Friday, August 29, 2014

POTD: Summer Fun Via the Summer Ski Train

The Ski Train, that wonderful but lost Denver institution, once ferried Denverites and not just a few tourists to the mountains of Winter Park every winter for a day of skiing. It also ran during the summer, giving harried and heated residents some nature and natural air conditioning by ascending to the high country where the air is always a bit cooler. Sadly, in 2009, it all ended.* Nonetheless, in the waning years, the F40 engines and a matched consist made for a beautiful and glorious sight!

Ski Train
Photo of the Day: Mike Danneman
If the trees in the background look familiar, they should because yesterday's photo of the day was shot at nearly the same location. The Ski Train is pointing east toward the still rising sun while westbound toward the Moffat Tunnel and Winter Park on July 31, 2004, just 10 years ago. The brilliance of the Ski Train's aspen gold and silver looks just as fine as ever it did on the Rio Grande F7s and F9s. "In a few moments," Mr. Danneman says, "it will be traveling through Clay on the upper track at the top of the photo." You may need to click the photo to view it full size to discern the grade.


Thursday, August 28, 2014

POTD - Morning Rays Make Magic Even More Rare On UP Westbound

The rising sun is one of the best ways to color your photographs. During maybe a  half-hour at most, the sun shining through more of the atmosphere than any other part of the day as a natural filter, bathing everything in a golden, almost fiery glow. This is especially true on the Front Range because mountain shadows make evening shots with that natural glow next to impossible.

Aiming into the morning sun
Photo of the Day: Mike Danneman

Trains magazine Sept 2014
Mike Danneman is no stranger to POTD. Also his brother Tom Danneman had a single-photo, double-page spread on pages 36 and 37 (sample at right) in September's Trains magazine. So you might say it runs in his blood. His consistently good work has him sitting near rock star-status (if there is such a thing in the railroad photography world). Why are rock stars famous? Because they take something that is difficult and make it look easy. Today's Photo of the Day is a perfect example.

The Union Pacific sends its track inspection car over the Rio Grande's Moffat Route from Denver. Fair enough, except that the Moffat is west of Denver, putting the locomotives and the train heading west in the morning in their own shadows. But Mr. Danneman has shot the Moffat often enough to know that, in a quest for altitude, the track layers of over a century ago reversed direction to run the rail around the tongue of a mesa. This reversal is now called Little Ten Curve and Big Ten Curves, ten referring to their curvature. In that one spot, the westbound train would be facing geographic east. Be there at the right time and the rays of the sun will bathe the yellow train in a golden glow! Mike met the train in that 30 minute window and we see the magic results. 

He makes it look easy.◊

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

POTD - Late Summer Glory Days

The summer sun is quickly fleeting away for 2014. Have you made it out to catch a few trains at work? Me neither. ☹ All is not lost, however. Labor Day weekend is fast approaching and that means that a lot of us have a few extra hours to slip away and photograph something that will last a lot longer than what most of us do for work. No one dies wishing they'd spent more hours working.

For inspiration, I offer a few POTDs for your consideration!

Union Pacific GE AC44CWCTE 5711 in Greenland, CO
Photo of the Day: David Sheppard
David Sheppard captured this bronzed bunch of Union Pacific locomotives led by 5711, traveling with a full load of coal southbound at Greenland, Colorado on the morning of August 20th, 2014. It's a common sight on the Front Range south of Denver, but does that make it any less glorious?◊

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

V&S Scrapping Towner Line Without Approval?

You may remember a post and a follow-up in late 2011 about the state trying to save the "Towner line" from being carved up by its erstwhile benefactor V&S Railway. Yesterday, Nathan Holmes of DRGW.net has posted news* and photographs showing recent activity, all of them destructive or foreboding to the former Missouri Pacific main line that once connected Pueblo and Denver with Kansas City and St. Louis.

Mr. Holmes was also out there in July covering a series of washouts that occurred July 15, when he also took a sharp picture of Union Pacific's sharp-looking heritage unit only a few miles from its former home rails. The MoPac as it is known is far from forgotten, with an historical society and an employee association and quite a few fans. Along with the Rio Grande and Western Pacific, the Towner line served to connect Gould's railroads to threaten the Union Pacific and all other transcon routes.

There is, DRGW.net says, at least one offer in front of the Federal Surface Transporation Board to buy the line outright. The worrisome sightings by Holmes and others interested in this line are indicative that V&S intends to scrap the line outright, regardless of its legal obligations. Why else place the scrapping equipment in key areas? It's like finding a circular saw and saw horses along a fence a neighbor wants to remove from your common property line. What are they planning? Wouldn't you ask your neighbor about his intentions?

