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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From the January Meeting


Our program at the January meeting was presented by Alex Funderburg, who showed us a variety of his digital photos. From left -- Alex's father, Alex himself, Dave Schaaf, and Club president Denny Leonard. Photo by board member Steve Subber.

At the Stock Show

Ranchers customize the leased Denver Stockyard corrals during the Denver Stock Show January 15, 2020 at Denver, CO. The elevated walkway (right) will be closed and demolished in 2020. Walkway open in January 2020-last chance to experience Denver Stock Show in the old Denver Stockyards-BIG changes coming as National Western Complex redevelopment continues. ©2020 Chip Denver Rock Island RR DRIR 553, SW8, meandered through the National Western Complex redevelopment along National Western Drive at the Denver Stockyards, Denver, CO, January 14, 2020. This will be the last year Denver Stock Show will have to deal with tracks along National Western Drive-both will be removed during the Denver Stockyards massive redevelopment. ©2020 Chip

On the Joint Line

An intermodal train near Castle Rock at 1615 with two Norfolk Southern leaders.  ©2020 David Grothe Light power move? On Thursday, one of our members saw on this move and  the first locomotive was a former yellow bonnet GP35 and the second locomotive was a former white face BN GP50.    ©2020 David Grothe

A test locomotive in Colorado

FEC 801 (capable of using Liquefied Natural Gas) under load static test Alamosa, CO, 6:20 PM, 7 Jan 2020.  ©2020 Chip Florida East Coast 801, hybrid GE/WABTEC ES44C4, undergoing high altitude STATIC emissions tests. 7 January 2020 ran base line test. Further testing 8 -15 (?) January 2020 at Alamosa, then back to Florida. Testing by West Virginia University, Ross Ryskamp, PhD.  ©2020 Chip

CN Special Paint Locomotives

I wrote an article for Progressive Railroading magazine on locomotive rebuilding and remanufacturing. One of the companies that I interviewed was Progress Rail which now owns the EMD locomotive manufacturing operation. During the interview, they mentioned that they had just completed the upgrade 30 SD90MAC to SD70AU locomotives for the Canadian Pacific. Included in this upgrade are new traction control systems and cabs. The major components including the diesel motor has been remanufactured for increased performance and reliability. They are quite proud of this opportunity which included repainting these locomotives into new color schemes and five of these were specifically to honor the military. The PR person of Progress Rail gave me permission to share these with you. The photo credit is ©2019 CP Rail

Interesting Pictures

Erik Lindgren was out and shared some of his pictures with us. The silhouette shot is really well done.
3 pictures ©2019 Erik Lindgren 

On the Moffat Sub

UP 5502 East led unit oil train from Wildcat loadout-Utah Railway to St James, LA, at Blue Mountain Drive, Coal Creek Canyon, CO, 2 Jan 2020.  Distributed units 3x3. ©2019 Chip BNSF 3993 Tier 4 west on Denver, CO, to Provo, Utah, train passed Gross Reservoir at Crescent, CO, 2 Jan 2020. ©2019 Chip

An Amtrak Heritage locomotive


Amtrak 822, P40DC Phase III Heritage, handled westbound California Zephyr, train 5, at Rollinsville, CO, December 27, 2019. The 822 worked the California Zephyr on several trips in December 2019. ©2019 Chip

A display in Black Hawk


Steam engine 71, 2-8-0, was decorated for the Holidays near the Blackhawk, CO, Casinos, 27 December 2019 (Editor note: I think this a sister locomotive to those used by the Georgetown Loop Railroad. If any of our members have more information, please let me know.)

Denver& Rock Island power

Hidden away north of Denver, CO, is Denver Rock Island RR (DRIR) 1211, SW1500, built June 1972 ex-Southern Pacific 2646. Unit works the former Denver & Rio Grande Western industrial area known as Washington Park (not a Denver recreational park). Unit usually busy late afternoons into the night. ©2019 Chip

Sunset on the UP


UP 1510 on the Union Pacific to BNSF transfer waited at Utah Junction North of Denver, CO, sunrise 23 December 2019. © Chip

On the Joint Line

On Dec. 29, Chris found SD75M BNSF 261 is on the point of a southbound manifest seen here sitting on the siding at S. Bragdon in Pueblo, CO.   ©2019 Chris Paulhamus On 20 Dec., 2019, BNSF 1659 and BNSF 1933 lead the northbound Pikes Peak Local into the open space just north of Palmer Lake, CO.  ©2019 Chris Paulhamus
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Editor note: The PPL looks like a model train in this scene.)

