Monday, October 8, 2012

Winter's coming: UP 604 in Colfax

In the process of traveling up to my cabin from work this past week, I happened to stop in Colfax for groceries and hardware.

In the late 90's, Colfax was a Helper Unit point, where predominantly elder SD40s would be attached to heavy consists and helper unit crews waited for their various trains.  It was a place of great activity where train crews changed, they stopped for lunch, let helpers idle, and various trains would be placed "in the hole" so that priority trains achieved a run-around.

Then Colfax -- whose existence was owed solely to the presence of the Central Pacific Railroad -- decided it was time to kick the railroad to the curb.  Too much idling.  Too much noise.  Too much diesel.  But mostly too much noise.  Despite the fact that the idling locomotives were nowhere near any homes but only adjacent remote businesses -- that could profit (and did) from crews seeking food whilst waiting.

In the meantime, now and then, Colfax reaped what it sowed.  It wanted to disavow the railroads?  Both Southern Pacific and Union Pacific?  It achieved what it wanted: it went from its own police department to coverage from the surrounding county.  It went from an incorporated city to a portion of the surrounding county.  It went from significance to insignificance.  Just check the current status of business: the only consistency in the city is one of its bars.  Imagine that.

And it went from helper units crewed by an engineer and a conductor attached in Colfax to DPUs (Distributed Power Units) assembled back down in Roseville and operated by point cab engineers via Locotrol.

That said, here is a detailed examination of UP 604 in all its recent resplendent 7/25/2012 Armour Yellow paint, attached to SPMW 4034 (a Jordan spreader) and SPMW 304, a flanger unit.

I would have attached a video, except that this consist was dead and not idling.

Ain't that great: I caught a brand new repaint yet unspoiled by dirt and grime and work and tunnels.
These Jordan spreaders exhibit the swirling circular windows customarily found on large ships.

This cone funnels snow from the center of the track to the right of the consist.
As opposed to previous versions, the new flanger units feature extended hothouse windows.

Here, the cone will funnel snow out towards the left side of the consist.

EMD B-trucks on the locomotive.

In the overall scheme, UP 604 is remarkably light in weight.

Looks like you have an idea as to how much fuel a GP38-2 can carry.
Very nice UP logo.

Here, a major statement is made.  Pneumatic bells will soon be replaced by Graham-White E-bells, powered by electricity instead of pressurized air.  Gone will be the clang of an actual bell, replaced by a simulacrum.
I frankly love the newly-painted and sand-cast major truck details exhibiting EMD in Harbor Mist Grey.

Anyone have any greater details in terms of various UP snow fighters?

Considering -- these photographs were taken in early October.  In -- I would suggest -- anticipation of some serious weather ahead for Winter of 2012.


Click on each photograph to enlarge it markedly and, perhaps, to enable a desktop photo.  Copy my photographs for free if you will, but please credit me.


Well Seasoned Fool said...

Nothing impresses me like a locomotive working deep snow. Saw lots of them as a kid growing up along side the D&RG.

No town last for long without a payroll. Always, there are fools who fail to understand the multiplier effect works both ways.

Milepost 154 said...

Watching one of these at work is an absolute fascinating pleasure, is it not?


Well Seasoned Fool said...

When I was in the 6th grade (1955) in Toponas, CO, we had an April blizzard that shut down all roads and the railroad. There was a very old steam powered rotary snow blower sitting in Phippsburg,CO: been there for many years. My father was the Section Foreman. He and the other railraod workers in the area got the snow blower up and running. I got to ride in the snow blower cab for a couple of hours. What a memory!

Milepost 154 said...

Great memories, they are.

There is a video, entitled "EXTREME SP," where I first met Richard Steinheimer at Soda Springs, and I brought along my scanner. In this video, you can hear my scanner traffic, and watch the SP rotary plow working as another snowfighting consist rolls by.

In deference to RS, I didn't record my meet on film. We met three times later.

I very much miss RS.