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2012 – Quick Lunchtime Railfanning Trip

On September 7th, I took advantage of needing to travel downtown and used my lunch hour to get in some of the local downtown shots I was missing.

My many goal was to get photographs of the “Temporary” Amtrak station in Denver while Union Station is under renovation.  They also setup a temporary platform at this location as well.

Denver, CO Denver, CO

My next two objectives are old RR structures, one being the old Denver and Salt Lake Depot and the other being the old Union Pacific Warehouse.

Denver, CO Denver, CO

With still a little bit of time left before I had to get to my appointment I would track down the old Denver Tramway Power Company Building as well as get photos of a couple pieces of rolling stock; a Santa Fe Caboose and a Trolley which is operated by the Denver Rail Heritage Society

South Platte PowerhouseCabooseDenver Rail Heritage Society

 

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2012 – August Weekend Outing – Part 3

On this day our primary goal is to reach the West Portal of the Alpine Tunnel and video record the trip up and back.  We will start our assault on this old Denver, South Park and Pacific railroad route up the narrow cliffs to the top of the Continental Divide from the town of Pitkin, CO where the old depot still survives

Pitkin, CO

The first half of the trip is not too tough and it’s also where the first Water Tank the Steam Engines used.  The 47,500 gallon “Midway Water Tank” has been mostly lost to time which is why we are trying to locate and photograph things.  Here is what is left…

Alpine Tunnel

As the climb gets steeper water tanks were needed more often.  The next water tank is at “Williams Gulch” (a.k.a. Tunnel Gulch Tank) which holds 33,000 gallons of water.  This one has been restored in 1965 with additional work down in 2010.  Keep in mind this was originally built-in 1885 in a harsh environment so the fact it’s in this top condition today speaks volumes to the restoration efforts.

Alpine Tunnel

Historically the next Water Tank was at Woodstock, CO.  On March 10, 1884 a massive avalanche swept down the mountainside wiping out the Tank, the Town, and killing 13 including an entire family of six.  The town and tank were never rebuilt but the old stone foundation can still be found.

Alpine Tunnel

When Woodstock was destroyed, the railroad facilities were rebuilt higher up the line in a new town called Sherrod in 1904.  Two years later the railway abandon the town and the depot that was once here was moved to Ohio City.  The Sherrod Loop can still be seen today where a portion of the track still can be found.

Alpine Tunnel

As we get closer to the top we reach an engineering marvel of a stone wall made without mortar.  It is over 100 years old and only a few stones have been displaced.  It’s 2′ wide, 33′ tall, and 452′ wide; it is known as the Palisades.  You can see from our photograph how the roadway has narrowed and you don’t want to make a driving mistake up here!

Alpine Tunnel

Once we near the summit, we must go the rest of the way by foot.  The ruins of the old railway facility can still be found here along with the restored Telegraph Office.

Alpine Tunnel

There was also a water tank that existed here and was later moved to Boreas Pass known as Bakers Tank.

Alpine Tunnel - Moved to Boroes Pass

When Lisa was taking photographs at this same spot she would catch a photo of “Pika” that now calls this place home.

Alpine Tunnel

The last train that passed through the West Portal was November 10, 1910 and in the winter of 1924 the rails were removed.  The tunnel entrances are now buried in rocks so all you can see today is just the top of the West Portal.  The interior of the tunnel is also partially collapsed…

Alpine Tunnel

After taking lots of photos and videos we head back down the same route taking video as we head back down to Pitkin.  This however is not the end of our day…

As we travel back towards Gunnison, CO where we are staying for this chapter of our journeys we pass by a property that has D&RGW MOW Car #04408.

MOW
After passing though Gunnison, CO many times and finding the Pioneer Museum closed for one reason or another or too short on time to visit, this time we planned our trip to tour the museum.

Part of the highlights here is “Cinderella” which is a 1882 Baldwin Steam Locomotive which is D&RGW #268 in its special paint Bumble Bee scheme.  There are several other freight cars, caboose, and a MOW equipment behind it as well.

