WESTERN PACIFIC AND COLORADO MIDLAND

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Posted by MidlandMike on Monday, December 26, 2016 9:55 PM

Trinity River Bottoms Boomer

...

It appears that the USRA ran the railroads using maps instead of logic or brains, thus the CM looked good on the map as the shorter route, therefore the road simply received more traffic than it could handle due to the construction trains out on the line as the same time.

Most will agree, the Colorado Midland should have never been built.  There are many other railroads in the US that fall into the same category.  The New York & Oswego Midland (Later NYO&W) to name another.  Fact is, had WWI not occured, and Carlton had been successful in rebuilding the CM and extending it to Salt Lake City as he had invisioned, would the CM have lasted up to the outbreak of WWII or possibly beyond, taking into consideration the D&RG didn't obtain the Moffat Tunnel line until it purchased the D&SL?

 

USRA used he most reliable logic-- the Rio Grande route worked, the CM route didn't.

I would not agree that all those routes should not have been built.  They served their purpose for many years.  With regard to the CM's longevity, the Moffat Tunnel route is so far superior to the CM, that it isn't even a contest.

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Posted by Trinity River Bottoms Boomer on Tuesday, December 27, 2016 4:00 AM

My point Part II: Soon after A.E. Carlton purchased the Midland he started a massive rebuilding program.  The timing was bad since it occurred when WWI broke out and he was busy rebuilding the line so CM couldn't handle the increased traffic routed over the road by the USRA as a result of the war.  I'm still convinced that the D&RG was out to stop CM literally in it's tracks and gross ignorance of the Stooges running the USRA were either too damn dumb to see the light at the end of the tunnel or were paid off, or both! 

This crap continues to this day in DC by too many crooked greedy politicians.  Perhaps Trump will be able to turn the tide* on this eternal internal corruption once and for all?

*tide: Not to be confused with the soap powder by the same name!:) LOL 

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Posted by CSSHEGEWISCH on Tuesday, December 27, 2016 10:12 AM

Since the Colorado Midland was never able to reach Salt Lake City, when it came to eastbound traffic, the CM gave Rio Grande a golden opportunity to short-haul itself.  Needless to say, minimal eastbound traffic made it onto the CM from the Rio Grande.  Because of WW1, the abandonment of CM probably came 10-15 years sooner than it otherwise might have occurred.

The daily commute is part of everyday life but I get two rides a day out of it. Paul
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Posted by MidlandMike on Tuesday, December 27, 2016 9:52 PM

Carlton bought a broken down RR that had previously been contolled by the Rio Grande and C&S.  He should not have had any expectation of traffic from the Rio Grande at Grand Juncton.  He had no hope of obtaining financing for building a line to Salt Lake City, between and parallel to the Rio Grande and the UP.  Even then he would have faced the same unfriendly connections to the same Gould and Harriman systems at SLC.  Investors had learned the lesson of the Milwaukee Road Pacific extension and the EP&SW.  The CM could not survive on the local business, which the USRA did not take away.  Carlton quit just months before the armistice, why wasn't the line revived in the couple of years before it was scrapped?  Carlton's primary interest was his mining operations, and he saved the part of the line he needed, to connect with Cripple Creek.

While I would liked to have seen the CM last longer, I can't but help think that the loss of the CM may have helped in the final push for approval of the Moffat Tunnel bonds.

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Posted by Trinity River Bottoms Boomer on Thursday, December 29, 2016 4:18 PM

Talk about having your head stuck up a potbelly stove.  I have been blessed (so far....) with a sound mind which can be debated.  Just ask my wife!  As much as I hate to eat crow, I will, this time anyway!

I went downstairs to my basement "office/library" and reread Chapter 5: The Carlton Midland, in Mel McFarland's excellent book on the CM.  I was shocked when I read the chapter again.  How on earth could a CM fan such as I am forget so much?

It clearly shows that the USRA was responsible for shutting down the Midland shortly after Carlton had purchased it at the junk sale that was held in Colorado City.  The railroad wasn't chocked with traffic that it couldn't move but it was rerouted over the D&RG and UP leaving the CM with no transcontinental traffic at all!

I admit that I appear here without a fist full of fancy figures but I wouldn't put it past the Rio Grande's Robber Barons to have paid off USRA (Government) officials since the D&RG did not want a "super" (my wording) CM to emerge to compete with them through the Rockies! 

Carlton wanted to extend the railroad to Salt Lake City.  I don't intend to debate the reason this wouldn't have worked in all probability but the Hagerman Tunnel, which replaced the old high line, would have worked in Carlton's favor.  The CM  held 50% ownership in the Rio Grande Junction Ry. that operated between Glenwood Springs and Grand Junction as well.  These are two positive notes that I would like to present here.

Carlton could probably have obtained the required "friendly connection" with Southern Pacific. 

Perhaps not so with Western Pacific since it had been built with D&RG $$$ from the beginning.  In retrospect, I wonder why the D&RG didn't merge WP into it's system after it was completed to the west coast?  It was a natural!  Add the Gould interest in Missouri Pacific and you would have had a direct line from St. Louis to San Francisco, which indeed would have created a gigantic problem for CM.

 

I don't want to speculate how long the Midland would have remained in business had Carlton reached Utah and obtained the SP connection.  Afterall, if we all talk til the cows come home we still won't derive at an answer to satify everyone.

"Bert" did retain the Midland Terminal to move ore from Cripple Creek mines (including those he held an interest in) to the smelter in The Springs so it wound up running over CM rails from Colorado Springs to Cripple Creek up Ute Pass, thence over it's own track at Divide.  Movies of MT survive!  

Like most ghost railroads today, each has it's dedicated followers and mourners.  CM, though having disappeared almost 100 years ago being disolved officially in 1921, still has many.

