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NEW OPERATOR FOR THE GEORGETOWN LOOP
Posted Saturday, May 9 2009 at 1558 h MDT
Yes, folks, it's finally happened - Railstar has thrown in the towel and sold the remaining six years of the Georgetown Loop operating contract to a new company - Historic Rail Adventures, LLC. I heard rumblings about this earlier last week but without details, and now Stephen Peck has posted the official press release over at NGDF [here].
This new company is headed by Mark Graybill, and my understanding is that some of the old (Ashby era) GLR employees have offered to return to help out. My understanding is that this doesn't change the somewhat unfavorable terms of the contract with the CHS, but hopefully the new team can work with it and once again make the Loop the success it was under the original operator. I wish you guys all the best - hopefully the dark days of the Loop are almost over. - NDHolmes
SKI TRAIN LEAVING DENVER FOR THE LAST TIME - NOW!
Posted Friday, May 8 2009 at 1650 h MDT
Per Kevin Morgan, via the Colorado-Railfan list:
"The Ski Train will soon be leaving Denver for the last time! The train has been pulled from Burnham (the three F40's and the 17 tempo cars -- NOT the "private" cars California, Utah and Kansas) and moved to North Yard."
"I have heard that UP 7126 might end up being the leader, but I'm not certain. Apparently the train was first supposed to be called at 7:00am, but that has changed several times so far. I guess the latest word is 1:00pm, but that could still change."
The last report is that the current call time is just about now - 1645h. Heads up to the east, and if you get a few pictures of it on the move, I'd appreciate the chance to post them.
Update (9-May-2009 0003h): The train departed North Yard in Denver at 1705h on Friday, and is supposed to be into Council Bluffs, IA, by 0850h on Saturday. From there, it will be interchanged to the CN and make its way east across Iowa, then up through Wisconsin and Michigan to the Algoma Central.
Update 2 (9-May-2009 0900h): Kevin Morgan has posted photos of chasing its departure on his website [here]. - NDHolmes
REMINDER - GOOSEFEST AT CRRM THIS WEEKEND
Posted Thursday, May 7 2009 at 1620 h MDT
This weekend will be the Mother's Day Galloping Goosefest at the Colorado Railroad Museum. All three of the museum's RGS geese will be running (RGS 2, 6, and 7), plus RGS 5 and the replica of RGS 1 will attend as well. RGS 1 and 5 were scheduled to arrive from the western slope sometime today (Thursday, 7-May-2009). This is likely the largest number of RGS Geese in one place since the abandonment of the RGS some fifty eight years ago.
Unfortunately, RGS 4 is still being restored in Ridgway (and will not be operational even when done), and RGS 3 can't make it from Knotts in California, but there will still be five geese running in one place all weekend.
This is just a reminder for those out there who - like me - may have forgotten. The museum opens at 0900h each day, and stays open 1700h. Admission is free for members, but otherwise special event admission rates apply. - NDHolmes
NEW TRIP REPORT - D&S OPENING WEEKEND 2009
Posted Sunday, May 3 2009 at 2334 h MDT
The D&S has been running the Fall Photo Special for something like 19 years now, and added the Winter Photo Special in 2005, but this year, they added yet a third - a spring photo train known as the Presidential Photo Special. The train consisted of K-28 473 and five red cars (meaning, premium cars assigned to the D&S's Presidential, First, and Deluxe classes during the regular season). As such, the train was intended to look like a narrow gauge business train, and offered a nice change from the regular yellow equipment. Plus, it was a great chance to get photos in the upper Animas canyon in the spring - something that otherwise requires a lot of hiking.
The train ran on Friday, 1-May-2009, the day before the regular summer season started for the line. Since I was already in town, I also shot the first day of the summer trains on Saturday. It didn't turn out much like summer, though - cold, overcast, and raining the whole time. On the plus side, though, the normally singular train this time of the season ran as two sections fifteen minutes apart due to the passenger load.
Photos from the weekend can be found in a new trip report [here]. - NDHolmes
MORE JOINT LINE SEARCHLIGHTS BEING REPLACED
Posted Sunday, May 3 2009 at 2327 h MDT
More of the old searchlight signals along the Joint Line are living on borrowed time, with their new tri-light replacements already in place. It's just a matter of time until the signal maintainers are ready to cut them over and tear down the old ones.
Signals on the hit list this round include (all on the UP):
- the signal at the Greenland grade crossing
- the next signal north near Larkspur
- all of the signals at Bragdon
- the next signal north of Bragdon
Some photos of the signals in the process of conversion can be found [here]. (Update 5/2 1140h): Now with new, improved, actually working link!
Also, if anybody knows what scrapyard these wind up going to (if they're going directly to scrap), I'd appreciate a heads up. I've been looking for an H-2 searchlight to put in my back yard when I redo my patio this summer.
Update (7-May-2009 2311h): Larry Green points out that the signals in question between Palmer and Castle Rock are on Union Pacific property, not BNSF. Sorry about that, folks. - NDHolmes
D&RGHF MOVES FORWARD WITH CAR FOR CREEDE BRANCH
Posted Sunday, May 3 2009 at 2307 h MDT
On my way back from the D&S in Durango last Saturday, I stopped by Monte Vista to see a motorcar being built by Don Shank and the Denver & Rio Grande Historical Foundation for use on the Creede Branch this summer. The car was originally a Norco spiker built for the C&NW, but was later converted to a people mover for their MoW department. Don Shank acquired the chassis from UP at an auction, and has built a standard gauge motorcar out of it, capable of moving 12-16 people. It's painted in single stripe Rio Grande gold and silver, and looks like a bizarre cross between a Goose, a school bus, and a Grande F unit. Photos of the motorcar can be found [here].
Also somewhat new on the D&RGHF (at least since I last checked) is DRGW caboose 01484. Don told us they acquired it last summer, and apparently late in the summer (after I was there in July) it was moved to its current location. It's currently sitting near the ex-Hooper depot that's also been placed in South Fork. Photos can be seen [here].
Thanks to Don for letting us on the property to photograph his new creation, and for taking a few minutes away from working on it to talk to us about the car and their plans. - NDHolmes
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