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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RTD's Gold Line to open April 26

RTD's newest commuter rail line opens for passenger service next Friday, April 26.

The RTD board has authorized two weeks of free rides on the G Line after the April 26 grand opening ceremony through Saturday, May 11. (The public can ride all RTD rail lines for free on Saturday, April 27.) We encourage people to jump on board and see firsthand all the places in the Denver metro region where RTD?s newest mobility option can take you. Hope to see you next Friday!

Some interesting pictures

Omaha Track is in the process of building a massive industrial park near Eaton, CO, and they had this nicely painted switcher waiting for work. ©2019 Mike Harriman A UP freight with 5 HLCX maroon Geeps waits just shy of the 0 St. Grade Crossing for the local to finish up switching ©2019 Mike Harriman
Mike stopped by North Yard and WP Heritage Unit 1983 was visiting the mile high city ©2019 Mike Harriman

Union Pacific’s Traveling Rail Car Combines History and Modern-Day Railroading for Unique Experience
Omaha, Neb., April 15, 2019

Step aboard a mini railroad museum on steel wheels. The Experience the Union Pacific Rail Car is a new, multi-media walk-through exhibition providing a glimpse at the past while telling the story of modern-day railroading. Part of Union Pacific's 150th anniversary celebration of the transcontinental railroad's completion, the car is embarking on its first public tour visiting the following cities:

Sacramento, California: April 19-22
Roseville, California: April 23
Sparks, Nevada: April 24-25
Ogden, Utah: April 27-May 11
Rock Springs, Wyoming: May 15

More details at https://www.up.com/media/releases/190415-experience-the-up.ht

The Western Pacific Heritage locomotive visits Colorado.

Westbound UP 1983, Western Pacific Heritage unit, led train out of Denver, CO, headed for Bond, Colorado, Sunday, 14 April 2019.  ©2019 Chip UP 1983, Western Pacific Heritage unit heads west on the Moffat Sub.  ©2019 Erik Lindgren

Tickets to ride behind 4014

Click on this link https://spike150.org/ to purchase tickets https://spike150.org/train-excursion/ to ride behind 4014.

In the snow 

Westbound Amtrak No. 5, the California Zephyr running about an hour late, crossing a snowy Highway 72 at Pinecliffe. In the distance, a BNSF general merchandise holds on the Cliff siding.  ©2019 Dave Goss Now eastbound after the passage of No. 5, this BNSF freight has No. 4088 (GE Dash 9-44CW) on the point followed by two visitors from Norfolk Southern; No. 1076 (SD 70Ace) and newly rebuilt No.4232 (formerly NS No. 9106 – a GE Dash 9-44CW) converted this month to a GE AC44CM6M. Bringing up the end of the train was another BNSF Dash 9-44CW, No. 7431. ©2019 Dave Goss
BNSF empty sand rolls around the tangent at Crescent, Colorado.  beautiful multi foot snowfall blankets the entire continental divide as far as can be seen, pristine white and quietness briefly interrupted by the sounds of steel on steel. Crewman say this is one of the most beautiful views they experience in North America, the crews of this train would likely agree. ©2019 Erik Lindgren Amtrak Winter Park Express roars out of Tunnel 29 on its way to Winter Park with skiers in delight from a fresh foot of powder. The slopes await!  February 23, 2019 Winter Park Express.  Pinecliff, Colorado ©2019 Erik Lindgren

 

BNSF empty sand rolls around the tangent at Crescent, Colorado. A beautiful multi foot snowfall blankets the entire continental divide as far as can be seen, pristine white and quietness briefly interrupted by the sounds of steel on steel.  Crewman say this is one of the most beautiful views they experience in North America, the crews of this train would likely agree.  ©2019 Erik Lindgren
Union Pacific MGJNY led by UP #5966 eastbound rolls around through Rainbow Cut at Plainview, Colorado. An overnight winter storm event brought over a foot of fresh powder to the Flatirons. The sun was just beginning to break through the storm when 5966 emerged from the tunnel district.  Union Pacific Moffat Tunnel Subdivision Plainview February 18, 2019©2019 Erik Lindgren

