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TIDBITS FROM THE LAST FEW WEEKS
Posted Sunday, February 29 2004 at 2133 h MST
First, I realized that I never bothered to mention that the Moffat Route will be closing down this summer for about six weeks to undergo a maintenance blitz. The goal is to do some very serious trackwork between C&S Junction (Denver) and Bond, CO. Massive amounts of concrete ties and track renewal will be done during daylight hours, with the line (usually) reconnected at night to allow an armada of freight to pass over the line during the evening hours. The last I've heard is that it should start around 26-Jun-2004, and continue through early August. Amtrak 5 and 6 will be routed via UP through Wyoming during this time, and the summer Ski Train has been annulled.
Second, the rumor mill says UP is apparently going forward with plans to realign Utah Junction. What I've heard says that the BNSF Front Range sub will be dropped a number of feet near Utah Jct. to allow a new connection to fly over it, joining the Moffat to the Belt Line. Pecos will remain an at-grade crossing, as the rumor mill also says that funding was not available to grade separate the crossing. This could be right or completely bogus, but the start date I've heard for preliminary work is sometime very, very soon.
In the odd-but-true category, Steve Walden passed along this item from the Denver Post stating that the Colorado, Kansas & Pacific intends to pursue another five year lease on the Towner Line, the ex-MoPac main east from Pueblo. This is Rio Grande related, as the DRGW used trackage rights over this line to reach Kansas City after the UP/WP/MP mergers.
The Glenwood Canyon derailment area was opened for train traffic on Wednesday, 18-Feb-2004. Tom McConnell reported the first trains through the area at 0600h. The cause was apparently found, in the end, to be a broken rail, possibly caused by a rockslide.
That's all I know - sorry things are so slow lately, but my personal and professional life have me swamped with little time left to pursue updates to my website. - NDHolmes
NEXT JOINT LINE MEET - 14-MAR-2004 AT 1000h
Posted Wednesday, February 18 2004 at 0021 h MST
Mike Keithly is putting together another Joint Line meet up at Palmer Lake on 14-Mar-2004 at 1000h. As usual, we'll meet in the parking lot on the north end, by County Line Road. Mike's put together a flyer (available as an MS Word doc or a PDF. Spread the word, and as usual we're looking forward to seeing a great number of people there. - NDHolmes
(NON-DRGW) SP&S 700's STEAM GAUGE STOLEN
Posted Monday, February 16 2004 at 2301 h MST
I normally don't post non-DRGW and non-Colorado news, but this one caught my attention tonight as an item we need to spread the word about. The fine folks over at the Brooklyn roundhouse were burglarized this weekend (Friday night or Saturday morning), and among other things taken was the steam gauge from SP&S 700. For those unfamiliar with the locomotive, please see its official website or Paul Birkholz' spectacular photos here. From Jim Vanderbeck (of 700's caretakers, the Pacific Railroad Preservation Association, via Trainorders tonight):
"Sometime late Friday or early Saturday morning, our office at the Brooklyn Roundhouse was broken into. A few of the usual things were stolen, a VCR, a radio Boom-box, a few dollars petty cash and some pop. On a close investigation we found that the main steam gage from the SP&S 700 steam locomotive was taken from a cabinet in the office.
Although others can be made to fit, this is an irreplacable, one of a kind gauge. It is fairly large, probably 20+ pounds and has a sketch of the locomotive as well as the SP&S logo etched on the face. I will post a picture of this guage shortly."
Please contact them at PRPA@SPS700.org if you know anything at all about this, or see the gauge turn up at a show, swap meet, or elsewhere. You can see the gauge in question here. Please help us look for this invaluable railroad artifact. - NDHolmes
DERAILMENT IN GLENWOOD CANYON
Posted Sunday, February 15 2004 at 1317 h MST
Adding to what's already been a bad week on the former Rio Grande, I just noticed that Bruce Collins and Tom McConnell have reported (on the DRGW list) the derailment of an eastbound coal train in Glenwood Canyon. The incident occurred just west of West Grizzly (MP 655). About fifteen cars behind the lead power (UP 6637 in front), about forty cars are off the track, in addition to the swing helpers (UP 6612 and 8149). Nothing is in the river yet, but Tom reports that 6612 is perched rather precariously on the ledge that supports the tracks.
Update (2/15 - 1645h): Robert Harmen of GJ reports on the DRGW list that Amtrak 6 (powered by 158 and 136) was turned at Grand Junction. Passengers are being bussed to Denver. Also, a wreck train, powered by a patched SP AC and UP 6237, is prepared for a run east to the site. Bruce C. has also posted a few photos over on Trainorders here, for those of you with T/O access.
Also, Amtrak 6 (eastbound California Zephyr) yesterday encountered an 18-inch section of broken/missing rail on the west side of the Moffat Tunnel. Fortunately it didn't derail, but it did separate the power. Apparently the lead power proceeded through the tunnel, while the trailing power was used to push the train back away from the portal. Reports are that things were fixed up aroun 0500h on Sunday morning (15-Feb-2004). Thanks to Jason Stephens, Tom Krummell, and the DRGW list for this one as well. - NDHolmes
SLRG - VETA PASS DERAILMENT
Posted Saturday, February 14 2004 at 2048 h MST
Sometime between eleven and midnight on Thursday, 12-Feb-2004, the San Luis Rio Grande derailed 10-11 cars of an eastbound between MP 199 and 200 on Veta Pass (between Alamosa and the UP connection at Walsenburg). This is part of the Rio Grande's old San Luis Valley line, which was sold by UP to the SLRG (RailAmerica) last year. The location in question is between Occidental and Fir, in the most inaccessible part of the pass (at least to the public - this is up in the Trinchera Ranch). The Valley Courier has a story and photo online about it here. The story claims that some or all of the crew jumped, leading to the possible conclusion that it was a runaway-type situation. - NDHolmes
Ex-Grande Tunnel Motors to GE Capital
Posted Wednesday, February 11 2004 at 1415 h MST
Six units from the 1977 SD40T-2 order have become GECX lease units. The renumberings occurred between 27-Jan-2004 and 30-Jan-2004. As you might recall, their lease to UP expired in November of 2003, and they'd been parked at the Jenks shops awaiting disposition. The units affected:
1. DRGW 5376, patched to UP 8631 and then GECX 8631
2. DRGW 5377, patched to UP 8632 and then GECX 8632
3. DRGW 5379, repainted to UP 4063/8633, then GECX 8633
4. DRGW 5380, repainted to SP 5380 and UP 4064/8634, then GECX 8634
5. DRGW 5383, repainted to UP 4066/8636, then GECX 8636
6. DRGW 5385, patched to UP 8638 and then GECX 8638
BRIDGE PROBLEMS ON THE NORTH FORK - UPDATED
Posted Monday, February 9 2004 at 1831 h MST
Sometime around 1100h today (Mon, 9-Feb-2004), UP suffered a derailment on the North Fork that damaged the Gunnison River bridge just west of Austin, CO. Based on a post by C. Hufman on the DRGW list, several coal cars derailed and had broken through some of the bridge truss members and were still being restrained by others, so they're more or less jack-knifed between the bits. For those unfamiliar with the bridge, see this photo of a loaded coal train, taken during Feb 2002.
Update (0930h - 10-Feb-2004): Apparently the deck gave way on the geographically western-most span. Contrary to my earlier report, it looks like the side trusses are still intact and that the bridge may be salvagable. The GJ Sentinel has it on the front page (or here's the image in case it gets bumped as top story by the time you see this), and the full article is available here. - NDHolmes
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