The Santa Fe returned at the end of CM's operations running a special train over the line to evaluate the possibility of purchasing it once again since it had controlled the Midland in the 1890s.  This is how CM wound up with the unusual Hanrahan reefers, since ATSF rostered them during the same period.

"John Santa Fe" decided against investing in CM and it slowly faded away but to this day isn't forgotten.  Robber Barons remain to this day too, e.i. Goldman Sachs, and it is scary that some of the Top Dogs will be in high offices of the forthcoming Trump administration.  I don't see any blue skies appearing on the horizon for one single blue collar worker despite all the promises Donald made during the presidential campaign.

 

   

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Posted by Trinity River Bottoms Boomer on Friday, January 20, 2017 10:15 AM

Re: Western Pacific.  How are the color pictorials on the WP published by Four Ways West and Morning Sun?  Are there any photos of the Ford* Broncos that WP used in  Sierra Nevada territory on fire patrol duty?  WP even ran an ad in Trains in the early 60s showing how they employed Broncos to look for fires set by the brakes of trains decending the mountain grades.

*Ford is used here without permisson of the Ford Motor Company nor is it intended to be a plug for FMC but I'd sure love to own one of the original Broncos that ruled the rails on the WP back then!:)

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Posted by Trinity River Bottoms Boomer on Friday, February 10, 2017 4:43 AM

HELP!  There must be at least one Western Pacific fan who can provide information on the WP's Ford Bronco fleet that were used in fire duty in the Sierras in the 60s!  A check of the few WP web sites hasn't turned up anything or I don't know where to properly search.  Ditto with Google.  So far nothing. 

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Posted by CSSHEGEWISCH on Friday, February 10, 2017 10:13 AM

I doubt that Colorado Midland would have received much traffic from Southern Pacific at Ogden since SP was restricted by law from routing through traffic to anyone other than Union Pacific.

The daily commute is part of everyday life but I get two rides a day out of it. Paul
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Posted by DSchmitt on Friday, February 10, 2017 12:43 PM

Trinity River Bottoms Boomer

Re: Western Pacific.  How are the color pictorials on the WP published by Four Ways West and Morning Sun?  Are there any photos of the Ford* Broncos that WP used in  Sierra Nevada territory on fire patrol duty?  WP even ran an ad in Trains in the early 60s showing how they employed Broncos to look for fires set by the brakes of trains decending the mountain grades.

*Ford is used here without permisson of the Ford Motor Company nor is it intended to be a plug for FMC but I'd sure love to own one of the original Broncos that ruled the rails on the WP back then!:)

 

I did a quick look through some books I have on the WP.  Found nothing on Broncos in the 1960's. 

In the 1970's:

Life on the Feather River by Bob Larson pg 87.  B&W photoo of Bronco in front of train preparing to escort it  in April 1978.  Caption says that in 1970's WP started "Bonco Escort" program.  Bronos with radio contact ran two miles ahead of trains to spot rock slides.

The Western Pacific by Don DeNevi pg 104.  Different B&W photo, bu probably same Bronco and Train,  Caption says Bronco runs 1-1/2 mile ahead of train.  Train will not enter a tunnel until Broco has emerged from other side and radioed that it is safe to proceed.

Western Pacific Color Guide to Freight and Passenger Equipment by Jim Eager pg 119. Color photo of 1978 Ford Bronco parked at Keddy in April 1978.  Caption says Broncos replaced Fairmont-Willys highrailers patroling the R/W through the Canyon.

 

I tried to sell my two cents worth, but no one would give me a plug nickel for it.

I don't have a leg to stand on.

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Posted by Trinity River Bottoms Boomer on Friday, February 10, 2017 1:16 PM

Thanks DSchmitt!  I seem to recall ads that WP ran in Trains in the early 60s showing Broncos that were placed in service to follow freights to extinguish any fires along the ROW as a result of heated brake shoes igniting the brush next to the tracks.  I no longer have my Trains magazine collection so can't confirm this.  Anybody who can, I'd appreciate it.  Ford Bronco fans, where are you?

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Posted by DSchmitt on Friday, February 10, 2017 2:27 PM

Trinity River Bottoms Boomer

Thanks DSchmitt!  I seem to recall ads that WP ran in Trains in the early 60s showing Broncos that were placed in service to follow freights to extinguish any fires along the ROW as a result of heated brake shoes igniting the brush next to the tracks.  I no longer have my Trains magazine collection so can't confirm this.  Anybody who can, I'd appreciate it.  Ford Bronco fans, where are you?

 

Oct 1979 Trains pg 36.  Photo of Bronco at MP 249  Feb 14 1979, "Storm Patrol 2 miles of Piggyback train

I tried to sell my two cents worth, but no one would give me a plug nickel for it.

I don't have a leg to stand on.

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Posted by Trinity River Bottoms Boomer on Friday, February 10, 2017 3:56 PM

Gettin' close.  Need to backdate some more.  I won't give up. 

Termites turned my wooden nickel into a pile of sawdust.

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Posted by Trinity River Bottoms Boomer on Saturday, March 11, 2017 9:01 AM

To my knowlege, no professional video team to date has taken to the air to photograph the Colorado Midland ROW starting at the Colorado Springs ATSF depot all the way to Grand Junction.  I'd purchase such a DVD in a heartbeat to see how the railroad looks today.  In Don Abbott's Sundance published book on the CM, Daylight Through the Divide, there are several color photos included of a few choice views of the road as they looked around the time when the book was released compared to the period when the railroad was still in operation. 

It would sure be a pleasure to ride the CM today as well as the branch to Aspen as well as the Midland Terminal to Cripple Creek from the air.  True, despite the fact both railroads have been gone for many many years, the spectacular scenery that the Midland Route was famous for, remains.

 

 

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