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    Posted Thursday, August 29 2013 at 2301 h MDT
    I received word from John Charles tonight that SLRG 18 is back on her drivers and running around. They took her to Antonito today on a test run, and all went well. This is great news, as 18 wasn't ready at the beginning of the season and then suffered some serious bearing problems once being placed in service. There was some speculation it wouldn't make another appearance this year, but that has turned out to be untrue.

    On Sunday, Sep 1, 2013, the San Luis Central is celebrating its centennial, and they're running a special from Alamosa to Monte Vista and on to Center and back using SLRG 18. It'll be the first time the SLC rails have seen a steam engine in decades. While it won't be quite the same as the SLC's 1913 2-8-0 Baldwin #1, it's probably as close as anybody will see for the next hundred years. The special leaves Alamosa at 1000h on Sunday morning, and tickets are still available for those interested [on the Rio Grande Scenic's website]. -

    Posted Sunday, August 11 2013 at 0643 h MDT
    Another new Amtrak electric ACS64 - this time 603 - is on its way east. It'll be crossing the former Grande today on the eastbound Zephyr. This one isn't going to Pueblo, however - it will continue on east to Wilmington, DE, for shop and crew familiarization. Look for it into Denver tonight and Chicago tomorrow. As I write this, 6 is running on time and should be just about to arrive at Helper. - NDHolmes

    Posted Friday, August 2 2013 at 1658 h MDT
    As I mentioned in a previous news item, the old townside of Anaconda, CO, is being buried as part of the latest phase of the Cripple Creek & Victor Gold Mining Company expansion. This change will move Colorado Highway 67 off the old Florence & Cripple Creek grade to the south end of the valley, and also bury the townsite, the Mary McKinney mine site, and both the F&CC and Midland Terminal grades forever. Get any last photos soon - the project is moving right along! I've posted a few photos from last weekend [here].

    A presentation, showing a map of terrain changes being made as part of Mine Life Extension 2, is available [here] (see page 10). -

    Posted Thursday, August 1 2013 at 1403 h MDT
    The Rocky Mountain Railroad Club is sponsoring an informal tour of the old Florence & Cripple Creek grade this Saturday, 3 Aug 2013. It's an important year for both organizations - the F&CC ran its last train over the line 100 years ago this year, and the RMRRC (much more successfully) is celebrating its 75th anniversary.

    Since it's a rather informal club event with no charge, I thought I'd invite anybody who might be interested, member or not. For those that would like to ride the Cripple Creek & Victor 2' line first, we're going to meet at the Cripple Creek depot at 0945h. Tickets are $13, and everybody's on their own for those. The trip will take about an hour. After that, everybody's on their own for lunch, and we'll meet back up somewhere (TBD tomorrow) at 1230h to head down through Phantom Canyon and over the old grade. There's a mile-by-mile trip guide prepared for the trip, so that you can get a feel for where significant places on the old railway were located.

    The mine up there is in the process of expanding again, and this expansion will reroute Colorado 67 yet again and wipe out the former townsite of Anaconda (and with it some of the original grades and mines). I was up there on Saturday, and I'd guess they're probably only a few months from putting the highway on the new grade.

    If you do come, plan to bring a truck or SUV. I went over the road through Phantom Canyon last Saturday, and it's pretty severely washboarded in places from recent heavy rains. A car could make it, but you'll have to take it very slow and your car may have new rattles by the end of the day. It should take us 2-3 hours to make our way down through the Canyon, and at that point folks can return home by whatever route they like.

    If you're interested in going and want more details (or just want us to not leave you behind), email me at maverick@drgw.net. -

    Posted Thursday, August 1 2013 at 1346 h MDT
    From the "Things I Didn't Even Know Were Being Pursued" department, there's apparently a proposal to designate a set of roads along the old San Juan Extension between Chama and Durango as the "Cumbres & Toltec Scenic Byway".

    Wednesday marked a step forward, as the proposed Byway was unanimously approved by the Colorado State Scenic and Historic Byway Commission. The Pagosa Daily Post has an article about it [here], and there's a map of the proposed routing [here]. -

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