Showing posts with label UP 1989. Show all posts
Showing posts with label UP 1989. Show all posts

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

POTD - Right At Home In the Tunnel District

Would you believe it's been 10 years since Colorado Railroads - - began? I wouldn't have realized it but for the fact that the Rio Grande Heritage Unit produced commissioned by Union Pacific is 10 years old next month. What a great job they did on that design! Having met the designers at the unveiling, I was pleased to tell them that they really did a great job capturing the feel of a very diverse railroad with a solid and, I believe, unifying design that, as far as I'm concerned, would look great in a production run! It's the least Union Pacific could do, considering how seldom the locomotive seems to make it through Colorado.

At home
Photo of the Day: Mike Danneman

Mike Danneman captured the vagabond UP 1989 when the notch-nosed, brawny SD-70ACe was leading a comparatively grimey sister ACe. Mr. Danneman said the UP Heritage Unit "looks right at home exiting Tunnel 29 east of Pinecliffe, Colorado," heading east over former D&RGW territory in the Moffat Road's Tunnel District on July 10, 2006.◊

Monday, October 28, 2013

BNSF Heritage Hoppers

Heritage fleets just keep on getting bigger. This year, BNSF has finally gotten with the program and produced a half-hearted "heritage hopper" harem.

BNSF Heritage freight car?
Photo by John Csoka

It's almost as if they looked at UP and NS and said, "Oh, alright. Here. But don't expect us to paint them snazzy colors or anything."

What? You mean like these?

UP Heritage Hopper Set
UP Heritage Hopper Set
Both photos by Keith Schmidt.

The models were created by MTH, but probably could be adapted by the prototypic Union Pacific. A look at some concepts from the model railroading world might just show us what's possible for BNSF to try, if they're ever so inclined. In particular, Lionel (yes, that Lionel, 3 rails and all) designed some passable heritage designs that would catch anyone's eye.

Burlington 1848

Burlington Northern 1970

Frisco 1876

Great Northern 1889

Northern Pacific 1870

Santa Fe 1996
Above 6 photos LLC. (Catalog)

As with Union Pacific, the road numbers of the locomotives signify a year. In this case, it's based on the year the railroad started (save Santa Fe), rather than the year they joined the system. While there are no prototypical or "real" engines for these models (at least, not yet), I have to admit that when the design is scaled up, they look pretty sharp. To wit:

Which is your favorite? What about a Colorado & Southern locomotive? Do you think UP should start painting heritage hoppers based on the success of the Heritage Fleet?◊

Monday, July 25, 2011

POTD - Photo of the Day Debut

Today, we start a new format for POTD, Photo Of The Day. The purpose of POTD is, lest we forget, to give photographers more exposure and to get them noticed. There is no commercial interest driving this feature, just a love of the art. All clicks on the photo will be directed to the photographer's hosting site whenever possible.

The first Photo of the Day for the new format is a personal favorite. I was present at the unveiling of the Union Pacific's Heritage fleet's tribute to the Denver & Rio Grande Western, SD-70ACe UP 1989. Kevin Morgan was also there, and I'll admit, his skills--and camera--are better than mine.

UP SD70ACe 1989 on June 17, 2006 at the Union Pacific equipment yard
Photo Kevin Morgan

Monday, December 7, 2009

Kevin Morgan Returns

After a long absence, Kevin Morgan and his Colorado Railfan site have returned with new content! His coverage of the UP 1989 Rio Grande Heritage Unit heading up the snow bus west of Denver is the first of 9 planned photo essays soon to appear on his site.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

UP 1989 Assists In Nuclear Fuel Drill

Union Pacific helped Denver Fire and other emergency services in a drill yesterday. The drill involved a truck striking a person and a train carrying a container of spent nuclear fuel. Sharp eyes will spot UP 1989, the Rio Grande heritage unit, on the head end. Denver's channel 7 news has the story.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

KM: Rio Grande Heritage Unit Leads California Zephyr

The Rio Grande heritage unit, UP 1989, was sent out to Utah on Saturday last week and when an eastbound California Zephyr P42 engine wouldn't take a load (run its traction motors), Union Pacific loaned the heritage unit to lead the way from Utah through Denver. That's right, through. Kevin Morgan reports that there was no Amtrak power on hand at Denver and so the Rio Grande continued on east toward Chicago and BNSF territory. If anyone out there spots our unit, let me know! In the meantime, here's Kevin's pictures from the Moffat Tunnel eastward.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Rio Grande Heritage Unit At First Light

Thanks to Kevin Morgan and his willingness to get up early on a Friday morning, we have some great shots of Rio Grande Heritage unit UP 1989 to go with our coffee. Thanks, Kevin!

