RailPictures.Net Forums

RailPictures.Net Forums (http://www.railpictures.net/forums/index.php)
-   Trip Reports (http://www.railpictures.net/forums/forumdisplay.php?f=16)
-   -   Powder River and Moffat Sub Trip Report (http://www.railpictures.net/forums/showthread.php?t=16674)

MassArt Images 09-22-2013 09:02 PM

Powder River and Moffat Sub Trip Report
5 Attachment(s)
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.


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.

JimThias 09-22-2013 10:57 PM

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!

MassArt Images 09-24-2013 01:00 AM

Segment two- Off the PRB
6 Attachment(s)
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.


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.......

bigbassloyd 09-25-2013 01:40 PM

Looks like you had a good trip! I've always wanted to railfan there.

Loyd L.

troy12n 09-25-2013 10:26 PM


Originally Posted by MassArt Images (Post 170473)

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?

JimThias 09-26-2013 11:31 AM


Originally Posted by troy12n (Post 170544)
Isnt strip mining wonderful?

The lights on and heat in my home are wonderful, too. ;)

MassArt Images 09-26-2013 07:36 PM

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.

MassArt Images 09-28-2013 12:54 AM

4 Attachment(s)
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.

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!

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.
More to follow............

MassArt Images 10-22-2013 10:43 PM

4 Attachment(s)
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.

Attachment 8268

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.



Attachment 8269

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.

Attachment 8270

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.

Attachment 8271

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

MassArt Images 01-21-2014 09:08 PM

4 Attachment(s)
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.

Attachment 8398

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.

Attachment 8399

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.

Attachment 8400

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.



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.

Attachment 8401

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.








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.




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.

All times are GMT. The time now is 08:19 AM.

Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.1
Copyright ©2000 - 2020, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.