On the Joint Line

On April 7, UP 5388 leads a southbound wind turbine component train out of Monument, CO. This entire train was bladeless but was composed of rotors and nacelles... ©2019 Chris Paulhamus On April 7, UP 5388 leads a southbound wind turbine train through Larkspur, CO. This train consisted entirely of rotors and nacelles. ©2019 Chris Paulhamus

Some recent action

Another study of Palmer Lake in very different light. Repeated visits on different weather forecasted days and plenty of detoured traffic has rewarded us with some less than common photo opportunities. Early spring snow is moving in on the Palmer Divide, low ceiling clouds and low key light, with glass smooth water tantalizes the senses. Spruce Mountain and Larkspur Colorado BNSF Pikes Peak Subdivision 

Union Pacific Colorado Springs Subdivision March 29, 2019 ©2019 Erik Lindgren

Soon these Vestas generators and hubs will power thousands of homes. Today they are moving along the Union Pacific Colorado Springs Subdivision near the Palmer Divide just past Spruce Mountain. On Palmer Lake BNSF Pikes Peak Subdivision Union Pacific Colorado Springs Subdivision. March 29, 2019  ©2019 Erik Lindgren
Number 6 is past the divide and headed downgrade to Denver Union Station near Tolland, Colorado only 50 minutes late. The weather is frightful, cold, and brisk and this train will encounter the full effects if the Bomb Cyclone crossing Nebraska tonight. The valley and trees are coated with the deep remnants of the Bomb Winter Cyclone of 2019 the previous day. The Moffat Subdivision is as usual ready to provide a means for transportation regardless of the weather. Number 6 at Tolland Union Pacific Moffat Tunnel Subdivision. March 14, 2019  ©2019 Erik Lindgren In this shot about 10 minutes after sunrise and on the tail end of a upslope snow event one of my all time favorite spots mostly due to the dramatic depth and feel comes alive with a creepy moody sort of way. BNSF oil rolls out of Rainbow Cut on stage at Plainview out of a heavy snow squall roughly a mile away. Repeated attempts finally yielded the dramatic mountain winter storm mood I wanted. BNSF Provo Lincoln Train Plainview, Colorado. February 18, 2019  ©2019 Erik Lindgren

 

One of the many flood caused reroutes

All of the flooding in Iowa and Nebraska has caused the BNSF to reroute trains through Denver. David Grothe caught up to the second Boeing train that he saw this morning as it approached LittletonOther reroutes have included container and automotive trains as well as a general increase of traffic on the joint line. ©2019 David Grothe

Real power on the Golden local

 
It's unusual to see road power on the Golden local but it does happen.  ©2019 Wally Weart

The Tahoe is going home.

The Tahoe is going home the Georgetown Loop Railroad. You editor worked many trains on the  Loop with this car and I, for one, am glad  it will beck at the Loop.   ©2019 Wally Weart

WP Heritage unit in Denver


UP’s Western Pacific Heritage unit, UP 1983, handled the North Yard, Denver, to Pueblo, CO, train that typically runs at night down the Joint Line. Denver RTD B Line commuter train in the distance. March 27, 2019 at Denver, CO. ©2019 Chip

EMD 1601 one of the T4 Demos


EMD 1601 one of the T4 Demos was in Pueblo this am. Managed a few shots of it. Came south on BNSF 4604 with BNSF 993. 1601 was trailing. Still on Pueblo as of 1400. Could be headed to the TTC and 4604 set it out in yard and one of the 6ard jobs hooked up to it, 2778.  ©2019 Ben Helsel

A new home for some Pikes Peak cog railway equipment


Number 14,16, and 17 were acquired by GE Johnson construction and are stored in their maintenance storage yard. I heard that they will be used at a new soccer field for VIPs. ©2019 Larry Dilts

