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2013 – Summer Vacation – Part 5A

As we start off our fifth day of our vacation I stop at a gas station in Monte Vista and I am shocked to see a train station where one should not be.  See, the Monte Vista depot is gone yet it looks to be right there where it once was.  Well, after some research, I had to laugh.  See, in 1953 Bob Richardson and Carl Helfin built a replica of the Rio Grande Southern’s Mancos depot for the Narrow Gauge Museum & Motel south of Alamosa.  That depot is also very similar to the one that was once here in Monte Vista.  When Bob moved the Narrow Gauge Museum to Golden in 1958, the building remained at the Narrow Gauge Motel. Sometime later, it was moved to Cole Park in Alamosa and was used as their County Chamber of Commerce building.  The city of Alamosa since decided to do an expansion of the municipal buildings at Cole Park and the depot building was in the way. SLRG purchased the building for use in Monte Vista.  Here is a historic photo postcard of the original Monte Vista Depots (Freight & Passenger) along with the photo I took of depot that now stands here today.

Monte Vista, COMonte Vista, CO

I will also get shots of RAMPART RANGE CORPORATION RRBX #2095

RRBX #2095

and of AMERICAN RAILCAR LEASING, INC. SHPX #203212 tankers

SHPX #203212

Next stop is Del Norte, CO where we track down the D&RGW Depot

Del Norte, CO - D&RGW Depot

Also here in town is Denver and Rio Grande Western Caboose #0580

D&RGW #0580 Caboose

As we head into South Fork for our next two historic structures we spot a Railfan opportunity and stop for a few photos.  We find Santa Fe Passenger Car #36, a diesel engine labeled White Satin / Brighten with what looks to be NO-1, and a old Seaboard Coast Line Passenger Car now labeled PPCX #6401.

Santa Fe #36White Satin Brighton NO-1Seaboard Coast Line / PPCX #6401

Across from them is our first historic structure we were searching for; the South Fork D&RGW Water Tank.

South Fork, CO - Water Tank

Our other historic structure we had on our search list was the D&RGW Depot of South Fork, CO

South Fork Depot - D&RGW

Today this is also used as a tourist line but they are closed so we will make plans to return here someday.  But, that didn’t stop me from taking a few photos include one of the Hy-Rail truck of the new D&RG Railway labeled the Wagon Wheel Gap Route ( South Fork / Creede )

DRG-002 / Denver & Rio Grande Railway Wagon Wheel Gap Route South Fork to CreedeNot a bad start to our day!

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2013 – Summer Vacation – Part 4B

The second half of the day is primarily about Railfanning; our way, which is searching out remnants of railroad history…

As we pass through La Jara, CO we stop by the depot.  When we were here in 2005 it was being used as the Town Hall but now it looks to be back in railroad usage.  This was originally a D&RGW Passenger Depot.

La Jara, CO - D&RGW Passenger Depot

We next head over to Antonito to check on the Ex-Conejos Depot that is endangered.  The stone work makes this a unique building and is worth saving so I hope someone can obtain the funds and purpose to keep it from being lost to history.

Antonito - Ex-Conejos (D&RGW) Depot

Also here in Antonito is a historic hotel that belonged to the D&RGW that was built in 1890 and was called the Palace Hotel.  Railroads of the past often owned destination hotels / resorts / ships to maximize their revenue.

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As we head up over La Manga Pass (10,230ft) we stop at the Scenic Overlook on the eastern side; nice views!

La Manga Pass Scenic Overlook

We swung over to Cumbres Pass just to see what we might catch of the Cumbres & Toltec Scenic Railroad but no trains in sight.  I will take a photo of one of the large trestles near Los Pinos from afar.

Los Pinos Trestle - Cumbres & Toltec

Also get a photo of the Los Pinos Water Tank from a different location

Los Pinos Water Tank - Cumbres & Toltec

One last photo for the day would be to get a nice shot of the Cumbres Pass Trestle that I had never gotten in the past.

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That’s it for Day #4 of our nine day trip…

 
 

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2013 – Summer Vacation – Part 3A

As we move our base-camp to new location tonight, we head over Wilkerson Pass (9,507ft) and stop to take in the views

Wilkerson PassWilkerson Pass

We will next track down a historic railroad location ( 38.911254°N / 105.975374°W ) where the Colorado Midland Railroad and the Denver, South Park, and Pacific Railroad crossed.  What remains are only the roadbeds and a bit of trestle abutments of the Colorado Midland.

Colorado Midland / Denver, South Park, and Pacific Crossing

We head over to Johnson Village (near Buena Vista) to find what remains of the Denver, South Park, and Pacific Railroad over the Arkansas River.  Without going below US24 you would never see it as the built the highway over the top of it.

