News & Current Events

This page shows interesting railroad happenings as well as breaking railroad news.   Check it often as you may learn the location or schedule of some interesting equipment in time to go out and get some great photographs! If you do go photo 'fanning, please share your pictures with and contact News Page Webmaster Wally Weart.

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A colorful visitor on The Moffat Sub

UP 1988 leads an eastbound coal load around the bend toward a clear intermediate signal west of Center Bond where the Craig Branch joins with the mainline. ©2018 Kevin Morgan UP 1988, the "Miss Katy" unit, looks out of place in the Colorado High Country! MKT (Missouri-Kansas-Texas, the railroad that Katy represents) was a plains railroad. Not many grades to found compared to here at Kremmling. ©2018 Kevin Morgan
The eastbound Zephyr is making its way through the siding at Tabernash around an eastbound coal load with UP 1988 on the point. With the sun moving into the western sky, the light is just perfect near the east end of Tabernash. ©2018 Kevin Morgan Coming past the Fraser depot, UP 1988 is rolling east at about 12 MPH. With four units and 78 cars, the train is probably right around 2.0 HPT, which is about the bare minimum to crawl up the 2% grade coming up between Fraser and Winter Park. ©2018 Kevin Morgan

On the Joint Line

A work train splits the grade crossing at first sunrise in Castle Rock.  ©2018 Mike Harriman

Boxcar art

There has been some interesting graffiti art showing up on the Kyle lately from Balcones Recycling. The Santa Claus car was painted for Balcones and is slowly being overwritten by graffitti. The other two cars are painted probably by someone associated with Balcones. The car in Limon has the Balcones Recycling logo painted on the car. The other has Plains Capital Bank which is located in the same area as Balcones in the Dallas-Austin, Texas area. The art of all three cars is associated with recycling.

Photo 1 ATW 95096 Colby, Kansas, October 19,2018.
Photo 2 ATW 95112 Limon, Colorado, October 1, 2018.
Photo 3 ATW 95089 Colby, Kansas, October 19, 2018.
3 pictures  ©2018 Larry Dilts 

On the Joint Line

On October 18, Mike Harriman caught a loaded coal train passing a work train at the Littleton Trench. Then a NB BNSF stack train, followed closely by a (nearly) UP unit “waste train” not sure what to call these yet! 3 pictures  ©2018 Mike Harriman 

On the Moffat Sub

Sunshine met UP 1943 East passenger special and westbound Union Pacific coal empty with KCS 4600 on Tolland Siding, CO, October 11, 2018 ©2018 Chip Union Pacific's 1943 ­ Spirit of the Union Pacific ­ honoring veterans unit led 17-car passenger special from Grand Junction, Colorado, to Denver October 11, 2018.  Train encountered fog on the Front Range as it passed Blue Mountain Drive in Coal Creek Canyon. ©2018 Chip
UP 1943 East passenger special had dome lounge named Harriman.  Coal Creek Canyon, CO, October 11, 2018. ©2018 Chip Union Pacific's track inspection car Idaho was on eastbound 17-car passenger special October 11, 2018 at Coal Creek Canyon, Colorado. ©2018 Chip

On the Joint  Line

Matt Adamski was able to get trackside for the first time in quite a while Saturday, October 13. He  decided to chase an ACe led coal load and see what fall color I could find and made it from Littleton to Larkspur. 3 pictures ©2018 Matt Adamski 

Bad weather can yield great pictures.

On a rainy October 7, Alan Schenkel caught a northbound CENCHE? on the BNSF Front Range Sub along with a couple of  other trains  ©2018 Alan Schenkel A Blade train at Fort Collins North yard, BNSF Front Range Sub. ©2018 Alan Schenkel
A Sand train at Fort Collins North yard, BNSF Front Range Sub. ©2018 Alan Schenkel The Sand train meets the blade train at Fort Collins North yard, BNSF Front Range Sub. ©2018 Alan Schenkel

A couple of action shots on the Moffatt Sub.

