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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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

A warbonnet on an oil train


On Dec. 28, David Grothe caught this Southbound tank train in castle rock at 0945L.  Warbonnet and ACe leaders. ©2018 David Grothe

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

Action at Pueblo


UP 8991 with the North Yard, Denver, to Pueblo, CO, train M NYPU-06, arrived the afternoon of December 7, 2018.  Train had made pick-up at Kelker, CO, which prompted a dog catch late in the day.  Note Arkansas River dike has been lowered. ©2018 Chip

Changes on the Moffat

Unfortunately (for railfans, at least), UP's PSR has claimed another victim. For decades, at least one manifest has regularly run across the Rio Grande (or former Rio Grande) between Denver and Salt Lake City. For the past two decades, since the UP/SP merger, the train has been the MNYRO and MRONY. A manifest between North Yard (east end of the Grande) and Roper (west end of the Grande). With PSR, UP seems to have deemed Roper Yard (in Salt Lake) to be redundant to North Yard (the one in Salt Lake City) and Ogden. Sounds like UP plans to reduce operations at Roper and traffic between Denver and Salt Lake will now run through Ogden via the Overland Route.

The final MNYRO departed Denver this past Wednesday. Alas, it left after dark. The final MRONY departed Salt Lake yesterday and descended the Moffat on12/09/18 during late morning and early afternoon. I was thrilled I had the time to get out and get a few shots. The train was 108 cars and just north of 6,700 feet.

Where as the MNYRO and MRONY had been a thrice-weekly train, it would appear that UP will now run a thrice-weekly MNYGJ and MGJNY between North Yard in Denver and Grand Junction, CO. But it sounds as though UP manifest in the Utah Desert and over Solider Summit are now a thing of the past. Granted that decision could be reversed at any point...but for now.........

An SD70ACe-T4 leads the final MRONY through a Form B on the main at Cliff (UP Moffat Tunnel Sub). A bridge over South Boulder Creek was replaced by UP. While main construction is complete, MOW is still working on cleanup in the area.  ©2018 Kevin Morgan The head end of the MRONY is getting close to the east end of Rocky, but there is no sign of the tail end in the frame just yet back at Little Ten Curve. Going to miss these massive manifests on the Moffat.  ©2018 Kevin Morgan
And lastly, a shot of the train as it passes by the intermediate signal at MP 14.5 west of Leyden.  ©2018 Kevin Morgan

Action along the Joint Line

On 08 Dec 2018, Matt Adamski got several shots of a coal load led by a pair of ACes, one of which being an Eastern Thoroughbred.  ©2018 Matt Adamski

 


On 8 Dec, 2018, BNSF 6371 leads a southbound coal train as it makes its approach toward the North Gate Bridge on the U.S. Air Force Academy, CO. ©2018 Chris Paulhamus

On the Joint Line at Greenland


UP 3056 SD70AceT4, at Greenland on Tuesday, Dec 4. ©2018 Tim Tonge

A ballast train on the Joint Line

Matt Adamski had a little time last Saturday to go out on the Joint Line and chased a southbound ballast train from Littleton to Castle Rock. Here are a couple shots from Sedlaia and Castle Rock.  ©2018 Matt Adamski

Union Pacific action in Kansas

Grain is big on the Union Pacific's Kansas Pacific mainline through Kansas. On November 20, 2018, a unit grain train was loading at the Cargill high speed loadout on the west side of Ogallah, Kansas. Cargill has stopped using their own switcher to shuttle the cars and now use the UP for this work. While one unit was switching the other two were spotted on the siding in Ogallah. Cargill's switcher has been transferred or sold. ©2018 Larry D. Dilts
On November 26, 2018 another grain train was loading at Cargill. This time it was loading the Cargill elevator on the east side of Wakeeney only eight miles west of Ogallah. Although the elevator still has its own switcher, the UP is switching this elevator as well. Due to the blizzard the day before, shuttling cars through the loader came to a halt. ©2018 Larry D. Dilts
On November 26, 2018. the Oakley local was westbound through Park, Kansas on its way to Oakley. The Oakley power is taken to Salina, Kansas on Saturday returning to Oakley the following Monday. The UP still calls Park, Kansas "Buffalo Park". I presume Buffalo Park is the original name in that the Kansas Pacific was first in the area. The railroads had a big say in the naming of towns along their lines. ©2018 Larry D. Dilts

A special Union Pacific train will participate in the funeral of President H.W. Bush.


4141 for been stored at North Little Rock, AR, since the 41st President visited the unit. More information is available at https://www.up.com/media/media_kit/bush41/index.htm Picture ©2018 Union Pacific

On the Joint Line


On 25 Nov, 2018 BNSF 8561 rests on Main 1 in The Sag near Spruce, CO for a northbound to clear off the single-track main south of Palmer Lake. ©2018 Chris Paulhamus

On the G&W (Kyle)

Kyle RR eastbound Utah Railway 5003 MK50-3 departed Flagler, Colorado, 6:45 AM Thursday, November 29, 2018. Kyle's Goodland Subdivision. Train LISA-29 to Salina, Kansas. ©2018 Chip
Kyle RR's Utah Railway 5003 MK50-3, CORP 4074 SD40T-2, and Kyle 6843 SD40-2, moved the Limon, CO, to Salina, KS, (train LISA-29).  Train was east of Flagler, CO, November 29, 2018 just after sunrise.  ©2018 Chip

