On Saturday, 8 Jun 2013, Amtrak P42 133 lead a extra move from Denver, CO, to the Transportation Test Center east of Pueblo, CO, to deliver the second Siemens ACS-64 for testing.
Amtrak 601 had been moved from the Siemens plant in California by eastbound California Zephyr 6(6), and was dropped in Denver on Friday night. The TTC special move was called for 0500h Saturday morning, repeating what happened two weeks ago with the same move of AMTK 600.
Since it was either chase the ACS-64 or stay home and do yard work, I opted for the ACS-64.
They seem to have had some problems getting out of Denver this morning, as I made it all the way to South Denver before spotting them (around 0730h, 2.5 hours after call time). I really thought I'd missed them, as I heard AMTK 133 get a warrant for the TWC section of the J/L a bit before 7. But just north of the Englewood crossovers, sure enough, I could pick out that distinctively P42 headlight pattern. Given that the light was still pretty low in the sky and I didn't want to get stuck in traffic, I headed back south of Louviers/Big Lift and set up.
Turns out he'd be a while. The train was behind G-BNVGAT, the infamous (and odoriferous) unit sulfur train often locally referred to as the "Stinky Slinky". They were having DPU issues, and stopped for fifteen or so minutes at Big Lift to work on them. Luckily for me, GBNVGAT is a heavy train and even with all the power online, and doesn't make that good of time up the hill. So, the poor Amtrak crew was largely stuck on yellows behind a freight making 20-30 the whole morning. That's what happens when you don't have passengers - nobody gets out of your way. Then there was also something (I think it was BNSF 5001, which had a rail train) that had to make a reverse move up at Palmer Lake, which tied up the railroad for another 40-ish minute delay. It was a relatively slow chase, with the only real challenge being the funky light from fast moving clouds.
AMTK 133 finally crested the top at 1104h and made it into the Springs about 45 minutes later, where the DS got them around all their freight problems. Highball! Well, highball to Crews, at least, where they had some issues with one of the P42s and had to make a brief stop.
From there to Avondale was pretty uneventful, aside from a long stop to change pilots in Pueblo. By that point, however, the clouds were piling in. I had great light at the Pueblo depot until about 60 seconds before they showed up. Murphy strikes again...
Went from there to Avondale to watch them take it into the TTC. The TTC folks had GP40 203 waiting down at the wye, but the east switch into the TTC wouldn't time out so they could open it. When I left them, it was 1500h, the light was gone, and there were about eight railroaders all staring at this troublesome switch wondering what to do next. I understand they did finally get the job done, but it took some percussive persuasion to get the mechanism working again.
Date: 06 Jun 2013
Size: 26 items