On a soggy Tuesday October 9th, Mike Harriman set out in the morning to watch a late Amtrak #5 leave Denver, seen here near 66th Ave.  ©2018 Mike Harriman


Not long after, and empty coal bucket followed Amtrak with interesting power. Leading was UP 5450, former atsf Warbonnet SD75, now PPLX #217, and csx dark future #565. Colorful consist for an overcast day. ©2018 Mike Harriman

Some artifacts from abandoned railroads

South of Kit Carson, Colorado some of the grade of the Arkansas Valley Railway is still visible. The Arkansas Valley Railway was one of Colorado's first railroads and the first to abandon surviving less than 10 years. ©2018 Larry Dilts
In Kit Carson is the abandoned pump house and well house built in 1870. Used by the Kansas Pacific and Arkansas Valley Railway, it is the oldest surviving railroad structure in Colorado. It is north of the Union Pacific's Kansas Pacific mainline. ©2018 Larry Dilts In Wallace, Kansas is the former Kansas Pacific superintendents office. It is one of the few remaining Kansas Pacific structures in Kansas. ©2018 Larry Dilts

A blue CN locomotive on the Joint Line

Mike Harriman caught a PPL passing a BNSF train with a  "blue devil” CN, sublettered for Illinois Central, locomotive.  ©2018 Mike Harriman

315 at Chama

Denver & Rio Grande Western RR lettered 315 owned and operated by Durango Railroad Historical Society took on water at Chama, NM, September 30, 2018. The 315 is stabled at Chama, NM, for occasional operation on the Cumbres & Toltec Scenic RR. 315 to remain at C&TS until 2022. Friends of the C&TS operated photo freight(s) late September and early October 2018 with the 315. C&TS uses ex-DRGW Mikados, class K-36, on their passenger runs. ©2018 Chip

After a very successful 2017 season running on the Cumbres and Toltec Scenic Railroad, the Durango Railroad Historical Society (DRHS), owners of the restored ex-DRGW C-18, #315 and the C&TS announced that the locomotive will remain on C&TS for the next five years until the end of the 2022 season. In 2022 the 315 will be due for its 15-year Federal Railroad Administration major inspection. C&TS has offered to carry out this task and the DRHS have agreed to contract them to do so with help from some of the 315’s regular maintenance crew. (Info courtesy Durango RR Historical Society)

A new rail served industry in Colorado Springs

A new business (Savage Transload Facility) has opened in the Kelker yards on the south side of Colorado Springs. This is where the Fort Carson Railway interchanges with both the BNSF and UP. According to Train Order Board, the containers are gold concentrate from Cripple Creek, however, Savage's hiring announcement says they are hiring a worker to unload railcars to trucks. Either way, something is being transloaded.  ©2018 Larry Dilts

An historic water tower

Abandoned DRGW water tank at Tres Piedras, NM, October 1, 2018. The Chili Line was officially known as the Santa Fe Branch. Its nickname has been attributed to its freight, which prominently featured New Mexico chile peppers.

The Chili Line, officially known as the Santa Fe Branch, was a 3 ft (914 mm) narrow-gauge branch of the Denver and Rio Grande Western Railroad (D&RGW). It ran 125.6 miles (202.1 km) from Antonito, Colorado, to Santa Fe, New Mexico. The Denver and Rio Grande Railway (D&RG) began construction of the line in 1880.

Despite some local outcry and national media attention the railway was completely dismantled in 1942. (Historical info courtesy Wikipedia)  ©2018 Chip

Some Kansas activity

Nothing has changed on the Towner line since the Colorado Pacific purchased the line from V&S other than the deep well flats west of Crowley, Colorado, have all been removed. At Towner, Colorado, however there is some activity at the Bartlett grain elevator. They are adding more storage capacity which should be good for Kansas & Oklahoma Railroad to the east. Towner is the end of the line for the K&O. There are two Trackmobiles at the elevator. I don't know if one is being replaced or transferred. Both seem to be in use. If and when the Towner line opens once again, this may be good business for shipping grain to the west. ©2018 Larry Dilts

In Sharon Springs, Kansas is a former BNSF SD40-2 acquired by United Plains Ag. Apparently CHS has purchased the United Plains AG elevator and have letter the unit CHS ©2018 Larry Dilts

Amtrak announces Ski Train schedule and ticket prices (Amtrak website)

Amtrak has announced Early Bird price of $29/one way on select departures.  All other tickets are priced at $39, $49 and then $59 respectively. Pricing is subject to availability and only a limited number of seats are available for each train and each price level.. All other tickets will still be priced at $39, $49 and $59.

