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The First Powder River Trip 1984

Getting there was half the fun!

by Chris Guenzler

Bill and I decided to make our first trip to the Powder River Basin going via the Joint Lines and Sherman Hill. We left on July 19, 1986 and drove to Flagstaff for the night.

7/20/1984 On the second morning of the trip we caught the Santa Fe 5152 East having just entered New Mexico at Lupton.

The Santa Fe 5689 West about to cross the Continental Divide at Thoreau, New Mexico.

The first surprise of our trip was two Missouri Pacific U-30-C's 2973 and 2974 in work train service at Baca, New Mexico.

A late afternoon shot of Santa Fe 3817 East at Colmor, New Mexico. From here we went to Trinidad, Colorado for the night.

7/21/1984 The next morning we drove down to the Trinidad Santa Fe Station.

At Trinidad, Colorado the next morning we found the EMD Test Set. It had SD-50 8562, F3-A 463, EMD Drag Unit 902, SDP-40F 169, Test Car ET 800 and SD-50 8525.

Here is a picture of the F3-A 463.

A view across the river of the SDP-40F 169.

BN 7080 West heading out of Walensburg.

BN 5044 East starting down the grade at Palmer Lake.

BN 7878 West about to crest the grade at Palmer Lake.

BN 8140 East climbing the last of the grade to Palmer Lake.

BN F-45 6624 was used in helper service on this day.

Santa Fe 3556 East speeding though Castle Rock.

DRGW 5395 East climbing through Sedalia starting the trip down the Joint Line.

At La Salle, here we found the local power including three MOP GP-38-2s 2011, 2032 and 2033 plus the NW 4140, a GP-38AC 4140.

Another view of the rare GP-38AC 4140. With that we drove to the Motel 6 in Greeley finding the ground covered with Locusts. Walking to the room with the crunching sounds as we stepped on hundreds walking from the car to the room.

Sherman Hill 7/22/1984

The following morning we drove north into Wyoming to a place I had always wanted to take pictures at, the Union Pacific's crossing of Sherman Hill.

We caught our first train at the big curve at Burford with Union Pacific DD-40 6913 leading four Norfolk Southern units east.

We traveled to the western end of the Hermosa Tunnel catching the Union Pacific 3757 West on a steelslab train exiting the only tunnel on Sherman Hill.

A few trains later, we caught the Union Pacific 9363 East climbing through Hermosa to reach the tunnel. After our fill at Hermosa, we went to Dale, getting on the hill where so many famous pictures had been taken over the years.

We caught the Union Pacific 3780 West slowing to a stop.

After one eastbound, the Union Pacific 3780 did not move, so we went to his head end when the DD-40AX 6927 led its westbound into our scene.

With storm clouds gathering, we headed towards Sherman when the Union Pacific 3718 East appeared.

The shot of the Union Pacific DD-40 6929 going past the fabulous rocks was too good the past up. We returned to Greeley beating the storms out of Wyoming.

7/23/1984 The next morning, we drove north into Wyoming towards the Powder River Basin.

We stopped by the BN yard in Cheyenne, catching the BN SD-9 6164.

Further north, at Dwyer we caught the local on the old Colorado Southern line from Wendover to Texline, Texas. From there we went to Guernsey for a quick look, before heading west.

On the way to Douglas, we caught the BN 6520 East with a Conrail unit in the consist at Bona, Wyoming.

In Douglas, we lucked out catching the CNW local coming into town. My luck was good as the crew gave me a CNW Employee Timetable.

We made our way north into the Basin and after catching a few trains, near sunset the BN 8002 East came through Reno Jct. As I shot this picture my lens came apart thus ending the use of that camera forever. We camped out near Reno Jct, which was the darkest place I had ever camped at.

7/24/1984 The next day we drove into Douglas to find a camera, which we located a Rexall Drug Store and I purchased an Olympus Camera.

Moments later I took my first picture with it of the BN 8085 East sitting doing a crew change.

We headed south to East Caballo Jct where we found the BN 5024 along with three Kansas City Southern units.

We went back to Reno Jct, catching another eastbound waiting to enter the mine under the Wyoming Big Sky.

Next we caught the BN 5560 West at Antelope.

Back to Reno Jct, we caught the BN 5063 West.

A little later we caught the smoky BN 8091 East cresting a little hill.

Back to East Caballo Jct, we caught the BN 7219 West.

This train had SDP-40 6398 with a fuel tender.

A little later at Belle Aye Jct, we caught the BN 5546 loading at the mine.

7/26/1984 The next morning we drove to Edgemont, South Dakota.

Here we caught the BN GP-20 2059.

On another train was the CNW SD-40-2 6922 in Falcon Service paint.

Behind him was wreck rebuilt BN U-30-CB 4500.

Down the road at Elkhorn we found the BN 5129 East waiting in the siding.

At Provo, here came the White Train, as BN 2309 West. The White Train hauls nuclear weapons to Idaho or Washington.

Here is a rear view of the White Train with gun turrets that really work.

Further down the road at Ardmore, South Dakota we found the BN 7830 West.

Now into Nebraska, a picture from the highway overpass in Crawford, we shot the BN 5063 East.

We went to Belmont, at the top of Crawford Hill, drove through the former only railroad tunnel in Nebraska catching the BN 5564 climbing the last of the grade.

Next came the BN 5063 East climbing towards the summit at Belmont.

We made our way towards North Platte getting a picture of the Union Pacific 2854 West at Sunol, Nebraska.

At North Platte, we photographed the Union Pacific 3541 with pool power included in its consist.

Here is a Missouri Pacific SD-40 3160 in full Eagle paint. We next headed to the hotel for the night.

7/27/1984 The next morning we headed out to CP 276, west of Keith, Nebraska to watch the train pass. Many different railroads were represented.

First though, is the ultimate UP merger painted unit, the UP GP-35 744.

A nicely painted Milwaukee Road SD-40-2 142 in their new Hiawatha paint scheme along with a MKT unit.

Back in North Platte later, we caught the CNW 5057 West pulling into town.

7/28/1984 We headed south from North Platte, down into Kansas.

We caught a Santa Fe local in Scott City, Kansas. From there it was back into Colorado.

We found the test set again this time testing on Raton Pass. Here is a nice picture of F3-A 462.

That was followed by the EMD Drag Unit 902 at Gallinas, Colorado.

On the move here is the test set climbing Raton Pass in Colorado. That night we stayed in Grants, New Mexico.

7/29/1984 Returning the same way we came we made a stop for a unique picture.

At Baca there was this ex Apache RS-11 901. From there we overnighted in Kingman before going home the next day.