DRGW History and Information  

  Trip Report: The Alamosa Locals - Chapter 1
  Friday Morning in the SLV
Part I - Morning
  From: The Alamosa Locals Dates: 11-April-2003 Author: Nathan Holmes


Photo 1
Finally, after being up for almost 5 hours, the day's MPUAA (Pueblo-Alamosa Manifest) rounds this curve just east of Fort Garland. It's nearing 1000h, and the train is at least several hours late. I've always wanted this shot, but normally it can't be had because the train passes this point far before sunrise. Now if only the sun was in the west.
600x400 960x640
2160x1440

Photo 2
As the train approaches Blanca, it's accelerating out of the slow ordered track to the east and finally making good time towards Alamosa.
600x400 960x640
2160x1440
  Report Chapters  
   1 - Friday Morning in the SLV
   2 - Friday Afternoon in the SLV
  Site Navigation  
   Back to Trip Reports Index
   Back to DRGW.Net

Photo 3
Passing in front of Blanca Peak at, appropriately enough, Blanca.
600x400 960x640
2160x1440

Photo 4
From just west of Blanca to east of Alamosa (El Rancho Lane), the tracks are easily followed by a closely-paralleling dirt road called 124. The line is easily followed and shot from this road, even if the sun is in entirely the wrong place for morning photography.
600x800 1200x1600

Photo 5
Broken apart for the two locals (the West Local, LDP51, to Monte Vista, and the South Local, LDP53, to Alamosa), the two sets of power sit beside each other at the Alamosa depot.
600x400 960x640
2160x1440

Photo 6
While the road crew (Pueblo-Alamosa) tied up and turned over their duties to the south local (LDP53 in UP-speak) crew, I headed west to look at the San Luis Central. I arrived back at Alamosa right on time, as LDP53 was coming through the yard to head for Antonito, seen here set against the Sangre de Cristo Range in the background. Unfortunately, the Grande is trailing.
600x400 960x640
2160x1440

Photo 7
A few miles south of Alamosa, SSW 7286 picks its way along the the light-railed, but well-maintained, Antonito branch. Following it are DRGW 3128 and 24 empties for the operations at the end of the branch.
600x400 960x640
2160x1440

Photo 8
Passing the depot (now town hall) and associated trainorder signal in La Jara, we're now about halfway to Antonito. Unfortunately, on a perfectly straight, nearly level line, there's not much variety in shots.
600x400 960x640
2160x1440

Photo 9
One of only a handful of these classic Rio Grande-style through-truss bridges left, this one is still in service just north of Antonito near milepost 279. From the Denver Public Library's collection, you can also see this bridge back in 1951, when Otto Perry shot this southbound narrow-gauge train crossing through it.
600x400 960x640
2160x1440

Photo 10
I'm standing on what once was the connection to the Grande's narrow gauge San Luis extension - the connection to the lumber near Pagosa and the mines of the San Juan mountains around Durango. Now, no traffic turns west - the local proceeds south past the tiny, boarded-up Antonito depot, on what once was the Chili Line towards Santa Fe, NM. However, the line south of Antonito is only a small stub of its former self, extending only to the mining operation just south of town. Here's what it looked like back in the prime of the narrow gauge.
600x400 960x640
2160x1440

Photo 11
After completing their switching, the crew parks the short train of eight loads (perlite in the covered center-flo cars, volcanic scoria [think red rock] in the open hoppers) across from where they're headed for beans. In the meantime, for me it's time for a nap.
600x400 960x640
2160x1440

Photo 12
About an hour later, the crew hits the horns and once again we're off. DRGW 3128 is northbound for Antonito here at MP 278, just north of the famed bridge.
600x400 960x640
2160x1440
[<< Previous]   Chapter 1   [Next >>]
All the images here are Copyright 2003 Nathan D. Holmes (maverick@drgw.net)
Note this doesn't mean you can't use them - In fact, I encourage people to use and enjoy them.
I'm placing them under the same license as RailARC images. Please feel free to copy, use, and distribute anything you find here, as long as I'm given credit for its creation.
All shots in this trip report were taken with a Canon EOS 10D with either a Canon 28-105mm f3.5-4.5/USM or a Canon 75-300mm f4-5.3 IS/USM.