Service will begin service on Friday, Jan. 4 and will run for 32 round-trips through March 31. The train departs Union Station at 7 a.m.,  arriving at Winter Park at approximately 9 a.m., return will be at 4:30 p.m. with arrival at Denver at 6:40 p.m. Photos ©2018 Walter Weart

C&S 1006 undergoing restoration

On the Rocky Club trip to the GLRR, we also took some time to look at the progress on restoring C&S 1006 at the city shops in Silver Plume. There was much deterioration so the car is being extensively rebuilt.   ©2018 Larry Dilts

On the Bush Sub

BNSF 9221 leads a coal empty across the S Platte River, on the BNSF Brush Sub, at Union, CO.  This is the second location that the BNSF crosses the S Platte River on the Brush Sub, the first at the east end of 33rd street yard. ©2018 Tim Tonge

On the Joint Line

On 10 Sept., 2018 BNSF 8441 leads a southbound coal train over the old DRGW bridge over Hwy 105 in Monument, CO.  ©2018 Chris Paulhamus

Some help from the NS on the Joint Line

On 10 Sep 2018, BNSF 8431 leads an eastern visitor and a coal train through the S-curve just south of Monument, CO.  ©2018 Chris Paulhamus

The power on the PPL (Pikes Peak Local)

On Tue, 11 Sep 2018 The PPL had a green GP39-2 and H1 SD40-2 and 6 cars.  ©2018 David Sheppard

The view at Silver Plume

The engine crew is getting steam up in the 111 to prepare for the day's runs while the Shay gets the day off. While diesel 140 is here, sister 130 is helping out as a really useful engine with Day Out with Thomas at the Colorado Railroad Museum . ©2018 Susie Weart

From Rocky's GLRR September 8 trip

The Rocky Mountain Railroad Club excursion September 8, 2018 was very successful with a number of excellent photo runbys. Thanks to the club for arranging this excursion. ©2018 Larry Dilts
The famous over and under shot. ©2018 Larry Dilts
The bridge at the Lebanon Mine stop. ©2018 Larry Dilts GLRR 11 and Westside Lumber 9 sit side by side at the Silver Plume engine house. September 7, 2018 ©2018 Larry Dilts

Some shots from Kansas

The Calhan, Colorado station has been repainted. A former RI caboose and C&S coach are now at the Calhan depot site. ©2018 Larry Dilts Northern Ag (Formerly Cargill) acquired a Shuttlewagon for their west elevator in Limon, Colorado. ©2018 Larry Dilts
UP westbound local crosses a bridge west of Deer Trail, Colorado.  ©2018 Larry Dilts

A Canadian visitor

4:05 PM September 12, 2018-S. Denver-Canadian National 2306 & Progress Rail 629 S. Main track one headed to Eagle Pass, Texas via joint Line-NS 7588 rear DPU-! ©2018  Chip

An interesting train on the Joint Line

On 9 Sept, 2018 not the most common of sights as BNSF 8470 leads a FerroMex unit and a windmill tube train north up the Palmer Divide as it enters Palmer Lake, CO. ©2018 Chris Paulhamus

A PV passes through Denver

 On Sept. 9, Michael Harriman headed down to Union Station. Amtrak # 5 was just backing in and hooked onto private business car "Chapel Hill" which spent the night after being dropped of on Saturday morning by #5. Interesting portrait of our first president as a drumhead!  ©2018 Michael Harriman

A Canadian visitor

Westbound Canadian National 2306 West of Strasburg, CO, Sunday, September, 9, 2018. Union Pacific empty unit coal train on UP's Limon Subdivision. Second unit is a Progress Rail 629 lessor, ex-CSXT 629. ©2018 Chip

