November 5, 1999 Railfanning
A day off in the office found us chasing trains Friday afternoon around Bond, Colorado.  It was 60 degrees in the mountains with not a cloud in the sky.  We were hoping for a westbound with the afternoon sun but only found four eastbounds.  Darn.  We still made the best of it.  My friend, Todd Busse, was using the digital camera today and most of these great shots are to his credit.

EB Z-train at East Yarmony   |  Load EB Coal train at Crater
Smoking brakes at Bond  |  State Bridge  |  Country Traffic Jam

EB Z-train at East Yarmony.
An eastbound Z-train of UPS trailers rolls by East Yarmony with two Southern Pacific AC4400 for power.

A 54-car loaded coal train descends through the middle of the Crater Loops.  Usually, coal trains on the Craig Branch are twice as long.  There were two locomotives on the point and one on the end of the train.  However, the crew was having mechanical problems with the rear unit and it was basically along for the ride.
Full dynamics.
Below Crater Loops.
The train continues its descent to Bond with Rock Creek Canyon in the background.

For some reason, this train had two crews on the lead power.  At the Bond road crossing, one of the crews detrained and waited to board the unit on the end of the train to troubleshoot the problems.
Bond highway crossing.
Smokin' No, not a hotbox, just very hot brakes.  Without the dynamic braking power of the  unit at the end of the train, the engineer had to use the brakes on the coal cars more than usual.  This created a acrid, smoky decent to the mainline.
Here you can see the smoke rolling off the wheels as the train begins to pick up speed.
Hot wheels.
Disappearing act.
The rear unit finally comes back online as the train disappears into the haze of brake smoke.

The steep grades of the Craig Branch are now behind the coal train as it continues along the Colorado River until Granby.  This short train is destined for the Holnam (ex-Ideal Basic) cement plant at Boettcher, Colorado north of Ft. Collins. 
Gliding through State Bridge.

Moooove out of the way. We headed back towards Crater and got stuck in a country traffic jam.  Above the cows, you can see the cut for the rail line west of Volcano.

The other two eastbounds were loaded coal trains destined for Chiles, Kentucky.  One was parked in Bond and the other passed through before we got stuck in 'traffic'. 

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