Monday, January 14, 2008
The engine recently took a big step toward restoration when the Friends of the Cumbres & Toltec won a $300,000 grant to get it back in running condition. The total cost of the restoration is around $900,000 and the Friends group has commitments for $250,000 above the grant. A lot of variables likely are still blank but the engine could be back in the lineup by 2010, according to the article.
Saturday, December 15, 2007
- March 22 - Bunny Express
- April 19/20 - Post Income Tax Days
- May 31/June 1 - School's Out Steam Up
- June 14/15 - Father's Day Steam Up
- July 19 - 4th Annual Wine and Cheese Event
- August 9/10 - Back to School Train
- August 22/23 - Political Whistle Stop Campaign Train
- September - Day Out With Thomas
- October 25/26 - Halloween Train
- November 29/30 Thanksgiving Train
- December 13/14 - Santa Claus Express
Tuesday, December 11, 2007
More details available at 9news.com.
Wednesday, December 5, 2007
There is no shortage of books on Colorado railroads but if I had to pick books that would be the best to have in any railfan's collection, Colorado's Mountain Railroads by Robert A. LaMassena would be near the top of the list. Covering roughly 100 years of Colorado railroad history, this book is an exhaustive listing of any and all mountain roads laying a rail in the Centennial State.
Having appeared as separate volumes dating from 1963, LaMassena consolidated and revised his work and Sundance Publications Limited printed it in 1984. It is still the most valuable in researching obscure railroads in Colorado. For example, most railfans know the Rio Grande and possibly the Colorado Midland, but not many know about the Midland Terminal or its use of rail buses to help with passenger traffic after World War I. Likewise, not much coverage has been done of the larger, out-of-state roads including the Union Pacific, Missouri Pacific and the Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe. Finally, every short line that laid rail (and even some that never did) get at least some treatment. Here’s a partial listing:
- Colorado Central
- Colorado Yule Marble Co., along with the Crystal River railroads.
- Coors Brewing Co.
- Denver, Boulder & Western
- Denver, Lakewood & Golden
- Denver Pacific
- Denver & Santa Fe
- Denver, Texas & Gulf
- Dolores, Paradox & Grand Junction
- Fairmount (yes, to the cemetery in Denver)
- Golden Circle
- Grand River Valley
- Great Western (the sugar beet short line)
- Kansas Pacific
- Laramie, Hahn’s Peak & Pacific
- London, South Park & Leadville
- Magic Mountain (now Heritage Square in Golden)
- Montezuma Lumber Co.
- Northwestern Terminal Railway (Denver Union Terminal)
- Pagosa Lumber Co.
- Pueblo & Arkansas Valley
- Rio Grande & Pagosa Springs
- Routt Pinnacle Coal Co.
- Salt Lake & Eastern
- San Cristobal
- San Luis Southern
- Santa Fe Southern
- Silverton Northern
- Southern Colorado Power & Railway Co.
- Stone Mountain Railroad & Quarry Co.
- Texas, Santa Fe & Northern
- Treasury Mountain
- Union Pacific, Denver & Gulf
- Utah Central Railroad
- Wasatch & Jordan Valley
The photo illustrations are very illuminating as well. Rare photos abound including,
- Balwin’s 2-6-6-2 narrow-gauge, single expansion Mallets made for Uintah’s sharp curves
- Close-up shot of the Corkscrew Gulch turntable near the Red Mountain townsite
- A triple stub switch on the Rio Grande Southern outside of Rico
- A full color depiction of the travesty of RGS engine 42 painted like a circus train for the Magic Mountain railroad
- D&RGW 821, a 2-6-0T used by the Salt Lake shops in 1923
- Several pictures of Rio Grande’s affair with Fairbanks-Morse
- Denver & Salt Lake’s true (double expansion) 2-6-6-0 Mallets
- Colorado & Wyoming’s Ford truck with flanged wheels (a la RGS Galloping Goose)
This review also appears in its abridged form on Amazon.com since 2014-Dec-05. - SW
Here’s a list of the Christmas trains with runs remaining this season in Colorado. While some have already passed, there are still some good opportunities.