A really useful engine arrives at the Museum

Thomas will get some help from Georgetown Loop 130. This must be a really nice diesel as the ones on the TV program are mean and pick on Thomas. ©2018 Susie Weart Here's an interesting arrangement of locomotives. The 130 is probably a better choice to help Thomas than the Tunnel Motor ©2018 Susie Weart

An NS Heritage locomotive visits Cheyenne

Union Pacific 4625 East moved NS 1066-New York Central Heritage unit-power to the North Platte train September 6, 2018 at Cheyenne, Wyoming. 

A neat switch engine

Watco Swan Ranch Railroad 4155 freshly painted 2018. The SD40T-2 started life as a Denver & Rio Grande Western RR tunnel motor. Southwest of Cheyenne, Wyoming, September 6, 2018. Swan Ranch RR lettering all applied by August 2018. ©2018 Chip

THe Tunnel Motor move from Coors to the Museum

Below are the links the drone footage and the TV coverage.

Rich Kuberski Drone Video

KUSA-TV (9news)

KCNC-TV (4 News) 

KDVR-TV/KWGN-TV (Fox 31 & WB Ch 2) 

KMGH-TV (Channel 7) 

Denver Post 

On the Joint Line around Colorado Springs

Over Labor Day weekend, Alan Schenkel was in the Colorado Springs area and shared some of his pictures  This photograph is at Palmer Lake and not only shows the coal train but how housing development is occurring in that area. ©2018 Alan Schenkel  A loaded coal train head south passing the local which still has a Ro Grande caboose. ©2018 Alan Schenkel 
Coal train passes the Colorado Springs Depot and the local's switch engine. The second unit is still in one of the earlier BNSF paint schemes. ©2018 Alan Schenkel  This caboose looks really good and it's graffiti free on top of that. ©2018 Alan Schenkel 

A very late running Amtrak #5

On Sunday September 2, 2018, Amtrak #5 was running about 7 1/2 hours late into Denver. I caught the train passing by Leyden headed into the afternoon sun at 4:02 pm. Further up the hill at Pinecliffe, the train met it’s on time counterpart #6. ©2018 Michael Harriman

Commuter cars on the move

BNSF 6275 unit Stadler commuter 4-Car train-Salt Lake City, Utah-Fort Worth, Texas, passed South Broadway at Denver 3:10 PM August 29, 2018- Southbound Joint Line train! ©2018 Chip

A tunnel motor moving to the Colorado Railroad Museum August 23

Not a sight you see every day! A Rio Grande SD40T-2 on BNSF rails in Golden, CO. BNSF is moving DRGW 5401 from the Coors Brewery to the Colorado Railroad Museum, just a few miles away. Note the "M" on the mountain in the distance, representing the Colorado School of Mines.  ©2018 Colorado Railfan About an hour after leaving the rails at the 44th Avenue grade crossing, Hulcher Services has DRGW 5401 hoisted back up off the panel track and is starting to roll west toward the entrance to the Colorado Railroad Museum.  ©2018 Colorado Railfan
Four cranes from Hulcher Services have the nearly 200-ton Tunnel Motor suspended above 44th Avenue and are slowly rolling west toward the Colorado Railroad Museum.  ©2018 Colorado Railfan As Hulcher Services works to transport DRGW 5401 west on 44th Avenue, it was not only incredible seeing it suspended off the ground, but it was amazing see it lightly rock back and forth as the cranes slowly rolled down the road. A few shrubs got a bit of a beating on the right side of the road!  ©2018 Colorado Railfan
Hulcher Service cranes lift the back of DRGW 5401 up high enough to ensure that the trucks will clear the temporary panel track laid across 44th Avenue. Once over the panel track, the cranes will lower back of the Tunnel Motor down to the rails. Not a bad match between the Grande Gold of the fly letters and the center stripe of 44th Avenue!  ©2018 Colorado Railfan DRGW 5401 is almost through the gates of the Colorado Railroad Museum. Took the opportunity to grab a shot of a "Rough Road" sign that the City of Golden put up 5 minutes before I took this picture. Moving a near 200-ton engine isn't exactly kind to an asphalt road. Drivers along 44th Avenue will experience some bumps for a couple of days.  ©2018 Colorado Railfan
A small hole in the trees from Easley Road (north of the museum) revealed a very decent shot of DRGW 5401 as crews work to bring it in through the gates. The Tunnel Motor is reaching the north end of the (temporary) panel track, and the Hulcher Service cranes are moving in to position to lift the unit up once more in order to spot it on the museum track.  ©2018 Colorado Railfan The 5401 is now in its new home next to another D&RGW veteran.  ©2018 Walter Weart