Amtrak in the Moffat Sub

©2019 Erik Lindgren ©2019 Erik Lindgren

Union Pacific's C&NW Heritage Locomotive visits Denver

Union Pacific 1995, Chicago & NorthWestern Heritage unit SD70ACe, laid over at UP’s North Yard fuel track, Denver, CO, for some maintenance December 21, 2019. Unit departed Denver Dec 23, 2019 headed to Green River, WY. ©2019 Chip ©2019 Erik Lindgren

Union Station shows its Christmas lights


Dave Schaaf took this picture 11 Dec 2019 ©2019 Dave Schaaf 

Old power still in the fight


On 16 Dec., 2019, BNSF 1933 leads a pair of Cascade Green veterans on the southbound Pikes Peak Local around the curve in Palmer Lake, CO and down the Palmer Divide.   ©2019 Chris Paulhamus

KCS power on a military train


KCSM 4894 South with unit Army move to Fort Carson, Colorado, via the Joint Line at South Denver, CO, 13 December 2019. Four trains with KCS Belles were noted crossing eastern Colorado in mid-December.   ©2019 Chip

Tim got the train at Tomah, after sunset, at 435pm, and was getting dark quickly. 4 pictures  ©2019 Tim Tonge

BNSF action


The Old and the new; BNSF 1638 passed 9157SD70ACe, helper set at Denver, Colorado, 12 December 2019.  ©2019 Chip

Visitors in Denver


Westbound Kansas City Southern Mexico (KCSM) 4760, ES44AC, rolled under BNSF's Brush Subdivision North of Denver, CO, December 12, 2019. Train headed to UP's North Yard. ©2019 Chip

BNSF on the D&RI


BNSF 1638, SD40-2, pulled 32-cars from DRIR Denver Stockyards, Denver, CO, 10 December 2019.  The National Western Complex redevelopment will abandon this track along National Western Drive-(which will  also disappear) as Denver Stockyards is radically changed. New 4-track yard along BNSF's Brush Subdivision is under construction to replace this track alignment. ©2019 Chip

On the Joint Line


BNSF 8512 Spruce 1 Dec 19 BNSF 8512 leads a southbound manifest at Spruce, CO and past the rescue unit that is stationed there to help stalled trains make it up the grade to Palmer Lake. ©2019 Chris Paulhamus

UP 7849 and friends tied down in Denver 

UP 7849, ES44AC, and UP 8859 were tied down at South Denver with unit wind blades from Santa Teresa, Texas, headed for UP’s North Yard, Denver, Friday, 6 December 2019. Rare move; wind blade train running north on the Joint Line-! ©2019 Chip
Above Denver RTD light rail cars was site of Gates Rubber factory. Site redevelopment underway. New roads have been paved at the site in 2019. Watch for apartment construction to begin in 2020. South Denver continues to evolve.   

Santa arrives by train


Santa arrived in style aboard Great Western Railway #1 business car. The ex-Northern Pacific #8 was built in 1898 at the Northern Pacific’s Como Shops, MN. OmniTRAX OMLX 3144, SD40M-2 ex-CEFX 3144, handled the Santa train into Windsor Wonderland celebration at Windsor, CO, Saturday, December 7, 2019. Train was in position for the event as of December 6, 2019. ©2019 Chip

A new look for the D&RI


Denver Rock Island painted 2239, GP7, built in September 1952 as ATSF 2814. Unit was on the Great Western Rly lettered in faded Central Kansas Railway scheme and then sub lettered Great Western Railway. Denver Rock Island gave it fresh paint in 2019 and assigned the old gal to their Airlawn Industrial area once served by the Chicago, Rock Island & Pacific RR. Denver, CO, Thanksgiving Day 28 November 2019 after snowy week. ©2019 Chip

4014 on the Limon Sub

4014 having a Polar Express moment. 4 pictures ©2019 Erik Lindgren


Snow didn’t keep folks for turning out at La Salle, CO, for UP 4014 Big Boy visit November 26, 2019. Train stopped on Main Street for admirers. Former Union Pacific La Salle Depot was moved to location above parking lot in photo. ©2019 Chip

East of Kit Carson, UP 4014 was pulling a slight grade. ©2019 Larry D. Dilts November 22, 2019, UP 4014 was westbound east of Oakley, Kansas. ©2019 Larry D. Dilts
 
