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    • October 9, 2018 10:29 PM EDT
      • Pinon Hills, California
         
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      Slim Princess news

      This showed up in my Facebook page today.

       

      Southern Pacific's 'slim princess' to visit Colorado's Durango & Silverton

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      SP18Lustig
      Southern Pacific No. 18 will visit the Durango & Silverton in Colorado.
      David Lustig

      DURANGO, Colo. — A Southern Pacific narrow gauge Ten-Wheeler will be trucked from Independence, Calif. to Durango, Colo. later this month to train Durango & Silverton crews in oil-firing. Locomotive No. 18, restored over the past several years by volunteer members of the Carson & Colorado Railway in Laws, was under steam on Oct. 4 and 5.

      A short-term lease of the 1911 Baldwin, last used by the Southern Pacific on its isolated narrow gauge line in eastern California until 1960, was hammered out between Inyo County, which owns the locomotive, and the Durango & Silverton. While details of the arrangement including its duration and planned use have not been fully worked out, Randy Babcock of the D&S, who also assisted in restoring No. 18, said in an on-line statement that “its planned usage is on the Cascade Canyon winter trains.

      “The primary purpose of No. 18's time in Durango will be oil fire training for both the D&SNG engine and shop crews in preparation for the 493's service debut in 2019,” Babcock said.

      Former Denver & Rio Grande Western K-37 No. 493 is currently undergoing overhaul and conversion to oil firing in the D&S's Durango shops. This decision, along with a plan to purchase two new-built diesel locomotives, came about after the disastrous June 1 “416 Fire” 10 miles north of Durango, which burned for two months. The D&S was shut down for more than a month by the fire. A lawsuit filed in Durango contends the railroad's coal-fired locomotives were responsible for the fire.

      No. 18’s visit is the latest in a long list of narrow gauge luminaries to visit the D&S. The other notable steam locomotive has been privately-owned 4-4-0 Eureka, based in Las Vegas.

    • October 10, 2018 10:50 AM EDT
      • Jacksonville, OR
         
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      fyi. Lawsuit plaintiffs are Durango residents.  Unclear what they are trying to accomplish, as any significant settlement could put the D&S out of business, devastating the economy for the place where the plaintiffs live.

      https://www.denverpost.com/2018/09/11/durango-silverton-railroad-416-fire-lawsuit/

    • October 10, 2018 11:16 AM EDT
      • Vail, Az
         
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      I read the article and there's a strong case against the RR,.

      Without deep pockets I wonder what the winners will do with their locomotives?

      ____________________________________

      John

       

      The older I get, the less I know, please don't make me prove it.

       

       

    • October 10, 2018 3:04 PM EDT
      • Pinon Hills, California
         
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         I think oil-fired engines will improve one issue.

         Are trains tying up any streets in Silverton or Durango? I know people don't like trains slowing their lives!

    • October 10, 2018 3:31 PM EDT
      • Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
         
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      Neal S said:

      fyi. Lawsuit plaintiffs are Durango residents.  Unclear what they are trying to accomplish, as any significant settlement could put the D&S out of business, devastating the economy for the place where the plaintiffs live.

      https://www.denverpost.com/2018/09/11/durango-silverton-railroad-416-fire-lawsuit/

      Most times folks think that the other person(s) have a lot of money they have stashed away somewhere, and/or, the plaintiffs haven't thought the situation through that far.

      ____________________________________

      Shannon car Shops
      Home of the infamous leg lamp

      I.A.R.R.R. Member #12

      and King Butt Modeler

    • October 10, 2018 4:19 PM EDT
      • Missouri
         
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      Went playing in Google.

      Several bits from an article in June.

      https://the-journal.com/articles/100651

      Whether the Durango train started the fire or not, the railroad wants to ensure it poses no greater fire danger to the area in drought years.

      “We’ll look at everything,” he said. “I don’t want this to ever happen again.”

      The problem is, many options just aren’t feasible, Harper said. Solar power hasn’t been developed for trains, and federal rules say propane and natural gas-powered engines require a separation of five empty cars between passengers.

