Today, the CRRM had its first of several up and coming “Open Car” Days where visitors get a chance to go inside cars not often open to pubic viewing. Open Car Day #1 featured the following cars…
Tag Archives: Passenger Train
This Saturday the Colorado Railroad Museum featured a completely historic 1880’s “Varnish” consist featuring Steam Locomotive No. 40, Rail Post Office No. 60, Passenger Coach Nos. 280 and 284 (with red velvet seats and pot bellied stoves), and RGS Business Car “Rico”. the private business car that the famous 19th C. photographer William Henry Jackson used when his was hired to photograph the Rio Grande Southern line.
On November 4th, we decided to head up to Estes Park for do a little shopping and have lunch at one of our favorite local restaurants. After lunch we headed up into Rocky Mountain Nation Park as a nice afternoon drive. We stopped at the Visitor Center to pick up some information for next year…
I would also stop to take a photo of the memorial to Ranger Jeff Christensen who was killed in a fall on the Mummy Range here in the park
As we head back for home I will catch three (3) Railroad Cars in Lyons, Colorado. All three are now static displays that are on private property and one of them (BN Caboose) is currently “For Rent” for a very small business along the highway. All three could sure use some TLC if they are survive as historical cars…
We will head back to Black Canyon of the Gunnison for one more morning hike and given the route we took I spotted a Railroad Bridge at 38.7767N 107.9620W along Hwy 92 ner Austin, CO that was a bit of a different configuration. Time to pull over and get a photograph.
Once back at the North Rim of the Black Canyon of the Gunnison we will take the North Vista Trail to Exclamation Point. We skipped this trail Day #4 as it was late and hot for such a long hike for us We took allot of photos but at Exclamation Point I wish we had taken the hike in the afternoon as I think the light would have been better. Still, it was a wonderful view and hike.
As we head for our next destination for the day, we pull off to view Adobe Hills at 38 37.062N 107 59.740W near Olathe, CO. Nothing like seeing a green farm field right next to an arid landscape and even with the haze of wildfires the light was great to capture the colors and contrasts.
As we head down highway 65 towards Grand Mesa National Forest near Cedaredge, CO we pulled over to get a photos of the Aspen along this hill that were spectacular.
Once inside the Grand Mesa National Forest the number of Aspen that were in full color was amazing and we took advantage of nearly all the pull-offs to take photos.
We will stop for lunch at Grand Mesa Visitor Center and looking South from the picnic table was a nice view towards one of the many lakes up here on the mesa.
While on the Grand Mesa, we take a side trip onto Forest Access Road 100 to “A” Road to Lands End Observatory. The cliff side views are worth the stop and at one stop you can also see “S” Road coming up from below also heading to the Lands End Observatory that sits out on a pointed of the mesa you can see on the first photo below.
We reach Lands End Observatory that is at 39.0252N 108.2242W in hopes of taking some great shots of the valley but the haze of the wildfires was too heavy for any good photographs. We still look some but they are not worth showing. We also took some photos of the Lands End Observatory itself along with the sign talking about this location which at times doubles as a Visitor Center.
While here, we found a friend eating a pile of Sunflower seeds someone left behind. He didn’t seem to concerned about getting his photo taken as long as we didn’t get to close or move to fast. He was bound and determined to eat all the Sunflower seeds that were sitting there.
We then turned around to head back to Highway 65 and then head towards Mesa, CO. The Aspen colors on this side of the mesa were as wonderful as the other side so we also took advantage of nearly all the pull offs.
While on this drive, I spotted a Denver & Rio Grande Western Passenger Car – Scenic Line of the West on private property so I could only get a distant shot from the road but maybe I can get back here and talk to the owner to find out more about this car.
Another full day in and time to head for the hotel…
On this morning, we head out early to hike the Interpretive Trail of the Rabbit Valley Research Natural Area (39.1936° N 109.0201 W) which is about 2 miles east of the Utah-Colorado State-line along I70. Here is the Colorado State description of the area.
