|Three Grande tunnel motors are rolling into Grand Junction early on a June morning in 1980 with a short
eastbound. The 5347,5357 and 5387 are making easy work of this 35 car mix of coal and manifest traffic.
Photo and caption: Chuck Schwesinger
Tuesday, January 29, 2013
Monday, January 28, 2013
|Christopher May's capture of an Amtrak locomotive at the temporary Amhut station in Denver
captures a beautiful lighting of the slightly marred Amtrak logo. Awesome work, Chris!
When Amtrak rebranded itself from the pointless arrow to the current logo, I could imagine a lot of folks trying to understand the cryptic three stripes. The creative use of negative space is a little symbolic of the way Amtrak has survived for 40+ years now. People keep trying to kill it, only to find their actions could create a gap in the country's transportation network that would be untenable. ◊
Sunday, January 27, 2013
|Kevin Morgan, long a favorite, gets the POTD honor today, not just because of the unique perspective
of this shot, but because he remembered the detail of staying out of the reflection of Ogden, Utah.
Since it's retirement in 2008, Rio Grande SD40T-2 #5371, the only Rio Grande diesel to retire without being re-numbered or sold off, has been joined at the old loco's home by SD40T-2 #5401, which saw brief service as patched Union Pacific 9871. Though they haven't relocated the engine to the property, it's good to know that such vital pieces of contemporary railroading is going to survive in the both of the states the Rio Grande called home.◊
Thursday, January 24, 2013
|Photo courtesy Colorado Railroad Museum
For model railroaders, the connection is obvious. Painters and photographers can develop a great deal of closeup work with the various textures and flavors. Historians can definitely find a new project or two. Volunteers could do with an application for work and then an application of their skills. Sometimes any unrelated field might benefit from time spent there. You just never know where lightning will strike.
Here's a short list (and a map) of year-round museums you can try:
- Colorado Railroad Museum, Denver
- Forney Transportation Museum, Denver
- Pikes Peak Historic Street Railway, Colorado Springs
- Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Museums, Durango
- Pueblo Railway Museum
- Greeley Freight Station Museum
- Glenwood Railroad Museum, Glenwood Springs (4 days/wk)
- Ridgway Railroad Museum (free)
- San Luis Valley Museum, Alamosa (railroad memorabilia)
Map: Year Round Railroad Museums in Colorado
View Year Round Railroad Museums in Colorado 2013 in a larger map
or take it with you on your phone!
Happy hunting! ◊
Tuesday, January 22, 2013
|The future isn't unknown, but how fast and well-lit
your way is will determine the surprises.
- Fuel and consumption will continue to impact other modes of transportation far more than railroads and, as a result, fuel prices will push greater demand toward the railroads, including shortlines, in a drive to control costs. The demand may exceed pre-Great Recession levels
- Locomotive design will not focus on doing more with less so much as it will focus on doing the same with reliability, especially with Tier 4 approaching
- Freight cars will continue to stretch as much as they can to haul as much as possible without snapping in two. Innovations such as the Trough Train weren't so misguided as they were mis-applied. A single, articulated car with two or three bogies in the middle could find a place in unit coal train use because it's principle of reducing tare weight and initial investment. Proving its reliability would be critical to its acceptance
Tuesday, January 1, 2013
|Photo of UP Heritage unit MTH model
by James Griffin, actionroad.net
Proximity To Base Of OperationsIf you have to drive 40 miles or more to get to the group's meetings, is it really feasible in the era of the $4 gallon of gas to expect that you'll make more than one or two trips in a year? Bloom where you're planted and find one convenient to you. If there isn't one, maybe you might consider starting one.
Track RecordHow long have they been around? Who are their long-time members? Joining a group with a past means they're more likely to have a future.
|Athearn SD40T-2 D&RGW 5342
Ready-to-Roll lets the Grande live on
ScaleCodified and expanded by the NMRA since the 1940s, scale is the ratio of size reduction between the real-life prototype and the model. The two most popular modular layout scales are HO (half-O scale) and N, which are also the two most popular scales people use for their home layouts. If you have tools and rolling stock in one of those two scales, you will have a few different clubs to choose from. If you have no equipment to speak of, or you are willing to start over, scale pretty much comes down to that to which you feel drawn. The larger the scale, the more detail is shown in the models. The smaller the scale, the easier it is to fit within the ever-present constraint of space.
GaugeSometimes mistaken for scale, gauge refers to the width in scale feet/inches between the rails. Typically, it's standard gauge, but narrow gauge has a special place in the heart of Colorado's railroading past. HO scale can be adapted to HOn3 (n for narrow, and 3 for scale feet between the rails) or N scale to Nn3. Rolling stock, such as locomotives, cars, cabooses and even maintenance of way vehicles are built to a scale and the axles can only fit one gauge. Oddly, a boxcar built in On30 has axles that can run on HO track, but its scale is twice the size of HO rolling stock and structures.
The club likely will be exhibiting their mobile, modular layout at the expo, which is a collection of modules built to pre-determined measurements to fit together, corner to corner, track with track so that they can be connected in a line or loop. This may be their only layout or one of two or three layouts based on scale, specifications or portability.
Is the club formalized with officers and official meetings, build nights and running nights? Or is it more of an ad-hoc group that gets together whenever they feel like it. You may hate one style of operation or thrive on it, but knowing what you prefer will help when deciding on a club.
Your level of commitment and what you can offer can affect the club as well. Do you have skills such as electronics, painting, or decorating? What about friends of yours who are into railroading that your joining could present opportunities to the club? Do you have real life experience or knowledge that could be helpful? What a person brings to a club can often be what is least considered when they are joining.
Personal Note: This is post is train number 600 for Colorado Railroads.
Useful LinksModel Railroad Hobbyist - A free, model railroading magazine
Model Railroader - sister to Trains Magazine
Railroad Model Craftsman - sister to Railfan & Railroad
Narrow Gauge & Short Line Gazette
N Scale Magazine
Building Your Model Railroad
Model Railroad Scale Converter ◊