One final bit of thought, and it is directed at those who might file Towner Line under "so what?" Once rights-of-way are gone, they are next to impossible to recreate or recover. If Pueblo wants east-west passenger service, Towner would be much easier to keep than to buy space on BNSF.

A message sent to V&S seeking a statement about the Towner Line via their site has yet to be returned.◊

* -  No direct link provided. If not visible, search for "Towner Line Scrapping Begins"
UP 1982 EMD SD70ACe
Union Pacific Railroad honored Missouri Pacific in 2006 with a heritage unit. Today, the transcon link is being chipped away by those who would sell Colorado short.
Photo: terry cantrell via Wikimedia Commons

Friday, August 15, 2014

Jim Wrinn: Ten Myths About Visiting the Colorado Narrow Gauge

Jim Wrinn is the Editor of Trains magazine, and a consummate professional. He's also a very big fan of Colorado's Narrow Gauge. He recently blogged about it on Train of Thought, the magazine's very active blog. It's called 10 Myths About Visiting the Colorado Narrow Gauge. Here's a sample, with the myth stated first in "double italics" and the response in italics.
4. You should ride the C&TS from Antonito. Wrong. You can ride out of Antonito, but if you really want to experience a hard working locomotive on a 4 percent grade, schedule your trip starting in Chama so you can truly experience the drama of a train on Cumbres Pass.
How often have I seen Antonito like this in the
morning? More often than Chama for certain!
Photo: John Hill, contributing photographer
Jim, while I enjoyed the whole post, I want to disprove this particular myth so much that it is on my bucket list! I've always ridden the Cumbres & Toltec Scenic from Antonito, Colorado and never from Chama. Last year, I promised myself that the next time I ride, it's going to be behind a Rio Grande 2-8-2 barking steam and coal smoke out it's stack as it climbs into Colorado over Cumbres Pass and idles down Tanglefoot Curve. My very first time seeing the narrow gauge C&TS was watching a train come down through that beautiful little bit of engineering. It's going to be special!
8. They’re not worth visiting except in September when the Aspens turn yellow. Not true. You’ll see great scenery any time of the year. Yes, the Aspens are spectacular with their translucent yellow leaves, but anytime is a good time to enjoy the narrow gauge.
Anytime, indeed! While aspen gold makes a beautiful contrast with the evergreens and the darker-blue-than-at-sea-level sky, it's not the only color that Colorado has to show. The subtle shades of spring and summer, the regal robes of winter in Cascade Canyon and all over Pikes Peak for most of the year.* Think of your own home or neighborhood or park. Is fall when it's the most beautiful? Maybe. Do other seasons give autumn a run for the money? Most likely!

There's more, lots more. Wrinn writes only what a veteran of riding all the Colorado Narrow Gauge Railroads knows. He finds himself in good company, as his closing quote of David P. Morgan proves.◊

Narrow (gauge) Minded Folks

More Narrow Gauge Folks


* - Ok, the Manitou & Pikes Peak Railway is not narrow gauge, but it is a cog railway, which is as much different from standard gauge as narrow is. Just look at how the switches are run.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Colorado Railfan: First Look at Union Station

Longtime web photographer and near-permanent fixture on CR, Kevin Morgan of ColoradoRailfan.com visited Union Station and the Moffat Tunnel with his apprentice railfan photographers on Sunday. They explored the outcome of the Union Station Project, a project that broke ground 4 years ago and officially wrapped up just last month.

The new waiting room fuses much of its past elegance with modern touches. The chandeliers are a big improvement over the unbelievably ugly Carter-era fluorescents.
Photo: Kevin Morgan, ColoradoRailfan.com 

The DUSPA project's main effort was to enhance the station with the goal of tying all of the FasTracks projects to one central transportation nexus. Once FasTracks wraps up, it should allow a person to ride from any Light Rail or commuter rail (like from DIA) to any other point on RTD's rail or express bus service using the station as a hub. The connections are made between the train platforms, the light rail platform further out from the station and the underground bus terminal.

As Kevin explains, of the 6 rail platforms, the middle 2 are for Amtrak/intercity trains and the 4 outer tracks are for commuter trains from DIA and the Gold Line.
Union Station survives intact (more or less) with 6 train platforms, light rail and bus terminal, ready to connect another century of passengers, near and far.
Photo: Kevin Morgan, ColoradoRailfan.com

Now that the remodel of Denver Union Station is complete, one could wonder at the possibilities of intercity transit along the Front Range and possibly the I-70 corridor. Doing so could level out some of Denver's pricey real estate and extend the effective range of any working family within 20 miles of I-25 while reducing the impact on traveler and environment. Surely, Union Station is now up to the challenge.

