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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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
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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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Old 09-28-2013, 12:54 AM   #8
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Waking up Saturday at the Oak Tree Inn and peeking out the curtains revealed clear skies and dawn breaking on the horizon. I was able to get some nice silhouette shots like the one below.
Image © Carl Massart
PhotoID: 452309
Photograph © Carl Massart


I went back to the Inn to get Don moving since it was a glorious day. He was up and about so we headed just south of UP's Bill yard to grab some shots.



We stopped back the Inn to get some breakfast at Penny's Diner then headed to Logan Hill where we were rewarded with a parade of trains. All four tracks were occupied with trains!
Image © Carl Massart
PhotoID: 451251
Photograph © Carl Massart

Image © Carl Massart
PhotoID: 452900
Photograph © Carl Massart

Image © Carl Massart
PhotoID: 452574
Photograph © Carl Massart



After enjoying the action we headed north in our quest and met the owners of a local mine

and eventually arrived at Reno Junction to enjoy the action.
Image © Carl Massart
PhotoID: 452476
Photograph © Carl Massart

More to follow............
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Old 10-22-2013, 10:43 PM   #9
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Sunday morning we headed east to Crawford, NE. Don wanted to see Mount Rushmore so we went out of the way a little bit. We stopped at Hill City to see the steam train that runs between Hill City and Keystone. The first run of the day had not returned from Keystone so we went out in search and got a shot of it running "tender" front.

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We wanted to get some better shots of the engine so we headed to Mount Rushmore to see the Presidents. After getting the obligatory shots and trinkets we headed back to catch the afternoon excursion and got some nice shots of the train.

Image © Carl Massart
PhotoID: 455412
Photograph © Carl Massart


Image © Carl Massart
PhotoID: 452963
Photograph © Carl Massart


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Since the sun was out we ran back to Mt. Rushmore for some better shots then headed off to the Ponderosa Ranch. After checking in at the ranch and stopping by the cabin we headed down to the Hill in our SUV. We got a couple of shots before darkness set in.

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I also tried a zoom-pan, a technique I have yet to master. I think this shot turned out fairly well. Not quite "Goldman" standard but getting better.

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We headed back to the cabin to meet up with Mike Danneman to grill some brats, drink some beer and make some plans for tomorrow......to be continued
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Old 01-21-2014, 09:08 PM   #10
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Monday morning was dreary and cold. We had breakfast at the ranch with the owners. After enjoying a home cooked breakfast with the Lund's we headed back to the cabin. After BS'ing for a while we headed to Belmont to catch some action.

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While hanging out there we met a couple chaps from England who were doing a two week rail junkie that started in Chicago and circled through California before returning to Chicago.

It was interesting to see the helpers uncouple on-the-fly using a special set-up on the front of the engine.

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The clouds finally dissipated after we left Belmont to head back to the ranch. We caught some more coal trains on the way back then stopped at the cabin for some supplies before beginning an arduous hike to Breezy Point.

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Breezy Point is a good name for the upper horseshoe. We worked our way around to the point trying to get some shots with the sun angles afforded us.
Don got a couple nice shots from the inside loop.

Image © Don Janes
PhotoID: 452461
Photograph © Don Janes


Image © Don Janes
PhotoID: 452462
Photograph © Don Janes


By the time we got to the point the sun angles made shots more difficult but we were still able get some shots before calling it a day.

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Tuesday morning I awoke to find clear skies. Sweet! I had to poke and prod Mike and Don to get them moving. We worked the bottom horseshoe entrance and progressed up into the first horseshoe entrance before calling it a day shortly after noon time. Several nice shots were obtained and BNSF obliged us with a steady flow off traffic in both directions.

Image © Carl Massart
PhotoID: 456053
Photograph © Carl Massart


Image © Carl Massart
PhotoID: 456980
Photograph © Carl Massart


Image © Carl Massart
PhotoID: 454648
Photograph © Carl Massart


Image © Carl Massart
PhotoID: 457054
Photograph © Carl Massart


Image © Carl Massart
PhotoID: 455925
Photograph © Carl Massart


Image © Mike Danneman
PhotoID: 455312
Photograph © Mike Danneman


Image © Mike Danneman
PhotoID: 455315
Photograph © Mike Danneman


After lunch in Crawford, Don and I headed for Alliance and Mike headed back home. After getting some nice shots on the way to Alliance, we headed back to Cheyenne for the night.

Image © Don Janes
PhotoID: 454420
Photograph © Don Janes


Image © Carl Massart
PhotoID: 452307
Photograph © Carl Massart


Image © Carl Massart
PhotoID: 464680
Photograph © Carl Massart


The following day we headed back to Denver to see Mike and get a tour of his N Scale Moffatt Sub layout before heading to the airport to catch a flight back to reality.

If you want to see some images of his layout do a Google search.

The End.
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