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.

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!

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Operation Lifesaver Special In Glenwood Springs

Operation Lifesaver ran a special on Saturday from Utah into Glenwood Springs over the former Rio Grande trackage. On point was Union Pacific #1989, the Rio Grande Heritage unit. Three short round trips were planned to take passengers from Glenwood to Dotsero through Glenwood Canyon. Those of you familiar with the history of the canyon will remember this monument to an idea. The canyon was the original location for the monument honoring the concept of creating dome cars for people to view the scenery they passed through.

Ben from Grand Junction managed to catch this shot of the special as it sat in Dotsero.

Update: Here's an article from the train's trip to Montrose. It made roundtrips to Paonia for employees of Montrose city government.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Colorado State Fair Express Chase

I could post all the footage and photos I got of UP 844 as it came south from Denver to Pueblo, but I would be hard pressed to keep up with Kevin Morgan of Seeing him near Larkspur and again in Pueblo, I saw how easily the pros drift through the amateurs and somehow make it all look so easy.

I still might post a few. I'll have to recover my ego first. In the meantime, I'm offering an editorial, although it will likely just add to the consensus of the railfan community at large.

I was reminded yesterday that mainline steam tends to bring out the very worst of railfans. I will spend little time citing what's wrong, but it's still worth noting that:
  • Slowing traffic to a crawl on a major Interstate highway just so they can pace a train that is still 100 to 200 feet away from them causes active and thorough resentment from not only the general public, but other railfans trying to get to the next photo location
  • Walking in front of the photo line to get their own shot reveals just how unprofessional and ridiculous some railfans can be, especially when the same person shows up in shot after shot after shot. His wearing a pale yellow T-shirt makes it all the worse
On the positive side, I appreciated so many of the fans finding discrete places to photograph the train. Positioning themselves in the bushes, below the grade or generally out of the way, many of the photographers were decent to each other and respected each other's desire for the perfect shot. Following the golden rule--even in a hobby--by talking with folks already set up about where you can go to stay out of their way helps everyone feel respected and yields some good rewards. The challenge of catching a locomotive at speed is challenging enough without climbing all over each other to do it.

While it's not unique to railfanning the events, there is a great opportunity for connecting with others. Among railfans, you can easily spot loyalties and what sub-category of railfan they find themselves in. There's the big steam fan, the narrow gauger, the local historian, the obscure short-line fan, the camera geek and the dabbler, to name a few. One usually finds a mixture of two or three interests in a single railfan, but there is usually a chief love, proudly proclaimed somewhere about the person on their shirt, cap or jacket, making it easy to spot each other. Striking up conversation about such a love is easy and opens up roads to long and true friendships.

Speaking of great loves, I was gratified at the UP's surprising good taste in letting the Rio Grande Heritage unit, UP 1989, assist the 844 over the Palmer Divide. It's always a beautiful sight to the eyes to see the flying Grande in gold and black on home rails, especially the joint line. It was 136 years ago, before Colorado was even a state in the Union, that the Rio Grande's founder directed the Grande to build south from Denver. When so many "& Pacific" railroads were going east-west, Palmer was the true entrepreneur, defying convention and running north-south to tap the riches of the Colorado piedmont on the way to Mexico City. That he never made it past Raton is dwarfed by the fact that his work still survives today.

Friday, June 15, 2007

Operation Lifesaver in Delta

Operation Lifesaver will be pairing up with Union Pacific Railroad to promote grade crossing awareness in Delta, Colorado in early July. Visit the Delta County Independent for more details or tickets. has speculated that it might involve UP's Rio Grande Heritage unit, 1989.

Monday, February 5, 2007

A (Sort of) Familiar Face

Update: as of 2/16, the regular motive power (F40s) are back on point, not that they look all that bad either.

Kevin Morgan of captured the photo below along with several others near Tunnel 1 on the Moffat Route. The Ski Train is powering it's way up to Winter Park along the Front Range of Denver using 2 of it's 3 F40PHs along with Union Pacific engine 1989, the Rio Grande unit of UP's heritage series. Ski Train F40PH unit 289 was down due to a bad bearing, opening the roster for UP to put a (sort of) familiar face in a very beautiful place.