Be sure to check out the rest of Kevin's photos from the day, including a primarily-EMD powered manifest at Plain harkening back to the days of the Rio Grande!◊

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Blue Flags Save Lives

Photo: HemiAdda2d
Thanks for your patience. There is a reason CR has sat idle for the last few weeks. In railroading, a locomotive or track that is blue flagged may not be moved or moved upon for any reason for the protection of workmen who are often under or between cars. In other words, blue flags mean that someone may be injured or killed if the equipment or connected cars are moved. Violation of a blue flag will often result in a suspension or a Trump-like dismissal. It may sound draconian, but rules are often written after someone has died for want of a common sense protection found in such rules. A clear, layman's explanation can be found in Blue Flags, an article by Charles H. Bogart, published by Trains magazine.

Ed: Regular readers of CR may wish to read further.

In May, I found myself in the position where I decided to blue flag Colorado Railroads. If I hadn't relieved myself of this responsibility (yes, it's not just a joy), I would have had a hard time balancing needs. The consequences wouldn't have been life and limb, but since I tend to sacrifice the important for the sake of the urgent on occasion, I wanted to avoid the hazard altogether because it was one of those situations where those kinds of mistakes are amplified.

Photo: Roger Durfee
At that time, someone in my extended family learned they had a terminal illness. Days ago, that person took their last breath. This person was a great encouragement to me and always showed support and kindness in everything they've said or done for me and my wife and kids. The last 5 weeks in particular have been tough because nature of the illness robbed us of communication with each other.

Now that this person has crossed into eternal life with Jesus, the wounding is complete and the healing can begin in me and mine. I appreciate your thoughts and prayers for my family as we set about finding "the new normal" for us and resume what we can when we can. For now, the blue flag is about to come off the blog and we can resume the wonder that is Colorado Railroads together!◊

Friday, May 30, 2014

POTD: Putting A Bow On A Colorful Week

BNSF 5391, a GE Dash 9-44CW struggles up the grade toward Palmer Lake with only one of her two teammates pulling along. Something tells me its not the brand new powerbar in the back! Additional color enhancements by God.
Photo: Joe Blackwell

Photographer Joe Blackwell has gone 3 for 3 in POTD the latter half of this week, although it wasn't by coincidence. BNSF and rare colors have been the theme and Joe seems to capture a great deal of it near his home in Palmer Lake. When he first retired, one of his first shots in July 2009 was of a BNSF train   struggling to make the summit of the Palmer Lake Divide separating the Arkansas and Platte River drainages. Neither BNSF pumpkins nor rainbows are unusual colors to Colorado, however. Yet just behind the lead engine is a CSX locomotive, just like Monday when another struggling BNSF train was led by the Central of Georgia NS heritage unit with a CSX engine in the second spot. One could say I put a bow on the entire package with this shot, but it wasn't planned. I wish I was that good.◊

Thursday, May 29, 2014

POTD: Ah, Springtime In Palmer Lake!

Exactly what season it is might fool many a viewer but not locals and certainly not Joe Blackwell. He caught this BNSF southbound coal drag behind SD70MAC #9719 coming through Palmer Lake after the storm in the background left more than a little hail behind.
Photo Joe Blackwell

Today's POTD is a set of coming-and-going photos by Palmer Lake's Joe Blackwell. The recent spate of hailstorms that have rushed northward along Front Range has not passed unnoticed by railroad photographers. The juxtaposition of winter white from storms whose winds "shake the darling buds of May" with their bright green leaves seems irresistible to the shutterbug.

It's the same train, same vantage point, but a completely different perspective! BNSF SD70MAC #9767, from the same order as the lead unit, trails a pumpkin in almost mirror fashion of the other end of the train. The same cannot be said of the skies.
Photo: Joe Blackwell

Of particular interest is the contrast between the skies of the two photographs. This is no trick. The storm and the innocent-looking cotton puffs are indeed in the same sky. The only difference is the angle and the time it took for the length of the train to pass. It's just a hint of the volatile nature of springtime in the Rockies.◊

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Santa Fe, All the Way 1: The Race To Uncle Dick Wooten's Ranch

Amtrak only recently celebrated its 40th year with surprisingly popular heritage locomotives. What might not be as popular is the nationalized passenger rail corporations' under-the-radar hints of rerouting the Southwest Chief, a Chicago - Los Angeles daily train running on BNSF-owned rails. The re-route would take it away from southeastern Colorado and south toward the north Texas panhandle. Today is the first in a series exploring both the problem and the history behind trains 3 and 4, known once and not so long ago simply as, "The Chief."




