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  Trip Report: Farewell to 5371 - Chapter 1
  Friday, 10-Nov-2006
Grand Junction to Helper
  From: Farewell to 5371 Dates: November 13, 2006 Author: Nathan Holmes


Photo 1
The first train of the trip is this westbound BNSF, lead by 5336, taking the siding at Brendel, UT, on Friday.
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Photo 2
Why's it in the hole? To meet UP 4677 and the eastbound M-PVNY!
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Photo 3
A better look at Friday's M-PVNY-10, lead by 4677, 4101, and 3951.
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Photo 4
Following along westward, we see BNSF 5336 west again on the east side of Green River, right before the train ducks under the highway bridge
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Photo 5
As I get closer to Helper, I keep hearing trains talk to the Dirt Train, and I assume they're somewhere near Mounds. So I head down through the desert, only to find Mounds to have the wesstbound M-NYPV in the hole and a very late Amtrak 6 shooting across the desert.
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Photo 6
With the 6-ish hour late Zephyr out of the way, M-NYPV heads back out onto the main and westward towards Wash
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Photo 7
At Wash, we find the Dirt Train - powered by UP 3563 and DRGW 5371 - working in the yard, with M-NYPV in the siding. It looked like they stopped to pick up a few cars from the Wash yard.
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Photo 8
Having completed their limited work for the day, the local crew picks up a string of empties and heads back for Helper. Here they are accelerating through Wellington.
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Photo 9
Here she is, the last unpatched (or unpainted) Rio Grande locomotive, and the whole reason for this trip. This should be her last weekend before being shipped off to North Platte for a three-year inspection... and almost certain patching.
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Photo 10
Over the road bridge on the west end of Price, UT...
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Photo 11
Up at Maxwell - about halfway from Price to Helper - the dispatcher throws the dirt train into the siding. What the heck are we waiting on? There's only a couple miles to go!
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Photo 12
Oh, that's what we're waiting on! UP 7213 leads a westbound coal empty, headed out to the CV Spur south of Price for loading.
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Photo 13
Highball Maxwell!
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Photo 14
Just another look at the local power under some of the cliffs between Maxwell and Helper
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Photo 15
The Dirt is still not quite going to make Helper, though. The M-NYPV that we saw at Mounds and Helper is in the yard and getting manned helpers for the climb up Soldier Summit. The DS is keeping the Dirt out of the way at Spring Glen while the helpers flag by the signals on the east end of the yard and tie on the rear.
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Photo 16
As the sun starts to sink over the mountains, I caught this one last train - a Utah IPPX train - at Kyune.
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Photo 17
Following the Price River through the curve at Kyune, with the unique wye that ends the center siding in plain view. Thankfully it's four grey and red MK50-3s, and that horrid orange thing is nowhere in sight.
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Photo 18
As if the MK50-3s weren't odd enough, what about a batch of Australian SD50Ss and an ex-ATSF SD45 as a helper set?
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Photo 19
One last look in fading light, as the IPPX train heads out of Colton for the summit.
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Photo 20
Rather than do the sane thing and sleep, I decided to go try some night stuff in the desert. Too bad, as I found out later, there wasn't a train from Helper to Grand Junction. This is midnight at Mounds, as the moon shines down the rails. That's Sunnyside in the distance.
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Creative Commons License This work is copyright 2006 by Nathan D. Holmes (maverick@drgw.net) and Danny J. Holmes, but licensed under a Creative Commons License. This allows and encourages others to copy, modify, use, and distribute my work, without the hassle of asking me for explicit permission or fear of copyright violation. I encourage others to consider CC or other Open Content-style licensing of their original works.

All photographs in this trip report were taken with a Canon EOS 20D using either a Canon 24-105mm F4 L IS/USM or a Canon 75-300mm f4-5.3 IS/USM.