Gunnison, CO

There are two railroad structures also here, and Water Tank and a Depot.  The depot is the D&RGW Sargents facility and the Water Tank is from Mears Junction that was on the est side of Marshall Pass.

Gunnison, CO

I will also get a couple of Railfan shots of boxcars located near Main and Iowa…

Gunnison, COGunniosn, CO

Another target on our search list is to find and photograph the D&RGW Combination Depot.  BTW, it’s “For Sale” when we were there…

Gunnison, CO

Our final structure we looked for on this day is the old Denver and Rio Grande Railroads Railway Express Agency which today is the Arts Center

Gunnison, CO

 
 

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2012 – August Weekend Outing – Part 2

It’s day two of our four day outing and we start our day in Sargents, CO where the D&RGW water tank still stands on private property.

Sargents, CO

This will also be our starting point over Marshall Pass where I will setup my new HD Video camera as a dashboard to capture the route of the D&RGW railroad.  We won’t be 100% of roadbed the entire route but most of it will be so the camera will catch what it was like to ride over this section of track.

We will stop at various spots along the way to search for a few remnants but the main objective is at the top of the pass where the old Turntable pit still can be seen.

 

Here is a shot of one of the D&RGW Bridge abutments that can still be found on the other side of the pass where the vehicle road is just beside the old roadbed.

Once on the other end of the pass we find we are just below another pass so we take a small detour to get to that summit.  Here is the sign at Poncha Pass where the Rio Grande River watershed is separated from the Arkansas River watershed…

From here we head to Saliad, CO to goto the museum there that we know also contains railroad history along with other great artifacts from this areas history.

Near by is the Visitor Center where we find a 0-4-0 Tank Steam Engine of unknown history

Salida, Colorado

Also here in town at the end of F Street is where the old depot once stood.  Looking right to the South East you can see the old Engine House when the D&RGW once was a major company here

Salida, Colorado

This building here is what remains today of the old D&RGW Hospital, yes, the railroad had it’s own medical facilities to take care of its employees and families in those days.

Salida, CO

Another building with railroad history here is the Manhattan Hotel.  In many cities the railroad also owned the local hotel where train passengers would stay at.  I do not know if that was the case here but Colorado Historical Society does state that D&RGW Passenger train passengers did use this hotel.

Salida, CO

While at the D&RGW hospital I spot a female deer and two fawns using the grounds like they owned the place.  They had little fear of me being within a few yards of them.  In fact, the female left one within 10 yards of me and then left to go get the other one she had stashed out of sight somewhere.  She was gone for about 10 minutes before she returned with the second one.

Salida, CO

Our next destination for the day was about 10 miles SE along US-50 where we would take a side road to get a close shot of one of the old railroad tunnel portals.  I would only get a shot of one side on this trip.

Wellsville, CO

Our final stop for this day would be in Smeltertown, CO where we find the old Ohio-Colorado Smelting and Refining Company smoke stack.  This remnant stands 365 feet tall so it is one heck of a historical landmark and in 1976, during the American Revolution Bicentennial, the smokestack was placed on the National Register of Historic Places as a “highly visible monument to the mining industry and its workers.”

Smeltertown, CO

 
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Posted by on 08/18/2012 in RRAdventures, World Tour

 

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2012 – August Weekend Outing – Part 1

On August 17th, we take off for a 4-day weekend.  After driving awhile we stop on top of Kenosha Pass to walk around a bit.  There is a sign here about the railroad history when the Denver, South Park, and Pacific once operated over this pass.

Railroad History

Our next stop is to get a photo of the Replica Depot in Fairplay, CO of the DSP&P (Handcock).

Replica Depot - DSP&P Hancock

When I went to the Colorado School of Mines the head of the Mineral Engineering Mathematics Department and my Adviser was Ardel Boes. Something he did on the side was to race Burro’s here in Fairplay and lets say he won the race rather often.  I stopped to photograph the winners board…

Our next stop was Trout City, CO where the Mc Gees Depot is sitting for sale along with other replica buildings that make up a Bed and Breakfast.

