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Re: 50 years and still going

October 11, 2017 09:02PM
John West's message about the last revenue freight led me to try to reconstruct those events from more than 49 years ago. In 1968 I was working in Richland, Washington, but made two trips to the narrow gauge. The first was for the "mad dash" at the end of May, and the second was for the last freight August 28-29. I must have had ample notice, likely from Ernie Robart (or possibly
agent Trotter in Chama or dispatcher Ficci in Alamosa) as I took a week of my annual 2 weeks of vacation. On Saturday August 24 I rode the SP "Cascade" from Portland to Oakland. On Sunday August 25 I whiled away a few hours riding San Francisco cable cars, before catching the ATSF bus to Richmond for the 4:30 pm departure of the "San Francisco Chief'. On Monday August 26 after arriving at 3:45 pm in Belen, I transferred to train 24, the "Grand Canyon" for the 44-minute run to Albuquerque. Here I met my dad who had come up from Alamogordo in my brother's '65 VW beetle (tan, my blue '64 beetle was left in Washington). On Tuesday August 27 we drove to Alamosa. On Wednesday, August 28 we followed the 483-484 double header to Antonito, taking still
pictures. From Antonito we drove to Sublette and shot movies for the rest of the chase - first between Big Horn and west of Sublette. We then headed west to catch 498 coming from Durango, meeting 498 just west of Azotea and following it to Chama. The next morning, August 29, we filmed 483 leaving Chama before chasing 498 and helper 484 to Cumbres. About the best thing about watching my movie of 498 looping around Los Pinos with the train was the absence of housing and other clutter in that unique location. From Los Pinos we again drove to Sublette to film the last eastbound revenue freight curving around the big loops east of there. Our last encounters were with light engine 484 passing thru La Jara and heading to Alamosa at a good 30 mph. Had I known that this was 498's last operating day and that 484 would still be running 49 years later, I would have saved my remaining film footage for 498 with the following freight. Unfortunately there wasn't time to catch 483 with the last Farmington turn on Saturday. On Friday, August 30 I boarded the San Francisco Chief on it's noon departure from Belen to Richmond, connecting to the "Cascade" for Portland, and finally completing the last lap to Pasco on the SP&S section of the "Empire Builder" on Sunday. I enjoyed John West's and Russ Sperry's photos of those two days in 1968. Now I'll have to see about converting my movies to a digital format to make sharing possible.
Subject Author Posted

50 years and still going

John West October 09, 2017 08:47PM

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Re: 50 years and still going

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Russo Loco October 12, 2017 11:30AM

Re: 50 years and still going

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