UUP 4014 passed by Arapahoe, Colorado. ©2019 Larry D. Dilts Near Hugo. ©2019 David Sheppard
An aerial view ©2019 Tim Tonga West of Hugo ©2019 Scott J. Whitney

From Pikes Peak

November 24, 2019, the Manitou & Pikes Peak Ry parking lot has change from a gravel, rail, and tie storage site to a storage site for the hulks of the remaining M&PP Ry  trainsets. From what I could see, it looks as though the hulks of all the remaining train sets (15, 18, 19, 24, and 25) are stored there presumably waiting on new trucks, cogs, etc. Number 15 is not among the trains in the parking lot. It was donated to Woodland Park and moved up there recently. ©2019 Larry D. Dilts M&PP 15 now displayed at Bergstrom Park. It was delivered only a few days ago. ©2019 Larry D. Dilts
Manitou Springs November 25, 2019, the railroad contractor was busy hauling steel ties upgrade to staging areas along the line. ©2019 Larry D. Dilts
The Manitou & Pikes Peak Ry crew were moving the trucks removed from 18, 19, 24, and 25 into the maintenance shop. Presumably that is where they will rebuild them to operate on the new rack rail system. ©2019 Larry D. Dilts

Tennessee Pass line would be used for grain shipments
From Trains Newswire http://trn.trains.com/news/news-wire/2019/11/25-tennessee-pass-line-would-be-used-for-grain-shipments

The company interested in buying Union Pacific’s dormant Tennessee Pass line through the Colorado Rockies would do so to provide a more direct route for grain shipments from eastern Colorado and Kansas, according to the company’s lawyer.

Colorado Pacific Railroad, which bought the former Missouri Pacific Towner Line in eastern Colorado, notified Union Pacific of its interest in buying the former Denver & Rio Grande Western line earlier this month, and UP said it would entertain offers. [See “UP considering sale of Tennessee Pass route,” Trains News Wire, Nov. 19, 2019.]

In a statement to the Kiowa County (Colo.) Independent, attorney William Osborn said Colorado Pacific owner Stefan Soloviev “is taking this step because a substantial portion of the time, eastern Colorado and western Kansas grain producers will get better prices if they ship using the shortest railroad route to the West Coast, instead of the Texas Gulf Coast, for the export market … This is part of a continuing effort to open up eastern Colorado farm ground to west coast and pacific export markets for wheat and milo.”

Soloviev is owner of Crossroads Agriculture and was described in a Bloomberg article earlier this year as “heir to a $4.7 billion fortune” and America’s 31st largest land owner. The Bloomburg article described his desire to extend his railroad in Colorado “to the West Coast and beyond.”

Construction in the  Stock Show complex

Denver Rock Island RR 553, SW8, on Denver Stockyards trackage. Track construction began November 2019 for Denver Rock Island RR relocation account National Western Complex redevelopment. Denver Stockyards rail and highway changes underway. Denver Rock Island RR (DRIR) old trackage will be removed in 2020. Trains will run close to BNSF's Brush Subdivision and head over to the present South Platte River bridge trackage. DRIR 553, SW8, was busy on the old Denver Stockyard tracks north of Denver, Colorado. ©2019 Chip