The UP1989 was unveiled in June 2006 at the North Yard facilities in Denver to a crowd of enthusiastic rail veterans and railfans.

Sunday, July 16, 2006

Heritage Unit Chasers

It's been a few weeks since the unveiling of the Rio Grande Heritage unit by the Union Pacific. Three Rio Grande railfans have posted excellent pictures of the unit from out there on the line.

First, ND Holmes of went out and chased the unit to Milliken on an Operation Lifesaver special and took plenty of photos, as he displays on his trip report. Though this may be the first time for the unit to leave "native" rails, it still looks nice. Bob Sobol also took some pictures on the same trip. It may be the shadows, but that gray now looks almost blue.

Finally, Kevin Morgan drove up to the bottom of the tunnel route on the front range and took some great pictures of the first run of the heritage unit on the Moffat Route. History? Well that may be taking it too seriously. Still, I have waited for 23 years to see that color of gold on the rails again. It does a Grande fan good to see it again.

Sunday, June 18, 2006

More Heritage Unit Shots

Here are some more shots of the DRGW Heritage Unit:

Nose with the "Main Line Thru The Rockies" herald

Unveiling...with a lot of help!

The Riddler-like question mark on the side was the working of Mike Iden of UP.

Control stand inside the cab

UP Is Tipping Its Hand

At the unveiling of DRGW-inspired heritage unit 1989, it was mentioned from the podium that the unit for Chicago & Northwestern (CNW) will be unveiled a month from now, and the Southern Pacific (SP) will be unveiled in August. Like the Grande locomotive, they will probably be done with some pomp and ceremony in their home districts.

The UP tipped its hand a little at the theme of its two remaining heritage schemes by posting banners at the unveiling. Here are the banners for each road:

Chicago & North Western

Southern Pacific

As you can see, the logo at left gives a preview of the theme of the design for the existing four locomotives (click the heading for a view of the locomotive). It stands to reason, therefore, that the other two will likely follow suit.

Guessing's Over - The D&RGW Heritage Unit Is Unveiled!

The guessing is over and we've got the pictures. Kevin Morgan and I -- along with at least 40 other photographers -- were there for the unveiling of the UP's new heritage scheme for the Denver & Rio Grande Western. Here's the unit at the final unveiling taken with my own paltry 3 Mpx camera.

As you can see, the paint scheme is largely derived from the 40s and 50s era F-units with gray on top, just like the F-units and four stripes down the length, also from the cowl scheme. The only nod to the freight, black-with-gold design is the placement and size of the Rio Grande speed lettering down the side, which was what was used on the GP-30s and -35s purchased in the 50s. This was before the billboard style with the little "Rio," big "Grande" lettering.

The large mountains occupying the nose are taken from the Main Line Thru the Rockies logo. It's entirely appropriate to do this for a one-of-a-kind paint job as it emphasizes the territory traveled by the Rio Grande. However, it's pretty easy to suppose that the Rio Grande itself would have never gone to such lavish extremes for standard road units.

The impression from most of the people I talked to at the unveiling is that they were pleased with the design. No one commented that there was too much grey or that they should have done a coal black unit. One possibility for their not going with an orange and black unit would be their reluctance to look too much like their competitor that has begun to take on an orange and black swoosh logo, which isn't different enough from the speed lettering of the Grande.

Here's a close-up of the Rio Grande lettering from on board the new SD-70ACe.

Kevin has posted better, much better shots at his site. Go take a look.

Sunday, June 11, 2006

Peeking Under The Wrapper

Were you one of those kids that peeked under the wrappings at Christmastime? Well, someone posted a photo on of the DRGW Heritage Unit to be unveiled next week in Denver (see previous post). Yeah, I know it's still wrapped, but I definitely see some paint peeking through on the pilot and crew ladders. It's going to be hard waiting for Saturday.

The unit is making its way to Denver. It will be in Coubluffs (Council Bluffs?), IA at 6:15 AM Sunday.

Monday, June 5, 2006

Rio Grande Heritage Unit 1989 Confirmed

As a follow-up to my previous post, I did some checking with UP and they will be unveiling the new Denver & Rio Grande Western heritage unit in Denver on June 17. The bad news: This event is not open to the public, only employees and media. The good news is that the UP folks will be sending it around the region's rails so there will be plenty of time to film and/or photograph it in action. Get those cameras ready!