Mountain West Rail
Frank Keller's Utah
One of my all time favorite places to railfan is the former Rio Grande over Soldier Summit.  Even though the Union Pacific owns this stretch of DRGW track now, Soldier Summit still offers the railfan a great place to watch and photograph trains.  Here are a few from a recent trip in September and October of 2000.

One of the great things about Soldier Summit is not only did you get Rio Grande but also the Utah Railway.  Here we see Utah 9008 West rounding the curve at MP 683 after having just popped out of the tunnel under Billie's Mountain.  Power was all Utah Railway including 9008, 9003, 9010 & 9011.  September 22, 2000 - 3:43 pm.

Although the run from Martin, Utah to the Wildcat loadout on the Utah Railway is short, it offers some dramatic photo opportunities.  On October 2, 2000, we see Utah Railway 9011 East rolling through a reverse curve in the early morning a mile from the loadout.

In the year 2000 it was still possible to find all DRGW powered trains.  One train that was regularly assigned Rio Grande power was the M-S dirt train that operated from the Helper, UT yard to the dump at Columbia Jct., UT on the Sunnyside branch.  Here we see DRGW 5401 East passing Banning, UT on the Sunnyside Branch at 9:37 am on October 2, 2000.  The book cliffs make an excellent backdrop for DRGW  5401, 5407 & 5410.

On my way to the airport on October 2, 2000, the Rio Grande had one more surprise for me.  Earlier in the day a two unit Rio Grande helper had gone west.  As I headed to the airport, I expected to find them shoving on the rear of an eastbound.  However, when I got to Gilluly I found out they had been added as a point helper for the Circus train, resulting in the image you see here. Of course, I had to double back a little bit and followed the train back to Helper where the two DRGW units were cut off and I made a bee line for the SLC airport.

BNSF trackage rights train U-BIRPIT, with Santa Fe 875 on the point, wraps its steel coils around the lower horseshoe at Gilluly, UT on former 
DRGW trackage that now belongs to the UP. Falls colors were evident on this 2nd day of October, 2000 at 12:10 pm.

All images this page are the Copyrighted work of Frank Keller.
Like what you see?  E-mail Frank and let him know.
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