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 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

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

Fall color on the Moffat Sub

Erik Lindgren went up the Moffat Sub and saw some real color, both trees and trains.   6 photos ©2019  Erik Lindgren

Restoration efforts

Restoration of Antonito, Colorado, depot continued in 2019.  Maycroft Construction and Empire Carpentry of Fort Collins, CO, were contracted to do the depot restoration work for the Town of Antonito using History Colorado grants.  Union Pacific sold the former Denver & Rio Grande Western depot to the Town of Antonito in 2006.  Workers on site October 3, 2019.  ©2019 Chip

Antonito owes its existence to the expansion of the Denver & Rio Grande Railroad. In 1879, the company began extending the track south and purchased the land that would become the San Antonio Junction?and Antonito was the community that built up around it. The Denver & Rio Grande Antonito Depot serviced freight and passengers alike headed to Santa Fe, Durango, Silverton, and New Mexico.

Built in 1880, the depot served for over sixty years as the junction point for the branch line to Santa Fe, New Mexico and the San Juan Extension from Alamosa to Durango and Silverton. It provided passenger and express package services and housed the local office of the Western Union telegraph, and was also the office for railroad freight operations originating or terminating in the Antonito area. The Town of Antonito purchased the depot from Union Pacific in 2006, and has taken steps to preserve the building ever since. The depot was placed on Colorado’s Most Endangered Places list in 2007.

Restoration completed on Denver & Rio Grande 168-! The Denver & Rio Grande 168, 4-6-0 built by Baldwin Locomotive Works in 1883, was retired to Colorado Springs, CO, Antlers Park, August 1, 1938. The 168 was D&RG class 47. Thanks to the Cumbres & Toltec Scenic RR restoration crew. First operation was September 27, 2019. Efstathios I. Pappas oversaw the restoration to operation at Cumbres & Toltec Scenic RR Antonito, CO, shop. In the distance was C&TS 488, K-36, at Antonito, CO, October 3, 2019. ©2019 Chip.
Micheal Harding used router on door restoring RPO 65 built in 1887 at Antonito, Colorado, 3 October 2019. ©2019 Chip.
An aerial view of the station. ©2019 Chip

2019 2020 Ski Train

'Winter Park Express' tickets go on sale  
Bob Johnston | October 1, 2019 Trains Magazine Newswire

DENVER — Amtrak and Winter Park Resort will again operate weekend ski train round trips from Denver Union Station to a platform located next to the slopes at the resort, with the service expanding to run every Friday, Saturday, and Sunday from Jan. 10 through March 29, 2020.

In 2019, the train ran only on a few Fridays.

Tickets are on sale now at www.amtrak.com/WinterParkExpress. Trains depart Denver at 7 a.m. for the 2-hour trip on the California Zephyr’s route through the Moffat Tunnel, returning each day at 4:30 p.m.

Amtrak says one-way fares will range from $29 “on select dates” to $59 when bookings approach capacity for each trip. The company has enough historical purchase data to set the lowest “early bird” fare levels, which may also start at $39 or $49, depending on the day selected.

The service was revived as an Amtrak operation in 2017 after infrastructure investments totaling $3.5 million were mostly paid for by the Winter Park Resort and Colorado Department of Transportation, with $100,000 contributions by the Colorado Passenger Rail Association and the cities of Denver and Winter Park. The necessary upgrades included an Americans With Disabilities Act platform and a controlled siding on Union Pacific’s former Denver and Rio Grande Western main line.

For the 2019 ski season, Amtrak added a Superliner Sightseer Lounge car; that car will again reprise its role offering snacks and beverages in 2020.

Colorado Rail President Jim Souby tells Trains News Wire his group will again provide car hosts. “We will again have one volunteer per car who is safety trained and provides commentary,” he says. Last year, Amtrak provided six Superliner coaches and the train had a successful season, with several sellouts after a slow start.

On the Joint Line


 On 2 Sep, 2019 BNSF 9031 is on the rear of a northbound coal empty as it snakes into Castle Rock, CO on Main 2. ©2019 Chris Paulhamus

A UP Special


On Friday September 27th I was fortunate enough to follow 4014 over the hill to Laramie. It was a great sight and sound to watch 4014 start to attack the grade as it passed under the BNSF bridge at the former sight of Tower A. ©2019  Mike Harriman


UPP 119 Kenefick, business car, was on the rear of UP 4014 West. The Great Race Across the Southwest first leg was Cheyenne, WY, to Rawlins, WY, 27 September 2019. Train was approaching Rock River, Wyoming. 
UPP 119-Built as Chair 5446; to Business Car 99 (2nd) in April 1963; to Business Car 100 (6th) in May 1965; to Business Car UPP 119 in April 1986, "Kenefick" name added in 1988.

