|Town meetings which seem to dominate the smoke choked atmosphere over town these days, have consumed the minds of
the townspeople to such an extant, that mesmerizing speeches from the mayor have made recent train arrivals go
practically unnoticed. D&RGW locomotive 455, with Engineer A.J. at the throttle, chuffed into town without any
"Yeah, I hauled up here some stock cars, flat loads and some goods and there isn't even a depot, freight house, or even a stock pen. Don't know what all those folks are doin' standin' around a himmin' and a hawmmin, but they better get to work buildin' some structures so I have some place to take all this freight. I suppose they'll have a depot when I bring up some passenger cars, but I'm not holdin' my breath!"
Locomotive 455 goes practically unnoticed by crazed crowd
Shemp Howard's old Tailor Shop now Daniel's Outfitters
|Daniels Outfitter's, proprietor John Daniels, has recently moved into town. Mr J. Daniels
specializes in guns, ammunition, and fishing tackle and supplies. Mr Daniels was recently interviewed, Friday
evening while on an excursion to Salida, at Rocky's Corner Tavern.
Mr. Daniels was quoted as saying, "Yep, I was just talkin' with Moe, Larry, and Curly over there, the D&RG Crew Chief and his top two assistants, and they assured me a month ago at this very establishment, that the tracks across the Arkansas will be complete by July 4th and Crested Butte will be a thriving metropolis by the end of summer.
Mr. Daniels went on to say, "Yep, I figgered I can't go wrong openin' a friendly family oriented business, who doesn't need guns, ammo and tackle livin' in a paradise like Crested Butte!"
When asked about acquiring the shop, Mr Daniels elaborated: "Yep, I haven't seen the place yet, won it in a poker game last week from a bloke named Shemp Howard, the previous proprietor. I guess he used to sell other stuff but didn't like bein' a shop clerk, and said we wanted to see the world and join the merchant marine or somethin. But he got a deal on some Santa Fe guns and supplies that the railroad didn't want anymore, so he set up the shop for me. Funny thing, he seemed to be in an awful hurry ...."
Daniels went on to say: "Can't wait to see the place, Mr. Howard told me it came with TWO bathrooms, right around in the
back to boot!"
Another town meeting was observed in Crested Butte. We managed to get close
enough to get photos. Seems the townspeople are still upset about the lack of a
connection at Salida, and they can't understand what the problem is. The mayor
spoke to the people, attempting to explain that the track crew was working as
hard as they can. The crowd grew more restless, noting that the mayor was all
hoity-toity in his shiney black car and fancy suit. Some thought he looked a
bit nervous and pale.
The photo at right pretty much tells the story.
The crowd decided to *WALK* to Salida to see what progress was being made there, noting that the bridge was now in a Parlin, so they wouldn't even have to get their shoes wet. They expressed their appreciation for that hard working track crew.
Check out the Salida Spit and Cleora Bull for follow up articles ...
Mayor consoles heated citizens of Crested Butte
As far as them Santa Fe'ers goes, they're just playin you fer fools. The General's got the law on our side now and if they try and break the Treaty I'll bring DeRemer's crew down from Tennessee Pass and we'll take on Bat and his gang of hooligans on again, by Godfrey!
But if I were Crested Butte folks, I'd quit frettin' and start firin' up them ovens and get that coke ready. We is just about outta coal down here, 'specially with the coaling station walls as thin as cardboard (whatever that is), you'd think they would put a damn chute on it to boot. Still can't figger out how we're supposed to load the coal in the tenders from it let alone how to get the coal in the dang flimsey thing.
Be-sides, those damn mules needed bathing fer damn sure, anyhow.
SLMI President suspected to be viewing recent improvements to trackage this Thursday and Saturday
SLMI President expected to be in good humor at those times
Residents of Crested Butte and Gunnison encouraged to voice their concerns directly to SLMI President at those times
END OF MESSAGE
Today, in a special press release and town meeting, the mayors of Crested Butte and Gunnison joined forces to express their concern over the total lack of response by the management team of the SLMI, the owner and operators of the D&RGW railroad in their towns. Earlier this week, the towns were excited to welcome the first train into their towns in months with the recent completion of the trackage. While this was a monumental achievement, efficient movement of freight and passengers is still being blocked by the lack of complete trackage in Salida, across the Arkansas River.
The Gunnison mayor was quoted as saying, “We know the link to the standard gauge portion of the D&RGW is vital to efficiently moving traffic to and from our towns.” “The lack of completed trackage across the river and into the dual gauge yard in Salida is the result of poor planning and execution on the part of the SLMI management team.”