      The diesel engines the railroad does own, Harper said, aren’t made for the long haul from Durango to Silverton. And, it’s nearly impossible to find or purchase a diesel engine for a narrow-gauge railway, which has a track smaller than a standard-gauge track.

      ...

      Harper said the railroad feels it followed the proper procedure in the days leading up to the fire, which started on the first day local and federal government agencies implemented Stage 2 fire restrictions.

      ...

      Because the railroad was created by land grants in the 1870s, it falls under the authority of the Surface Transportation Board and the Federal Railroad Administration. These agencies don’t have the authority to shut down the train because of fire danger but have some oversight of operations.

      Joanne Spina, La Plata County manager, said the county has authority under Colorado state law to ban open fires, including the use of coal-fired engines, if there is sufficient evidence of high fire danger.

      La Plata County enacted Stage 3 fire restrictions Tuesday. The railroad had already voluntarily suspended its service.

      ...

      Because the D&SNG predates the establishment of the San Juan National Forest in 1905, the U.S. Forest Service has no regulatory authority over the train, Hooley said.

    • October 11, 2018 1:05 AM EDT

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      It's cool that SP #18 will be put into service where people can actually see it run.

      It sucks that the RR is being sued. It will suck even more if they are forced to give coal power. And if they are forced to give up steam altogether, that will pretty much be the end of the RR. Why would anyone want to travel all the way to CO just to see a stupid diesel, that you can see anywhere in the country??

       

       

    • October 11, 2018 1:20 AM EDT
      • Missouri
         
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      It will indeed be interesting to see what the eventual outcome is.

      If coal cinders caused the fire, then coal cinders caused the fire, and that cause and involved decisions should be dealt with.

      I do not live in that community, have no contact with those who do, but something in that statement has me wondering about underlying tensions against the railroad from even before the fire, which the fire just added fuel to that fire, to use a phrase,

      Harper said he is aware of the conversation members in the community are having about the train. The conversation, much of which is highly critical of the train and its impact on the environment,

    • October 11, 2018 1:23 AM EDT
      • Missouri
         
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      That was an interesting Google find just now.

      https://durangoherald.com/articles/230946

      Vandal targets owner of Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad, but hits wrong house

       
      Sheriff’s Office says 416 Fire a likely motivation

      A vandal targeting the home of Al Harper, owner of the Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad, hit the wrong house last week, writing graffiti on a neighbor’s house and damaging outdoor furniture.

      The La Plata County Sheriff’s Office is looking for a suspect or suspects in the incident that occurred late July 3 or early July 4.

      Sheriff’s Office spokesman Chris Burke said someone wrote graffiti in black marker “F– (expletive) the Train” on Harper’s neighbor’s house. The suspect or suspects also knocked over the patio table, chairs and plants outside the home.

      “Evidently, they had the wrong house,” Burke said.

    • October 11, 2018 1:29 AM EDT
      • Missouri
         
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      Hmm, also an interesting Google find, apparently for a number of years (decades?) there has been a contentious undercurrent between the railroad and elements of the community.

      July 8, 2006 at 12:39 pm | UPDATED: May 8, 2016 at 3:31 am

      While the Durango railroad is a major Colorado tourist draw, the train’s smoke is now the target of state environmental regulators concerned about the output of soot, ash and sulfur.

      The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment is questioning whether the Durango railroad and the state’s 16 other historic steam engines should be regulated to control emissions.

      If that happens, the trains could be asked to install pollution-reducing technology.

      That’s a move some local elected officials say could financially drain the railroads, including Durango’s, which generates more than $100 million in economic activity annually.

      This post was edited by Forrest Scott Wood at October 11, 2018 1:35 AM EDT
    • October 11, 2018 1:33 AM EDT
      • Missouri
         
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      And then the thing crashes headlong in to the emotional matter of climate change, https://www.hcn.org/articles/wildfire-durangos-416-fire-reminds-us-theres-no-escape-from-climate-change

      Yeah, this isn't only about the train, it is a number of things all mashed together.

