Thursday, February 27, 2014

Cool Chromes -- Colorado 1985

Amtrak; Denver, Colo.; May 1985
Ask any well-traveled rail photographer to list their top five states for shooting, and the odds are pretty good that Colorado will appear on that list. With the spectacular Front Range of the Rockies just outside Denver, a busy multi-railroad line heading down to Pueblo and some of the best tourist railroads in the land, Colorado has quite the variety. My first visit to Colorado was in 1982 to attend the convention of the National Railway Historical Society. I didn't have a car for that trip, so non-convention photos are rare. But I returned in 1985 to ride a trip behind Union Pacific's Challenger No. 3985 (we did a post on that earlier) and again in 1988 to attend the 50th Anniversary of the Rocky Mountain Railroad Club. We'll concentrate this post on the middle trip, starting in Denver Union Station in 1985 (above).

Next, we're following Amtrak's westbound California Zephyr into the Front Range. It is about to enter the first of over two dozen tunnels on its climb up the Rockies, which will ultimately top out inside Moffatt Tunnel.

Amtrak; Tunnel 1, Plainview, Colo.; May 1985
Next, we'll follow Union Pacific north out of Denver towards Cheyenne, Wyo. We see a northbound rail train passing the Monfort meat packing plant.
Union Pacific; Greeley, Colo.; May 1985
Back at Union Station in Denver, we find the eastbound California Zephyr pausing just after sunset. The descent down the Rockies was made as twilight consumed the plains and the lights of Denver started flickering on in the distance. The Denver & Rio Grande Western, the host railroad for the Zephyr on this leg of the trip, added a freight locomotive for braking down the grade from Moffatt.
Amtrak/Denver & Rio Grande Western; Union Station, Denver, Colo.; May 1985
Heading south from Denver, we are on the Joint Line to Pueblo. The Joint Line is so named because trains from the Rio Grande, Burlington Northern and Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe all used the tracks at this time. A northbound Rio Grande freight was spotted along the shores of Palmer Lake.
Denver & Rio Grande Western; Palmer Lake, Colo.; May 1985
Still on the Joint Line, we see a southbound train at Castle Rock behind a trio of the Rio Grande's way cool SD50 locomotives. The Joint Line was built as two different parallel railroads (Rio Grande and Santa Fe), but consolidation led to the railroads sharing the tracks with Rio Grande's line being used for northbound trains and the Santa Fe's for southbounds. This southbound Rio Grande train was actually running on the northbound track, which lined it up quite nicely with Castle Rock.
Denver & Rio Grande Western; Castle Rock, Colo.; May 1985
The Rio Grande had some interesting names along its route. West of Moffatt Tunnel was one of my favorites. We finish our visit to Colorado in 1985 with a stop at Troublesome.
Denver & Rio Grande Western; Troublesome, Colo.; May 1985

No comments:

About Me

Newton, New Jersey, United States

Thanks For Visiting