Trout City Trout City

We will stop briefly at Ptarmigan Lake Trail to hike to the bridge where we heard the views might be good,  Um, nice bridge over a cute stream.

Bridge

We will drive over Cottnwood Pass which is a Continental Divide pass at 12,126 Feet Elevation.

12,126 Feet Elevation

We head to Tin Cup, CO next to visit the Cemetery there where there are many old historic graves including this one of T. L. Stormes who was the first person buried here in 1879.

T. L. Stormes Headstone

Something else this small remote town is know for is it’s fire hydrants that are old and can be found in some interesting locations.

Tin Cup, Colorado

We will also spot the remnants of a old dredger that is sitting on private property so I tried to find a spot I could get a shot from roadside.

Our last photo stop of the day will be the Taylor Lake Dam

 
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Posted by on 08/17/2012 in RRAdventures, Trip Reports

 

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World Travel – Alaska 2012 – Cruise Day #7

Port of Call:  Seattle, Washington

Our final day of our Alaska Adventure and as we wake, Seattle, Washington is in sight as well as the Space Needle.

Space Needle

Time for us to catch some breakfast and get ready to disembark the ship.  Before we do this, one last look at our navigation to see how far we have traveled now that we are in port.

Seattle Washington

With that, we step off the ship; BUT!, we are not yet done with this adventure as we will make a day of it in Seattle by taking a shore excursion here as well.  Time to get on our Tour Bus for a city tour…

We will head up to Queen Anne Hill at Kerry Park and catch a view of the Space Needle.  Note the ORANGE top of the Space Needle as it’s the 50th Anniversary of its construction and they have painted it back to its original color.

Queen Anne Hill - Kerry Park

Now it’s time to head over to the Space Needle and ride up the elevator to the top.  We will get our picture taken and will see a FREE Digital Postcard of ourselves from the top.  There is our ship down below…

From below we will take a few shots before catching our bus as we continue our City Tour

Seattle, WashingtonSeattle, Washington

We will briefly stop at Occidental Park for a few shots and also catch a shot of the Waterfront Street Car station that is here as well.

Seattle, Washington

Our final destination of the City Tour is the Farmers Market where we will grab some lunch…

Seattle Washington

While our bus made it’s way through the city we passed the old King Street Station that was the depot for the Great Northern Railway and Northern Pacific Railway.  Currently there is a King Tut exhibit going on so the temporarily adjusted the station sign to read King TUT Street Station.  It was impossible to get a clean / complete shot of the station while on the bus but here is a couple of shots from different angles we did get.

Seattle WashingtonSeattle Washington

I will also get a few Railfan shots in from the bus as we headed down the highway to our hotel for the night

Seattle, WA

The next day we fly back home on board Frontier with Fritz being our animal.  We will pass Mount Rainier and I will be able to get several shots from out the plane window.  As we land in Denver I had to laugh as there was Mustang Sally at the next gate.  If you recall, that is the plane we boarded at the beginning of this adventure

Hope everyone enjoyed reading all the “World Travel – Alaska 2012 …” blog entries from this trip report as we have enjoyed sharing them with you.  Rest assured, more Travel Reports will be coming…

 
 

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2012 – July 4th Outing

For the July 4th holiday Lisa and I decide to skip the traditional activities and head up high into the mountains and when I say high I’m talking over 12,000 feet for a portion of the trip and above 11,000 for other portions.

But, before we get deep into the mountains, we stop back at Bailey, CO to the park and get photos of what I thought was an old RR Wait Station on June 2nd.  After taking a few photos and doing some research since we got back, sure enough it is.  The below structure is actually what is left of the Glenisle, CO and Grousemont, CO RR Wait Stations that were identical in construction.  Both were in such bad shape that to save them they took what was restore-able from both to make a single structure as it looked at both Glenisle and Grousemont.

From there we stop at the top of Kenosha Pass (9,997ft) for a quick break to stretch the legs.  I took a quick shot of the reconstructed Wye that sits at the top of the pass since it was easy to see from the highway given the light.