The Race to Uncle Dick Wooten's Ranch

by Steve Walden, Editor

In the old west, possession really was nine-tenths of the law.

William Strong, AT&SF
No place was this clearer than in the railroad wars between the Rio Grande and the Santa Fe between 1876 and 1880. When Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe Railway President Thomas Nickerson gave the authorization for the Santa Fe to build into New Mexico, his words were the pebbles that started an avalanche down a mountainside. His General Manager was an ambitious man in his 40s named William B. Strong. Strong had already made an appearance in Colorado Springs to Denver & Rio Grande Railroad President, General William J. Palmer, stating that the Santa Fe's only ambition was to connect with the Southern Pacific, forming a southern transcontinental link, but that it didn't have the funds at the time. Palmer was satisfied at this, but Strong was also pushing for an exclusive agreement between to the two railroads that in effect would make the Rio Grande a vassal or even a subsidiary of the Santa Fe. Palmer declined such offers outright, knowing that his objective of El Paso and beyond would be instantly shelved. Strong was also open, however, to arrange an agreement with the Rio Grande to feed traffic to the Rio Grande at Pueblo. It was an agreement that Palmer felt would guarantee his railroad additional income and strengthen his road's position to continue on its course toward El Paso.

Palmer's original plan for reaching El Paso and eventually Mexico City actually went through the Santa Fe's namesake city, reaching the San Luis Valley by La Veta Pass and then south along the Rio Grande, through Santa Fe along the river all the way to the border town of El Paso, on the western tip of Texas. Yet, as the Rio Grande progressed  southward through Colorado Springs and Pueblo, and finally to Walsenburg and La Veta, the appeal of Raton Pass, sitting just south of the Colorado-New Mexico border, was in vital competition with the call of the San Juan mountains in southwest Colorado and the mining revenue that the Rio Grande could lay hold of exclusively. The merchants of old Santa Fe were anxious for a railroad to make their goods accessible by a means far more efficient than the mountain route of the Santa Fe Trail that had served the city since the 1820s.

The Santa Fe Trail was a torturous affair, a crossing of the desert southwest, roamed by settlers, bandits, trappers, miners, explorers and bands of Native American warriors. Worst of all, Raton Pass--the highest point--was an axle-breaking collection of hairpin turns and conestoga-crushing overhangs. In 1865, the same year that saw both the end of the Civil War and the beginning of the westward migration of thousands of veterans and their families,an enterprising man named Richens Lacy "Uncle Dick" Wooton gathered a troop of Mexican laborers and commenced building a toll road over Raton Pass that greatly eased the travel for passengers and commerce. Over 5,000 wagons used his road in 1866, and one three month period saw Wooton collect $9,164. In terms of purchasing power, that would equate roughly to $127,000 today, a tidy sum for any entrepreneur to gross in a quarter, and a very compelling reason for the Santa Fe Railway to close in on its goal, Santa Fe, New Mexico territory.

His visit to Palmer only a recent memory, Strong had the authorization from Nickerson on February 26, 1878, to move the railroad forward. He immediately contacted A.A. Robinson, his chief engineer, with orders to get some men and lay claim to Raton Pass. Robert Athearn, in his chronicle of the Rio Grande, Rebel of the Rockies, describes what happened:
Robinson promptly boarded a Rio Grande train at Pueblo and headed for El Moro, where, late at night, he got a horse and pushed on to the home of "Uncle Dick" Wooton near the Pass. James A. McMurtrie, chief engineer for the Rio Grande, was on the same train and carried the same instructions, but unlike Robinson, he stayed overnight at El Moro, unaware of the urgency of the situation. When on the morning of February 29, McMurtrie and his men arrived at the scene of his proposed endeavors, he was greeted by Robinson and a group of transients pressed into service, all busily engaged in what they said was railroad building. The little "armies"...about equal in strength, eyed each other for a while, and after some exchange of threats, the Rio Grande men moved and began work on an alternative but much less desirable crossing at Chicken Creek. McMurtrie had lost the game by about thirty minutes. To clinch it's title to the ground, the Atchison Company asked for, and received, an injunction prohibiting its rival from interfering with construction.
While the date of February 29th is suspect (1878 was not a leap year), the railway purchased the pass crossing from Wooton nonetheless that year. Joseph J. Gallager, Cultural Geographer and author of the Urbana Group's report to the National Park Service's National Register of Historic Places, wrote a fitting conclusion about the Santa Fe on the Santa Fe Trail.
... Since the Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe Railroad had won the race for the right of way through Raton Pass, it was their trains that were to Thunder into Las Vegas (New Mexico) on July 4, 1879, and eventually into Santa Fe on February 9, 1880. Soon after this date, wagon use of the trail as a means of long distance transportation of goods and individuals proved inefficient, thus closing this chapter in history of the Santa Fe Trail. 
All was not completely settled, however. The Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe Railroad was over-committed and would soon become the Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe Railway under financial restructuring. It would proceed from New Mexico on to the Pacific coast, though not altogether unchallenged by the Rio Grande and other railroads with which it was destined to come in conflict. The race to Raton had set the stage for the Royal Gorge War, one of the most famous civil conflicts in Colorado.

