Friday, August 29, 2008

The Best Side of the DNC In Denver

In 1908, Democrats came to Denver to nominate William Jennings Bryan in an unsuccessful bid for the Presidency. One hundred years later in 2008, Democrats came to Denver to nominate Barrak Obama. While the success of this bid is unknown, the convention is in the books and delegates are returning home. The convention brought together a little of the old and new, even in locomotives. One that has its roots in the last century and one that has its future in the next century sat side by side in Denver on the last day of the convention. Kevin Morgan captured this one shot among many others that day.

One word: Beauty!

Thursday, August 28, 2008

UP, BNSF Put On Show During DNC

Link to site

Christopher May, one of the better contemporary rail photographers in Denver, went downtown to capture a mini-convention of trains currently in town for the Democratic National Convention that wraps up tonight at Mile High.

Capturing the night shots in front of Union Station can be a challenge but the results, as you can see on his page, can be magical if you do it right. He notes, "Lighting was mostly ambient, but I was adding some fill light with multiple blasts with a hand-held Canon 299T flash on some shots, though."

Very impressive, Chris!

Colorado-based GrandLuxe Ceases Operations Tomorrow

Colorado-based GrandLuxe, formerly the American Orient Express, has folded. The luxury train operator has officially pulled the plug making tomorrow the last day of operations. Current ticket holders for future trips are left with the option of taking the ticket charges up with their credit card companies or to wait and see if the company can get a new lender or partner.

Reasons for the closure, other than financial difficulties, have not been disclosed by management. Trains magazine states,
It is not clear whether GrandLuxe will actually declare bankruptcy or what will happen to the equipment, which presumably will deadhead back to the company's Fort Lupton headquarters tomorrow.
The closure has taken some off guard, including some of their employees who showed up to work unaware of the announcement. This closure comes in the face of a popular standing among patrons and industry insiders. According to the LA Times, "earlier this year [GrandLuxe] was named one of the world’s Top 25 trains by the Society of International Railway Travelers."

Sunday, August 24, 2008

RGS 20 Boiler Work Continues

The Colorado Railroad Museum continues to oversee the out-of-state repairs being done on Rio Grande Southern steam engine #20. Linn Moedinger reports in the Narrow Gauge Discussion Forum on the boiler work, complete with photos.

The museum continues to raise funds for the restoration. Donald Tallman, Executive Director for the museum states,

We have recently received a challenge donation of $250,000 to help defray the costs of the restoration. We have received nearly $30,000 in donations to meet the match, but we have a long way to go.

Those interested in helping the museum with this grant can call 303-279-4591 or 1-800-365-6263 with your pledge of support. Once restoration is complete, RGS 20 will return to steam at the museum for years to come.

Pedestrian Struck By BNSF Train in Ft. Collins

BNSF and Ft. Collins Police are reporting that a man was apparently run over by a train and is in serious condition at a regional hospital. What the man was doing on the rails (adjacent to a city park) and the man's identity are both still unknown.

Price Of FasTracks Continues To Rise

RTDs FasTracks continues to revise its cost estimates for completing the FasTracks project on time. As oil and other energy prices soar and sales tax revenue dips, the finishing price will likely continue to rise, placing the latest estimate at $7.9 Billion (up from $6.1 Billion).

Opinion: This is not unprecedented, nor wholly unanticipated. The price of oil and hassles of driving will continue to push commuters away from cars and onto cheaper, efficient Light Rail. New growth around the completed Southeast Corridor reinforces the principle that better transportation brings prosperity and opportunity, two things Denver will need to continue to thrive. Politicians will continue to wrangle over the cost, but there's no getting around the triple constraint.

In the News:

Durango Railfest 2008

Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad's 10th annual Railfest concludes today. Both Galloping Goose #5 from Dolores and the 315 of the DRHS made appearances this weekend. Hopefully, someone will e-mail me with pictures I can link you to.

Durango Herald Online article

UP Steam In Denver For DNC

Editor's Note: There's a lot to report on, lately, so there might be a few more posts than usual.

The Union Pacific Steam team is displaying their locomotive 844 in Denver for the Democratic National Convention this week. They are scheduled to be in town until this Thursday, August 28th. It departs back to Cheyenne on Friday the 29th. Kevin Morgan caught the trip into Denver last week. (view this and all special events on the Colorado Railroads calendar)

Sunday, August 17, 2008

C&TS Returns K-36 Mikado 489 To Active Service With Ceremony

This Wednesday, August 20th, the Cumbres & Toltec Scenic Railroad will return to service the Rio Grande K-36 locomotive 489 after a five year absence. Nearly $1 million was spent restoring the engine to operating condition. An official ceremony with all the fanfare and trimmings is planned for 9 a.m. on the 20th in the Chama yard. At 10 a.m., #489 will depart with her train for Cumbres Pass and onward. For further details, please contact the railroad.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Grande Men

Those who received the July 2008 issue of Trains magazine were treated to a profile of short line Wheeling & Lake Erie. Today, Salida's Mountain Mail published a follow up on the article, talking about the former Salida area residents, long time railroad men of the Rio Grande who have now found themselves in Ohio working on W&LE's CEO Larry Parsons the "Rio Grande Eastern." Indeed, looking at the cover of the issue, it was hard not to think that the Grande had returned to its place in the railroading constellation. The mere continuance of these men so far east of home just might prove that the Rio Grande was something special in the railroading world.

Friday, August 1, 2008

Trolley To Run August 9th At Denver Federal Center

According to Dave Schaaf, Rocky Mountain Railroad Club will be rolling out their trolley car 25 at the Denver Federal Center. Dave writes,

The public is invited to see and ride this beautifully restored antique railcar. Visiting hours will be on Saturday, August 9th, between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m at the Denver Federal Center. Enter the Federal Center at gate #1 from Kipling Street, between 6th Avenue and Alameda. Tell the guard that you would like to go to Building 78 for the trolley open house, and then follow the signs. Government issued photo IDs are required for all adults. Pets and firearms are not permitted, and there are no nearby restroom facilities. Rides are free but donations are gratefully accepted. Books and memorabilia will be for sale.

Update: Darren Hadley with Railroad Adventures captured this picture of the car at the presentation.