Rabbit Valley is located north of the Colorado River along the northwest flank of the Uncompahgre Uplift. The quarry has produced large specimens of several dinosaurs including Camarasaurus, Allosaurus, and Camptosaurus. The Bureau of Land Management and the Museum of Western Colorado have developed the site for interpretive use, and the Museum of Western Colorado directs ongoing fossil digs. The recent discovery of an Iguanodon skull marks the earliest known record of this species. High quality pinion pine – Utah juniper woodlands occur on the site north of the fossil locality.
Please be aware that this site contains features of state-wide significance. Collection is prohibited at all times with out proper permits.
With the morning hike complete we head to Fruita, Colorado to visit the Dinosaur Journey museum which is the Museum of Western Colorado. It’s a nice museum of the dinosaur history of the region and they also had a movie that we also enjoyed. Found this interesting vehicle outside I had to stop and photograph as well.
Across the parking lot at the museum I also spot a railroad passenger car which turned out to be D&RGW #52 and it is sporting the Fruit Belt Route logo on it.
Our main goal today was to tour the Colorado National Monument again and hope to catch some nice shots under different light conditions. You can tell in some of the shots that wildfire smoke still is in the valley.
Independence Monument is the next stop on the drive. This free standing soft red sandstone monument stands 450 feet tall. For those adventurous enough, I believe you can climb this but for us we will enjoy it from the overlook.
Also right in this area is Monument Canyon where other soft red sandstone formations stand tall above the valley floor.
At the Artists Point overlook there is two places to enjoy the views so if you have time and don’t mind a few steps make sure you head to your left to get to the lower section of the overlook to see other views you can’t see from the upper section.
The Fallen Rock overlook is all about this rock slab that has broken away from the cliff wall. Make sure you have a reasonable telephoto lens for this one as it’s a bit of a distance away for many Point-n-Shoot cameras to get a nice shot.
We will briefly get a few shots of Red Canyon as we drive by. Note the notch at the far end of the canyon; the canyon is starting its next phase of change and that will slowly work its way deeper and father back over time.
Cold Shivers Point is one of those places that you can enjoy from the overlook or take a short hike to where this location gets it name. The first photo is the one I took and the second is the one Lisa took of me standing where I took from photo from. Right behind and in front of me is a vertical drop so watch your footing if you head out near the point to take photos.
We will now head back to Grand Junction to visit the Museum of Western Colorado. It was lots of great historical items to enjoy and yes you can go up into the tower as well to get views of the city. You can get to the top via an elevator or use the stairs; below exit into the museum.
For our planned Railfanning, we head over to the Union Pacific Maintenance Department to hopefully get shots of some of the D&RGW equipment that is stored here. We will get a clean shot of D&RGW Crane #028 along with its Wheel / Boom Car. You can see another D&RGW car behind the crane but no way to get a clear shot. I will also take a few shots of some older UP cars that are also stored here.
As we headed back to the hotel we got buzzed my fighters and I wish I had the video camera ready as they passed very low right over our car. The Blue Angels Navy F/A-18 Hornets are in town and on this day they were practicing so once we got to the hotel we had a nice FREE show. Sadly I missed the support plane as by the time we saw it we had put away the camera equipment. Will be interesting to see how well my new HD Video camera caught the action but here is a few of the still photos that Lisa and I took.
