Friday, February 8, 2019

Looking at the Pikes Peak Cog Railway

I rode the Pikes Peak Cog Railway on August 11, 1993 and took several photos to record its operation. The cog railroad is a few miles west of Manitou Springs, CO.

Wikipedia says, "The Broadmoor Pikes Peak Cog Railway (also known as the Pikes Peak Cog Railway) was an Abt rack system cog railway with 4 ft 8 1⁄2 in (1,435 mm) standard gauge track in Colorado, USA, climbing the well-known mountain Pikes Peak. The base station was in Manitou Springs, Colorado near Colorado Springs. The railway was the highest in North America by a considerable margin. It was built and operated solely for the tourist trade. As of March 15, 2018, the company has ceased operations for the foreseeable future. They state the entire infrastructure needs to be replaced or upgraded; this includes the rails, the ties, and the passenger cars."

Recent information says it will reopen for the 2021 season with all new equipment, rail, and rack.

Pikes Peak Cog Railway Car 24 at the Base Station. It is a Diesel Hydraulic with a Cummins 855 built in 1983 and carries 214 passengers. I actually rode Car 25, an identical sister to Car 24.



The Railway has passing tracks and runs multiple trains. In this photo we are going up and the car through the window is coming down.

Passing Car 24.

Probably the same meet.

Another meet about to happen.

At the top.

The station at the top has two tracks and thus one switch. We are looking down from next to Car 25 in the previous picture.

We are looking up at the same switch.

I turned around from taking the previous photo.  The track at the right is the track on which we came up and will return to the base station on it.  I took the shot for the scenery.

 This is the builder's plate on Car 25.

Pikes Peak Railway Car 9 back at the Base Station.  It was a work car.  Looks like a flat car behind it.

 Cars 24 and 9 at the base station.


Saturday, May 27, 2017

A Slow Waltz at Brockville, Ontario

My high school and college railfan buddy Roger Puta was at Brockville, ON one day in March 1980.  Every day trains from Montreal and Ottawa arrive, are combined and head off to Toronto.  Later a train from Toronto arrives and is divided into two trains, one goes off to Montreal and the other to Ottawa.  Sounds simple.  Yes.  But fun to watch?  Yes! 

And here's Roger's slide show.

This is the train from Ottawa.  The water tank for the steam generator (to heat the cars) in the first unit is being filled.  In the far distance you can see the cars of the train that arrived from Montreal.
These are the cars from the Montreal train.

The Montreal cars (right) and Ottawa cars are coupled together to make up the train for Toronto.
And Roger photographed the train about to depart ...
... and departing.
And what about the diesel that came in on the Montreal train?  VIA 6791 has been hiding behind the depot!
And everything is quiet for awhile.  Roger positions himself on a bridge east of the depot. Then ...
... a westbound comes through without stopping as the red nosed train of interest from Toronto arrives at the Brockville Depot.
VIA 6791 moves into position while the red nose prepares to leave with the Ottawa portion of the train.
Red nose moves out leaving the Montreal cars behind.
And the crew on the ground prepares the way for  VIA 6791 to move to her train.
And she leaves town just as a local freight shows up.

And Roger can go get warm.

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

An 8-Photo Sequence of Semaphores - Before, During, After a Train

The photographs in this PhotoBlog were taken by Roger Puta in October 1985.  This amazing sequence shows Roger's love of signals. Few of us would have stayed around to get the whole sequence. 

The aspects of the signals in the first photo show the track is clear in both directions.

The location on the Southern Pacific RR was along the Tuscon Division, Carrizozo Subdivision - Ancho Block (Direct Traffic Control) - between clearance point east switch Robsart siding M.P. 1447.4 and clearance point east switch Ancho siding M.P. 1463.6 in New Mexico. Thanks to Bob Finan via the Train Orders Discussion site for the location information.

The one blade signal shows the block ahead is now occupied.
The one blade signal shows the block ahead is occupied.
The one blade signal shows the block ahead is still occupied. The two arm signal shows the engineer that the next two blocks are clear.

The double blade now shows the block next to the camera is occupied.
The double blade now shows the block next to the camera is occupied. The single blade shows the block ahead of the camera is clear.

The train has cleared the block next to the camera. The aspect on the double arm signal is equivalent to a yellow signal which tells an engineer in a train coming at the camera to prepare to stop at the next signal.
The train has cleared the second block behind the camera. The signals say clear in both directions. 

The End

Thank you Roger for this documentation and for teaching us.

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Alaska Railroad's Denali Express, A Chase, Summer 2009

During the Summer of 2009 the Alaska Railroad ran the DEX (Denali Express) for the cruise ship lines between mid-May and mid-September between Whittier and Denali National Park, both north and southbound on Saturdays and again on Mondays. That took two train sets. The northbound set was put away at the end of the day in Fairbanks. The southbound run in Anchorage.

I caught a southbound DEX the afternoon of August 22, 2009 at Wasilla and followed it south to Whittier. It had left Fairbanks very early to pick up its cruise line passengers at Denali at 7:45 a.m. and would bring them to a cruise ship at Whittier. As my photographs show, there is much beautiful scenery for them to see as they ride in luxury.

The train consisted of SD70MAC 4007, a Holland America Tours car, and five Princess Tours cars. The cars are self contained and required no electricity from 4007.

I first photographed the DEX just south of the Wasilla depot at 2:25 p.m.  (above two photos)

I then hurried down to Anchorage and caught the train just before the depot.  (next two photos)

Here the DEX is passing Potter Bird Sanctuary (foreground) just south of Anchorage at 4:07 p.m. Above the train is the Turnagain Arm of Cooks Inlet.

And again south of Potter at 4:25 p.m.

At 7:00 p.m. the DEX is in Whittier, discharging its passengers.  The crew has run the locomotive around its train so it can head back through the tunnel to Portage. There are no turning facilities at Whitter. 

At 9:11 p.m. it is back at Portage using the wye so it can pull the train back to Ancorage Yard cab first. In the foreground the higher track in the mainline and the lower a siding. A crewman is on the ground throwing switches.

The crew continues to wye the locomotive. I didn't chase the DEX north to Anchorage. I waited and chased the Coastal Classic north.

I hope you enjoyed my photographs of the DEX and the Alaska scenery. Your comments and corrections are quite welcome.