Work Train to Minturn
I had been watching the progress of the Herzog clean-up train for the past week around Minturn, Colorado and knew that a work train was going to need to come to Minturn to resupply Herzog with more "railway dumpsters" or gondolas.  Thanks to informative sources such as DRGW.NET, Union Pacific's equipment trace, and a call from Matt Hutson in Glenwood Springs, I was able to capture the following images of the WGJGJO-03 between Gypsum and Minturn.  Matt saw the work train go by his office window and let us know in Avon that a great afternoon of railfanning was ahead.  The images presented here are not a gallery of perfect train shots, but the story of a rare move on a line that might not see many more trains in the near future.

Arriving in Gypsum...
The growl of turbo charged EMD locomotives announced the arrival of the work train in Gypsum as it passed over Highway 6.  DRGW 3126 & 3085 ahd the honors on this trip.
The work train had a total of 52 empty gondolas that had been stored in the Glenwood Springs yard for a couple weeks.  The cars on the right are empty centerbeam flatcars at the American Eagle sheetrock plant in Gypsum.

The guy in the deep brush with the camera is Matt Hutson and, yes, this is his better side...

East of Gypsum...

Want to see the Rio Grande power in action? Download an MPEG movie of the work train in the middle of the Sage siding.  This file is 1.4 MB and the download time will vary depending on your connection.

East Sage, CO - Nov 3, 2000 I took this image as a comparison to one on Chuck Donaldson's Somewherewest.com website taken in 1976.  I don't believe there has been a train over this section of track (or anywhere between Gypsum and Minturn) for at least a couple years.

As the work train was approaching Sage, the dispatcher called to warn the crew that there was an automobile accident near Eagle and that a vehicle may be blocking the tracks, but he didn't know the exact location.

The crew soon figured out where the accident was when an Eagle County sheriff, with all the lights and sirens on, started pacing the train and waving wildly to warn them of the location.  It did work though.

Passing the accident...

Approaching Eagle... This bridge is located just west of Eagle and still retains its "Rio Grande" markings like most of the bridges on the Tennessee Pass line. 

Between Eagle and Wolcott, the valley narrows, the grade steepens, and there are a few more curves to the railroad.  The two units had no problem with the empty gondolas though.
Climbing up the valley...
Cruising along the Eagle River... The still water of the Eagle River made for an interesting shot as the work train made its way towards Wolcott.

All of these images were taken with a Sony FD-91 digital camera.
 
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