      Thirty years ago, coal trains could run without consequence through the “asbestos forest” of the San Juan Mountain high country. The drought of 2002, however, woke up the railroad’s owners to a changing world, one in which the ravages of climate change can — and will — affect even a quaint little tourist train and the quaint little town that relies on it. The railroad adjusted accordingly, having a firefighting team follow behind each train to extinguish blazes in their infancy. The 416 Fire — particularly if it is found to have been started by the train — will prove an even more brutal moment of reckoning, a grim reminder that yet more adaptation is needed.

      I had my own moment of reckoning following that unusually toasty day back in 2002 when Silverton’s economy went up in smoke for the remainder of that summer. I realized then that Silverton will never become the sanctuary from global warming that I dreamed it would. This year the point is being driven home. There is no sanctuary, not really. In one way or another, the climate catastrophe that we have wrought reaches into every corner of our planet and our lives — even at 9,318 feet.

    • October 12, 2018 6:29 AM EDT
      • Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
         
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      Ray Dunakin said:

      It's cool that SP #18 will be put into service where people can actually see it run.

      It sucks that the RR is being sued. It will suck even more if they are forced to give coal power. And if they are forced to give up steam altogether, that will pretty much be the end of the RR. Why would anyone want to travel all the way to CO just to see a stupid diesel, that you can see anywhere in the country??

       

       

      But Ray, it would be a narrow gauge diesel.

      Sarcasm, off.

      I agree with you Ray. The whole point of historic railroads is to see historic railroads, not them newfangled, cantankerous, unproven diesel-lectric thangs.

      ____________________________________

      Shannon car Shops
      Home of the infamous leg lamp

      I.A.R.R.R. Member #12

      and King Butt Modeler

    • October 14, 2018 9:02 PM EDT

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      I knew it was just a matter of time before the enviro-nazis started targeting historic steam operations.   :(

       

       

    • October 15, 2018 10:32 AM EDT
      • Peoria, NW of Phoenix, Arizona
         
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      Enviro whacko's , California and Coloraqdo are full of them, but every time I see a Trains and Lococmotives show on RFD TV I cannot help but wonder when the whacko's would start complaining about the coal fired locos.

      On a second note my first thought reading abot SP #18 being moved there just for training seems like a huge extra expense. Oversized loads such as the loco, require special trailers, and trucks to haul it,and depending on the size of the trailer and the roads to get there, pilot cars. State by state permits and routing to avoid low overpasses etc, seems like sending people to the locomotive for training would be way less expensive.

       

      ____________________________________

       

      Butt Modeler #2

       

       

    • October 15, 2018 2:29 PM EDT
      • Vail, Az
         
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      You need hills, curves and drag to know how to prepare for what is coming. A  static firing tells only how to press the pedal, not when or how much. OK with a semi, but a bus? You paying the insurance, lodging and transportation for 20 crews? I expect the Cumbres and Toltec will get involved too.

      Besides the loco needs a break in period, just like the real roads. Bigger shops had test tracks where locos would be broken in, smaller ones sent locos out alone or with a few cars for drag. I even read about greased rails for semi-stationary speed tests, ample track on either side for stopping, just in case.

       

       

       

      ____________________________________

      John

       

      The older I get, the less I know, please don't make me prove it.

       

       

    • October 15, 2018 8:34 PM EDT
      • Smoggy L.A., Left Coast
         
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      Isn't that railroad a HUGE part of the local economy, close the railroad and you shoot your own economy in the foot. Stupid locals.

      ____________________________________
      Have fun with your trains
    • October 16, 2018 4:52 AM EDT
      • Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
         
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      Well yea!

      ____________________________________

      Shannon car Shops
      Home of the infamous leg lamp

      I.A.R.R.R. Member #12

      and King Butt Modeler

    • October 16, 2018 11:52 AM EDT

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      Well I certainly hope the railroad is not impacted by the suit. 

      I certainly would love to see the #18 plying the rails of Silverton and Cumbres perhaps even double headed with the 315. 

      Diesel electric, no doubt some of the residents would want pure electric.  Perhaps contact Tesla for a locomotive.

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