Well, that is it from this day but there is still several more days to go for this trip report…
On September 15th Lisa and I will take off for a nine (9) day outing that will contain a mixture of allot of the areas we enjoy and enjoy sharing with others such as yourself…
Our first stop is at as anytime we take this route out-of-town in makes for a good stopping point to stretch a bit. This is also a place where many come to Hike/Bike the Colorado Trail and during this time of year it is also a very nice place to take in the Aspen that were turning into the spectacular colors. Here is just one of many photos we would take to give you just a small hint as what the trail was like…
Our next stop will be in Como, Colorado to mainly get photographs of the hotel. A little history might be in order as to how this has a railroad twist and hopefully I have the dates right; if not, I will correct. The Denver, South Park and Pacific reach here in June 1879 and the Roundhouse built in 1881. The Depot was built in 1879 and was later altered into a “L” shape and the depot today is under renovation. The Original hotel (Gilman Depot Hotel) was built here and opened for business January 1, 1881, extended in March 1882, and taken over by Union Pacific in 1885. Sadly in November 1896 that hotel was lost in a fire. Here is an old photo of that hotel that is online at the The Narrow Gauge Circle website (http://www.narrowgauge.org/)
The new “South Park Hotel by the Railroad” (or also known as the “Eating House”) was built in 1897 and still stand today. The DSP&P operated their last train here in April 1937 and the tracks removed a year later. Here is one of the photos we took of this hotel on this day along with the Roundhouse and Depot…
From here we head down the highway a bit father to Red Hill Pass where some of the old DSP&P route can still be seen. The Aspen colors from here are also wonderful. From here you can also see the “” where the old Denver, South Park and Hilltop Railway once operated that you can read more about in this blog from an earlier entry.
From here we will travel to the Fourmile Travel Management Area into an area known as Castle Gulch to view a rock formation know as The Castles. This will be a Geology (Rock Shot) stop for mainly for Lisa but I do enjoy the geological stops as well; just don’t tell her that…
From here we head into Buena Vista for several stops which will lead us to another place not on our original plans as we didn’t know it was there! Our first planned stop is at the Buena Vista Heritage Museum where the Buena Vista Model Railroad Society was founded in February, 1984 until 2004. Today the model is lightly maintained by the museum and the model is based on the “Denver, South Park and Pacific Railroad,” “Denver, and Rio Grande Railroad” and “Colorado Midland Railroad” during the period of 1900 to 1920.
We head down the street a few blocks to the last remaining depot in Chaffee County. We have taken photos of this depot before but every-time we were here it was closed. This time we setup our schedule to be here when it was open and it was well worth it. One artifact inside was the old D&RGW Depot’s desk that somehow survived and I also look a photo of a display that showed this depot being saved / moved to the location it is in today.
Now that we made it into the old DSP&P Depot we turn back to our search of the Colorado Midland Ticket office to get a photo for our records.
A building that was not on list (since it wasn’t RR related) that I spotted I stopped to get a photo since it was also a nice old historic building from times long since gone by and it is a Depot; just a Stage Depot.
Our next structure we locate is the Denver and Rio Grande Western Hospital. This is the second of the D&RGW Hospitals we have now tracked down that the railroad build to take care of their employees healthcare needs.
Our final two planned stops took a bit of research to find as you would not know these were railroad related. Both of these homes today were originally part of the Colorado Midland and were later moved and became private homes. The first is the old Telegraph Office that is also known as the Key Hole house and the other is the Section House. Both were moved to the same neighborhood in Buena Vista and today would just pass as homes and not historic railroad structures.
Now back to the “unplanned” stop; while at the old DSP&P Depot I ask where the old Colorado Midland Depot would have been located since the CM route was on the outside of town well above the town itself and then they would have a stage-coach that passengers from there. This was not as good of a setup as the DSP&P nor the D&RGW but to get the train into town would have been costly for the CM. Well, I got not only the location but told how to drive the old ROW to get to the original site as well as to remnants of a trestle. Time to set up the Video camera to record that section of the grade and take photos!!!! Here is a sample of some of the photos we took…
Well from here we are off to the Christmas 1806 site where Zebulon Pike stopped while surveying the Louisiana Purchase. Not much to see put it’s still nice to stop to overlook where history occurred. The sign itself was placed in 1964 and is still in good shape…
As we head back towards our hotel in Gunnison, we stop for more Aspen GOLD shots as the trees are changing very nicely this year!