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    Posted Monday, July 29 2002 at 2250 h MDT
    As of tomorrow, 30-Jul-2002, the Cumbres & Toltec Scenic will be resuming through service between Chama, NM, and Antonito, CO. Service had initially been suspended in early June when the FRA declared the roadbed at two points - one near Martinez Point, the other near MP 316 - unsound. While work was being done to correct that deficiency, the US Forest Service shut down the entire line due to the fire danger. Operations initially resumed two weeks ago between Chama and Cumbres, and were extended to Osier as of last Tuesday. On Tuesday of this week, trains will once again run from both endpoints. While still running with a reduced schedule (no passenger runs on Sundays or Mondays - the website doesn't actually seem to get updated to reflect the current operations), it's good to see service restored between the two endpoints. - NDHolmes

    Posted Monday, July 29 2002 at 2243 h MDT
    Rock and Rail, the quarrying operation that works out of Parkdale on the Tennessee Pass line, has recently acquired two rebuilt GP35s for hauling rock trains through the Gorge and up the Joint Line. This is in addition to their existing fleet, which includes several ex-LMX B39-8s. I spotted Progress Rail Services (PRSX) 1002 [#1 / #2] and 1004 at Bragdon, CO, on 19-Jul-2002 in the mid-afternoon, pulling this empty (southbound) rock train. - NDHolmes

    Posted Sunday, July 28 2002 at 2154 h MDT
    Around 2000h today, 28-Jul-2002, D&RGW list member K. Gilfilen reported a long BNSF train just north of Sedalia with two tank cars on the ground. Apparently the wreck is just across from the entrance to IREA, about a mile from the Sedalia light. No word as to what was in the cars, or when the line will be reopened, but I would guess everything will be cleaned up by mid-day tomorrow. - NDHolmes

    Posted Thursday, July 25 2002 at 2331 h MDT
    UP recently made some modifications to their system that broke the software that powers Locotrace. I spent about three hours tonight doing almost a full rewrite of the data collection scripts, and as such it's back online until either UP changes things again adequately or 30-Aug-2002 (UP's new drop-dead date for the public trace), whichever comes first. - NDHolmes

    Posted Tuesday, July 23 2002 at 2248 h MDT
    The Cumbres & Toltec Scenic Railroad resumed operations on 16-July-2002 between Chama, NM, and Cumbres Pass on Tuesday-Saturday. The Friends site today has a news release on their plan for ramping back up to their full operating schedule - posted here. Maintenance work at Martinez Point has been completed, and the first train (a charter special) apparently passed over it on Monday. At this point, they will be operating from Chama to Osier, and they expect the full compliment of trains over the entire route to be running next week (starting 30-July). If you haven't patronized them in a while, now would be a good time - they have a lot of missed season to make up for. Editors Note: It's either feast or famine on the news lately - it's been a busy summer and I've let the website slip more than a bit. Sorry, folks - new stuff coming soon, I promise. I'm continuing to wait for my C&TS season pass to show up - hopefully this week. I'm also planning to head down for a ride one of these days, and of course there will be a trip report. - NDHolmes

    Posted Friday, July 12 2002 at 1651 h MDT
    There are two new press releases on the Friends website concerning today's revelations. One addresses the decision on the part of the RGRPC to give notice to the Commission (available here) and ask the USFS for permission to restart operations, and the other addresses the issue from the Commission's standpoint (available here). It does help shed a bit more light on the subject - apparently there is a contractual requirement for the RGRPC to notify the Commission by 1-Aug if they feel they will not be able to continue next year - and with the current situation, that definitely may be the case. It's not the end of the world - it's just a stern warning that if things don't change, there will be problems. - NDHolmes

    Posted Friday, July 12 2002 at 1105 h MDT
    The RGRPC, the operating corporation associated with the Friends of the C&TS, has apparently notified the Colorado-New Mexico commission that controls the property that they are no longer interested in operating the property next year. I'd read this from several reputable sources now, so there seems to be at least some bit of truth to it. See this article in today's Alamosa Valley Courier and the second bit on this page from the Santa Fe New Mexican. This greatly disappoints me, as I feel an affiliate of the Friends is the best choice for operating the line and keeping a great deal of historical fidelity - it was good to see the power lettered Rio Grande again after all those years with Cumbres & Toltec on the side. However, with mounting losses and no solid answer as to whether operations will resume soon, there's some amount of business logic for doing it. I was hoping they'd wait until operations had restarted and any government aide had been applied, but perhaps there were contractual reasons it had to happen now. Update (7/12 - 1230h): Apparently the aforementioned government aide is already in - $90k promised from Colorado, $90k from New Mexico. See this article in the Pueblo Chieftan. Not looking good at all - if or, hopefully when, the line is reopened this season, I'll be down for a few last rides. - NDHolmes

    Posted Saturday, July 6 2002 at 2035 h MDT
    The Durango Herald is reporting that due to recent (small amounts of) rainfall across Colorado, the Durango & Silverton will be resuming steam-powered trips over the entire line on 13-Jul-2002 if all goes as planned. The story is available on the web over here. (Thanks to HuskerHank over at Trainorders.com for posting this.) Also, Chama has been receiving some rain lately, and there's a good chance that the C&TS will also be able to resume some limited trips in the near future (a week or two, more than likely). As has been suggested in several places now (but hey, I saw the idea on the infamous Dead Goat Saloon), those who want to support the C&TS through this time can purchase a season pass. (Or, you can always make a donation to the Friends directly.) That way, the RGRPC gets money now, when it really needs it, and you get something that hopefully you'll get a chance to use this season. I ordered mine two weeks ago - hopefully it will be coming in soon. Update (7/12 - 0800h): A tentative date of 16-July-2002 has been set for the reopening of the C&TS. This is pending USFS approval (despite questions about their jurisdiction), so hope for the best. - NDHolmes

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