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  Trip Report: Ritter/O'Brien Inaugural Special - Chapter 1
  Ritter/O'Brien Inaugural Special
Saturday, 13 Jan 2007
  From: Ritter/O'Brien Inaugural Special Dates: 13 Jan 2007 Author: Nathan Holmes


Photo 1
So this has nothing to do with the inaugural special - but what else were we going to do to kill time? The special was already nearly 50 minutes late getting into Denver, so we found this KCS SD70ACe on a northbound BNSF at Prospect Jct.
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Photo 2
Arriving at Denver around 1220h after the trip from Greeley. Lead power is UP 4898 and 4965, followed by 10 passenger cars and two power cars.
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Photo 3
Into Denver's Union Station with Union Pacific 102 - the St. Louis - bringing up the rear with Gov. Ritter and Lt. Gov. O'Brien on board.
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Photo 4
Note the special drumhead mounted to the rear for the occasion. Of course it's rather ironic that this looks like a stylized BNSF SD70MAC on a UP train, but only us train nerds would notice that.
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Photo 5
The man of the day - new Colorado Governor Bill Ritter - heads off the car to go inside for the Denver meet and greet event.
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Photo 6
Pulled into the track at Union Station with the famous "Travel by Train" sign in the background.
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Photo 7
We all figured that getting ahead of it through South Denver and Littleton traffic would be a bit of a pain, so we got our shots and went on south. Don't let the blue sky fool you - temperatures hovered in the single digits all day, and by this shot my face was numb.
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Photo 8
We'd heard a rumor that the train would run wrong-way on the northbound main from Littleton to Palmer Lake, but this confirmed it. It's a loaded coal train stopped at Louviers, awaiting helpers from Big Lift. No way they're putting a hot passenger special behind this slug.
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Photo 9
After some time (mostly spent in the car to stay warm), the special came cruising towards Sedalia around 1420h.
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Photo 10
The regular southbound main is pretty easy to shoot at Larkspur, but trains running southbound on the northbound main pose a challenge. I still managed to get the bluff-in-the-background shot, though, just from a different spot. The scenery dwarfs the train, and this scenery is small by Colorado standards!
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Photo 11
A slightly different angle at Larkspur. The train is really going at this point, and we won't catch it again until Palmer Lake.
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Photo 12
With the backroad between Larkspur and Palmer closed, we rolled into Palmer Lake just ahead of the special. He came through the curve fairly slowly, so the mad dash up the hill wasn't exactly as necessary as we'd initially thought.
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Photo 13
A wider shot at Palmer - I couldn't pick between 12 and 13, so you get to suffer through both.
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Photo 14
The St. Louis (UPP 102) brings up the rear as they start down the grade towards Colorado Springs.
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Photo 15
This is a total grab shot at the Monument downtown grade crossing.
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Photo 16
Rounding the curve out of Monument, CO.
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Photo 17
Take a good look - the Bijou Street bridge in the background will soon be no more. As part of the freeway expansion, it's being demolished. It's about half gone now, and should be completely down in a week or two.
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Photo 18
Pulling into the Colorado Springs stop at the old depot, now Giuseppe's Old Depot Restaurant. The bad news is that they're about 95 minutes late at this point (scheduled arrival was 1430h, and it actually was 1605h). There were a number of busses out front, so I'm guessing that some passengers may have been bussed to Pueblo to arrive on schedule.
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Photo 19
After pulling up a bit from the original stop, they again put down the stepstool for those returning to the train. Note the balloons that were added. The train stopped for a while at North Colorado Springs, so my guess is part of that was to add the balloons and fix the flag-like things on each side.
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Photo 20
I couldn't resist photographing this on the side of the CSU power that was sitting in the yard...
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Photo 21
The sun has just sunk behind Pikes Peak and the special is waiting in the yard, awaiting a much-delayed departure from the Springs.
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Creative Commons License This work is copyright 2007 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 for non-commercial purposes (only), 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 24-105mm F4 L IS/USM or a Canon 75-300mm f4-5.6 IS/USM.