in the works, and they'll be posted in the coming weeks. -

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