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 us. Please contact News Page Webmaster Wally Weart.

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December 17, 2014

Some pictures on the Kyle Railroad

Kyle Railroad 9345 set out covered hoppers for grain operation at Stratton, Colorado, December 16, 2014 after mid-December snowstorm. Icy highways made travel treacherous. Kyle 9345 had been throwing snow off the rail line on the first trip to Limon, Colorado, after a snowstorm. 2014 Chip Kyle Railroad 9345 passed ex-Rock Island Stratton, Colorado, depot December 16, 2014 while making set outs. Mid-December snowstorm left area covered in ice and snow 2014 Chip


An NS Heritage unit visits Colorado

Southern heritage unit, Norfolk Southern 8099, departed Denver, Colorado, on BNSF's train to Provo, Utah, via Union Pacific's Moffat Tunnel Subdivision. Train passed Prospect Junction, Denver, Colorado, 4:05 PM, December 13, 2014. BNSF 4056 was on the point of the H DENPVO train. 2014 Chip

A very unusual power combination

Alan Schenkel photographed this unusual power combination with a CN C40-8M leading a faded Warbonnet at North Yard in Ft. Collins  2014 Alan Schenkel  And again at Environmental Learning Center road in Fort Collins, CO 2014 Alan Schenkel 

Some interesting power

An unusual site at Colby, Kansas on December 7, 2014 was Ferromex ES 44 AC 4619 at Cornerstone Ag on the southeast side of town. 2014 Larry Dilts Kyle (CORP) 4075 and Kyle 9330 were pulling a lengthy westbound freight out of the bottom lands on the west side of Colby, Kansas, December 7, 2014 2014 Larry Dilts
A rare meet in Colby, Kansas, December 8, 2014. With a westbound loaded grain train, UP 8173 and Ferromex 4619 were on the siding at Cornerstone Ag waiting for the westbound Colby local to clear the main. UP 553 and 2361 were the power on the four car local.  2014 Larry Dilts

RTD's new commuter rail cars arrive

RTD's first four Electric Commuter Rail Cars at  Union Station. They are sitting short of the loading area on Track 1 (nearest the station).  2014 Michael McBride
Michael McBride shot some pictures of the interiors of the new cars. The cars will operated in semi-permanently married pairs and have both bike and luggage racks.  2014 Michael McBride
2014 Michael McBride The operators' compartment showing the "joy stick" control .The right monitor shows various views from the cameras which are on the car. 2014 Michael McBride

Some more Colorado pictures

A couple times a year, I like to grab a shot of the engine tracks near BNSF's engine house in Denver, just to see how things change over time. newer GE power dominates the scene on this chilly November afternoon.  2014  Kevin Morgan With the recent surge in the rail industry, Class 1 railroads have been pulling out all the stops and reactivating older power. BNSF activated (and renumbered) their SD75Ms and SD75Is, the majority of which still wear the Warbonnet scheme. One such example is BNSF 205 (which, until recently, was BNSF 8205), seen here in Denver on a cold final day in November. 2014  Kevin Morgan
A northbound BNSF manifest approaches the Northwest Parkway underpass in Broomfield, not far south of Louisville. The apartment and condo complex in the background is very new. Ten years ago, none of that had been built and that area was occupied by an empty field. 2014  Kevin Morgan Far from home, this CSX C40-8W is putting in some power sharing miles as it heads north on BNSF's Front Range Sub. This is the first C40-8W that I've seen (well, at least shot) in nearly six years. Highlighting the fact that older power is being utilized as much as possible by railroads right now. 2014  Kevin Morgan

Some nice pics from the Joint Line

Late-90s power leads the way for a southbound coal train at the Academy siding on the U.S. Air Force Academy.  2014 Chris Paulhamus BNSF 9235 leads a southbound coal train through the open space in Greenland, CO and by the famous red barn situated between the two mains.

Amazingly, this is the first time I tried to feature this barn in one of my photos as it's one of the few structures you'll see in the Greenland Open Space. I'm so glad Douglas County has decided to keep this section of the front range in near-pristine condition and avoided the temptation to urbanize. I love this section of the Joint Line!

Oh, this photo contains 8702 horsepower...although 2 of those horse aren't helping much!  2014 Chris Paulhamus

Peek-a-boo! BNSF 9235 throttles through the remaining climb up the Palmer Divide which is just beyond the MP 52 sign post on the left. It's pretty much been all uphill from Denver and it will be all downhill from here to Pueblo.  2014 Chris Paulhamus BNSF 9235 leads a southbound coal train down the hump into The Sag in Spruce, CO.