Two of the Manitou and Pikes Peak Railway locomotives # 11 and #8 went to the Garden of the Gods Trading Post in Colorado Springs, Colorado. Reports are that they will be modified into dining seating. That will change the interiors dramatically. Hopefully they will maintain the exteriors as historic cars. Photos were taken March 15, 2019.   ©2019 Larry Dilts

Aftermath of the blizzard


Union Pacific front end loader cleared access roads at UP’s North Yard, Denver, CO, 13 March 2019. UPY 691 was ready for its next assignment.  ©2019 Chip

On the Joint Line

On  4 March, 2019 BNSF 1929 and a sister SD40-2 have brought the southbound Pikes Peak Local with a meager 2 flat cars to a stop at MP 36 just south of Castle Rock, CO. ©2019 Chris Paulhamus Matt  caught the PPL, at Acecqa with the classic BN paint scheme. ©2019 Matt Adamski

A rare locomotive


Retired ARCOSA Lightweight 208-1, EMD model G8 built 1954 as CN 851, sits ignored along Highway 93 south of Boulder, CO, 1 March 2019. Operation was once known as Trinity Lightweight.

Following the successful spinoff from Trinity Industries, Arcosa Lightweight is the new name for America's leader in lightweight aggregate.  ©2019 Chip

The Ski Train


March 3rd Winter Park Express ski train zips through fresh snow in Arvada, Colorado, mile 9.75, on Union Pacific's Moffat Tunnel Subdivision. The train is running 30 minutes late and the temperature is 3 above, but the skiers will have plenty of powder at Winter Park to enjoy. ©2019 Joe McMillan, March 3, 2019.

Some unusual power 


BNSF 9131, SD70ACe, was an LNG (Natural Gas Dual Fuel) test unit. 9131 was rear DPU on Black Thunder Mine, WY, to Smithers Lake, Texas, coal load C BTMSLP-033a. Train was at South Denver, CO, 26 February 2019.

The BNSF's LNG (Liquified Natural Gas) ACE's was picked up from the TTC (Transportation Center) east of Pueblo, CO, 26 April 2014. LNG experiment began on BNSF November 2013.

Observations regarding LNG Tests-Support of natural gas-fueled locomotives will require significant investments in new fueling infrastructure that are duplicative to established diesel based infrastructure. These infrastructure investments and their associated operating costs must be accounted for in any evaluation of cost effectiveness.

Given the small size of the locomotive market (approximately one locomotive is sold for every 211 Class 8 trucks) and given manufacturers' personnel and financial constraints, it is highly doubtful the builders can simultaneously pursue further improvements in diesel locomotive technology and natural gas-fueled locomotive development. (Info courtesy Chase, N. 14 April 2014, Potential of liquefied natural gas use as a railroad fuel. United States Energy Information Administration) ©2019 Chip

Action on the Joint Line

Matt was able to get out for part of the day on the first Monday of the month, and ended up catching the PPL. Since it had a fresh H3 and Cascade SD40-2 pair, I decided the chase them from Littleton to Palmer Lake. Here are a few shots at Larkspur and Palmer Lake. ©2019 Matt Adamski
A UP train consisting of bulkhead and empty flat cars heads North into the Littleton Trench.  ©2019 Mike Harriman A southbound UP train of Vestas windmill parts train is at South Littleton. ©2019 Mike Harriman

The PPL passes Castle Rock


On 18 Feb., 2019, A pair of H1 SD40-2s leads the southbound Pikes Peak Local out of Castle Rock, CO while the town's namesake rock waves bye-bye. ©2019 Chris Paulhamus

A Warbonnet on a stack train


A southbound intermodal waiting at Englewood with BNSF 699( AT&SF Warbonnet) leading. ©2019 Mike Harriman

The PPL on its way to Colorado Springs


David Grothe caught the PPL coming through Castle Rock at 1345 Monday, 18 Feb 2019. Note that  vandals have tagged the lead motor. ©2019 David Grothe 

