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  Trip Report: A Quick Trip to Helper - Chapter 1
  Thursday's MNYRO
Across the Desert and Over the Hill
  From: A Quick Trip to Helper Dates: Feb 16-17, 2006 Author: Nathan Holmes


Photo 1
With harsh backlighting for the shot, the first train of the day is at Mack, CO - a westbound manifest, probably MNYRO (North Yard - Roper). Power is UP 4039, UP 5122, and UP 5063.
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Photo 2
Surprisingly enough, I beat the thing to Cisco, UT. I went via old US 6 through the desert, so I figured the manifest would be long gone. As I crossed the east crossing at Cisco, the bells started to ring
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  Report Chapters  
   1 - Thursday's MNYRO
   2 - Friday, Part I
   3 - Friday, Part II
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Photo 3
The next shot was between Sagers and Thompson, where the line makes a broad, sweeping S curve through the desert.
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Photo 4
A bit wider - I couldn't decide if I liked 3 or 4 better, so they both went in
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Photo 5
This is Thompson Springs, UT, where the old Ballard & Thompson used to run about five miles north to a coal mine. The track going right is part of a wye that presumably connected to the branch north.
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Photo 6
Another interesting item at Thompson is D&RGW AX-3215, a maintenance of way flat
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Photo 7
MNYRO was making good time, and I barely missed a shot at Green River. However, I needed to stop for gas and lunch, and that put me a bit further back. So, when I finally got ahead again, I managed to set up this shot at East Mounds.
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Photo 8
Just a detail I've never noticed before - this tag on the side of the mainline rail at Mounds seems to give information about a field weld done in Dec-2004
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Photo 9
I went on into Price to check into the motel for the night. However, shortly thereafter, some chatter on the scanner alerted me that I should head to Helper. There I found these three manned helpers attached to the rear of MNYRO, getting ready to shove over the hill.
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Photo 10
Passing through the north end of Helper, it's obvious that it's late in the day, and that much of the canyon above will be dark. Still, the last Grande unit to not be repainted actually being used in helper service? Can't pass that up.
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Photo 11
Passing through a little light in front of the generating station near Castle Gate, UT
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Photo 12
And bringing up the rear are our three helpers - DRGW 5371, UP 3741 (ex-MP 4806), and UP 2776 (ex-SP 8700, an SP SD40M-2 MK rebuild that started life as CNW 901)
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Photo 13
Just a better look at the last unpatched (or unpainted) D&RGW tunnel motor, along with the bridge near Castle Gate that still says Rio Grande, even if it is obscured by a conduit
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Photo 14
Light is extremely scarce this time of day at the bottom of the canyon. Here's the head end again, rounding the bottom of the eastern Castle Gate formation
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Photo 15
UP 4039 bursts out into a small pocket of light near Lynn. By the time the helpers arrive, though, the light will have retreated.
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Photo 16
The rear end, pushing away just below the Lynn tunnels
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Photo 17
Another small pocket of light occurs at the Kyune tunnels, giving us this shot of them disappearing into the portal
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Photo 18
Rounding a corner just above the west end of Kyune. The helper set will cut off within the next mile or so and return light to Helper.
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Photo 19
MNYRO, now on its own again without the helpers, continues the climb between Kyune and Colton
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Photo 20
The last look at the manifest I've been following all day - westbound in the last rays of light at Colton
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Creative Commons License This work is copyright 2006 by Nathan D. Holmes (maverick@drgw.net), but licensed under a Creative Commons License. This allows and encourages others to copy, modify, use, and distribute my work, without the hassle of asking me for explicit permission or fear of copyright violation. I encourage others to consider CC or other Open Content-style licensing of their original works.

All photographs in this trip report were taken with a Canon EOS 20D using either a Canon 28-105mm USM or a Canon 75-300mm f4-5.3 IS/USM.