While on the topic of names, the Railway portion of the name Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe Railway picked up in said restructuring has outlasted the "AT&" of the AT&SF to BNSF Railway as its direct descendant. BNSF became the west's largest rail ..way or railroad in 1995 when Burlington Northern Railroad and AT&SF merged to become Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railway and then simply BNSF. It remains the owner of the rails of the original route over Raton Pass, which Amtrak finds to be intolerable under current maintenance standards. Amtrak has dropped more than enough hints that it plans to move its Southwest Chief away from its traditional route if maintenance standards aren't improved to keep travel times down. BNSF is not willing to increase maintenance on what it sees as a former main line, no longer a major contributor to its bottom line. The Colorado Rail Passenger Association has been driving hard to preserve the Southwest Chief on its original route. Consider joining ColoRail and adding your voice to preserve a vital link to Colorado and nearly 200 years of western history.◊

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

POTD: BNSF Hiring Pony Power

Norfolk Southern 2728, an SD70M-2, leads sister 6941, an SD60E downgrade from Palmer Lake, CO with a southbound BNSF manifest. BNSFs lack of power to match traffic levels has led to some unusual colors on point.
Photo: Joe Blackwell

Photographers love a power shortage when it means rare locomotives! Sunday's Photo of the Day contained one of Norfolk Southern's heritage units, and today's likewise features some pony power, but no heritage units unless you count Cascade green of Burlington Northern, which grows rarer by the year. Joe Blackwell, no stranger to POTD, captured the rare power near Monument in April this year as the BNSF manifest continued downgrade from Palmer Lake on the Pikes Peak Sub. He also has caught CSX power on point near the same location.◊

Monday, May 26, 2014

POTD: Highball Summer 2014!

For Memorial Day, our Photo of the Day is by our first contributing photographer to Colorado Railroads, John Hill of Denver. He managed to catch Denver & Rio Grande Western (D&RGW) class K-27 "Mudhen" #463 out west of Antonito on the Cumbres & Toltec Scenic Railroad. Mr. Hill's photograph appears here online for the first time.

Photo: John Hill, contributing photographer
Fans of the narrow gauge built by the D&RGW will remember the C&TS has preserved the remaining narrow gauge portion of the San Juan Extension of the D&RGW that ran between Alamosa and Durango, Colorado from 1881 until 1970. Famed engine #463 and her sister #464 on the Huckleberry Railroad are the only surviving members of the K-27s, the smallest of the Rio Grande's narrow-gauge Mikados, also known by the Whyte notation 2-8-2.

Like the engine heading west toward Chama, the C&TS, along with most of the other heritage railroads in Colorado, are setting out on their summer season this weekend. No doubt, hopes are high that this season will be enjoyable and productive. While there are no guarantees, the bizarre events like caterpillars, wildfires, and infrastructure problems of the last few years have hopefully abated to allow a good and enjoyable season for staff, visitors, and railfans alike.◊

Sunday, May 25, 2014

POTD: Central of Georgia Sits In Center of Denver

Norfolk Southern Heritage unit 8101 sits in the lead of an eastbound manifest in the Elyria-Swansea neighborhood of Denver. While road traffic on the I-70 viaduct whistles by at 65 MPH, one could time the lowly manifest train with a sundial.
Photo: Kevin Morgan

Kevin Morgan of ColoradoRailfan.com reports the following on his site earlier this month:
BNSF is under powered, under manned, and over capacity.
That's likely why they're borrowing power from everyone they can to keep the freight moving! This enviable problem explains the presence of Norfolk Southern Heritage unit 8101, designed for Central of Georgia, and CSX 482, an AC powered unit with the lightning bolt under the cab. Yet the outlook for this train crew mid-shift is like the weather, overcast and flat. Half their shift has passed and they've moved all of 3 miles with their manifest freight. Who said heritage units are glamorous?◊

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Denver: The Garden With No Gate

For Mother's Day 2014, a poem by Susie Kerin, Colorado writer from the early 20th century.