From a member's trip

At Wright, Kansas Wright Coop operates two units at their grain elevator. Both are oddities. Former BNSF 1702 is a GP9B and Wright Coop 101 is a TC10.  ©2019  Larry Dilts At Woodard, Oklahoma is Northwest Kansas Railroad yards which is one of the few remaining sections of the Missouri Kansas Texas Railroad line that ran up into the Oklahoma panhandle. NOKL 1201 and 1401 were basking in the early afternoon sun.  ©2019  Larry Dilts
Austin Todd and Ladd Railroad operates several former Rock Island branches in Oklahoma. The railroad is owned by Wheeler Grain of Watonga, OK. The railroad was named after Mr. Wheeler's grandsons. ATL SW1200 1127 and MP15 158 were both at Watonga, Oklahoma on October 19 where Wheeler Grain has a large elevator. ©2019  Larry Dilts
On October 20, 2019 the Grapevine Vintage Railroad train was at the Fort Worth Stockyards. The train operates in push pull mode with a locomotive at each end of the train. Number 2199 is an GP7u that operated for a time on Omitrax's former Central Kansas Railway. ©2019  Larry Dilts Grapevine Vintage Railroad FL9 4016 was the lead unit on the westbound train from Grapevine. The unit was built New Haven 2044. ©2019  Larry Dilts
At the west end of the Grapevine trip, the train enters the former Fort Worth Stockyards which have been converted into shops, restaurants, and entertainment. The train stops long enough to give passengers the opportunity to browse the stockyard shops. ©2019  Larry Dilts
On October 22, 2019, a westbound TexRail commuter train past trough Grapevine, Texas on its way to Fort Worth.On October 22, 2019, a westbound TexRail commuter train past trough Grapevine, Texas on its way to Fort Worth. ©2019  Larry Dilts On October 20, 2019, TexRail commuter trains were at the end of the line at Dallas Forth Worth International Airport. This new commuter line between Fort Worth and the airport opened in 2019. ©2019  Larry Dilts
DART trains through downtown Dallas are frequent as the numerous branches converge in this area. On October 22, 2019 a train bound for Westmoreland stopped at the Akard station. ©2019  Larry Dilts On October 22, 2019 Amtrak's Heartland Flyer, with P42DCs 189 and 822 as power, was laying over in Fort Worth before its afternoon departure for Oklahoma City. ©2019  Larry Dilts
Trinity Railway Express also operates from Dallas to Fort Worth using push pull train setups. On October 22, 2019, at Fort Worth, an eastbound train with control car 1004 in the lead was ready to depart the Fort Worth station. ©2019  Larry Dilts Trinity Railway Express F59PH 122 was the power unit on the rear of the train. ©2019  Larry Dilts
The Carey Salt Company (now Hutchinson Salt) operated an electric railroad within the confines of the salt mine in Hutchinson, Kansas. Displayed in the depths of the mine in the Strataca Museum is one of the Carey trains. Trains were last used in the mine in the early 1980s when the company switched to biofuel vehicles. ©2019  Larry Dilts Part of the old rail system can still be seen on the various tours through the mine. It appears that it was a 3-foot gauge railroad, but I am not sure. One of the main reasons for the discontinuance of the railroad was that it was labor intensive with track having to be lifted and moved frequently as the mining operation moved to new areas. ©2019  Larry Dilts 
Although the mining railroad has shut down, the Strataca Museum operates what appears to be a 15-inch gauge railroad in the depths of the mine. The narrated train ride lasts about ½ hour. ©2019  Larry Dilts   On the surface of the Strataca Museum is displayed Hutchinson Northern Railroad’s GE electric number 2. It is one of only three that GE produced. The H&N operated an electric railroad to switch cars around the surface yard and plant complex. The electric line was discontinued in 1973 when the railroad switched to diesel locomotives. The Hutchinson Northern still operates although now owned by the V&S. ©2019  Larry Dilts

A unique engine on it's way to TTCI

Florida East Coast (FEC) 301, fuel tender was at BNSF’s 31st Street Yard, Denver, CO, November 5, 2019. The FEC 301 was coupled to FEC 801, General Electric model ES44C4 locomotive. They departed Denver on November 6th for Pueblo and the Transportation Technology Center via Avondale, CO. ©2019 Chip 

Specially designed and built by Chart Industries FEC 301 consist of a cryogenic tank permanently mounted in a railcar that looks a lot like an intermodal well car.

But a well car it isn’t. It’s much stronger, capable of deflecting a side impact from a tractor-trailer without damage. the car also sports a center sill much larger and heavier than a well car. Underneath, the carbody has no openings where, in a derailment, an errant rail that becomes a projectile comes up through the floor and punctures the tank. The design was extensively computer-modeled to simulate worse-case side impact and derailment scenarios.

 

Florida East Coast 801 and Fuel tender 301 went into the Transportation Technology Center, Avondale, Colorado, east of Pueblo about noon 8 November 2019. BNSF made the delivery. ©2019 Chip

Winter on the Joint Line

On 25 Oct ., 2019 CREX 1408 is on the rear of a northbound empty as it curls into the Greenland Open Space near Spruce, CO. ©2019 Chris Paulhamus On 25 Oct.,2019 BNSF 8762 is on the rear of a northbound empty as it pushes into Palmer Lake, CO and hits the summit of the Joint Line at the Palmer Divide. ©2019 Chris Paulhamus

A leased locomotive on standby


CitiRail CREX 1328, ES44AC leased by BNSF, was stationed along the Joint Line at Spruce, CO, November 1, 2019. Late October 2019 snowstorms left the Spuce Mountain Ranch area covered in white early this year. Photo by Chip ©2019

