Colorado - La Veta Pass Passenger Service - Anyone Ride Yet?

coloradorailroads May 27, 2006

  1. coloradorailroads

    coloradorailroads TrainBoard Member

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    This is the first weekend the San Luis & Rio Grande is running it's La Veta Express excursion as well as it's Toltec Gorge Limited service from Alamosa, Colorado to Antonito (more information).

    What I would like to know is: Did anyone ride either route yet? If so, please speak up and give your thoughts on the ride.
     
  2. Mike Hackbarth

    Mike Hackbarth E-Mail Bounces

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    Haven't riden it. The only thing I've heard in the last couple of years is they were going to have steam excursions from Creede to Monte Vista I believe. So this (La Veta Pass Train) is something to look forward to when i have to drive though the area.:teeth:
     
  3. coloradorailroads

    coloradorailroads TrainBoard Member

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    Webcam Works

    Just saw it roll past on the webcam. The equipment appears to be a hodgepodge of coaches pulled by a couple of F40PH's. No word yet on the condition of the equipment or if it's a "quality" operation run by people who know what they're doing.

    Waiting for riders to come back to their 'puters...
     
  4. traingeekboy

    traingeekboy TrainBoard Member

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    I was very glad to hear about this train. I suspect it will have growing pains, but lets hooope it survives.

    I have not ridden it yet. I plan to go down there some time this summer.
     
  5. friscobob

    friscobob Staff Member

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    Another item on the list....

    Places to railfan before July 31:

    Gallup Sub, Belen to Winslow

    Defiance & Baca Coal Spurs

    Navajo Mine Railway (if it's still running)

    Black Mesa & Lake Powell

    Escalante-Western, Lee Ranch to Pegs

    Durango & Silverton

    Cumbres & Toltec Scenic

    Apache Railway, Holbrook south

    Santa Fe Southern

    And now:

    San Luis & Rio Grande

    Gonna need some more batteries for the digital..... :wow:
     
  6. coloradorailroads

    coloradorailroads TrainBoard Member

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    Based on everyone's reactions, I don't think SL&RG promoted it's service very well. Most everyone I know was surprised to find out about it. They need someone in PR...right now.
     
  7. sd70mac

    sd70mac TrainBoard Member

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    I will be in the area later this month riding the Durango & Silverton and Cumbres & Toltec. I found out about the new railroad after I had made my basic plans and did not find any firm info on it by the time I had to finalize my plans. Gives me a bit of a bad impression to not have any info available online ahead of time.
     
  8. HemiAdda2d

    HemiAdda2d Staff Member

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    This would certainly count at RARE mileage.. That should draw crowds....
    When was the last D&RGW pass train to ply the rails of LVP? 50's? 60's? Yikes!

    Steve,
    Thanks for the blog--A true resource! And a hearty Welcome to TrainBoard!
     
  9. coloradorailroads

    coloradorailroads TrainBoard Member

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    Rare Mileage Indeed

    Yep, the last time it saw regular passenger service was over 50 years ago. There has been the occasional excursion, however. I found some more history over at Ghostdepot.com.

    There's two tunnels on the route, and -- typical of mountain railroading -- plenty of curves on each side of LaVeta Pass, allowing a good shot of the motive power from the train. F40's are still F40's though. Now...:lightbulb: if we had some standard gauge steam...that would be something!

    Thanks, Hemi, for the feedback! :teeth: I appreciate it.
     
  10. sd70mac

    sd70mac TrainBoard Member

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    Yeah, the F40s are a drawback to me. I don't particularly care for them. There's very little else I would object to. Believe it or not, even SD40-2s would be an improvement to me. But of course, steam trumps all. I will likely return to the area to ride those rails. If the other rails in the area are any indication, they will do alright. But their PR doesn't instill confidence.
     
  11. HemiAdda2d

    HemiAdda2d Staff Member

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    They need a REAL D&RGW unit to do the pulling..
    Uncle Pete has several former Grande units that could use a new home, rather than a repaint, and a UPY number after the MARS lite is patched over.:lightbulb:
    A set of GP40's would be classic.... *and possible*
    Even better would be a L131/132 3600-class steamer... While we're at it, how about an wood caboose?
    Since we're talking unobtanium, let's regauge back to NG, and then we'll be really cookin'!
    *dreams*:sleep:
     
  12. coloradorailroads

    coloradorailroads TrainBoard Member

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    Woo-hoo! Hear! Hear! GP40s in a Grande scheme! :teeth: (Speaking of Grande schemes, I heard a rumor on trainboard that UP will be unveiling the Rio Grande heritage unit on June 17th -- visit my blog for details)

    An L131? Overkill, but oh-so-beautiful working the grade. :shade: Too bad none of them survived. I would be happy with the CRRM loaning out #683, which has been over those rails a few times. That would be a few years off, even if everyone worked together. NG would be the ultimate pipe dream, as freight still travels in and out of the San Luis Valley with perlite for ceiling tiles, etc.

    I don't think we'll see anything but diesels. Still, a couple of F units or a Geep would get me travelling down there regularly.
     
  13. HemiAdda2d

    HemiAdda2d Staff Member

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    The rumor is true--reportedly to be unveiled at Burnham (in June?) at Denver, too... We'll see. It would be appropriate! At least it's not going to be a GE.. D&RGW never owned GE road power....

    Heck, I'd settle for anything steam. Too bad that rumor of an L-132 being buried in the old Tenn Pass summit tunnel is untrue...
     
  14. sd70mac

    sd70mac TrainBoard Member

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    Unobtanium is an expensive ore, but there's lots of uses for it.
     