Servicing the 476 on the D&S

A flash flood on July 24th washed out the Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad tracks between Hermosa and Rockwood on the 2.5% grade north of Durango. Two trains and four locomotives were stranded north of the washout. The D&S instituted a schedule of running two trains a day from Rockwood to Silverton and return with passengers being bused from Durango. The D&S shop forces and crews have been forced to service the locomotives outside. These photos show K-28 2-8-2 number 476 being serviced on August 21st.   3 photos ©2018 Jerry Day

491 back in service

91 is back in service. Thanks to our friends at the Durango & Silverton who made her new valve rings, and reprofiled one tender wheel set. To work in the new valves we ran her Saturday with a short mixed train consisting of a tank car, boxcar, 2 rider cars and coach 284. 491 is also 90 years old this month. ©2018 Jeff Taylor

In preparation for the Tunnel Motor move

Hulcher Services to prepare for the move of the D&RGW SD4OT-2 tunnel motor from Coors to the Colorado Railroad Museum, has gathered an impressive array of specialized equipment. It was renumbered to 9871 by the Union Pacific. The entire area ,including 44th St. ,is closed to the public during this move. ©2018 Walter Weart

At Palmer Lake

On 12 August, 2018, a pair of ACes hauls a coal empty up the final few feet of the Palmer Divide in Palmer Lake, CO on a picture-perfect summer morning. 

An Officer's  Special on the Joint Line

On 20 August, 2018,  David Grothe photographed this Officer's Special train heading south at Tomah Road. 3  pictures ©2018 David Grothe

On the Brush Sub

Shortly before sunset, BNSF 9183 leads an eastbound coal empty at Roggen, CO, on Aug 13, 2018, on the BNSF Brush Sub.  Timothy Tonge

BNSF 3839 leads a westbound Z train at Keenesburg, CO, on the Keenesburg Curve.  Aug 12, 2018. ©2018 Timothy Tonge

BNSF 5728 leads a coal load west between Crest and Roggen, on the BNSF Brush Sub.  Aug 13, 2018. ©2018 Timothy Tonge Shortly before sunset, BNSF 9183 leads an eastbound coal empty at Roggen, CO, on Aug 13, 2018, on the BNSF Brush Sub.  ©2018 Timothy Tonge
BNSF 6900 leads a short westbound manifest train at Keenesburg, CO, on the Keenesburg Curve.  Aug 12, 2018. ©2018 Timothy Tonge

On the Joint Line

11 August, 2018  BNSF 8488 leads a CitiRail leaser and loaded coal south through the S-curve near Monument, CO. Awhile ago, Chris  mentioned that soon the background in this angle would be changing. Well, soon has arrived and now there's a housing development up and running west of the Joint Line. Progress? 

A welded rail train on the Moffat Sub.

On August 12, I saw this welded rail train sitting in Arvada just to the east of Marshall Street. There was also a ballast train parked behind this one but I could not get a picture as the locomotives were under the Sheraton overpass.  ©2018 Walter Weart

An interesting video from a member.  Hope you enjoy.