Named "Kenefick" in commemoration of John C. Kenefick, president of Union Pacific from 1971 to 1983, then Chairman of the combined Union Pacific, Western Pacific, and Missouri Pacific railroads from 1983 until his retirement in 1986.  ©2019 Chip

Caught in the act


Ed Dickens applied the 'Big Boy’ name to UP 4014 at Medicine Bow, Wyoming, 27 September 2019. Photo by Mike Schalk.

Going to it's new owner


SSRX 1088, GP39-2, is an ex-KCCX Kennecott Copper custom-built GP39-2 with a tall cab, low hood and high fuel tank lettered Rawhide Short Line RR. It had served at the nearby Rawhide Power Plant in Colorado as RAWX 1088. The emblem is lettered "Rawhide Short Line Railroad, est. 1981, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Platte River Power Authority”. Noted 27 September 2019 lettered for SSRX, which is S&S Sales & Leasing of Farmington, UT, and available for sale or lease. Unit found at Speer, WY, on a southbound BNSF train. ©2019 Chip

A UP Special

Union Pacific 1943, SD70ACe Veterans unit, and 9072 along Colorado River west of Bond, Colorado, on UP's Glenwood Springs Subdivision 26 September 2019 headed for Grand Junction, Colorado. Milepost 168.5.  ©2019 Chip

An unusual train

On Friday, September 27, UP's EC-4 track inspection vehicle is headed south, by Castle Rock at 10:55, being pulled by a faded GEVO  ©2019 Bob Thiele

An ex BN motor in Limon


Kyle had a green motor in their consist at the Limon bean elevator.  ©2019 Limonrail

A UP Special


UP 1943, SD70ACe Veterans unit, and UP 9072 handled an 18-car passenger special into Denver, CO, on 23 September 2019. Train was parked near Utah Junction, north of Denver, CO. Passenger car behind UP 9072 is crew sleeper Willie James as found on Sept 24, 2019. ©2019 Chip

Big Boy on a test run


Surprise UP 4014 test run 20 September 2019 from Cheyenne to Speer, WY. United Kingdom group visiting Wyoming was in the right place thanks to their Wyoming guide. Cindy and Felix from Switzerland were thrilled to see Big Boy in action. 4014 had two water bottles, tool car and UP 1905, SD40-2.

Union Pacific's Big Boy #UP4014 will ride the rails once again on “The Great Race Across the Southwest” starting Sept. 27, 2019 traveling through Arkansas, Arizona, California, Colorado, Kansas, Missouri, Nevada, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Texas, Utah & Wyoming.  ©2019 Chip

See route map

Stored hopper cars on the Tennessee Pass line

There about 2 miles of stored hopper cars near Parkdale as seen on Sept. 21. The right picture almost looks like when the line was active. They even show up on Google Earth. ©2019 Susie Weart

On the Joint Line


On 14 Sept.,  2019, BNSF 9670 brings a southbound coal load out of Palmer Lake, CO. Was not expecting an Exec MAC leader, so that was a nice surprise. ©2019 Chris Paulhamus

At Palmer Lake

Scott Whitney got to Palmer Lake too late to get the head end of the oil train that was going south. get a couple shots off of the pushers. Note paddle boarder, maybe a water borne railfan? ©2019 Scott Whitney

Colorado DOT may buy former UP Burnham Yard site

Trains Newswire September 18, 2019

DENVER — The Colorado Department of Transportation is close to buying a closed Union Pacific rail yard near downtown Denver, which could figure into the state’s efforts to begin Front Range passenger rail service or could help address a bottleneck in Denver’s light rail system.

Colorado Public Radio reports that Colorado DOT would like to buy 61 acres at the site of UP’s Burnham Yard, a former Denver & Rio Grande Western facility, which closed in 2016. The land could be used in efforts to improve traffic-choked Interstate 25, west of the yard, or could provide access from the south for the proposed Front Range rail service.

