DRGW Tennessee Pass Ski Touring

r_i_straw Feb 17, 2012

  1. r_i_straw

    r_i_straw Mostly N Scale Staff Member

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    Thanks, here are a few more shot in snowy weather.

    Here is where the line came down into Redcliff and made a sharp hair pin turn to the left. I believe it was sometime back in the 1920's that an out of control train derailed on this curve. It was coming down from Pando to Minturn with a load of ice harvested on from the area where Camp Hale was build.
    [​IMG]

    This was south of Redcliff where the railroad made a nice sweeping curve along the Eagle River.
    [​IMG]

    This is another view of the slide fence along with a signal and a dragging equipment detector.
    [​IMG]
     
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  2. BoxcabE50

    BoxcabE50 HOn30 & N Scales Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

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    I don't know about how anyone else perceives these things, beyond the fact of being fans we hate to see a line lost anywhere. But there is always something haunting about these situations. I always wonder how those who built and labored with pride at making a railroad go would feel now, as they watch from the Great Beyond? Are they sad to know what has become of their efforts?
     
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  3. HemiAdda2d

    HemiAdda2d Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

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    I was back East when the shutdown of TP happened, and knew nothing about it. I was too busy failing Calculus miserably to pay attention to railroading. I wish I would have known, and made a trip before the final train went east.
    I can say from personal experience, with anything I built or worked on, it gives me a sense of pride and accomplishment. When that something is misused, neglected, or otherwise mistreated, it gets my boiler fired up. That's how I woud feel, had I worked this line, built it, etc.

    Russ, please keep the photos coming! There's plenty of great spots I recognize from photos, videos, Google Earth.
     
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  4. r_i_straw

    r_i_straw Mostly N Scale Staff Member

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    Not long after the Rio Grande bought the SP and started running a lot of traffic over the pass again, my brother and I were cross country skiing on the other side of the canyon south of Camp Hale. I remember seeing, and hearing, long coal trains with mid train helpers crawling up the line above Deen Tunnel. I just went through all my slides from that trip and can find no shots of any trains. Well, at least I have the memories.
     
  5. YoHo

    YoHo TrainBoard Supporter

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    Tennessee Pass is a case of one of those lines that just doesn't make much sense in modern railroading. Doubly so ever since the former MP connection via pueblo was severed by UP. When that happened, TP became a line that went nowhere useful. The only way to get anywhere on the eastern end is to take the overcrowded joint line to Denver and if you're going to do that, you might as well take Moffat. And even Moffat is less compelling than the overland route for traffic moving east. Moffat is a garden hose compared to the Overland's fire hose.

    None of which makes it less depressing, but to a railroader trying to move goods the best way possible, it makes sense. It is in interesting question what might have been had the UP/SP merger gone differently. Which is a game you can play out in model railroading.
     
  6. r_i_straw

    r_i_straw Mostly N Scale Staff Member

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    Yeah, the Rio Grande was thinking about shutting it down back in the mid 1980's. It only had a relatively brief surge in traffic between the D&RG/SP merger and the SP/UP merger. The UP had plenty of capacity elsewhere that was on much easier railroad to operate and maintain. The only real need for it at this point could possibly be some sort of commuter rail between Leadville and Avon. The resort areas of Vail/Beaver Creek are very high rent districts when it comes to housing. The vast majority of the folks that work there can not afford to live there. Many of them dive to their jobs from where they can afford to live in Leadville, on US Highway 24 over Tennessee pass every day, rain, blizzard or shine. However, that would probably be the most expensive commuter line to operate on the planet and would never work.
     
  7. YoHo

    YoHo TrainBoard Supporter

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    Had the MP line to KC never been severed, then there could be a use for the line moving goods through that corridor, or rather there might have been prior to 2008 and there might be again whenever the economy more fully recovers, but of course, the line was severed.
    Commuter service would be interesting, but as you say, pretty expensive. I've heard tell of some online extraction industry that do not alone justify upkeep of the line, but that might use it if it were operating for other purposes. Specifically Molybendeum.

    For SP, it represented an alternative routing to UP for traffic coming through Donner. But they must have discounted their rates fairly significantly to make it work.
     
  8. Ghengis Kong

    Ghengis Kong TrainBoard Member

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    I shouldn't think it would cost terribly much for the UP to re-open this line if it somehow needed to.
     
  9. r_i_straw

    r_i_straw Mostly N Scale Staff Member

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    The major molybdenum mine in the area is the Climax mine north of Leadville on top of Fremont Pass. With the present global situation regarding rare earth minerals that mine will probably reopen. I am not sure which way they would want to go with the ore from there if they would choose to go by rail, down through Salida and the Royal Gorge or over Tennessee Pass and around through Dotsero. I kind of doubt the Eagle Mine at Gilman, just south of Minturn will ever reopen.
     
  10. YoHo

    YoHo TrainBoard Supporter

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    Both those mines were mentioned. Climax is I believe for sure reopening, but the car loadings aren't enough to reopen the line even for a local. Thry would use rail if it were already open though.
     
  11. bravogjt

    bravogjt TrainBoard Member

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    Last summer a local radio add was being aired for some job openings at the Climax mine. I am not sure how many employees that they were recruiting at that time.

    Ben
     
  12. drgw12

    drgw12 TrainBoard Member

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    The Climax mine is indeed reopening and have spent over $700 million to build a brand new mill and other stuff. They are hoping to produce the first moly by the end of March. I am an engineer on the Leadville, Colorado and Southern that now owns the old C&S branch to the mine and we have heard zilch from Climax or UP about wanting to utilize rail for anything. It would be nice and I have my hope....however fleeting they are.....
     
  13. David Martus

    David Martus New Member

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    WHere do you park and start skiing from, Redcliff?
     
  14. r_i_straw

    r_i_straw Mostly N Scale Staff Member

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    Judging by this photo, we parked here and then skied up to the roadbed.
    Screen Shot 2021-12-13 at 8.12.49 AM.png
     
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  15. HemiAdda2d

    HemiAdda2d Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

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    I pretty much turned around where you parked when I realized the road was gated or went nowhere useful. I did take a couple images at the west end of Red Cliff.
     
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  16. r_i_straw

    r_i_straw Mostly N Scale Staff Member

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    If we were going down stream we parked here and walked to the river on Water Street before strapping on our skies.
    Screen Shot 2021-12-13 at 12.35.40 PM.png
     
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  17. HemiAdda2d

    HemiAdda2d Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

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    I learned there is not much for parking space right along Water St where the star is, and it was summer, not with 5' of snow piled everywhere.
     
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  18. r_i_straw

    r_i_straw Mostly N Scale Staff Member

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    It used to be a big "park and ride" lot where folks left their car for the day while they car pooled or caught a bus to wherever. They may have closed it in recent years.
    Screen Shot 2021-12-13 at 4.17.21 PM.png
     
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  19. r_i_straw

    r_i_straw Mostly N Scale Staff Member

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    Hemi: I misread your post. Got my stars and arrows mixed up. Yeah, down near the "Green" bridge there was no parking at all. That is why we parked up at the park & ride and walked down to the river. Still had to climb over a steep snow plow bank to get up on the roadbed.
     
  20. r_i_straw

    r_i_straw Mostly N Scale Staff Member

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    From February 2013. Below the mines at Gilman.
    [​IMG]
     
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