The Garden

Near the mountains is a lovely garden,
Denver beauteous, haven of the West ;
Through her welcome arch the tired tourist
Finds an oasis of peace and rest.

In this garden there is always sunshine,
Happiness, good will, and blessings rare ;
Rising in a cloud of benediction
To descend in fragrance through the air.

May all those who wander through this garden
Breathe this air from yonder snow capped crest,
And enjoy each happy, restful hour
As the sun sinks in the golden west.

Susie Kerin
1870 - 1952

The Welcome Arch as portrayed in Susie Kerin's book on the page opposite the poem above. The Welcome Arch stood at 17th & Wynkoop streets in front of Denver Union Station greeting tourist and traveler upon their arrival.

Editor's Note: Typeset as appears in the original publication Poems of Sunny Colorado published in 1922. Special thanks to Larry Lootsteen and Lisa Flynn for doing the research and performance with Bono during U2's 360 Tour stop in Denver in 2011, which inspired this post.◊

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Steam Generator Cars Legacy Lives On In UP Yellow

Union Pacific #949, an EMD E9, idles with steam generator car Howard Fogg in Denver's North Yard
Union Pacific's EMD E9 #949 idles at Denver's North Yard with the Howard Fogg, a steam generator car in from Cheyenne for repair to the car's wheels. Photo: John Hill, contributing photographer
Contributing photographer John Hill captured Union Pacific's historic EMD E9  in Denver with car #209, known as the Howard Fogg. It is the last boiler car for the UP. The car is comparable to former Alco PB #6002 that the Rio Grande renumbered 253 when they converted it to generate steam for passenger trains like the California Zephyr, the Rio Grande Zephyr and the Ski Train. Nathan Holmes of DRGW.net explains the reason behind steam generator cars. In practice, the former diesel engines like the Alco were easier to convert because they were already built to MU (multiple unit) control standards. Therefore, they ran between the engines instead of behind them like the Union Pacific. The Howard Fogg must ride behind the engine lashup and not within it.

About Howard Fogg, the Painter

Named for the renowned railroad painter in 1996 after he passed away on October 1st of that year. Fogg issued numerous paintings of locomotives at the end of steam and the heyday of cowl-bodied diesels. This was during a period when American railroading was arguably the most colorful and diverse.

Examples of Fogg's paintings can be found illustrating many published works, including some editions of the definitive Rio Grande book, Rebel of the Rockies by Robert Athearn, as well as his own books. His works come on calendars, playing cards, porcelain platters and even things you can hang on your wall with frames. Most recently, Richard and Janet Fogg have published Fogg In the Cockpit, a book and a blog about Richard's father. Colorado railroads and narrow gauge were a favorite theme among Fogg's many paintings.

Legacy of Steam Power Survives To See a Big Boy

Given today's wireless and electronic gadgetry, it is a bit ironic that the power cars are indispensable for present passenger special operations using equipment made to run when steam was not just an option, it was the only way to power the cars in your train. Eventually, however, the standard for car power changed when Amtrak took new Amfleet and Superliner cars that relied on HEP, or Head End Power, based on the ready supply of electricity from today's diesel-electrics. Yet nothing seemed capable of killing off the last vestige of steam from the surviving vintage passenger cars like those of Union Pacific.

Inconspicuous to a fault, the Howard Fogg blends in with the passenger consist, ahead of the first dome and behind tool car Art Lockman and #6936, this time speeding through La Salle, Colorado, on its northbound jaunt to Cheyenne Frontier Days.
Photo: John Hill
Finally, in 2000, the car was upgraded to include HEP. The boiler still supplies the steam heat as needed for consist, but HEP provides the power for the high voltage needs on the train. Cars can be electric or steam, but everything from tools and bench work to AC, cash registers, and reading lights depend on the Howard Fogg. Union Pacific needs the Howard Fogg as a support car for the move of Big Boy 4014 from California to Wyoming, presently underway, which Kevin Morgan has confirmed is in Las Vegas, NV on April 30th.◊
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