Some interesting pictures from Kansas

K&O 3924 and 3923 were parked on a short spur on the east end of the BNSF yards. Attached to the rear of the train was a shoving platform still lettered for the Burlington Northern and sporting its BN number 12301. ©2018 Larry Dilts BNSF 1648 and 1773 were in the BNSF yards still painted in AT&SF paint although renumbered. ©2018 Larry Dilts
ADM Milling next to the Union Pacific mainline uses a trackmobile to move cars through their facility. ©2018 Larry Dilts

On the Joint Line

On 4 August, 2018 BNSF 8482 leads a southbound coal train down the backside of the Palmer Divide as it heads out of Palmer Lake, CO.  ©2018 Chris Paulhamus


On 29 July, 2018 BNSF 9379 brings up the rear of a northbound coal empty as it works through the s-curve near Monument, CO.  ©2018 Chris Paulhamus


UP rolled one of its ACes as a rear DPU on this northbound manifest as it rolled through Castle Rock.   ©2018 David Grothe

D&SNGRR Purchases Two New MP2000NG Repowered Diesel Locomotives from MPES for $3.2 Million

 July 31, 2018 - PRLog -- The Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad™ has announced it has entered into a definitive agreement with Greenville, S.C.-based Motive Power & Equipment Solutions, Inc. (MPES) to acquire two of its signature MP2000NG repowered diesel locomotives.

The multimillion-dollar acquisition further diversifies the D&SNGRR's fleet of vintage and modern locomotives, and fulfills its previously-stated promise to use a broad spectrum of motive power and conveyances to transport guests on beautiful experiential excursions through the scenic wilderness of Southwestern Colorado. In addition, the acquisition demonstrates the D&SNGRR's ongoing evolution of its business model, and its ability to safely offer passengers trips all year round amidst a wide variety of weather, drought, and fire conditions.

The D&SNGRR is investing over $3 million in the two new MP2000NG repowered diesel locomotives, which are being designed around CAT 2000HP engines with GE 764 traction motors to achieve the power and speed required on the steepest grades of the D&SNGRR line. When completed, each locomotive is expected to pull an eight-car consist along the full route from Durango to Silverton and back. The purchase was facilitated by financing arranged by account managers at Durango-based Alpine Bank. The D&SNGRR anticipates taking delivery of the MP2000NG locomotives by late spring of 2019.

Good news for about the Southwest Chief

The Pueblo Chietain reports that the U.S.  Senate agreed to an amendment Wednesday (August 1, 2018) that requires Amtrak to meet that grant obligation and goes further, saying it cannot alter the route or service of the Southwest Chief.

That don't-change-anything language is aimed at Anderson's announcement earlier this spring that Amtrak might replace train service over some areas of the Southwest Chief route with chartered buses.

The amendment came from Kansas Sen. Jerry Moran, but it had the backing of fellow-Kansan Pat Roberts, along with Colorado Sens. Michael Bennet and Cory Gardner, and New Mexico's Tom Udall and Martin Heinrich.

Moran, Roberts and Gardner are Republicans while Bennet, Udall and Heinrich are Democrats.

The six senators met with Anderson in June and news reports indicated it did not go well. Anderson repeated his view that the Southwest Chief lost too much money to justify Amtrak spending more money on rail improvements between La Junta and northern New Mexico. 

Another relic to be scrapped

DRGW 027 Crane awaits scrapping at closed Burnham Shops, Denver, Colorado, July 30, 2018  ©2018 Chip

Near Tunnel 29 on the Moffatt Sub

Dave Goss caught this westbound BNSF freight as it was about to enter Tunnel 29 just east of Pinecliffe. It had six locomotives led by BNSF 4344 (C44-9W) including Canadian National 2552, also a C44-9W with this general merchandise freight.  ©2018 David Goss

At Trinidad

BNSF 9718 West departed Trinidad 9:55 AM with EMDX 1603 & 1604, SD70ACe Tier 4, on Test set- Trinidad, Colorado, Friday, July 27, 2018. BNSF 279 on east end. Amtrak Train 3 late about an hour at La Junta, 9:33 AM. ©2018 Chip

