Mine Run on the D&RGW!

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grande man

Bonafied Grande Nut
Ya'll come along on a flashback to 1965 and railfan D&RGW train 171, an extra coal drag running between Colorado Fuel and Iron Company's Split Rock Mine #4 and the Cherokee Station electrical generation plant north of Denver. Even though its early October and cold weather is still a way off, coal requirements at the plant are up today due to reported interuptions in supply at another local plant. The Cherokee Station manager has requested extra fuel to be handled by the railroad.

For anyone new here that's interested in background info on our railroad, the D&RGW Platte Canyon Sub, here's a link to our layout tour. http://www.modelrailroadforums.com/forum/showthread.php?t=1876

The eastern sky is beginning to brighten as the engineer of extra 171 waves to night shift miners as they prepare for shift change. Our power today is two of the Grande's most modern. At less than a year old, GP35 #3047 is on point. GP30 #3002 trails. It was built three years ago and its type is already well liked by the crews. The 30 is destined to become a motive power mainstay on the mountain railroad. We have time to run to the diner for a quick breakfast as 171s forty-nine carloads of coal begin loading.

It's almost 9:15 before extra 171 begins it's trek east toward the Joint Line. We'll catch a quick glimpse of the train at Mine #1 before we have to get moving again to shoot more photos down the line. The brakeman is overheard on the radio telling the conductor to wave at the "guys with the cameras" when he passes by. We may be back on the road before he does! Hopefully our quick shot from the trestle won't give future generations of railfans a bad rap...

It's been a hustle on the mountain backroads but we're ahead of the train as it arrives at South Platte Junction. Geez, I wonder what the brakeman is thinking now. He's awfully quiet. He's probably wondering how many traffic laws we broke to get here!

We're a bit late getting to the siding at Rocky Top, but the restroom break was mandatory! Still, a shot of the tail end of 171 is possible as it passes a MOW train led by SD7 #5304. The conductor of extra 171 appears to be enjoying the fresh mountain air.

D&RGW 3047 as seen from a Colorado and Southern F3 cab. Fortunately for us, the crew invited us aboard for a look around. A shot of D&RGW extra 171 from the cab was to cool to pass up.

My, look at the time, it's past lunch! After a few more exposures of our favorite coal train passing thru town, we may as well get lunch here in the booming metropolis of Sedalia.

Since we've been running late most of this trip I guess it shouldn't be much of a surprise that we bailed out of the truck just in time to see extra 171 rolling into the the complex of unit 3 at Cherokee Station. It's nearly 2:30, the time we spent talking with that nice state trooper almost cost us the shot of the day!

As ya'll may have guessed, I've been playing with my new Canon 40D camera and its live view function. Camera angles that were tough to capture in the past are now possible. Of course, all the benefits of the SLR type camera are still available from those camera angles. I hope ya'll enjoyed our railfanning trip chasing D&RGW extra 171. :)
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grande man

Bonafied Grande Nut
Bravo grande man!!!! Excellent pictures and a masterful dialogue to add in. Very impressive. :)
Thanks Carl. I've seen print articles of similar content (Chasing fast frieght 100, Model Railroader is my fav) and thought an online version might be fun.


Fleeing from Al
That new camera really does allow you to get some prototype looking photos. You've got my curiosity up, though. There must be a story behing that right turn sign in the third picture since there's no apparent road and I assume it's not there for the train. :)


Tom White

Hey, buddy, the photos are even bigger and BETTER here, and you don't have anyone carping about the 'prototype' lettering, do you? Way to go--as I told you on the 'other' forum, I'm really impressed. Beautiful job!

Tom :D


Tom White

I was just thinking about it--and we've always seen really superb close-up and detail shots of your Platte Sub, but never many 'overall' views. I'd sure like to see some of them, sometime--maybe a kind of 'helicopter' shot or something like that. I really like what you do, I'd just like to see it in a little 'broader' context. Just me, you understand, my friend--but then I also like wide-screen epic movies, LOL!

And will you forgive the above--just took your 'virtual tour' and it answered all of my questions.

Love your work.
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Lazy Daydreamer
Eric, great to see you back on the modeling side again! Your combination of photography and storytelling is unsurpassed.

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