Some interesting pictures

Bartlett Grain is nearing completion of their new 400,000 bushel silo at Towner, Colorado. In talking with the elevator manager, he said they send most of their grain east on the K&O to Wichita, Kansas of Great Bend, Kansas. I asked him if they planned to ship on the Towner line to the west when it opens. He said no. I traversed the Towner line all the way to NA Junction. Nothing has changed except the line continues to deteriorate. The new owner doesn't seem to be in any hurry to reactivate the line. I also talked with a UP track inspector who lives in Eads, Colorado. He said the Bartlett elevator in Haswell, Colorado has closed and the one in Eads is about to close. That eliminates any elevators of size providing new business for the Towner line. Most of the grain is being trucked to Cheyenne Wells, Colorado and shipped on the UP.

As mentioned in an earlier report, Bartlett Grain has two trackmobiles in Towner. The one in the foreground is out of service. It was formerly the Haswell trackmobile which was relocated to Yuma, Colorado to work the Bartlett elevator there. When the elevator closed, it was transferred to Towner. The other trackmobile has been at Towner for many years. ©2019 Larry Dilts

 

On February 4 an empty northbound coal train was crossing Fountain Creek south of Fountain, Colorado on the joint line.  ©2019 Larry Dilts
The same coal train was crossing the Sand Creek trestle on one of the few scenic spots on the joint line near Kelker on the south side of Colorado Springs.  ©2019 Larry Dilts

On the Joint Line


On 2 Feb, 2019, BNSF 8580 leads a southbound coal train out of Monument, CO as it approaches the new'ish Baptist Road overpass.  ©2019 Chris Paulhamus

Action at Cheyenne

Mike Harriman went to Cheyenne recently and recorded  the activity with this eastbound approaching Cheyenne ©2019 Mike Harriman GO Transit MP45AC #676 on its way being delivered to Canada. ©2019 Mike Harriman
Heading west. ©2019 Mike Harriman

On the Joint Line


On 2 Feb, 2019, BNSF 8580 leads a southbound coal train toward the N. Meadows Parkway bridge in Castle Rock, CO.  ©2019 Chris Paulhamus

ex-Illinois Central E-Units (100 & 101) on the move

Forwarding info-101 and 102 were rebuilt by the IC in the early 90’s Iowa Pacific Holdings (Ed Ellis) bought the ex-Illinois Central E-Units (100 & 101) that CN had retired earlier in 2014 because they considered them surplus. Photo by Chip
UP 1601, SD40N, on UP-BNSF interchange track at Sidney, NE, returned to her train with SLRG 100, E8A, Sidney, Nebraska, 1 February 2019.  SLRG 100 expected to arrive Denver area 5 February. Photo by Chip
Iowa Pacific’s 100, E8A built as CB&Q 9938-A, ducked under BNSF’s bridge at Sidney, Nebraska, 1 February 2019.  Union Pacific was moving the unit to Ed Ellis’ operation at Alamosa, Colorado.  Ed acquired two ex-CN E8A units in 2014.  He painted them in an Illinois Central inspired paint scheme. Photo by Chip

At Palmer Lake on the Joint Line


BNSF 7172, ES44C4 rear DPU, moved unit LPG tank cars over Palmer Divide at Palmer Lake, CO, February 1, 2019. Train passed location where new pedestrian bridge was under construction. Photo by Chip

A unusual locomotive on the move


Iowa Pacific's SLRG 100, E8A ex-CB&Q 9938-A, moved west on UP's Sidney Turn (UP Sidney Subdivision) west of Lodgepole, NE, 31 Jan 2019. Hot axle had SLRG 100 set out at Lodgepole, NE, 30 Jan 2019. Unit got some repairs-she might move back east to North Platte, NE, 1 Feb 2019. BNSF 5693 moved to Sidney where it was interchanged back to BNSF. ©2019 Chip