On the Joint Line

On July 24, BNSF 7640 leads a southbound manifest through the S-curve just south of the siding near Monument, CO. ©2018 Chris Paulhamus
On July 24, BNSF 8501 leads a train of empty flats through the Greenland Open Space in Greenland, CO. This was the second of three consecutive northbounds to roll through on this particular weekday.   ©2018 Chris Paulhamus

Some help from the East

On July 18, NS 1081 brings up the rear of a southbound coal train as it shoves the last few football fields' worth of train over the Palmer Divide in Palmer Lake, CO. ©2018 Chris Paulhamus

Black Hills Central

Denny Haefele shared pictures from a trip to the Black Hills last week. The "1880 Train" is a standard gauge RR that runs 10 miles between Hill City and Keystone South Dakota. During the late 1800's and early 1900's the CB&Q built a line from Edgemont to Deadwood. The line served lumber and mining interests in the area and was referred to as "The High Line". Abandoned in 1980 by CB&Q, the !880 Train now known as the Black Hills Central has number 63 a GP-9, a 2-6-2T Baldwin saddle tank numbered 104. The star of the show for us was Number 110 a 2-6-6-2 T mallet built in 1928 by Baldwin that made easy work of the 6% grade leaving Hill City with seven cars in tow. Number 108 is a sister to 110 and is undergoing restoration and a rebuild at BHCRR  Both  pictures Denny Haefele ©2018
Denny Haefele ©2018 Denny Haefele ©2018

A freshly painted engine

Freshly painted Swan Ranch RR 4184, SD40-2, 4050, SD40-2, was built by Electro-Motive in May 1979, #786178-16, FN 786178-16, as Missouri Pacific 3281. It became UP 4281, Class SD40-2, on 22 April 1986, and renumbered B4281 on 14 August 1992. It was retired on 26 Sept 2001, and sold as WSOR 4050. Renumbered WAMX 4184. Swan Ranch, WY, July 19, 2018.  ©2018 Chip

A Shuttle Wagon in Limon

John found this critter parked by the elevator in West Limon. In the past he had seen a wheel loader there used for moving the hoppers. This contraption is something different for Cargill.  ©2018 Limonrail

The Rio Grande Scenic Railroad is back in operation

Rio Grande Scenic Railroad passenger operations are back on track! We have reopened our line and continue to provide all passenger service as scheduled. Come support Southern Colorado tourism!

Switching at Limon

On July 14, John found the Kyle was switching in Limon. ©2018 Limonrail

A CN motor at Castle Rock

On July 14, David Grothe saw this covered gondola train with BNSF and CN lead power ©2018 David Grothe

A Tunnel Motor in storage

While enroute to the Colorado Railroad Museum last Friday (7/6/18), I planned on dropping by the tank car repair facility at the Coors Brewery. This is where the old UP (ex-DRGW) 9871 SD4OT-2 is stored. The paint on the tunnel motor is looking pretty good still. Rumor has that it'll be stored until there is room and track at the Colorado Railroad Museum. ©2018 Clinton Verseman

Steam may return to the D&S

The Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad plans to resume coal-fired steam engine service to Silverton on Thursday (July 12, 2018), after more than 40 days stuck in the depot. 

“We are preparing to run on that day,” General Manager John Harper said Tuesday, July 10, 2018.

Harper said the train will work with local agencies and fire districts in the next couple of days to make sure they agree it is safe to run coal-fired engines, which are known for sending off cinders and starting small fires.

On Wednesday (July 11, 2018), La Plata County commissioners will discuss whether to downgrade current Stage 3 fire restrictions, which ban the use of coal-fired steam engines. Lowering fire restrictions would effectively allow D&SNG officials to decide whether it’s safe to run coal-fired engines.

However, there’s no guarantee commissioners will ease fire restrictions. On June 21, for instance, commissioners turned down a request to downgrade to Stage 2 restrictions, arguing the extreme fire danger had not diminished as a result of one weekend of storms. (The Durango Herald)

An Officer train on the UP

2666 W. 8-car engineering inspection train Mesa Siding, Aurora, Limon Subdivision, July 11, 2018. Passed UP 1982 East on coal load on siding. ©2018 Chip

On the Joint Line

On July 7, UP 7757 leads a trio of flag'd units on a northbound CSUX coal empty in Palmer Lake, CO. ©2018 Chris Paulhamus  on July 7, NS 1081 brings up the rear of a southbound coal train as it reaches the top of the Palmer Divide in Palmer Lake, CO. ©2018 Chris Paulhamus

At Palmer Lake on 1 July, 2018, BNSF 6115 leads a northbound Q-train out of Palmer Lake, CO on a beautiful summer morning. 

