As that dog in that Toyota Hilux ute ad said - bugger! I am back from my R&R, Railroads and Railroading, in the USA. What a great time was had.
I spent the time checking out as much railway stuff as I could and trying to use only public transport - preferably stuff that ran on rails. So over my six weeks in the States, I traveled a course of:
Los Angeles - flew in
Las Vegas - flew in
San Francisco - flew in
Denver - arrived by rail on California Zephyr
9 day rail & coach tour around Colorado. Here are the railroad highlights -
Colorado Railroad Museum
Manitou & Pikes Peak Railway
Royal Gorge Route Railroad
Cumbres & Toltec Scenic Railroad
Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad
Chicago - arrived by rail on California Zephyr
Seattle - arrived by rail on Empire Builder
Los Angeles - arrived by rail on Coast Starlight
Williams - arrived by rail on Southwest Chief
Grand Canyon - arrived by rail on Grand Canyon Railway
Williams - arrived by rail on Grand Canyon Railway
Los Angeles - arrived by rail on Southwest Chief
Brisbane - flew in
On the Amtrak services we of course took sleepers and therefore got the full service. I tell you, sitting there in the scenic windowed car and watching the world go by whilst sipping on a beer or wine sure made you think "I wonder what the rest of the world is doing? Ahhh stuff 'em!" Sure is a great way to travel.
So here are just a few photos from the trip - there is no way I can show all of them, as there are 9,000 of them! Mind you, a friend was over there doing roughly similar side of the country and between him and his missus, they got not much short of 40,000 photos!
Burlington Northern Santa Fe loco BNSF 5963, a GE ES44AC, found at Denver. Geez I love that pumpkin paint scheme and the 4400 HP under the bonnet doesn't hurt either.
Manitou & Pikes Peak Railway's cog loco 24 seen at the top of Pikes Peak which is 14,110 feet (4,301 m) high and located in Colorado. This is one of the articulated railcars and is diesel-pneumatic. She was put into service in 1984 and was built in Switzerland. It sure was cold and bloody windy up the top of that 14K (14K means a mountain higher than 14,000 feet - see, I can learn new terms..).
Royal Gorge Route Railroad loco CRRX 403 seen here at the station in Canon City in Colorado. She is an EMD F7A built in 1949. Behind her is loco CRRX 1503 which is an EMD F7B build in 1952. The trip up the Royal Gorge was great - what gorge. AND of course you could move down to the open air car to take photos - so I road the whole trip on it, as you do.
Locomotive 484 of the Cumbres & Toltec Scenic Railroad in Colorado. This railway is also running on track of the old D&RGW (Denver & Rio Grande Western). Loco 484 is a Baldwin K36 steamer of the Mikado type 2-8-2 wheel arrangement and set for 3 foot track gauge. She is of course coal fired and it sure brought a tear or two to the old eyes, those cinders can be shocking! hehehehe. She was built in 1925.
Of course there was the option to go ride the open air car, of which I made myself do - it was just so hard to move down there - yeh, right!
One of the blokes on the CTSRR trip had this T-shirt on. I wish I could have found one for myself! I think he wins T-shirt of the century.
Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad's loco 482 was also a coal burner. It is just great sniffing in that coal smoke - I love it! Loco 482 is also a K-36 type loco and hence has a 2-8-2 wheel layout.
Here we didn't have open air cars as such, but there were no windows, so it was great. I tell ya, the scenery in the Colorado mountains is just fantastic. If you ever get a chance to go over there - do it!
Whilst up at Silverton, I saw loco 486 coming into town - down the main street of course.
You can also check out a video I took of her coming into town.
Rather than take a bus to the Grand Canyon, we decided to take the train. So we hopped on the Amtrak Southwest Chief in LA and headed out to Williams - took a sleeper of course. Got off there and got onto the Grand Canyon Railway to get to the canyon itself. Nice way to travel, no question about it. Here is GCR loco GCRX 295 which is an EMD F-40PH that used to belong to Amtrak and was built in 1979. She's got a nice v16 donk under the hood producing about 3200 horses. Coupled up to her was loco GCRX 6860 which is an Alco FPB-4 and built in 1959. The Alco has a v12 with 1800 horses up front, or is that up back? Cabless locos - so complicated!!
So all in all - fantastic R&R was had. So now it's shed time.