Well, this was a big miss. I was trying to include both the crazy grade around The Sag while simultaneously showing the remnants of the former crossover of the ATSF and DRG lines...I failed at both. As my fictional spiritual mentor Ron Swanson has said, "Never half-ass two things. Whole-ass one thing." And thus, my lesson has been time I'll be trying to better show the grade through the S-turn down into The Sag.  2014 Chris Paulhamus

A military move

Army tanks, M1A1 Abrams, moved from the National Training Center near Yermo, California, towards Fort Carson, Colorado, November 28, 2014 via Denver, Colorado. Union Pacific 7632 pulled out of Union Pacific's North Yard Friday afternoon. 
2014  Chip
Army support truck with small mobile shovel and support trailer passed Castle Rock, Colorado, November 28, 2014. Train came from Yermo, California. DODX 40482 flatcar headed south on the Joint Line. 2014  Chip
Union Pacific 7632 South moved Army tanks (M1A1 Abrams) and support trucks from Yermo, California, towards Fort Carson, Colorado, November 28, 2014 via Littleton, Colorado. Warm 70-degree weather had most people out shopping. 2014  Chip
Union Pacific 7632, 4970, and 3952 moved unit military train from Yermo, California to Fort Carson, Colorado, November 28, 2014 S. of Littleton, Colorado.  2014  Chip


A very colorful consist

Alan Schenkel caught caught CHEDEN power at MP 72, rolling rainbow with a BN SD60M in the lead. 2014 Alan Schenkel

Great Western's "UP" power

Two ex-UP GP38s pause near Office Junction on a return trip from Johnstown to Loveland. Was 12F when I shot this photo. November 11, 2014 Jerry B. Day
Ed note: The spelling of Union Pacific" seems to be a bit confused. Do you think they swapped some doors?)

A new bridge under construction.

Known as the North Meadows Extension, Castle Rock’s largest ever roadway project will connect The Meadows community with Highway U.S. 85 and Interstate 25 on the north end of town. The new two-mile roadway will provide a second northern access for The Meadows, helping to relieve congestion at the existing I-25 and Meadows/Founders Parkway Interchange and at the U.S. 85/Meadows Parkway intersection.

Interchanges will be constructed on I-25, about one mile north of the Founders/Meadows Interchange, and on Highway 85 at Castlegate Drive, near the Outlets at Castle Rock. Drivers can expect 24/7 shoulder closures, nighttime lane closures and lane realignments on northbound and southbound I-25 between the Happy Canyon Road and Meadows/Founders interchanges, and on Highway 85 at Castlegate Drive, north of Meadows Parkway.

The project is scheduled for completion in summer 2016.

BNSF 1448 on the Pikes Peak Local passed Castle Rock Colorado headed for Denver November 11, 2014.2014 Chip

Some Midwestern action

Your webmaster recently went to Milwaukee and shot a few pictures.

A UP local switches an industry in Gothenburg, NE. 2014 Wally Weart The pusher of an empty coal unit train passes the power of an eastbound merchandise train while the Gothenburg Grain elevator's switcher awaits its next assignment. Normally, the yard is so full of grain hoppers that you can't see the locomotive. 2014 Wally Weart
The Rochelle Train Park is well worth a visit as these two pictures show. It's about 5 miles off I-88 in Rochelle, IL and is situated in the apex of a BNSF - UP crossing. There is a radio feed with speakers for both the BNSF and UP dispatchers. Both lines are very busy and I saw 5 trains in a little over an hour. Note the CN motor in the UP consist.  2014 Wally Weart
As you drive west on I-80, you will see these two UP locomotives on a bluff. This is Kenefick Park located on southwest point of the Lauritzen Gardens. "There are. several plazas, seating areas, a grand staircase, "canyon" stone walls, interpretive signage, sculpture and walkways, the park documents Union Pacific Railroad's role in the development of Omaha and the West". 2014 Wally Weart "Big Boy" 4023 is posed for pictures and has a stairs on the engineer's side so you can see into the  cab. 2014 Wally Weart
Class Centennial 6900 is also on display and, as the pictures show, both are in immaculate condition. 2014 Wally Weart While leaving Milwaukee, I crossed these tracks and saw a headlight in the distance. I pulled over to wait and thought "CN"? "Wisconsin & Southern"?  No, just one more BNSF coal train, like I couldn't see these in Denver. 2014 Wally Weart

Some Joint Line action

A couple of battered old veterans leads a manifest north out of Palmer Lake, CO.