The Crested Butte mayor added, “It is our understanding that the President of SLMI has been spending time on such follies as flying machines. Why does anybody need to play with such outlandish concepts when we could have a perfectly acceptable transportation system with the completion of one bridge and three switches?”
Also specifically criticized was the Dual Gauge Track Foreman and Treasurer. “We understand that this delusional nut-job is currently traveling in support of a supposed flying machine that can put objects into an orbit around the earth!” “To what purpose could orbiting objects ever be to the average man, especially when he can’t even ride a train across a river?” “Shouldn’t we tackle the problems here on earth, such as three dual gauge switches and one bridge before we embark on resource wasting, ivory tower endevours such as flying machines?”
The crowds that had gathered for the press release slowly disbanded, grumbling as they crossed the barren landscape,
vowing to keep the pressure on to complete the narrow gauge connection into Salida.
On Sunday, May 20, at approximately 5pm, a train arrived in Crested Butte for the first time in months. The entire town was waiting for the train’s arrival, and the excitement could be felt by everyone.
A large amount of work was performed leading up to this monumental achievement. Grading crews arrived on site at 9am on Saturday and continued working the grade in Parlin, pulling up the swtiches on each end of the sidings to allow upgrades to the grading. After leveling the roadbed using a giant belt sander and sanding blocks, a dip in the subroadbed was corrected by using cedar window/door shims on a riser. The roadbed was completed and leveled through to the connection with the existing roadbed on the Crested Butte Branch. The track crew arrived and track was laid through Parlin before the crews retired for the day.
On Sunday, track laying commenced at Parlin, heading west. Tracks were laid into Gunnison, including the east yard ladder. The management met to determine the next step. A decision was made to continue laying track to connect with the existing track up to Crested Butte. In the meantime, the electrical crew continued behind the track laying crew, drilling holes next to the rails to allow the giant wires from the center of the earth to be connected to the rails.
The track was connected through at approximately 4pm, with the electrical efforts following closely behind. Electrical activities were completed to the maximum extent possible, and the giant push pins that were temporarily retaining the track were removed.
DRGW 489 departed Parlin with two box cars, 4 reefers, one empty gondola and a caboose. The run from Parlin to Gunnison was uneventful, with the big 2-8-2 easily handling the curve. Electrical conductivity at the frogs was intermittent due to the lack of switch machines, but the train was able to make it through if ground crews firmly held the turnout throwbars over to make a good connection. The train passed Gunnison without stopping, heading directly up to Crested Butte.
The climb up to Crested Butte was uneventful, with no derailments or stalls. 489 approached Crested Butte and slowed for the tight radius “kink” in the track coming into Crested Butte. The 2-8-2 nearly stalled in this area due to the tight radius, but managed to pull through without derailing. 489 pulled into town amid the fanfair.
The train brought dry goods and supplies, and fresh produce and fruit. The towns people were estatic! Having been forced to bring all supplies into town via mule and wagons for several months, refrigerated items had become nothing but a distant memory. Having grown tired of eating only locally hunted wildlife, the people were quite excited about having some produce. When asked why they didn’t simply grow some fruits and vegetables, the mayor responded, “Have you ever tried to grow anything up here? This ground is as hard as plywood! Nothing will take root!” We’re really tired of eating what we have up here. The little that we have tastes like dehydrated foam rubber that has been ground up. Its nasty stuff, and we don’t even have much of it.”
After unloading, the locomotive was turned and the train headed downhill. The downhill run was smooth, with the exception of an interference in the Marshall Pass snowshed. It may be intelligent to remove one post on the west end. The train traversed the entire NG run into West Salida, where it was halted due to a track out condition on the Arkansas River bridge.
The Crested Butte population continued to celebrate until, in a Monte Pythonesque experience, a giant rabbit showed up under
their town. The giant rabbit departed through the back door, but the townspeople had moved inside for safety.
The Crested Butte mayor has joined with the mayor of Gunnison in expressing his concern that the moving of freight to and
from their towns will still require manual transfers of all items by pack mules across the Arkansas River in Salida.
“While we appreciate the effort that has gone into getting operational trackage into our town, we are still concerned that
the free flow of commerce continues to be hampered by the lack of three turnouts and rails across the bridge in Salida.”
When asked what his perception of the problem was, he responded, “We appreciate the tediousness of handlaying track, but
we are concerned that the continued diversion of labor resources to other, less pressing projects is hampering through
traffic over the entire narrow gauge line.” “we plan to continue to apply pressure to the railroad management to complete
this trackwork before any new projects are initiated.”