|Dec 8, 9, 15, 16||Rio Grande Scenic Railroad||North Pole Express, routes vary|
|Dec 8, 9, 15, 16, 22, 23, 24||Manitou & Pikes Peak |
|Santa Train, Two departures each day. Combine this with a visit to Santa's Workshop.|
|Dec 7, 8, 9, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 27||Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad||The Polar Express, two to three|
departures each evening
|Dec 8||Cumbres & Toltec Scenic Railroad||Antonito Cinder Bear Express|
|Dec 15 - 24||Royal Gorge Route||Santa train departs daily 12:30 pm|
Saturday, October 13, 2007
Culled from the footage of the Rocky Mountain Railroad Club, this DVD explores the Denver & Rio Grande Western (D&RGW) narrow gauge lines around Gunnison, Colorado.
Length: 59 minutes
Video: Black and white with some color
Locations: Gunnison, Ohio Creek, Crested Butte, Marshall Pass, Sapinero, Black Canyon of the Gunnison and Cerro Summit.
What makes this DVD special: Rare footage, especially of a flanger car in action as it plows the tracks clear of snow.
Otto Perry and Irv August both made trips to the Gunnison area in the 1940s and 50s to capture the narrow gauge action in and around this mountain town. Their efforts give us a glimpse into the final decade of operations over the Marshall Pass route, the original narrow gauge mainline of the D&RG to Utah. When the standard gauge route over Tennessee Pass was completed, the Marshall Pass line became a backwater with steam engines hauling livestock specials and the odd shipment between Montrose and Salida. A few fall aspens and gorgeous vistas form the backdrop for D&RGW 268 in Bumblebee livery (now on display in that livery in Gunnison) and her sister engine 278 (preserved at Cimarron) both make several appearances as do the Mikado-style engines that serve as the engines for today's Cumbres & Toltec and Durango & Silverton lines.
So much history comes alive on this DVD. Several locations shown are now beneath the waters held by dams on the Gunnison River west of Gunnison. Livestock extras and a flanger plow in action viewed from the caboose also separate this DVD from the pack. This film is a must for any serious narrow gauge modeler as well as the average enthusiast looking for an alternative to the ho-hum, standard-gauge fare. A worthy addition to your collection.
Friday, October 12, 2007
As a fifth-generation Coloradoan, I have a passion for the mountains and the railroads that ventured through them. I envy the lives of William H. Jackson, Otto Perry and many others who saw steam working such places as Red Mountain Pass, Telluride, the Chili Line, Marshall Pass and Leadville. Places like Silverton, Durango and Antonito are magical to me. I've spent hundreds of hours perusing books, studying maps and physically following ghost railroads all over Colorado. Railroad DVDs and past VHS volumes have graced my screen on many a cold winter night. I simply love Colorado railroads.
With this in mind, I'm announcing that I will begin reviewing and recommending DVDs, books and assorted resources that I've found. Most often, you'll be able to get them through Colorado Railroads' relationship with Amazon.com, but a few will be hidden gems or just plain unavailable stuff that you might be able to find down at your local library or museum. I'll bring out the good stuff as much as I can. As always, you can chime in with your own reviews using comments.
I will roll out the first review soon. Until then, keep the fires banked and the glass full. Bring on the snow!
Sunday, September 30, 2007
Meanwhile, CJ Lamas has been playing around with stuffed animals (or is the proper term "mascot" or possibly "character of dubious gender?") down in Antonito and Chama on the Cumbres & Toltec Scenic. The costume didn't interfere with these shots, as he picks some beautiful views of Colorado narrow gauge steam. The autumn rains really add to some of these shots too.
Congratulations to both photographers for excelling in their art!
Wednesday, September 26, 2007
Tuesday, September 25, 2007
- Will Railstar and CHS make the changes necessary to improve reliability and lessen or even eliminate downtime in 2008? I hope so.
- Will the businesses of Georgetown and Idaho Springs recover from this difficult season? Probably, but only if the point above is sufficiently resolved.
- Will Greska tack down a third rail and run narrow gauge through the Royal Gorge to Parkdale for the first time in nearly a century? Or will he sell them off and hope they don't end up in the hands of his rivals? There's only so many places that want Shays, and the Loop is one of them.