After all of the talk about the Denver Folks gathering at Joe's to
catch a glimpse of the 844 Saturday morning, I decided to throw the
kids in the truck and head out to see if we could find the 844 on its
way to Pueblo Saturday morning, too. After a nice blueberry pancake
breakfast at the house, the kids and I jumped into the truck about
9:00 and headed for Palmer Lake. We arrived about 9:30 and were
greeted by police officers and about 100 or so folks ready to
photograph the train. We briefly talked to the two young women
police officers and asked them if we could cross the tracks, since
the sun was on the other side. With a little hesitation they finally
said yes, mumbling...everyone else is. We set up next to three guys
in front of us and waited for the train. About 10 minutes later we
heard the rumbling of the diesel, then the rails atop the concrete
ties started singing! About that time the 844 came into view and
thundered past us going about 20 mph shaking the very ground we stood
on, mere feet from the tracks! The kids were jumping up and down
with excitement as we watched the observation car pass , folks in
cowboy hats waving form the platform. Here is one of about 15 shots
I took from the tripod with my D2h...
After the train passed we visited with the three gentlemen that were in front of us for about 20 minutes before we headed out. Come to find out they were all members of the Denver O-scale club down at Union Station! Two were narrow minded and the other was a standard gauge buff! They invited us down for their next operating session. Apparently they are still going strong with a long time lease agreement...
Next we headed off toward Pueblo down I-25 hoping to find the
train again after being almost 35 minutes behind it. We hit traffic
in Colorado Springs which put us about another 10 minutes behind.
Then about Fountain we saw the black smoke rising above the tree tops
and were excited again. Traffic on I-25 was silly. Folks were
trying to pace the train as it was gaining speed on the down hill
grade. We finally passed and exited about a mile in front of it and
set up to take shots of another run by. I took several more shots
hand held and picked two...
As the train passed by, I got a shot of my daughter Shannon snapping
a few of the train. "Train up a child in the way she should "love
trains"...and when she is old, she will not depart from it"
Paraphrased from the New International Version :-)
After we got back on I-25, we caught up to the train as she was going
about 70 mph by then! Traffic was crazy. Shannon said she saw a guy
on the roof of his car taking pictures as the train crossed over I-25
just outside of Pueblo. We exited off I-25 in Pueblo hopping to find
the old Union Depot where the train was to stop and let off its
passengers. We were routed and re-routed around the Colorado State
fair parade downtown, and after about 30 minutes of traffic jam
arrived at the Pueblo Union Depot. Folks were just getting on the
shuttle that was to take them to the fairgrounds. We headed inside
the depot and came out trackside to the waiting 2007 Colorado State
Fair Express. The 844 was down the tracks to the east sitting right
under the overpass in the shade...aurgh! We took some photos anyway
as the kids posed in front the pilot .
I love running gear shots...
People were crawling all over the tracks as the big girl sat there
and hissed at us. Then a guy jumped out of the cab and yelled at
everyone to get back, just about the time the engineer let loose on
about a 5 second full whistle blast that sent everyone jumping out of
their skin! That was followed immediately by a release from the
cylinder cocks for what seemed an eternity as we all stood there
deafened by the second blast of steam. Then she slowly pulled the
train down along the tracks as they head off to turn the train around...