Amtrak in Denver


Union Pacific 7900 met 7-hour late Amtrak train #5, the California Zephyr, with number 14 up front, Prospect Junction, Denver, Colorado, 28 January 2019.  ©2019 Chip

A different perspective at Greenland

On January 25, Tim used his drone to get some different views at Greenland.  ©2019 Tim Tonge

A UP heritage unit in Denver


On January 26, Mike headed down to North Yard and caught UP Heritage Unit #1982 sandwiches between some other power. There has been quite a bit of Heritage unit activity this month in the Mile High City. Good way to start off 2019!  ©2019 Mike Harriman

Blades on the move


On 19 Jan, 2019, UP 7880 leads a southbound windmill blade train through the S-curve just south of Monument, CO.  ©2019 Chris Paulhamus

End of the line for Cheyenne Frontier Days train (Trains Magazine Newswire)

DENVER — The last annual steam-powered mainline excursion train in the U.S. is no more
On Monday, the Denver Post said the train Denver-Cheyenne, Wyo., train has come to the end of the line. “While we have enjoyed our partnership with Union Pacific, due to the company’s utilization of its historic rail cars in 2019 and beyond, The Denver Post Cheyenne Frontier Days Train will no longer operate,” the website announcement said. “On behalf of The Denver Post and The Denver Post Community Foundation, we thank you for your past support and participation and hope we have an opportunity for continued support in the future.”

On the Joint Line near Pueblo


Chris took this shot near Pueblo of last Wednesday's MNYPU with a rare'ish Phase 3, notch-nose SD70M leading the way. He says "rare'ish" because of the 1,452 SD70Ms that UP has rostered, only about 120 of them were of the Phase 3 flavor like this one. The Phase 3 units had the distinctive notch-nose design that is similar to what we see on the SD70ACe today. These were among the last SD70Ms built before the switch was made to the SD70ACe and SD70M-2 to meet increasing restrictions of the EPA Tier requirements. ©2019 Chris Paulhamus

How to spoil a good picture

Rail fans really like photographing the Pikes Peak Local as the PPL is the only train you can catch down here that runs with old-school standard cab power so that makes it a gem to catch. It runs south on Mondays and Thursdays, usually late in the morning, to take the type of shots Chris likes to take, the sun has to be shining which means late Spring through early Fall are out since I'd be dealing with the harsh light of high sun during that timeframe. So when a boring, GEVO is the lead power it kinda spoils the picture trying to get something more classic. ©2019 Chris Paulhamus

On the Joint Line


Union Pacific 6701, AC4400CW, led coal load to Martin Drake Power Plant (700 Conejos Street), Colorado Springs. Train passed Larkspur, CO, on the Joint Line 20 January 2019. ©2019 Chip

On the Kyle and World's Wonder View Tower


Eastbound Kyle RR lettered Utah Railway 5004, MK50-3, passed the closed World's Wonder View Tower built after 1926. View tower is near Genoa, CO, January 17, 2019.

Charles W. Gregory, Colorado's P.T. Barnum, would stand on the Tower and spot license plates of approaching cars. When tourists were within earshot, he would boom state-appropriate greetings through a megaphone. "How're things in the Buckeye State?" His billboard motto was Eat, drink, gas, and pop at the Tower. Charles W. Gregory died in 1943, and then the interstate bypassed US 24.

The Tower, however, survived, thanks in large part to its owners since 1967, Jerry and Ester Chubbuck. They charged only one dollar for admission. Small signs at the entrance caution the squeamish, "Animal Monstrosities," and "Two-headed calf.”

