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Thursday, June 19, 2014

14-06-19a PHOTOS: Here We Go Denver - Part 2

Well its tine to finish to the remainder of my 2014 transcontinental trip across Colorado on Amtrak's California Zephyr. If you remember from last time I covered the route from Grand Junction through to the "Steven" Moffat Tunnel. Today we will be heading into Denver and checking out its brand new Union Station complex, which was still under construction when I last took this train in 2012. Finally I used some remaining daylight to take some photos on the former CB&Q route heading east out of the mile high city.

If you didn't remember from the last post you can find the full set of photos right here.

We begin heading down the crazy switchback that bring trains up from the flat plains and into the high Rocky Mountains. Hanging out in the aptly named "Rocky" siding is a westbound train with BNSF C44-9W #4862, BNSF ES44C4 #7132 and CSX ES44AC #3156. These were visible out the side window on a lower level of the switchback.

What's all this construction that's appeared since 2012? A new freeway? Nope...this is Denver's future commuter rail line to the airport. It will run along side the former DRG&W RoW until curving up towards the airport. 

Looking past the eastbound searchlight signal bridge at Utah Junction we can see the ramp that will be used by the commuter rail trains to bypass all the congestion of the Denver terminal area. Hopefully Amtrak will get to use it too as it could save 20-30 minutes on the running time.

Another rare find. CNW painted AC4400 #6712 on the front of a loaded coal train south of Utah Jct.

UP ES44AC #8146 on either the front or rear of another coal train at the south end of the old DRG&W yard.

Lots of classic DRG&W searchlights at Fox Junction.

To get into the station Amtrak trains have to pull past the BNSF diesel shop and then back all the way in. Here is the diesel shop as we pull down the east leg of the wye.

One of the crew of a nearby BNSF train was nice enough to throw the hand operated switch for us so our conductor didn't have to get out.

Here is a video I took of the back-in procedure featuring the conductor of train 6 carefully guiding the engineer all the way at the other end in the cab.

You heard the sign...TRAVEL BY TRAIN!

Modern take on the old idea of a train shed. I like it.

There will be a total of 8 tracks. Those serving the new commuter rail line will have what I believe are the westernmost high level platforms in the United States. Here we see tracks 1 through 3. Catenary poles are already in place.

Amtrak P42DC #22 at Denver. The train is being fueled and water by workers on a service platform on the other side of the locomotive.

Depending on demand Train 5/6 will set off/pick up a sleeping car in Denver. Today's sleeper is Superliner I #32062.

Front of the old Union Station.

The interior is still awaiting the completion of its renovation.

An underground concourse will connect to the local bus station and the light rail line.

Center of the trainshed looking north along the service platform.

View from the rear of Train 6 as we depart Denver. The terminal trackage has yet to be interlocked.

 BNSF SD70ACe #9375 with a loaded coal train waiting at 31St Interlocking where our train leaves the un-signaled terminal area.

At the other end of the train is SD70MAC #9908 at 48th St interlocking.

Passing a BNSF Geep as we head through the Suncor Energy refinery east of Denver 

Diamond crossing with a Union Pacific line.

Pair of GP39-2/3's including a BN painted #2700 and BNSF painted #2692.

It was getting pretty dark out so I had to call it a night and wait to see what the next morning would bring. Tune in next week as we restart our adventure at Omaha.

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