I was out here in the open space to shoot a double stack train on the southbound Main 1, but was a little surprised to see a shot of a northbound on Main 2 was doable this late in the year.  2014 Chris Paulhamus


Well, well...stacks on the Joint Line, eh? Sorta. I think these are all empties, and I'm guessing this train is B-DENLAC. I believe they call this a "repo" train as they're repositioning all these empty stacks to another location. Ironically, I caught one of these trains a few months before I left Colorado for Alaska.

For some reason, I never took a shot looking north from this location before...I have no idea why. But see that rocky "mountain" in the background? That's Spruce Mountain, and it offers a great view of the Joint Line for miles and miles looking at Greenland to the north and Palmer Lake to the south. It's basically a giant plateau with a walking trail looping around the edge. It's very easy to get to as there's a parking lot right at the base with the trail head right there. Because it's on the west side of the tracks, it's best suited for afternoon action, but in the summer in Colorado, you're going to be dealing with cloud build up and thunderstorms (and the last place you want to be when a thunderstorm pops up is on a mountain top or plateau sticking up in an open space).

One last thing to note, this train was stopped at this location known as The Sag. It's a short 1% down grade a few miles away from the summit in Palmer Lake. Trains will stop in The Sag to cool their traction motors or, more likely, to wait for northbounds to clear off the single track south of Palmer Lake. Why there is a 1% down grade here is an interesting story and instead of spelling it out here, I'll give you a link to Kevin Morgan's report on this (scroll down to Crossover at Spruce for the details...or read the whole thing because it's an awesome review of the history of the Joint Line):  2014 Chris Paulhamus

BNSF 5320 leads a Norfolk Southern visitor and a long manifest north on Main 2. You can see the grade dropping off to the right from this angle; this train just crested the divide in downtown Palmer Lake so it's all downhill to Denver from here.

Being on the north side of the divide is a little more exciting as the trains pick up speed as they have gravity helping them out for a change. By the time they get to Greenland a little farther down the line, they are hoofing it.  2014 Chris Paulhamus


Classic Joint Line action just north of Palmer Lake, CO. Main 1 is on the left and serves as the southbound main. Main 2 is in the foreground and serves as the northbound main.

Ever wonder why this section of track is called the "Joint Line"? The UP and BNSF jointly own the line, but it's not because BNSF owns one main and UP the other. No, it's far more confusing than that. BNSF will own a portion of one main and then it will switch over to UP ownership and vice versa. And if you're wondering why the track layout looks weird in this shot, it's because it has an interesting history. In fact, all of this is summed up in Kevin Morgan's post which you can read here:

In this scene, the doublestack train is throttling up out of The Sag while a northbound manifest gains steam as it heads north and down grade. The stack train had to wait for 3 northbounds to clear off the single track main south of Palmer Lake before it got the green. And that's just the way it goes here...and it's always neat to see it all play out. 2014 Chris Paulhamus

PVs on Amtrak

BNSF's 31-Bay View & private varnish SLRG-1 Caritas owned by Clark Johnson were on Amtrak train 5, the California Zephyr, at Tolland, Colorado, November 4, 2014.

BNSF 31 was originally purchased by the Santa Fe, and name Chair Dome Lounge Car No. 506. It was bought for service on the famed El Capitan. On 31 August 1973, the car was renumbered to ATSF #60. However on 12 January 1996, the car was renumbered BNA 60, and in 1998, it was renumbered again to BNSF #31, and also named Bay View. The car has three types of accommodations: the lower level lounge (24 person capacity), upper level coach (57 person capacity), and upper level lounge (20 person capacity).  2014 Chip

A new bridge being built on the Front Range sub

BNSF 6402 N. coal empty crossed Clear Creek wood trestle (replacement project underway) November 1, 2014 about 5:30 PM. Note crane with auger at right. The wood trestle at milepost 4 will be replaced with a steel and concrete bridge November 2014.

Denver RTD is building a concrete bridge at right for commuter line to Broomfield, CO.

BNSF is detouring coal empties up the Front Range Subdivision account Brush Subdivision tie replacement project November 2014.  2014 Chip

Some action in Littleton

Union Pacific northbound train with tanks and armored personnel carriers was parked at Littleton, Colorado, on the Joint Line. Southbound Denver RTD light rail train passed October 30, 2014. 2014 Chip
Trains were buzzing through Littleton, Colorado, October 30, 2014. In the foreground, Denver RTD southbound light rail train. Far left BNSF 783 war bonnet on Denver, Colorado, to Kansas City, KS, manifest. In the distance on Main 2 was a unit Army train from Fort Carson, CO. 2014 Chip

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