Tuesday, April 20, 2010

UP Retires ex-Rio Grande Tunnel Motors To Dead Line At Burnham

It was bound to happen. With a continued lack of demand because of the recession, old locomotives that have seen their share of railroad miles are rounded up and sent via "funeral train" to a retirement storage, known as a "dead line." Intrepid photographer Kevin Morgan chased a funeral train on April 17, 2010. This time it seems to be a large
percentage of tunnel motors that had been marked for retirement, with 17 out of 21 (81%) being SD40T-2s. The train continued on to the dead line at Burnham.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Fastracks West Corridor 6th Ave Bridge Roll Out Next Weekend

UPDATE 4/23/2010 5:00 PM: POSTPONED ONE WEEK. Due to weather, RTD has postponed the roll-out by one week.

The RTD FasTracks West Corridor team will roll out the main span of a double-track light rail bridge across 6th Avenue just east of Simms & Union the weekend of April 23rd through April 25th, 2010. All lanes of 6th Avenue between Simms & Union and Kipling Street will close at 8:00 p.m. on Friday, April 23rd to prepare the area for the roll-out, scheduled to begin early Saturday morning. 6th Avenue and the frontage road will re-open by 5:30 a.m. Monday, April 26th.

Mudhen 463 Still Under Restoration

It's been a while since we've checked on Engine 463. In fact, we've not seen much on 463 since the Friends of the Cumbres & Toltec Scenic Railroad won the grant to begin work on restoration. Now, according to the Friends, we hear that restoration continues on D&RGW Locomotive 463, also known as Gene Autry's Mudhen. It is one of two surviving K-27 class locomotives originally 15 strong in the D&RGW roster, numbered 450 to 464.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Housekeeping: Minor Change to Feed Subscribers, Coming Plans

Colorado Railroads has been blogging since January 30, 2006. Since then, we've seen a lot of changes. We've seen the very last of Colorado's home grown railroad, the Rio Grande, vanish from the locomotive roster of the Union Pacific with the retirement of SD-40T-2 DRGW 5371 to UP's steam facilities in Cheyenne. This happened the year after UP We've covered Class 1 action, scenic lines, simple grade crossing incidents and major derailments. We've even seen the birth of a shortline's steam-powered tourist railroad.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Richard L Dorman, 1922 - 2010

Anyone who has spent much time studying the narrow gauge railroads of southern Colorado has likely come across library books by Richard L. Dorman. His books were often tied to the lines and cities and towns that were born of the railroads of the Rio Grande and the Rio Grande Southern. Dorman became enamored with the narrow gauge after a 1973 trip aboard the Denver & Rio Grande Western's fabled Silverton train. He began to collect photographs, especially of the Rio Grande Southern, only 20 years gone at the time. As a result, he met a lot of the RGS engineers and wives who had photograph collections.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

UP To Repair Curves, Replace Ties On Joint Line

Union Pacific announced that they would be replacing more than a mile of rail on curves on the Joint Line between near Castle Rock and Colorado Springs. The curves project should start at the end of July and end in mid-August. UP also said that they are replacing more than 15,000 railroad ties between Spruce and Monument and should complete the work by April 19th.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

What It's Like To Volunteer

I just got done reading Boho in the 'Burbs: Train Yard Volunteering. See what it's like to volunteer at the Colorado Railroad Museum for a few hours. If anything, it's worth the look inside CB&Q business car 96. It's very cool to see a family get together and give a few hours together. It got me thinking too.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Rio Grande Scenic Railroad Makes Some Changes for 2010 Season

The San Luis Valley has been a world unto itself for centuries. Cut off from the rest of Colorado by mountains on three sides, it has a rugged beauty and a feel that's different from the rest of the state. Once breached by the rails of the infant Denver & Rio Grande over Veta Pass on its way to Durango, the valley's riches were easily carried to Pueblo, Denver and beyond. Today, the Rio Grande Scenic Railroad based in Alamosa, Colorado functions as a short line feeding the Union Pacific connection at Walsenberg.

Friday, April 2, 2010

State Lawmakers Kick Coal When Its Down

Not only could this bill passed by our wonderful, Democratic state senate cut coal miners in our state, but also cost more railroad jobs when we're already in a massive recession. According to the Association of American Railroads, ton-mile volumes in 2009 dropped 15% compared to the same month 2008. Only 1938 and 1949 rival such a decline. "And that's compared to 2008, not exactly a stellar year itself," according to Roy Blanchard in Trains Magazine, (May 2010 pg 6). Further research with AAR reveals that nationally, February's coal carloads dropped 10% when compared with February last year.

Clearly, our lawmakers have an impeccable sense of timing.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Coming in May: Springtime in the Rockies Photographer Special

In commemoration of the 60th anniversary of the Rocky Mountain Railroad Club charter on May 21, 1950,  the Cumbres & Toltec Scenic is running a photographers' special on May 25th, 2010. The train will operate on the Cumbres & Toltec from Antonito to Osier and return. Motive power will feature green-jacketed K-36 Mikado Locomotive 489.

Friday, March 26, 2010

RMRA Study: Use New ROW and Invest $22 B Now

The Rocky Mountain Rail Authority (RMRA) has come back to CDOT with it's High Speed Rail study, which began in July 2008. The Big figure that makes the headlines is the $22 Billion. That would be for a high speed rail network with dedicated rights-of-way to pass 100 MPH trains through Colorado along the I-70 and I-25 axises. The critical segment running from DIA to Summit County would figure to be around $9 Billion, according to one source on the RMRA.

Friday, March 19, 2010

SCFD Free Day At the Colorado Railroad Museum Tomorrow

As part of Denver's regional Scientific and Cultural Facilities District (SCFD), the Colorado Railroad Museum receives sales tax dollars collected across the district. As a thank you to the region, facilities have "free days" where admissions are not required. The museum has two free days this year. The first is tomorrow, March 20th, 2010.