IMG_4161 – IMG_4160

We will then head up to Monarch Pass to take a ride up on the Tramway; COLD & WINDY ride

IMG_4163IMG_4165

I will also photograph an piece of Snow Removal equipment in the parking lot; you can see snow is still here

IMG_4182

We will then head over Poncha Pass (9,010ft) on our way to our next destination but something we didn’t expect to see catches my eye at  38.394426° N / 106.058884° W.  It looks to be the remains of the Steam Era Water Tank which should make it Denver & Rio Grande Western.  Research:  Round Hill

Steam Era Water Tank Remains ?

 

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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 – Wichita Kansas – Part 4

It’s now Day #4 of our five-day mini vacation.  The rest of the family heads home today but we will remain to explore more of the area.  We will start off heading out to Beaumont, Kansas to track down a Frisco Water Tower that is the last of its kind.

Beaumont, KS

We now head to Augusta, KS to track down an old SLSF (Frisco) Depot as well as an old AT&SF Depot that is now used by BNSF.  We found a few BNSF critters while we were there along with some other equipment.

Augusta, KSAugusta, KSAugusta, KS

From there it is off to Winfield, KS to track down an AT&SF Depot and by chance I spot the “modern” BNSF building behind it and also catch a diesel engine that I can get a quick shot of.

Winfield, KSWinfield, KSWinfield, KS

Our next stop is Mulvane, KS where we are again tracking down another AT&SF Depot along with a Santa Fe Caboose.  It’s a museum that we knew would not be open but that does not mean I can’t take photos of the outside!

Mulvane, KSMulvane, KS

We get a bite to eat as we head back to Wichita, KS.  As the wife reminds me often; not everything on our trips gets to be RR related.  I agree and at 1PM the Museum of World Treasures opens up and it’s a very nice museum with items from many different eras so off to museum we go.  The second floor is filed with all sort of military stuff from old to semi-modern times; well worth the stop

Wichita, KS

Afterwards I drop Lisa off at the hotel as it has gotten extremely hot and she is wiped.  During our travels earlier in the day I spotted what looked to be a depot and a caboose near Douglass so I will head back out.  Sure enough I find a AT&SF Depot (which is actually a replica) and another SF Caboose; score!

Douglass, KSDouglass, KS

The caboose is actually For Sale so if anyone is interested I have the owner’s contact info.  I wonder what the S&H costs would be on it as I think it would look great in my backyard.

Well, time to head back to Wichita and take Lisa to dinner but I have still a little time to stop by Friends University to check out the campus my niece just graduated from.  I will take a few pictures to add into the video I going to make for her of her graduation.  Here is the Admin. Building that is the largest of the buildings on campus.

Wichita, KS

 

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2011: October Outing – Part 5

Well, it’s Day#5 its time to head home but this chapter of Railroad Adventures (RRAdventures) is not yet over..

We head east on US50 over to Cimarron and turn off onto Morrow Point Dam Road up to the D&RGW Display.  Now you might know what you expect me to find and photograph but I know something has changed and wanted to get a photograph of this difference.  What do you think?

Notice anything missing?

We continue down the highway to Gunnison  to see if we would have any luck finding the Depot here that we had little info on but no such luck.  More research needed to find out if it still exists and where it might be found at.

We will now move on to Crested Butte to find and locate the depot there that we did have detail information on its location.

We turn back to Gunnison for lunch and even though the Pioneer Museum is closed that does not mean I can’t take some photographs from the fence.  Sargents Depot is in there along with the Water Tank from Marshall Pass and oh yea lots of D&RGW railroad equipment.  Another trip here in the future to get better shots.

We now head for Sargents as the Water Tank is still there; it sits on Private property but the owner has a nice display in front with some history about the tank and a donation box to help keep it preserved.  Drop a few bucks as I sure would like to see it saved.

From here we head over Monarch Pass and catch a few shots of some old mines in the area

We will now head towards Howard to see if we get get shots of the Tunnel and old Rio Grande Bridge ( 38°27’57″N / 105°51’40″W).  Once we got shots of the Bridge we found we needed to take another route to get to the tunnel and there is not the time.  I will take a few shots of the West Portal from the highway but it’s not very good.

Our final stop before heading home is at Kenosha Pass where a Wye was at and there is a nice display and historical information there about the Denver, South Park, and Pacific that once operated here.  I took some video while walking the display track to help show it since it’s hard to see from the ground using still photography.  You can see a portion of it in this photograph from the parking away from the highway.

That’s it for this RRAdventures blog but if you know me there are lots and lots more still to come!

 
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Posted by on 10/10/2011 in RRAdventures

 

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