Colorado trip for Private Car ride: Part 2
A triangular tour to the Springs and Westcliffe
Sept. 22, 2010

Photos by Dave Ingles

At La Junta, as soon as the Southwest Chief departed, this southbound loaded coal train came into the yard. We persuaded the rental-car lady to wait for us to get the shot: 9263/6128, 0845 hours.

The Hertz agency is at the KOA campground on the west end of town along Hwy. 50. While Phil was doing the paperwork, this westbound merchandiser headed for Pueblo: 4724/4451/617, 0855 hours.

We found 4 depots to shoot between La Junta and Pueblo; this was first.

A headlight forced us to "take siding" for this loaded coal train at MP 570.7 (from KC), 5954/9271, DPU 9540/8802, 0930 hours.

City Hall; in some ways, the best of the 4.

A bit derelict.

This is the former Missouri Pacific main line to Pueblo: good rail, but not used; we are east of NA Jct., where the BNSF (ex-ATSF) swings over to use the MP right of way on toward Pueblo. A&K Materials, the scrap firm, owns this railroad; we're not sure if it is used at all. From the Kansas state line east, it's part of Watco's Kansas & Oklahoma.

NA Jct., looking east; inactive ? MP to the left, ATSF/BNSF to the right. We'd ride over this the next day.

At Avodale east siding switch, this guy waited for that w.b. merchandise to catch up; we'd overtaken him and didn't shoot it. This is: 4802/4547/4895, 114 cars, 1029 hours.

In Pueblo, we checked out the position of the private car special train, put our baggage on board, looked around the museum at the old Union Depot real quick, and headed for Colorado Springs, where we were to meet Rick Moser and Chuck Weinstock for lunch at the Italian restaurant in the old Rio Grande depot.

These C&W units are part of the museum's collection at Pueblo.

West end of the private car train parking area; 85 would be our lead unit the next 2 days. The P42's were providing HEP to the private cars. These are old team tracks off the BNSF (ATSF-C&S) yard, north of Union Depot. This view looks west.

Up in the Springs, we found the UP local parked by the yard office, looking like a display.

Shots outside and inside at Guiseppe's, the restaurant in the old DRGW depot, also used by RI and southbound ATSF and MP trains, of course, when ATSF's depot served the northbounds (except the Rocket). I've ridden thru both; the ATSF tracks thru the city are gone; all BNSF and UP trains use the DRGW side, but we saw no action.

From left: John Arbuckle, Phil Moser, Chuck Weinstock, Rick Moser, Dave Ingles; photo by our server.

Across the street in a park, this narrow-gauge 4-6-0.

Rick and Chuck headed south to shoot the depots we'd just seen between La Junta and Pueblo, while we three headed southwest, bound for Westcliffe, Colo., one of the few little pockets of the state I'd never visited. This is the depot at Florence, Colo., between Pueblo and Canon City.

Across the street from the depot was this "Hotel Steam Heat."

At Canon City, this ex-Milwaukee Super Dome is in the Royal Gorge Scenic (tourst line) yard.

The morning train had come back from the Gorge. Here it began to rain, as we headed west on Hwy. 50.

D&RG had built a narrow-gauge line to Westcliffe from the Royal Gorge route, but repeated flooding forced its abandonment, and a standard- gauge line was built in to Westclilffe, also from the north, to the west of the Royal Gorge area. The highway today follows this route, and these trestle bents provide evidence that if you look for it, you can see vestiges of the line and its right of way.

The standard-gauge line to Westcliffe was abandoned just before World War II, and we were stunned to find remnants in Westcliffe, a county seat town of about 700. This is apparently the old engine house; the "depot" behind it (yellow, at left) is a replica building.

These are not replicas; tracks were on this site once, probably the end-of-the-line yard.

This is a display along West Main Street.

Credit Mr. Arbuckle with spotting this building, the old D&RG passenger station, right on Main St., as we passed it. The photo looks southeast.

The rain eased up as we returned to Pueblo; the "aspirin" trees (aspens) were already turning yellow.

The climb up to Westcliffe from the north was gentle compared with the 2,000-foot or so drop as we went northeast down to Pueblo.

Our pre-trip dinner, at a Texas Road House on Pueblo's north side, was attended by (from left): Arbuckle, P. Moser, Ingles, Weinstock, R. Moser, and two Boston-area mileage-collectors, John Ehrlich and Bill Crawford. Photo by our server.

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