Monday, June 16, 2008

RGS Galloping Goose No. 4 Restoration Underway member JCater visited Ridgway recently and took some photos of Rio Grande Southern Galloping Goose #4, under restoration by the Ridgway Railroad Museum. It looks like the volunteers there have split the car body from the cab. Their plans are to survey the car and record its condition extensively before beginning any repairs.

JCater's gallery
Colorado Railroads blog post:
RGS Galloping Goose No. 4 To Be Restored In Ridgway

Saturday, June 14, 2008

DRHS #315 Continues in Chama

The Durango Railroad Historical Society's recently restored D&RGW steam engine, #315, will continue to work on the Cumbres & Toltec Scenic railroad over the summer. Click here for the article from the Durango Herald.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Windsor Railroad Museum Reopens After Tornado

The Windsor twister that destroyed buildings and caused one death May 22, 2008, left its mark on the Colorado community, but there are signs that life is slowly returning to normal. One such sign is the Windsor museums re-opening at Boardwalk Park. Although there was damage to a beet shanty showing home life for immigrant sugar beet farmers, several other buildings--including the railroad depot and exhibits--went largely undamaged. The museums will be open 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesdays through Saturdays this summer.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Denver Post: Police Say Derailment No Accident

Apparently, the stump was removed, and 2 hours later it was back. From the article,

... a Westminster police officer had struggled to get it off the tracks after someone called and reported it about 8:30 p.m. Two hours later, the stump was back and a 37-car freight train hit it and derailed, causing major damage to the train and spilling thousands of dollars worth of cargo.

This highlights the necessity of police and other first responders working to communicate suspicious activity to railroad police and dispatchers. I do not work for BNSF, but if a slow order or a high-rail vehicle were dispatched for the next train on that line, the derailment might have been avoided.

Related post from 6/10/08

Volunteer At the Colorado Railroad Museum June 28th

For those in the Denver-Golden area on June 28th, the Colorado Railroad Museum will be hosting its first all-Museum work day. Volunteer coordinator Kelvin Harr says that there will be mini-restoration projects, landscaping projects, track projects, and office projects that volunteers start and finish that day. Have fun, get your museum fix, and end up with a real sense of accomplishment. Contact if you would like to help out!

On a side note, several mechanically inclined volunteers are needed at the Colorado Railroad Museum to put the No. 50 Switcher back together. They need a Project Leader and individuals to work on installing the transmission, clutch, air brake rigging and running gear. If this is your cup of tea, contact Kelvin Harr at the link above.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Rio Grande Scenic Railroad Trip Report

Nathan Holmes of has posted a trip report on the Rio Grande Scenic Railroad and caught some beautiful shots of their new #18! Go check it out!

BNSF Freight Local Derails In Westminster, Vandalism Suspected

According to Kevin Morgan of, the Longmont Turn, a BNSF local, rammed a tree stump placed on the tracks, presumably by vandals. The train was going near track speed of 40 MPH at 10:30 PM Monday evening and all four engines derailed as well as several freight cars in a massive dogpile. The lead unit, BNSF 8105, an SD-60M managed to remain upright.

The derailment happened at 95th Avenue and Wadsworth Parkway in Denver's northwest suburb of Westminster. Other Denver media, including and the Denver Post (all news outlets), have picked up the story. Three crew members were aboard the local and one was taken to the hospital with minor injuries. Police still don't know who may have placed the stump or trunk on the tracks, only that it could have been much more serious had the train been carrying something other than building supplies.

Kevin has more pictures from this afternoon. Crews are still working to remove the debris to re-open the line. There is no current estimate on when the line will reopen.

Monday, June 9, 2008

Grand County Residents Scramble To Save Buildings From UP Wrecking Ball

The news from Granby is not good. After purchasing a pair of railroad structures to model the historic Denver & Rio Grande Western's Moffat Route from Denver to Craig, the Grand County Railroad Club is being forced to abandon their building by the railroad's current owner, Union Pacific. They must remove the building from UP property or it will be demolished by the Union Pacific. Being more expensive to move it than to start over, the GCRC may simply salvage what they can and start over in their search for a home.