Our primary travel goal of the day is to take three (3) Auto Tours around Alma, CO (Highest Incorporated Municipality in the US at 10,578ft) but nearly all the Tour Auto Signage was getting replaced so it made it tough to know when we reach each place along the tour guide.  We started off on the Placer Valley Auto Tour – (Fairplay to Alma) but didn’t find much to take photos of.

We then cut over to the Buckskin Gulch Historic Auto Tour and our first major stop on that route was the old town cemetery that is still used today by Alma.  There are many different headstones from days of old and the guide pointed out one related to Thomas Faley that we were able to track down.  There were also many military graves here that someone took the time to place a US Flag next to for the holiday (Thank You!) one that was even listed as a Civil War veteran.  Here is a photo of Thomas Faley headstone as well as Daniel M Clack of the 2nd Colorado Calvary.

From here we head up higher and find the Hungry Five Mine clinging to the side of the mountain.  Don’t be fouled by the telephoto angle, it’s a long way down to the valley floor!!!

We next spot the Paris Mine which too is hanging off the steep side of the same ridge.  Here you can better tell that just below the mine is a vertical rock face that drops and drops and drops some more

On our side of the mountain valley is the Paris Mill that Ore was carried down to via cables.  You can tell this historic building is being somewhat taken care of for younger generations to see some day…

We will now reach a turn-off to head up towards Windy Ridge but before we get up there we will find what little is left of the Mineral Park Mine.  You can start to tell from this photo that we are nearly at tree line…

We will reach the Bristlecone Pine Scenic Area that was been nearly untouched by logging or mining so these trees here are very old and you can tell what this is called Windy Ridge from their shape.  At this point we are also at 11,719ft when we start hiking.  From here you can also see Alma far below us…

We turn back down from here to the turn off to head back up towards Kite Lake.  At this point we are just below three mountain peak that are above 14,000ft that many hikes come here to hike up.  If you are going to take those hikes start really early as you do NOT want to be this high when the afternoon lightning storms hit and have no cover so you become the Lightning Rode.  Many a hikers die from lightning at these altitudes.

On the way back down we stop to take a photo of one of the local that call this place home.  Nice of him to pose for a few shots.  Don’t be fouled by his cute looks, this is one tough / mean critter that rules at this altitude.

From here we will head all the way back down to Fairplay, CO (9,953ft) to have lunch at the Brown Burro which is one of our favorite places to eat in this area.

After a wonderful meal we head out for the third Auto Tour; the Horseshoe / Fourmile Historic Auto Tour.  As we turn onto County Road 18 from US285 we are now on the old Denver, South Park and Hilltop Railway grade that serviced the mines / mills of what was Leavick, CO.  This railroad hauled the our down to the Denver, South Park, and Pacific that would later become part of the Colorado and Southern Railroad.  I believe the DSP&H was a bit over 11 miles in length as it headed up the gulch to the old mining town of Leavick.

On the way up, we will pass the old Mudsill Mill that is in need of some TLC or will be lost to time soon.  Yes, that is a For Sale sign and there is a fair amount of acreage that comes with the sale…

We will go as far as motorized travel is allowed which is still well below the mine that you can hike up too.  We are at 12,061 ft when we park and get out.  It’s starting to Rain and clouds are moving in so it’s time to get down of these high mountain trails.  Looking back down the road you can see part of the DSP&H roadway we just travel over to get up here.  Yes, there are no trees up at this level so we are the lightning rods right now so down we go.

Part way down now below timber line we pull in to the Limber Grove Trail.  Part of the trail crosses over the gulch and I notice the heavy timbers are being supported from below are railroad ties, have I found some small part of the DSP&H still here?

Time to head back towards Alma to track down and photograph the old Alma Junction depot.  The first time we looked for it we missed it (in plain sight) and after re-reviewing some old photos we realized the back of the depot was to the road and thus mistook it earlier for one of the cabins. (GPS  39°16’11.52″N / 106° 3’10.18″W).  This depot too needs some serious restoration $$$ to save it.

