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    Posted Friday, June 27 2008 at 2022 h MDT
    The good news is that RGS Goose 5 arrived safely in Chama today and made a test run up the hill to Cumbres. The bad news is that their perennial bad luck on the C&TS struck again, when the air compressor failed and blew a chunk out of the side.

    Nathan Z. had tickets on its trip from Chama to Antonito tomorrow, and thus was down there to catch its test run today. He's posted a photo of the failed compressor on NGDF [here]. The Goose guys have sent someone back to get the old one, and are looking at making the one off of the 5-ton Rogers locomotive in Chama work.

    Update (30-Jun-2008 0820h): Apparently the culprit was the new adapter plate that held the new air compressor to the engine. Nathan Z. reports that when manufactured, nobody drilled oil holes to provide the pump bearings with lubrication. Regardless, the Goose team has things fixed up, and the Goose made its scheduled run on Sunday (though passengers were brought up to Cumbres on the normal train to meet the Goose). -

    Posted Wednesday, June 25 2008 at 1254 h MDT
    The Telluride Volunteer Fire Department - the caretakers of Telluride's RGS Goose 4 - have signed an agreement with the Ridgway Railroad Museum to have them restore the body of RGS 4. After over 50 years of sitting outside, Goose 4 has definitely started to show signs of deterioration. That said, the restoration will not include the engine or drive train, so RGS 4 will continue to be only a static display piece. More details can be found in [this Ridgway Sun article].

    In late May/early June, the motor was moved by truck to Ridgway, and the work is anticipated to take three years. Photos can be found on the Ridgway Railroad Museum's website [here]. -

    Posted Monday, June 23 2008 at 2125 h MDT
    The old D&SL depot in Kremmling is the only example of its kind remaining, but unless the locals manage to get a brief reprieve and a way to move it, there won't be any surviving examples soon. Because of a 2008 project by Union Pacific to "clean up" the property between Denver and Glenwood, the depot will be destroyed unless the locals and the Grand County Historical Association can find a way to move it off UP property. They've taken up a petition to ask UP for an extension, but as far as I know have neither gotten it, nor found funding for a move and a suitable new site. If anyone has more details, let me know and I'll post them.

    Another property in danger is the old shed in Granby, currently being renovated by a local modeling group to house a model railroad celebrating the Moffat Road. The group acquired the building at public auction last summer, have been leasing the ground under it from UP, and have put a significant amount of money into remodeling and renovation. They've been officially notified by UP to remove the building by 1-Aug-2008.

    For more details, see [this article] in the Vail Daily News.

    Nathan Z. reports the timetable for dismantling at Kremmling is on the order of a couple weeks at this point, so if you can help out, now's the time. Otherwise, get your photos sooner rather than later. -

    Posted Saturday, June 21 2008 at 1937 h MDT
    The primary suspect in the torching of rare D&RGW long caboose 04990 in Boulder last July was sentenced this last week. Ondrace Stephen Carey confessed, apparently as part of a plea deal to knock the charge down from first degree arson and a few other minor things. The story can be found on the Boulder Daily Camera's website [here].

    The shocking part is the sentence - ten years of probation only. Ten years of probation for wanton, premeditated destruction of a priceless, irreplaceable historic artifact? This guy is a serial arsonist and a menace to everyone's property, and needs to be locked away for a while - a long while. Unless they were less than confident about getting a conviction at trial, as I citizen of Colorado, I think the prosecutors in this case should have thrown the book at this idiot and am very disappointed with the results of this case. (Too bad a good old-fashioned hangin' isn't in the sentencing guidelines for arsonists who torch historic artifacts - I've always thought it should be added.) Maybe they'll do better when they get around to his accomplice. -

    Posted Wednesday, June 18 2008 at 2133 h MDT
    At approximately 0642h this morning, eight mid-train cars in a southbound coal load derailed near Fountain, CO, this morning, backing up traffic on the Joint Line. The incident apparently took place near the old D&RGW/ATSF flyover.

    I'm in Pittsburgh this week, so no pictures from me. However, KKTV (one of the local COS TV stations) has a story and small pictures [here].

