DRGW History and Information  

  Trip Report: DRGW 315's First C&TS Run - Chapter 1
  Sunday
The Day Before 315's First Trip
  From: DRGW 315's First C&TS Run Dates: June 16, 2008 Author: Nathan Holmes


Photo 1
The SLRG is now using one of their newly-acquired dome cars for the Alamosa-Antonito service. Here sits SLRG 8527 with RPCX 511 (Nenana) at the Antonito terminal, just across from the C&TS depot.
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Photo 2
From there, it was over to catch the regular daily eastbound train at Cumbres Pass. Lead by 484, we didn't realize until later the show we'd missed.
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   3 - Monday Afternoon
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Photo 3
As it turned out, Sunday's train wasn't just any old double-header. 487 was on the front, but it was followed by a cut of freight cars for Monday's 315 special. Behind the freight cars was 484, and then the regular passenger train. Here's 487 on the Cumbres wye.
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Photo 4
Having nothing better to do, we caught 484 and the regular train coming off the bottom of Tanglefoot Curve onto the long straightaway towards Apache Crossing.
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Photo 5
Just a wider shot below Tanglefoot
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Photo 6
Wanting to head into Chama for some lunch, Nathan Z and I headed down the hill, following the light helper engine. Here's Coxo
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Photo 7
And another shot passing the pond at Lobato. The water was smooth as glass until a few seconds before 487 appeared, and then the wind picked up.
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Photo 8
We tried for the river bridge shot, but it just didn't happen. We weren't fast enough to walk all the way out there from the Chama yard, and instead caught 487 a few hundred feet south of the bridge. No, it's not snowing in June - that's just cottonwood junk that's thick in the air.
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Photo 9
After following 487 in and before wandering off to lunch at Fosters, we decided to have a look in the shop to see what was going on. 489 is still very much a work in progress at this point, though getting much closer to being ready to go out on the road again.
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Photo 10
Meanwhile, this is what we're really interested in... D&RGW 315 made its first trip to Cumbres the day before on a test run, and would be making her first revenue run over the pass in over 50 years the next morning. We wanted to see if any more test runs were in order, but they weren't.
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Photo 11
The only movement we got out of 315 was a quick move out of the enginehouse to be parked behind the 489. This made room to service 488, which would be coming in on the afternoon train. Now it's off to lunch.
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Photo 12
Watering 488 and giving everything a quick inspection before the crew starts the daily westbound down the 4% to Chama.
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Photo 13
The daily westbound coming past the small lake near the Coxo crossing. Again, too much wind for a good reflection shot.
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Photo 14
488 and the westbound at the Cresco tank
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Photo 15
And through the famous reverse curves between Cresco and Dalton
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Photo 16
488 and train coming down the long straight section above the Dalton crossing
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Photo 17
One of the few shots along Highway 17 in the Narrows between Lobato and Chama where you can actually get a shot down the bank
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Photo 18
The daily westbound enters the Chama yard under the famous water tank.
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Photo 19
With the passengers unloading, the crew cut off 488 and headed down to the wye to turn the power.
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Photo 20
Engine turned, they head back up into the yard. There's just a little low spot under the tender, if you look closely.
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Photo 21
I assumed they'd put the engine to rest for the night, but turns out they needed to collect the cars for Monday's 315 special. Here's Alan and 315 moving through the yard, looking to grab a rider gon, rider box, and caboose.
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Photo 22
Found 'em!
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Photo 23
The crew will shove them back in front of the regular train, as the special will leave around 0800h in the morning and be well clear by the time the regular passengers show up.
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Photo 24
It's not that often that the engine boneyard is uncovered, but with many of the freight cars moved, we get a good look at 492 and 483. Despite their appearance, neither is beyond repair. 492, while having never run during the C&TS era, actually has a decent shot at being restored someday.
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Photo 25
A better look at C&TS 483. The engine was the C&TS's original power, and was retired from service the same year I was born (1977). It's mostly sat around the Chama yard since then, serving as a parts source and reference for the design. In 2002, the asbestos lagging was removed from around the boiler, and 483 may yet run again.
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Photo 26
Meanwhile, 315 sits and simmers over behind the enginehouse. As opposed to the big K-36 and K-37 engines that are a cacophony of hissing, spitting and crackling while idle, C-18 #315 is just silent as can be. You'd never even know she was hot.
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Creative Commons License This work is copyright 2008 by Nathan D. Holmes (maverick@drgw.net), but licensed under a Creative Commons License. This allows and encourages others to copy, modify, use, and distribute my work for non-commercial purposes (only), 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 40D using either a Canon 24-105mm F4 L IS/USM, Sigma 18-50mm, or a Canon 100-400mm f4.5-5.6L IS/USM.