Two interesting shots from the  Moffat Sub.

Union Pacific 7151 (in a faded set of colors) leads Amtrak Train #5 westbound approaching Tunnel 29 running more than two hours late on July 7, 2018. Not sure what happened to the second Amtrak unit, but this configuration is a bit unusual. ©2018 Dave Goss Sierra Hotel takes the last position of today’s California Zephyr # 5 on July 7, 2018. Built in 1948 at the Silver Lounge, the car went into private service beginning in 1980.©2018 Dave Goss

An update on the Pikes Peak cog railway

Manitou Springs council approves Cog Railway plan

the Manitou Springs City Council heard public comment and took a final vote on The Broadmoor's plan to restore the Pikes Peak Cog Railway, which closed for a thorough evaluation earlier this year.

The council gave preliminary approval to the plan earlier this month and passed the plan by a vote of 6-1 Tuesday.

Councilwoman Becky Elder cast the lone dissenting vote.

"I totally support rebuilding (the Cog)," she said. "But the people of Manitou have been talking to me. They wanted more time and more information. They don't like the 50-year tax break for The Broadmoor."

The Broadmoor plans to start demolishing the existing and aging rail infrastructure this fall, and finish building the new system by 2020. The total cost estimate could be as much as $100 million.

As part of the agreement, Manitou Springs will receive $1.5 million from The Broadmoor to offset lost tax revenue because of the train's closure. The Broadmoor also will help the city provide more parking, ease traffic congestion and build a transportation center and a cog rail museum, possibly on the Hiawatha Gardens property.

A Rocky Club outing

The Club celebrated its 80th anniversary and 80-years since the last train left Como, CO, June 30, 2018. Club members and friends rode the rebuilt narrow gauge rails in the gondola behind Klondike Kate 4 wood burning steam locomotive at the Como rail yard. Thanks to the Jefferson Fire District, our excursion rides operated. Dry and windy conditions had South Park on high alert for wildfires. ©2018 Chip

Club group picture; RMRRC president Steve Mason right of drumhead. Dave Schaaf, vice-president left of drumhead. Nathan Holmes left of Dave. Pat Mauro (gray coveralls) kneeling in foreground has been instrumental in working with the South Park Rail Society Como project.

The Cub donated $10 per club ticket to the Como groups and $10 for the Foundation to fund the grant program. Nathan Holmes painted new name sections for the Club drumhead which was mounted on the end of the rider gondola.

South Park group, the Denver, South Park & Pacific Historical Society is currently in the process of re- storing DSP&P 608, an 1879 wooden boxcar that is the only surviving intact DSP&P freight car, and asked for a grant towards completing that work before next year. Since the car itself is in remarkably good condition for its age and disuse, when the restoration is complete, it will maintain its historic integrity by still being largely original material. Once completed, the car will be kept inside the Como roundhouse and only rolled out occasionally, keeping it safe from the weather and away from vandals. With a strong track record based on their work restoring the Como depot and working with the South Park Rail Society. (Nathan Holmes 2018 grant report) 

A Joint Line train 

BNSF 8595 leads a coal train south as it enters Castle Rock, CO. The second unit is a SD70MACe, which, in my opinion, wears the H3 paint scheme well. I'm not sure if those units are lead-qualified, but I've never caught one on the point. I'm not sure what the status of the MACe program is, but I hope BNSF will squirt out some more...  ©2018 Chris Paulhamus

A very interesting power combination

avid found this unusual combination on a s/b Joint Line train with Elephant-style BNSFbonnet GE second out, SD40-2 fourth in line ©2018 David Grothe

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