We have one more stop to make of this chapter, we head for Breckenridge, CO.  You might recall that Colorado and Southern Steam Engine #9 was restored to operations, placed into service on the Georgetown Loop and quickly was broken from over usage.  Well, it’s new home is in Breckenridge where it is once again a static display.

It’s getting late and I do have to still work for a living so it’s time to head home.  We will stop in Idaho Springs for diner at one of our favorite places there (Buffalo Bar) and then head the rest of the way home.  Not a bad One-Day vacation and a way to celebrate July 4th by visiting various historical places and saying Thank You to a few war vets from conflicts of long ago at the Buckskin Gulch Cemetery…

Dinner Idaho Springs

 
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Posted by on 07/04/2012 in RRAdventures, Trip Reports

 

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2012 – Goose Fest – Day #1

Golden, Colorado

For the past three days as part of a VIP package I have been at the Colorado Railroad Museum for a special fund-raising event know as Goose Fest which highlights the Rio Grande Southern (RGS) Galloping Geese.  On Day #1 (Friday) I took advantage of not only coming to see the famous engines together for the first time but to also take in the museum as a whole.

Here is just a tiny example of the type of equipment that call the CRRM home…

Rio Grande

There is also a wonderful Library here and if you need information on Narrow Gauge railroads this is the primary facility to come to.  As I get closers to retirement I too hope to help work here at the library helping to bring it into the digital age.

I will also take photographs & video of the Galloping Geese getting setup in fount of the Roundhouse / Restoration facility.  The original plan for Goose Fest 2012 was to have all seven (7) of the RGS Engines together for the first time but at the 11th hour Knott’s Berry Farm pulled RGS #3 from this historic event.  Here is a shot of six (6) of the seven (7) all lined up in order in numerical order…

Galloping Geese

After a wonderful day, and the museum now closed to the public, the Colorado Railroad Museum treated the VIP’s to an informal dinner in the museum giving us a chance to get to know each other.  We are also treated with a showing of TIN FEATHERS, GASOLINE, AND FUMES about these historic engines.

With dinner ate, we head back outside to a Night Photo session of the RGS Engine in front of the Roundhouse.  My simple Point-n-Shot was not meant for this type of photography but I will run the video camera at the same time to catch this unique experience.  Those with better 35mm / Digital cameras I’m sure got some wonderful shots with the help of strobe lights that were setup for this photography special.

Night Shoot

Time to go home after spending nearly 14 hours at the CRRM and download Day #1’s images and videos and get ready to get up early for Day #2.  I will give more history about the engines in the next blog entry…

 

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2012 – Railfanning East of Town

On this day trip we head out east on I-70 with three planned stops…

Stop #1 is a quick drive to Montebello, CO which is just east of Denver in Adams County.  Here we track down the Union Pacific Freight Depot also know as Roydale.  Not much to look at but still another Railroad Station located and photographed!  I will also take some other Railfan shots of equipment that I will save for the full trip report…

UP Depot

From there we head to Strasburg in Arapahoe County.  Our primary stop here is the Comanche Crossing Historical Society Museum.  Lots of interesting items big and small to enjoy including the old Union Pacific Depot that was moved to this location for preservation.

UP Depot

We also know that the old CRI&P Simla Depot from Elbert County has also been moved to just south of town and is a private home of a major Railfan in this area.

CRI&P Depot

Our third and final stop of this chapter of RRAdventures in Limon in Lincoln County.  Here we head for the Limon Heritage Museum and Railroad Park which also include the Chicago, Rock Island, and Pacific / Union Pacific Depot along with other railroad RR equipment and historical items of this area.  To our surprise we will also find Ron from the Georgetown Loop working at the museum; it was his first day and it was great chatting with him.

CRI&P / UP Depot

I will also find the current UP Freight Depot just behind the museum.

UP Depot

From there we head back home in 90+ degree heat logging nearly 200 miles of driving for the afternoon trip

 
 

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2012 – Denver, South Park & Pacific – Part 2

Looks like we will have another sunny morning so we head back into DSP&P / C&S territory.  We take a different route in this time coming in via Sedalia using CO HWY 67 to reach South Platte River Road.  From there we turn north towards the ghost-town of South Platte.