Changes at the Stock Yards

Denver Rock Island RR (DRIR) trackage at right will be removed in 2020 as National Western Complex redevelopment of the Denver Stockyards continues. DRIR 553, SW8, was busy moving covered hoppers October 30, 2019 after 8-inch snowfall the last two days. New DRIR trackage (left) will be built within concrete walls along BNSF's Brush line. Photo by Chip ©2019
Denver Stockyard tracks in foreground will be removed in 2020.  Numerous buildings and warehouses have been demolished in 2019 to make way for massive National Western Complex redevelopment.  October 30, 2019 north of Denver, CO.  Note about 25-30 cars in distance were interchanged from DRIR to BNSF.  Most were gondolas loaded with scrap metal.  Photo by Chip ©2019

An Officer's Special  

Union Pacific 9036 departed Denver''s North Yard late afternoon October 29, 2019 with eastbound 8-car passenger special. Train moved over the Belt Line to UP's Limon Sub for trip across Kansas to Council Bluffs, Iowa. Photo by Chip ©2019 Union Pacific 9036 departed Denver's North Yard (Utah Junction) late afternoon October 29, 2019 with eastbound 8-car passenger special. Inspection car FOX RIVER-UPP 420 was used on trip over UP's Limon Sub for trip across Kansas to Council Bluffs, Iowa. Photo by Chip ©2019

On the Joint Line


On 25 Oct., 2019, BNSF 6260 brings a northbound coal empty out of Palmer Lake, CO and out into the open space north of town. ©2019 Chris Paulhamus

A Great Western caboose

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Happy Endings; coffee, crepes & gelato..  Ex-Great Western Railway caboose 1006  at Canon City, CO, 18 October 2019-Opened August 2019 ©2019 Chip

Joint Line Action

On 14 Oct ., 2019 BNSF 1929 leads the Pikes Peak Local the wrong way south on the normally northbound Main 2 as it leaves Castle Rock, CO behind a pair of SD40-2s. ©2019 Chris Paulhamus On 14 Oct ., 2019 BNSF 1929 leads a southbound Pikes Peak Local wrong-way down the normally northbound Main 2 in Greenland, CO. ©2019 Chris Paulhamus

A steam spectacular at the Georgetown Loop

Monday October 7 marked the end of the steam season on the Georgetown Loop RR. The final weekend of September and first weekend of October saw both 2-8-0 #111 and 2-8-0 #40 in service. No. 12 was brought out for a photo shoot. Georgetown Loop RR steam fleet at Hall Tunnel. Photograph by Mark Graybill

New paint for CRRM 4

The CRRM's 1955 GE center cab was in need of a paint joband we decided on our take on the classic CB&Q scheme. However the logo is lettered for the museums railroad, but Golden City is in the Burlington fon. The the yellow and red stripe on the bottom has yet to be added.  ©2019 Jeff Taylor

D&RG 163 on a trial run

Denver & Rio Grande T-12 4-6-0 number 168, built in 1883 and restored by the Cumbres & Toltec Scenic RR pulls D&RGW drop bottom gondola 787 and D&RGW Caboose 0503 out of Antonito, Colorado on a test run October 9. 2019. © Jerry B. Day T-12 4-6-0 number 168 running west of Antonito, Colorado with a test train of D&RGW drop bottom gondola 787 and Caboose 0503. October 9, 2019. © Jerry B. Day
The cab interior of D&RG T-12 4-6-0 number 168 inside the C&TS shop in Antonito, Colorado. October 9, 2019. © Jerry B. Day T-12 4-6-0 number 168 waits next to ex-D&RGW K-36 number 488 running on the Cumbres & Toltec Scenic RR at Antonito, Colorado. October 9, 2019. The 488 is three times as powerful as the 168. © Jerry B. Day

Some Colorado action 

Chris drove south to look for the Rock & Rail and he found the power would be tied down on their spur in Portland next to the cement plant there. ©2019 Chris Paulhamus On Sep 19, 2019 BNSF 1952 pulls a long cut of cars out of a yard track in the BNSF Pueblo Yard in Pueblo, CO. ©2019 Chris Paulhamus
On 21 Sept., 2019 after reaching it's destination in Georgetown, CO after a short haul from Silver Plume, CO, Georgetown Loop Railroad No. 111 has cut off from its train in order to run around for the trip back west.  ©2019 Chris Paulhamus

Copyright 2019 Rocky Mountain Railroad Club.

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