Randy Grauberger, project director for the Front Range rail effort, told Colorado Public Radio that any discussion of the land was preliminary. “ But over the years,” he said, “everyone's thought that if Burnham Yard every became available, it would provide additional access for passenger rail system coming up from the south, like the Front Range Passenger Rail concept." [For more on the project, see “Colorado agencies seek proposals to study Front Range passenger service,” Trains News Wire, May 29, 2019.]

The land could also give Denver’s Regional Transportation District room to add a third track at a point where five lines converge at a location on the east side of the yard.

Union Pacific spokeswoman Kristen South said the railroad had received a handful of offers for the yard, and that the railroad is reviewing those proposals

Ex-UP 9001 dome lounge to Adirondack Scenic Rly

UP 9001; to Auto Train 901 in June 1972; to Merle Ervin, Kanakee, Illinois, in December 1981; to Itel Corporation, in January 1982, in service as Green Bay & Western 901, "Trempealeau River" (initial name, "Cross Lake" was not applied); to Fox Valley Western Railway in 1983, a division of Wisconsin Central, car retained red/white colors and number with the later addition of "Wisconsin Central" title; car remodeled in 1997 as Algoma Central (also a division of Wisconsin Central), painted silver and named "Algoma Country”.  

Ex-UP 9001 remodel and painting done at Minneapolis Junction, Minneapolis, Minnesota, 11 September 2019.  Completion expected late September 2019 with delivery to Adirondack Scenic Railway at Utica, NY, in October 2019.  ©2019 Chip
 

From Durango

Durango & Silverton K-28 number 473, running as a helper takes water at the Hermosa water tank. It will wait for train number 463 with K-36 number 486. September 14, 2019. Photograph by Jerry B. Day ©2019

D&S fireman Russell Heerdt signals helper engine 473 to back to couple to engine 486, the road engine on train 463. September 14, 2019. Photograph by Jerry B. Day. ©2019

 

 
K-28 number 473 and K-36 number 486 doubleheading with the 14 car train, storm up the 2.5 percent grade at Shalona Lake Crossing just south of Rockwood. September 14, 2019. Photograph by Jerry B. Day. ©2019  

Action on the Joint Line


On 31 Aug, 2019, BNSF 8573 slings a coal empty north through the Greenland Open Space in Greenland, CO. ©2019 Chris Paulhamus

An really different switch engine

On Saturday, Sept 7, I was on Oxford west of Santa Fe  and saw a most unusual  switch move. ©2019 Wally Weart
 
Note that the front end loader has a bucket attachment with coupler. It easily handled 4 loaded scrap gons. ©2019 Wally Weart  

An unusual power combination on the PPL


On Sept.5,  ACe 8535 was backed down and attached to the front at 1645L.Also of note, MOW equip is on the end of today’s PPL. ©2019 David Grothe

Pictures from central and southern  Colorado

Manitou & Pikes Peak Railways snowplow 22 was donated to the Pueblo Railroad Museum and is displayed outside their shop building. ©2019 Larry Dilts Manitou & Pikes Peak Railways historic fully restored coach 104 is also at the Pueblo Railroad Museum. It still belongs to the M&PP but is being temporarily stored at the museum where it is protected inside the maintenance building. ©2019 Larry Dilts
 
When we think of mines, we usually do not think of the miles of railroad operated underground. The Mollie Kathleen mine in Cripple Creek operates a short section of railroad as part of their mine tour demonstration. The train is moved by a compressed air locomotive. The tour guide said that one mine he had worked at operated trains that could haul up to 200 miners. ©2019 Larry Dilts On August 28, the Cripple Creek and Victor Railroad was running trains with Porter built 0-4-0 number 3. The railroad built a bridge over Irene Avenue using an old turntable. ©2019 Larry Dilts
Passing by the old Anaconda Mine site the train was returning to Cripple Creek. A few years ago the railroad built a wye near the end of the line so now trains turn around for the return trip to Cripple Creek. ©2019 Larry Dilts On August 28, the North Pole Railroad number 56 at North Pole amusement park in Cascade, Colorado was basking in the morning sun before the first train ride of the day. The railroad has a steel bridge but it is no longer used for public trips. It is used only occasionally when the locomotive parks on it for under carriage maintenance. ©2019 Larry Dilts

Copyright 2019 Rocky Mountain Railroad Club.

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