    Update: I know things have been slow lately, and that the section entitled "news" should really be renamed "semi-news" or "olds", but I've been on the road or on vacation more than I've been home for the last month. Stacked up waiting for editing are photos from the steam-up of 346 on Father's Day, photos from 315's first revenue trip on the C&TS last Monday, and hopefully after this next weekend, photos of the East Broad Top. Plus I have a ton of Rio Grande info backlogged for scanning and posting. I'll get busy again once I get home. -

    Posted Friday, June 13 2008 at 1048 h MDT
    Amtrak is suspending the California Zephyr east of Denver, effective as of (what would have been) today's westbound Chicago train and yesterday's eastbound Emeryville train. The flooding across the Midwest is to blame for this one, and there's no expected date for when service will be restored (as it depends on weather and infrustructure damage/repair). Transportation from Denver east to Omaha is being provided by buses, and stations in Illinois will be serviced by other Amtrak trains. The official announcement can be found [here]. - NDHolmes

    Posted Wednesday, June 11 2008 at 2232 h MDT
    Early yesterday morning, BNSF's Longmont Turn was derailed in Westminster, CO, (approximately as a result of vandals/saboteurs placing a large tree stump on the tracks... twice. Reports are that a police officer spotted the stump near 95th and Wadsworth and consequently removed it around 2030h. Somehow the stump wandered back between the rails by 2230h to derail the turn. As stumps don't usually move on their own, it's obvious that the perpetrators of this noticed and put it back. Regardless, at around 2230h, the Turn, lead by BNSF SD60M #8105, hit the stump and got it lodged under the unit. Upon pushing it a short way down the track, the stump hit the diverging rails of a switch, sending the locomotives off the rails.

    All three crewmembers are reportedly safe, though did sustain minor injuries. The equipment did not fare nearly as well. The lead motor, SD60M 8105, wound up off the rails and propped upright at a strange angle. The trailing three motors - GP60M 143, SD70MAC 9801, and OLMX SW14 1451 - all landed in the ditch on their sides. In addition, 37 of the trailing cars derailed, and obviously there was significant track damage.

    Kevin Morgan has posted a few photos of the derailment taken on Tuesday on his website [here].

    BNSF is offering a reward of $10,000 for information about those responsible for this act. If anyone has information, the news media has reported the contact number as 1-800-832-5452. I'm sure the Westminster Police would also be receptive to hearing from anyone with information about the case. Not only did these individuals (I'm assuming more than one) endanger the train crew and do millions in equipment and track damage, but they could have endangered everyone nearby if this train had been carrying anything more interesting than lumber and grain. If you know anything about the incident or knows anyone who does, please share it with the appropriate authorities.

    Normally I don't post non-DRGW related items in the news, but my thought is that if there's even a remote chance that it might help catch these guys, I'm all for using a little space to help spread the word. -

    Posted Tuesday, June 10 2008 at 0007 h MDT
    Only a month after the fact, I've finally posted photos from the first run of SL&RG #18, the road's second and latest operational steam engine. On 3-May-2008, the engine made its first revenue road trip on the point of a sold-out, two day Trains Unlimited photo freight special. What you'll see in the trip report is the initial run from Alamosa to Sierra that Saturday morning, as well as coverage of the two freight trains following the special.

    Also included as a bonus third section are some photos from one of last year's runs of 1744 to Antonito. There were never enough of them to put them together in their own trip report, but I thought as long as I was covering SL&RG steam, I might as well include them as an extra.

    The trip report can be found [here]. -

    Posted Thursday, June 5 2008 at 1548 h MDT
    If folks are still sitting on the fence about riding one of the 315 trips this summer, you might want to get off that proverbial fence and buy tickets. The Moonlight Trip on 18-June-2008 is particularly in trouble, with only four tickets reportedly sold as of this morning. July 9th is also apparently not selling well. Both trips face possible cancellation if they can't break even. The pseudo-official details, straight from the DRHS themselves, is posted on NGDF [here].

    I know gas and lodging prices are high this summer, but there should be enough fans around Colorado and New Mexico to make this work. Come on folks, support these historic runs now, or you may not see them happen again for some time. It's expensive to take a steam engine on the road, and the C&TS/DRHS need us to support them.

    Once again, the schedule for D&RGW 315 is:

    • June 16 - Chama to Antonito - $250
    • June 18 - Moonlight special - $295
    • June 21 - FOCTS Special - ???
    • July 4 - Stock special W/ Goose $295
    • July 7 - Antonito to Chama - $295
    • July 9 - Double Cumbres Turn $175

    In addition, if 315's having problems, there's a good chance that the Galloping Goose Historical Society and RGS 5 could use a few more riders as well. Their schedule is:

    • June 28 - Chama to Antonito - $89
    • June 29,30 & July 1 - Antonito to Osier - $69
    • July 4 - #315 stock train with RGS5 - $295
    • July 5 & 6 - Antonito To Osier - $69
    • July 7 #315 freight and RGS 5 Antonito to Chama - $295

    Call 1-888-CUMBRES (1-888-286-2737) for reservations if you're interested. -

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