On the Moffat Sub

Nov 27, Mike Harriman  photograped a BNSF manifest with 3 GEVOâ€'s up front slowly climbs around the curve leading to Tunnel #29. ©2018 Mike Harriman The same freight at Tolland, Oddly, the higher I went up in elevation, the sunnier it got! ©2018 Mike Harriman
UP crews were still working on the new concrete bridge at Cliff. Handrails were added to the North side. And it looks like the siding track was still under the wood bridge, about to be replaced with the concrete panels lined up. In the background a UP crane will lift the sections. ©2018 Mike Harriman

On the Joint Line


On 25 Nov, 2018 BNSF 6918 leads an empty vehicle train south into Colorado Springs, CO. ©2018 Chris Paulhamus

Matt Adamski shot these photos  just north of Palmer Lake...the ACe was in the house track while the auto loads were headed to Big Lift. ©2018 Matt Adamski 

It's still a caboose!


BNSF shoving platform lettered Burlington Northern (BN) 12277 was parked next to Groupo Cementos Chihuahua (GCC) at their Irondale Terminal near Commerce City, Colorado, November 23, 2018.  ©2018 Chip

A new bridge over the South Boulder Creek


Amtrak 6 on train number 5, the California Zephyr, crossed newly installed (November 2018) concrete and steel bridge over the South Boulder Creek at Cliff, Colorado, Thanksgiving Day, November 22, 2018. ©2018 Chip

A "Light" engine move


12 Nov, 2018, BNSF 1826 leads a pair of SD40-2s in the form of the Pikes Peak Local runs light through Larkspur, CO after the second significant snowfall of the season. ©2018 Chris Paulhamus

A lucky catch


Northern Sun (ADM) sunflower plant at Carusso, Kansas operates former Kyle SW8 1103. This unit is difficult to photograph in that it spends most of its time on the back side (east side) of the plant. ADM also operates a GE 25 ton locomotive which is generally easily seen on the west side of the plant.  ©2018 Larry D. Dilts

A different work train


SPS Georgetown Rail Equipment Company (GREX) 6000 used by BNSF to remove old railroad ties at Denver, Colorado, 14 November 2018. BNSF did major tie replacement project in Denver area October 2018. Power unit built on SW9 frame ex-MBTA 1900, ex-SCL 141, ex-ACL 659. GREX 6000 handled slot train loaded with discarded ties. ©2018 Chip

Not your usual train!

As reported earlier, Savage Transloaders has opened a facility at Kelker on the southeast side of Colorado Springs for shipping containers. On November 13, 2018, a string of loaded container flats were at the facility. The facility uses a Rail King rail mover to move the cars through the facility. It is on the left. In the right background is L. G. Everist Incorporated's Trackmobile. They unload bulk materials at their facility. ©2018 Larry Dilts The containers and container flats are interesting. The containers are labeled "super heavy." They are smaller than most containers and only six are loaded on each three truck flatcar. The flats appear to be designed for heavier loads. From what I have been able to ascertain, the containers are filled with dore buttons which are bars of gold and silver alloys that require further refining to separate the gold and silver. The buttons are coming from the Cripple Creek and Victor Cresson Mine and being shipped to a refinery the location of which I was not able to find.  ©2018 Larry Dilts

Along the Joint Line


On 12 Nov, 2018, UP 8419 is on the rear of a northbound CSUX coal empty as it shoves into Palmer Lake, CO following the second significant snowfall of the season. ©2018 Chris Paulhamus

In the snow

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On 12 Nov, 2018 BNSF 8778 leads a southbound coal train just south of Monument, CO during the last few gasps of the second significant snow storm of the season. ©2018 Chris Paulhamus

A little further along the line


Mike Harriman sent this picture of the same train that Larry Dilts saw in Colorado Springs, but on the other side of the divide a few hours later, seen here near Sedalia.  © 2018  Mike Harriman

Action in Colorado Springs


An empty BNSF coal train was headed north passing under Fillmore Street in Colorado Springs November 12, 2018. There were two lead units followed by three distributed power units bringing up the rear.  © 2018 Larry Dilts

Some photos along the Joint Line

 A loaded BNSF coal breaks the silence of a quiet morning in Sedalia, CO as it grinds upgrade just before sunrise. © 2018  Mike Harriman Another loaded coal, this time with the sun up, crosses one of the original ATSF stone culverts in Castle Rock, this was taken right behind Castle View High School. © 2018  Mike Harriman
Wrapping up a great Saturday of trains, a BNSF manifest heads south at Big Lift with an NS visitor GEVO third out, in a few moments, the train will duck under the Titan Parkway road overpass. © 2018  Mike Harriman

The UP's C&NW heritage unit


Union Pacific 1995, Chicago & Northwestern Heritage unit, led Roseville, California, to North Platte, Nebraska, train up Archer Hill east of Cheyenne, Wyoming, Sidney Subdivision November 8, 2018.  © 2018  Chip

Waiting for clearance


On November 9, Mike Harriman saw this southbound BNSF manifest waiting for MOW work to be completed at Littleton . The power is  BNSF 6328 leading, CEFX 1042  the blue unit, and BNSF 4000. © 2018  Mike Harriman

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