Owner Jerry Chubbuck died in 2013. Tower still stands, but is closed to the public. Note the wind blade energy farm in the distance.  ©2019  Chip

Snow on the Joint Line

Tim Tonge went to Greenland on January 13 and was able to photograph two trains in the snow. ©2019 Tim Tonge


On 13 Jan.,  2019, BNSF 9266 works up the grade with a loaded coal train through Greenland, CO after a recent dumping of heavy, wet snow.  ©2019 Chris Paulhamus

At Denver

A derailment at the 31st St. Yard. This one much more minor than the previous week. A bulkhead flatcar and load came off the tracks, blocking the lead to the engine service terminal.  ©2019 Mike Harriman Amtrak Phase 3 Heritage unit #822 lead the California Zephyr into Denver Union Station for servicing. #5 also picked up private car "The Patron Tequila Express"ť for the trip west.©2019 Mike Harriman

Military on the move


UP 7522 East on snowy 11 January 2019 on Limon Subdivision moved Fort Carson equipment to Corpus Christie, Texas. Train passed Rob Thain's (passed away December 2018) place east of Strasburg, CO. ©2019 Chip

The UP's D&RGW Heritage unit on the Moffat Sub


Last weekend (Jan 5-6) there was lots of action on the Moffat Route, including 2 heritage units. UP 1989 left Denver Friday morning, and only made it as far as Rocky before mechanical problems overtook the train, and on Saturday morning, it was still sitting at Rocky. Then Sunday the SP Heritage unit UP 1996 was a mid train DPU on a loaded coal train, also seen at Rocky leaving the siding after meeting #5.  ©2019 Mike Harriman

Opps!


BNSF 23rd Street Xing, Denver, CO, 2 January 2018. Four center beam cars tipped over near South Platte River bridge. BNSF Salt Mine job was pulling the cars with BNSF 1684-remained on the rails was near Prospect Junction. Straight lined-! View from Park Avenue West highway overpass. ©2019 Chip

The Ski Train consist on its way to Denver

On Janaury 3, Amtrak #5 includes the Winter Park Express consist in front of the normal consist, passes near the 88th Ave. grade crossing on the Brush Sub.  ©2019 Mike Harriman

New Years Day on the Front Range Sub

Alan Schenkel was out New Years Day and caught some activity including B-ALTSCZ (Alliance, TX to Scoby MT) approaching the Fort Collins North Yard   ©2019 Alan Schenkel    A Meet at Fort Collins' North Yard.  ©2019 Alan Schenkel 
S-TACOMA passing the Anheuser-Busch brewery.  ©2019 Alan Schenkel  The Anheuser-Busch switcher.  ©2019 Alan Schenkel 

On the Joint Line with old code line poles


On Dec 18, BNSF 9148 and a sister ACe lead a southbound coal train under the North Gate Bridge on the Air Force Academy, CO. ©2018 Chris Paulhamus

A neat shot


An on time Eastbound California Zephyr streaks across the 66th Ave. Grade Crossing in Arvada, on the evening of December 30. ©2018 Mike Harriman

NS 9-1-1 on the road

On December 28, UP 7149 North approaching the local power in La Salle, Colorado ©2018 Alan Schenkel Brief stop just north of Greeley, Colorado  ©2018 Alan Schenkel
Newly expaned frac sand operation at Eaton, Colorado ©2018 Alan Schenkel Last shot at Eaton ©2018 Alan Schenkel

Some Front Range pictures

On Dec. 18, Mike Harriman took a few pictures and the first is of a BNSF freight with an NS visitor from the east  heads downgrade at Leyden.  ©2018 Mike Harriman The California Zephyr met the BNSF freight at Leyden, and is now continuing westward. ©2018 Mike Harriman
BNSF Golden Yard where 2 former ATSF cabeese can be seen, as well as a pair of sun weathered H2 MAC's and a former BN cascade green SD40-2. ©2018 Mike Harriman

A windmill blade train


BNSF 9687 East moved unit wind blade train past Erker Grain at Fort Morgan, CO, December 14, 2018. Train was headed to O’Neil, Nebraska.  ©2018 Chip

Progress on "Big Boy"


November 2018 installing rivets on UP 4014, Alco built Big Boy, at Cheyenne, Wyoming  ©2018 Chip

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