Similarly, the Grand County Historical Society is seeking to save the Granby Depot from the same wrecking ball. Ideally, the depot would be removed to a donated tract of land. If not, the society could possibly place it on existing land but it would be "jam-packed."

Entreaties by the Middle Park railroad afficianados to the railroad's central offices in Omaha have thusfar gone unheeded and unheard. The demolition move by the UP is part of their effort to make the railroad property from Denver to Glenwood Springs more presentable.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Meet Phil Johnson, CMO of the CRRM

Here's a good little article on Phil Johnson and his work as the CMO (Chief Mechanical Officer) at the Colorado Railroad Museum in Golden.

On a side note, I'm glad to see the Denver Leadville & Gunnison engine 191 is finally getting some attention. For years, she's stood as a shadow of what she once was. Will she steam again? I don't know, but with all the steam power coming on line in the last few years and the current projects in the works, anything is indeed possible.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

RGS Galloping Goose No. 4 To Be Restored in Ridgway

The Telluride Watch is reporting that Galloping Goose #4, the only goose that has not undergone a major restoration since the demise of the Rio Grande Southern, has been placed at the Ridgway Railroad Museum for just that purpose. Goose 4 is going to be restored to a complete but non-operating condition for it's owner, the Telluride Volunteer Fire Department. Many hands have had a part in getting Goose 4 this far, but Mary Ann Gaston of Telluride figures prominently in the article.

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Rio Grande Scenic Railroad's High Altitude Concert Series Returns

Do railroads and music go together? Any blues fan, any country artist would tell you, absolutely they go together! So maybe it's just a natural fit that a railroad already gathering a reputation for delighting the eyes continues its attempts to engage our ears with songsmiths and poets.

Rio Grande Scenic Railroad, Colorado's newest scenic railroad, begins its High Altitude Concert Series on July 17. In its second year, the train’s mountain concerts feature the return of cowboy poet and Western Music Hall of Fame inductee, Michael Martin Murphey, along with country and bluegrass singer Ricky Skaggs, among other national recording artists. The Rio Grande Scenic Railroad has the only ticket to this exclusive Colorado concert setting among a natural meadow amphitheater of aspens and pines under clear starry skies. Performances take place on Fridays and Saturdays through August. If this sounds too good to pass up, here's your link to more information on the High Altitude Concert Series.

Saturday, May 31, 2008

Ridgway Railroad Museum Receives Records of RGS

Earlier this month, the Ridgway Railroad Museum in Ridgway, Colorado inherited a boon this month with 50 boxes of Rio Grande Southern corporate records. These records cover everything from the founding in 1890 by Otto Mears to the wholesale abandonment of the line in the mid-1950s. According to Ouray News, Jim Pettengill of the museum was quoted,

"This generous donation probably makes us the second-largest repository of RGS archival documents. This is an incredible treasure trove of information that will take us years to thoroughly examine."

This is a tremendous opportunity for volunteers to add to the extensive knowledge of the RGS and they now have it in a location convenient to the actual physical remains of the railroad. The Colorado Railroad Museum's generous contribution means very much to the fans and historians of the RGS. As new displays and archives are opened to the public, southwestern Colorado will continue to grow richer in history and culture.

If it weren't for the dedicated work like the volunteers of Ridgway, the memory of the RGS and the people who ran her to serve the area in early times would gradually fade until she was only an apparition reported in fables by tour guides.

This summer, you can catch a little of that living history in Ridgway on June 7th or on the C&TS or the D&SNGRR. Since practically none of the original railroad grade has running rails, the volunteers of Goose 5 have taken to running on these "sister lines." Seeing her run, it's not too hard to imagine her 60 years ago running on spindly trestles between Ophir, Vance Jct., or Dolores. Take a gander--I couldn't resist that one--at her first appearance on the Cumbres & Toltec Scenic and another appearance on the Durango & Silverton's high line.