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    Posted Thursday, September 23 2004 at 0039 h MDT
    Last night, after the server upgrades, the primary disk (you know, the one everything boots and runs off of...) started making a sound that can only be described as unholy, as well has exhibiting extremely sluggish performance. So, I managed to limp it through today, but tonight I took it down again and rebuilt the system on a new boot drive. Hopefully that'll keep us running for quite some time without incident. Thanks for your patience. - NDHolmes

    Posted Tuesday, September 21 2004 at 2046 h MDT
    Since I haven't reported on the almost criminally stupid proceedings about the future of the GLRR lately, I thought I'd come back and give everybody an update. Every time I bring this up it infuriates me. I know there are internal politics at play here, but realistically I only care about three things - the accountability of government bodies to the citizens from which they derive their authority, the continuing success of the GLRR, and the preservation of irreplacable narrow gauge equipment and right-of-way. What you read below is my take, based on that as the fundamental assumption. Read on.

    The Colorado Historical Society has selected an operator from the proposals submitted - Railstar, Inc., of New York. For those interested in reading it, it's available on the web here. Railstar has no narrow gauge equipment. They've publicly stated that diesels may be running the Loop for the first few years - though I don't know from where, since light, powerful 3 foot diesels are in precious short supply. With current trains running 7-9 cars, they're either going to have to find something like the former USG units that the GLRR owns, or something comparable. There was talk for a while that they were looking at leasing an ex-CF&I plant switcher from the Pueblo museum, but last I heard that unit was woefully underrated for this duty. If anybody knows more, I'll gladly give you speakin' time right here.

    In the meanwhile, recognizing that Railstar can't fulfill the RFP requirement of trains behind steam, the CHS has hauled C&S 9 (from the Loop grounds, but CHS property) and Colorado and Northwestern 30 (ex-Denver, Boulder and Western 30, ex-RGW 74, from Boulder, CO) out to Strasburg for inspection and possible rebuilding. That said, I'm told by many that Mr. Ulrich and the folks out at Strasburg are quite competent. Thus, should the money keep flowing, there's a moderate chance either or (on a long shot) both will run again. At the very least, it's not as if they don't know how to put the pieces back together. To their credit, the CHS has also publicly stated that no matter what, both units will be cosmetically restored, even if they can't be made operational.

    Everything I've learned throughout this leads me to believe that the units are safe for the moment and in good hands at Strasburg. We just need to hold the CHS's proverbial feet to the fire if they fail to follow through on the cosmetic restoration commitment, lest 9 and 30 turn into two forgotten piles of rusting parts. Jim Poston has some photos posted here. Jim is also president of a group working to preserve the current sane state of the railroad - the Colorado Historic Railroad Preservation Association.

    As for cars, the CHS has apparently requested and received a bid from the C&TS to rebuild a couple of the old (read: non-used, boxcar-style) passenger coaches for Loop service. They also apparently purchased a couple goodies at the recent Durango & Silverton auction. That's all I know.

    Lest there be any confusion, I have nothing against Railstar. They're absolutely in no way responsible for the hideously poor decisions on the part of the CHS that have lead us to this point over the past six months. I sincerely wish them the best possible luck in finding suitable equipment and rebuilding the Loop operation, both for the sake of the Loop itself and for the sake of the residents in Georgetown and Silver Plume. I really wish it were the existing GLRR team operating next year, as I feel they're the only ones with the experience, talent, and equipment to do it right. However, given that the CHS has ruled out that option, I hope whoever takes over eventually brings it back up to the roaring historical and commercial success it is today.

    I'm hoping to get up there next weekend to ride one more time. There will be photos... -

    Posted Tuesday, September 21 2004 at 1647 h MDT
    Over the last few months, I haven't been terribly responsive due to both my new house and due to just general burn-out. Hopefully I'm getting that behind me, since the old enthusiasm returned at seeing the two DRGW GP60s in the Gorge on Saturday. My apologies to those that have emailed to little, no, or very delayed responses. Hopefully I'll do a good deal of catch-up sometime soon.

    In other news, though, we'll be taking a rare scheduled outage tonight. This incarnation of the DRGW.Net server, now pushing five years old, is severely overworked. The increased line bandwidth available at the new house has both increased its load from generating the more dynamic webpages as well as attracted spammers, which eat a significant part of my processor time trying to deliver email to local addresses that just don't exist. So, tonight the server is getting upgraded to something much newer and much better. Should be down for less than an hour, but you never know if something goes wrong. -

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