Under the Weather
Blair Kooistra's Cimarron Valley photo gallery
Dodge City Turn westbound, approximately 8 miles out of Dodge, en route back to Satanta, KS, with 23 cars behind CVRR 3020 and SWRR 28. May 9, 2000.
Cimarron Valley Railroad: High-plains GP30s
In the wake of branchline-pruning following the 1996 Burlington Northern Santa Fe merger, the Cimarron Valley Railroad was created, operated by the Western Group of railroads (which includes the Southwestern Railroad in New Mexico and the Texas panhandle and the Arizona Central shortlines). Operating between Dodge City, Kansas and Boise City, Oklahoma (the former Santa Fe C.V. District) and Satanta, KS and Springfield, Colorado (the former Manter district), the CVRR is largely a granger operation, busiest during summer's wheat harvest, most of which moves to BNSF interchange at Boise City. Agricultural traffic prevails: covered hoppers for the many elevators on line; tank cars of agricultural fertilizer; flat cars of farm implements. The Manter district is largely inactive west of Ulysses, KS, where the large Columbian Carbon Black manufacturing facility keeps a daily switch job out of Satanta busy. Satanta is the railroad's operational hub, and features a new steel engine house. The usual operating scheme finds turns originating there bound to and from Boise City, Ulysses and Dodge City. The appeal of "high plains" railroading is subtle: there's no killer grades or huge trestles or numerous s-curves to burn film on--just lots of farm equipment trackside, many grain elevators to serve as backdrops, and wide vistas of open wheat fields. The motive power fan will note that CVRR's entire roster is second-hand GP30s from the Rio Grande; they look great in their "Western Group" family color of medium blue. On the day I took these photos, four ex-D&RGW GP30s were on the property, along with the Southwestern Railroad 28 (an ex-Phelps Dodge locomotive of the same number), which trailed on the Dodge City turn's return trip. Management and crews of the CVRR are quite friendly and good with information. A call to (316) 649-3280 ahead of time will save you a bit of driving.
click on photographs for larger image!!!
The plains, despite their flat, boring geographical nature, are filled with whimsey--where else but Dodge City are you going to find a large, four-wheeled cow billboard for rent--at $200 a week! A bargain? You better have a pretty good message for all that moo-lah. . .
All photographs this page Copyright 2000 by Blair E. Kooistra. All rights reserved