  15. Stourbridge Lion

    Stourbridge Lion TrainBoard Supporter

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    The Mato Vega fire is burning near La Veta Pass

    [FONT=Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif]Mato Vega Fire explodes (9News.com)
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    [/FONT]
    COSTILLA COUNTY - Around 240 firefighters are struggling to contain a wildfire in Southern Colorado which has grown to nearly 9,000 acres in size.

    The Mato Vega fire is burning near La Veta Pass, north of highway 160 between Walsenburg and the Great Sand Dunes National Park. The highway has been closed off and on between La Veta Pass and Fort Garland. It is currently closed.


    The National Weather Service says the fire is, "Moving like a freight train."

    At times, firefighters have been pulled back from fighting the fire because of the flames' intensity. High winds have also hampered firefighting efforts, grounding aircraft that would usually be used in such circumstances.

    The fire has forced about 270 homes in a 20-mile radius to be evacuated. The evacuations include the Spring Creek and Wagon Creek Subdivisions.

    An evacuation shelter has been set up at Blanca Ft. Garland Community Center.

    The fire broke out around 11:30 a.m. Sunday. Officials say it was caused by lightning.

    No injuries have been reported.

    In Larimer County, the Halligan Reservoir Fire is burning on 50 acres. More than 30 crewmembers from several jurisdictions are fighting the fire. No structures are being threatened. The fire is believed to have been started by lightning.

    Another fire is burning on 100 acres in Teller County. The fire is burning near Wright Reservoir and is 30 percent contained, according to Teller County Officials.

    9NEWS and 9NEWS.com will continue to update this story as more information becomes available

     
  16. HemiAdda2d

    HemiAdda2d Staff Member

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    Yikes!
    Hope this doesn't put a damper (derailment or destruction) on track...
     
  17. Stourbridge Lion

    Stourbridge Lion TrainBoard Supporter

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    Statewide: 75,000+ acres burned so far in 2006

    We are facing very HIGH/RECORD Temps all over the state and fires are breaking out all over right now. Tonights news still list this fire as being completely out of control with more homes to most likely be evacuated in the morning. Seveal "Historic Buidings" are said to be threaten in the area. Just the other day a BNSF train wheel spark touch off a major fire right in Denver itself near C-470 & US-85 (Santa Fe) which is only a few miles from my house..
     
  18. coloradorailroads

    coloradorailroads TrainBoard Member

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    Ditto.

    At the risk of straying from the topic, I believe that while weather is certainly a contributing factor, the main problem is that we're not managing forest land correctly. We've spent 80 years building up the fuel. Where do we think it's going to go? Fire is a natural part of the ecosystem and we've had Smokey the Bear -- a government mascot, mind you -- telling us that only we can prevent something that's natural from happening. We need to start using the timber, for starters. I'm not saying clear cut the forests for Big Money, but some thinning has to be done. That way, forest fires don't have as much fuel and are easier to control.

    I'm tired of sweating out "fire season." Maybe a wood-burning car to lessen our dependence on foreign oil? :rolleyes:

    The last thing we need is for our rail tourism to suffer another blow like the C&TS and the D&S did in 2002. :angry: They're only now recovering from that one.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 21, 2006
  19. Stourbridge Lion

    Stourbridge Lion TrainBoard Supporter

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    GOVERNOR TO VISIT MATO VEGA FIRE


    Governor Owens toured the the fire near Le Vata Pass this morning to assess the situation and decide on resources and additional allocations.

    In addition, the Governor is expected to announce a fire ban on all state lands at an afternoon news conference.

    The first reports had the Costilla County blaze at about 400 acres. Now, two days later, it's about 20 times larger, having grown to nearly 9000 acres.

    County officials have asked for an additional three million dollars to fight this fire and Governor Owens was expected to grant that request Wednesday morning.

    The fire began Sunday morning. Fire Officials believe it was started by lightning.

    Officials have evacuated 270 homes, including a 20 mile radius around the Wagon Creek neighborhood, and neighboring homes in Huerfano County. U.S. Highway 160 remains closed.

    A state trooper tells 11 News U.S. 160 is shut down because they fear the fire could jump the highway.

    Crews are battling it near La Veta Pass, northeast of the town of Fort Garland.

    Heavy smoke can be seen for miles.

    Stay tuned to KKTV 11 News for the latest information.
     
  20. Stourbridge Lion

    Stourbridge Lion TrainBoard Supporter

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    More from KKTV.com



    Four wildfires are burning in Southern Colorado torching more than 9,000 acres.

    The largest fire is burning in Costilla and Huerfano counties. At last report, the Mato Vega fire had burned 8,900 acres. That is more than ten times bigger than yesterday. The situation is far from favorable as firefighters battle high winds and hot, dry conditions. The Red Cross has opened two shelters for evacuees and the Salvation Army set up a mobile kitchen in Fort Garland.

    Meanwhile in Teller County, firefighters continue to fight a 50-acre fire. The fire is burning just six miles northwest of Cripple Creek just southeast of Wright Reservoir. The Wrights Fire has forced three homes to be evacuated and more than 400 other residents are on standby for evacuation. The evacuation standby effects people living within a five-mile radius of Wrights Reservoir.

    A small wildfire burning near Penrose is also forcing evacuations. Officials say the fire has burned about 6 to 8 acres in the Beaver Creek area near Penrose about one mile east of Highway 115. The evacuations have been called mandatory. The fire is moving so fast officials say it damaged some of the firefighting
    equipment.

    And a fourth fire is now burning in Custer County off of Highway 165 about three miles south of where 165 joins Highway 96 in an area known as Mckenzie Junction. According to the Custer County Sheriff... fire crews hit it hard with an initial attack and they have a good handle on the fire. There is no word on evacuations or the number of acres that have been consumed.
     

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