Saturday, September 27, 2008

Morgan Captures UP Special On the Moffat

Kevin Morgan caught some great photos of the UP Board of Directors special on the Moffat Route. The Rio Grande Heritage unit 1989 and the C&NW Heritage unit 1995 provided the motive power. As usual, he got some great shots! He also managed to capture a rarity, an Amtrak California F59PH on the California Zephyr eastbound. Eastbounds in the afternoon are hard to catch with the right light, but Kevin's all pro.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Bum Luck

Emo Phillips once said that some days it's just not worth chewing through the leather straps. I'm sure he was thinking of this guy. While the first incident--finding himself the victim of a hit-and-run--might not have been his fault, the second--getting run off a railroad bridge by a passing train--would definitely find him culpable.

Just another case of trying to beat the train and losing. Hope this guy has better luck in the future.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Article On Former Great Western Decapod #90

Way back before Denver's suburbs ever thought of going past Northglenn and Thornton, folks on the northern part of the Front Range were treated to a rare sight: a 2-10-0 Decapod steam engine operating over the Great Western Railway. Today, #90 is the newest and strongest in the stable at the Strasburg Railroad in Pennsylvania. (Read the article)

Sunday, September 21, 2008

For Sale - 1:1 Scale Passenger Train

After ceasing operations last month so suddenly their web site still announces future trips, Colorado-based GrandLuxe Rail Journeys, LLC, is selling the train. Libra Securities is coordinating a private, appointment-only viewing in Napa Valley in California to facilitate the hopeful sale of the entire train to a single owner.

Friday, September 19, 2008

New Round of R2C2 Open Houses

All the way back in May, the Colorado Department of Transportation (known locally here as CDOT) had a initial batch of open houses to present the idea of creating a new rail line between Las Animas (the largest town between Lamar and La Junta on US 50 in the south and either Wiggins or Brush on I-76 (US 6 & 34) in the north. Bofh of the proposed routes would cross through Limon on I-70.

The idea is to pass the through freight over this route from and to the UP and BNSF corridors and keep only local freight to the existing rails. This would create the capacity for commuter rail service along the Front Range as far as Cheyenne or Laramie, WY and Raton or Santa Fe, NM, where it would possibly meet the New Mexico Rail Runner (or whatever it is called at the time).

As with most government agencies, the progress is extremely slow. They are having a second round of community meetings next month, which is fully five months after the first round. Here are the dates and locations, as announced.

* - Date has been changed and updated


It's difficult to imagine that commuter rail will ever become a reality at this rate. Public discussion and village politics are not the way to get things like this done. Rail is the most efficient means of transportation, yet in the days of $4 for a gallon of gas, commuter rail is only being taken half-seriously. It's past time to lay rail, and we're getting people only to think about what commuter service would mean to Colorado.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Shank You - Creede Wins Anti-Train War

Love him or hate him, Donald Shank has fought all he could to bring a train from the San Luis Valley into Creede on the rails of the former Denver & Rio Grande Western. Now, finding himself sliding from a pitched legal battle into a ravine as steep and deep as the canyons of the Creede river, Shank has quit and says that he will begin salvage operations to pull the rails up within Creede city limits.

The Valley Courier quotes Donald Shank,
Our historical foundation, whose mission it is to preserve Colorado’s rich railroad history, is charged with the dismal task of removing what was so difficult to bring to Creede ... the rails that built the town. ... And so it will be with a profound sense of loss that I will pull the first spike, unbolt the first track bolt and lift the first rail ... The biggest loss will be to history.

The impact of this announcement is yet to be felt. Of particular concern is this month's scheduled trip over the Creede branch by the Rocky Mountain division of NARCOA (North American RailCar Operators Association is a group of track speeder afficianados, a railfan sub-species).

What is truly disappointing is that this comes in the face of the apparent success of the Rio Grande Scenic Railroad operating out of Alamosa in the heart of the San Luis Valley. On the other hand, every cloud over Creede has a silver lining. Depending on a lot, there is the off chance that a deal could be struck in the future for the RGSR to operate or purchase part of the line between South Fork and--just outside of--Creede. Plenty of mountain scenery awaits those travelling to the stomping grounds of Soapy Smith, and a standard-gauge steam engine already operating nearby could do the pulling. Who knows what the future brings, but some residents of Creede will fight it tooth and nail, to Donald Shank's dismay.