Before reaching South Platte, we come across where Nighthank, CO use stood and the railroad did have a spur up to here in 1904; abandon 1916.  At this point we will be traveling on the old DSP&P ROW.  I will take lots of photos and Point-n-Shoot video clips to capture the ROW which is mostly still as it was; now just a dirt road.

We now reach South Platte, CO where the only part of town that still survives is the old hotel.  From old photographs we can easily spot where the depot once stood. as is was across the street/track from the hotel.  We will also hike a section of the old ROW that is a rail trail but only a shot distance this trip.

From here we head towards Foxton, Argyle, Ferndale, and on into Buffalo Creek.  We take photos along this stretch to catch other RR related items for our history research and detailed trip reports.  Once in Buffalo Creek we will find the old Section House that has been somewhat modified.  We will also find where the depot here once stood base on historical photos and buildings that still stand today.  I will also stop again in Pine Grove to get shots of the old RR cabins I took in the pouring rain the day before.

From there we head on into Bailey, CO for lunch but our research also tells us an old railroad bridge was moved there to a park and slightly altered to be a foot bridge.  As we pull into town I spot it and we will also find a C&S Caboose near by.  I might also have found an old RR Wait Station but that is not yet confirmed next to the caboose.

Time to eat and I will take Lisa to a historical place that nearly was lost but survived by getting moved to Bailey, CO.  It can be a wait to get your food but it’s worth the time.

We will now head over Guanella Pass which has been closed for three years for renovation

As we head down the other side we locate FR 248.1 which is important for a future trip to get deeper into Argentine Central RR territory but will be some serious 4×4 driving to get to where we need to go for that trip.

As we head down the hill more we come across a stop that was added as part of the Guanella Pass renovations.  We will also learn at this stop there is some more RR stuff to come back to find from the mining Gold/Silver mines here at the ruins of Silverdale, CO

As we get to the other end of the pass we come into Georgetown, CO.  If you are a Railfan like us you know this is Georgetown Loop territory.  One thing that has always bothered me is where was the ROW below the loop.  I took this quick shot near  39.7036° / -105.7001° as this is where the ROW below the loop gets cut off by the road.  Where in the heck did it go from here and get to the depot in town that is still in it’s original location was still a mystery.

Well today’s stop in Georgetown is not RR related but to visit the Energy Museum which is an old Hydroelectric plat that has been in operation since 1900.

It s fun/short/FREE stop and what to my surprise I find photos that show railroad ROW in it.  One of the gentlemen there could not solve 100% of my mystery but certain clear up the ROW picture for me.  See the ROW went behind the plant and not into town.  From there is stayed along the mountain side until it reach either a Switch or a Wye that the train would use to go back into down to the station.  So, train traffic heading out of Denver towards Silver Plume that would stop in Georgetown would take this siding heading into the depot and then had to backup to the mainline.  Coming down towards Denver the train would pass through Georgetown and the backup to the station via the siding and then pull forward to Denver from there.  Now that makes a whole lot of since knowing layout of town.  Exactly where the Switch/Wye was is not 100% certain but now I have knowledge to work from.  Also from behind the Hydro plant you can still see the ROW!!!!!!!

Well, with that it was time to head home and down load nearly 500 Photo/Video Clips we took these past two days.  Stay tuned for a full RRAdventures trip report coming later that will show all the details we learned from this trip…

 

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2012 – Wichita Kansas – Part 5

Well, it’s the final day of our mini vacation to Wichita but we have time to make one more jaunt.  We will head for Wellington, Kansas this time to track down some more SF / AT&SF / BNSF railroad structures.

Wellington, KSWellington, KS

Wellington, KSWellington, KS

Time to turn back to Wichita and head to the airport.  We will grab lunch at the airport and wait for our plane to arrive.

Wichita, KSWichita, KS

We are one again home after getting dumped off on the tarmac at DIA.  Our niece who had just graduated is there to pick us up and take us home via the scenic route,  Now if she can get a job at the Denver Zoo all would be great.

Denver, CO

 

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