Old 09-22-2013, 09:02 PM   #1
MassArt Images
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Post Powder River and Moffat Sub Trip Report

I arrived in Denver on a rainy Sept 11th. with fellow RP net contributor Don Janes. After picking up our rental we headed for Big Ten Curve to see the action and met up with Mike Danneman who was gracious enough to serve as our tour guide.


The lousy weather and the appearance of some track workers at the Blue Mountain Rd. crossing announcing a work window until 4:30 meant the only train we would have a chance to shoot would be Amtrak #6, the California Zephyr. We talked trains with Mike for an hour or so before parting ways.


Amidst a continuous rainfall, we headed out to the Moffat Tunnel. A quick call to "Julie" at Amtrak revealed that the Zephyr was running late. We saw an eastbound coal drag at Rollinsville with some real UP heritage power on our way back to the tunnel.


Arriving at the East Portal, the vent fans were still running. They soon shut off, the curtain closed and the wait began. Since it was raining, we tried to find some shelter to escape the rain. I happened to take a quick peek at the portal several minutes later and saw that the curtain was open. I started to walk to the SUV to let Don know when I saw lights in the tunnel! My walk became a run to tell Don it was coming. We just managed to grab some shots. Don got a nice shot that ended up as one of the most viewed shots on Friday Sept. 20th.

Image © Don Janes
PhotoID: 451904
Photograph © Don Janes


Thursday was a disaster in Colorado as Coal Creek Canyon road was closed and we were in Pincliffe west of the closure. Fortunately we were holed up at the awesome Eldora Lodge. We called Julie again and she said the Zephyr was busing passengers between Salt Lake and Denver. Major problems which turned out to be a washout between Tunnels 2 and 3(PICTURE 4). After having to head west to Rollinsville to get out of the mountains, we saw the M.O.W. crews mobilizing at Pinecliffe. An eastbound coal drag was tied down at Rollinsville.


We escaped the Rockies by heading south and then east out through the casino town of Black Hawk. We headed up I25 to Cheyenne and made it before the interstate was closed......Stay tuned for the next segment.
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File Type: jpg Moffat washout.jpg (239.8 KB, 798 views)
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Last edited by MassArt Images; 09-23-2013 at 02:10 AM.
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Old 09-22-2013, 10:57 PM   #2
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I probably would have tried to get a shot like that at Moffat last December when I was there, but I didn't wanted to get busted for going beyond the "No Trespassing" signs.

Nice trip report and pics!
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Old 09-24-2013, 01:00 AM   #3
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Default Segment two- Off the PRB

We arrived in Cheyenne under gloomy skies. We stopped at the west end of UP's yard hoping to catch a BNSF train crossing the overpass while a UP train was going by. You will have to enjoy John's photo below to see the real thing.

Image © John Crisanti
PhotoID: 443607
Photograph © John Crisanti


Nothing was seen on either line so it was off to Douglas on I-25 where we took RT 59 north. The cloudy weather was following us north. So much for the typical western skyline. The weather was not looking promising for the next few days.

Fridays highlight was a tour of one of the numerous mines in the basin. It was impressive to see the size of the equipment used and how thick the coal seam is. The seam below is over 40 feet thick!






More Powder River trains and hopefully some sunny weather on Saturday for the next segment.......
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Old 09-25-2013, 01:40 PM   #4
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Looks like you had a good trip! I've always wanted to railfan there.

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Old 09-25-2013, 10:26 PM   #5
troy12n
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MassArt Images View Post
Isnt strip mining wonderful?

If the companies had their way, the entire states of Kentucky, Virginia and West Virginia would look like that. Mountains, who needs those?
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Old 09-26-2013, 11:31 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by troy12n View Post
Isnt strip mining wonderful?
The lights on and heat in my home are wonderful, too.
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Old 09-26-2013, 07:36 PM   #7
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I didn't take any pictures of the re-claimed land since it looks exactly like the prairie that hasn't been mined.

There is also a natural gas facility north of Reno Junction that gets tanks car loads from Gillette and more facilities in the works. It won't be to long before unit tank car trains are seen on the PRB. I saw a photo of a LNG car on RP that made the top shots one day so that might be next also. Stay tuned for future segments which will include action from the Black Hills Central railroad and Crawford Hill.

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