Locomotives can deadhead on trains for several reasons. In this video we first
see AMTK 457 deadheading to Chicago to become part of the METRA roster.
AMTK 505 makes its way through the 505 area code on its way to the Beech Grove
maintenance facility in Indiana.
Sometimes the deadhead didnít start out that way. Two video segments show BNSF
coming to the aid of Amtrak after mechanical problems on their locomotives
required some help.
And finally we feature three video segments of new Siemenís Chargers. Two of
these segments show the Chargers making their way out of Albuquerque on their
way to new homes in the east. One of the segments shows the Chargers arriving in
Albuquerque and then being set out for a later move to the locomotive testing
facility in Pueblo, Colorado.
October means Balloon Fiesta time and a change of the weather. Roots on the
Rails is a travel company that runs charter rail excursions and this yearís
West of the West train from Los Angeles to Chicago via the Sunset Limited
and then Chicago to Los Angeles via the Southwest Chief features great music
and great excursions. 45 people will have the time of their lives on what
may be the last grand excursion on Amtrak. Five private cars are added to
the Amtrak trains, giving the occupants all the comforts of first class
train travel. The Cimarron River is one of the cars on the train and it
makes its way to Los Angeles a few days before the beginning of the trip. We
catch it passing through Bernalillo, NM.
On the westbound leg, the cars are taken off in Kansas City for the
travelers to visit that great destination. In Albuquerque, the cars are
removed for two nights giving the travelers time to visit Santa Fe and
northern New Mexico before being put back on Amtrak 3 for the final leg to
Los Angeles. Join us as we watch the West of the West pull into the famous
station at Lamy, New Mexico on a cold and windy Sunday. Before being
attached to the westbound Southwest Chief in Albuquerque, we get a glimpse
of the preparations before the train arrives.
The Overland Trail is a 39 seat Club Lounge with Barbershop and Shower. It
was built by the Pullman Standard Car Manufacturing Company for delivery to
the Southern Pacific Railroad in December of 1949. Numbered SP 2981, the car
was specifically ordered in October of '47 for the San Francisco Overland, a
train jointly operated by the Southern Pacific, Union Pacific, and the
Chicago & North Western railroads between Chicago, IL and Oakland, (San
The Silver Splendor was built by the Budd Co. in 1956 as Chicago, Burlington
& Quincy No. 4735, this stainless steel Vista-Dome coach raced between
Chicago and Denver on a daily basis until 1980. Originally named Silver
Buckle, she was part of the last 2 complete conventional train sets to be
ordered in the pre-Amtrak era and traveled over 4.5 million miles.
The Frisco Cimarron River (original #1466) which was built by Pullman
Standard in 1948 as a 14 roomette-4 double bedroom sleeper for the Frisco
Railway's streamlined "Meteor". The "Meteor" ran from St. Louis Union
Station to Oklahoma and had through sleepers to Chicago, New York and
Washington. The sleepers were all named for rivers along the train's route.
The Frisco substantially reduced their passenger system 1965 and the
Cimarron River and other sleepers were sold to the Canadian National
Railway. The Canadian National rebuilt the car, removed the stainless steel
fluted siding and renamed the car Rainbow Falls. The interior configuration
was not changed. VIA Rail Canada assumed ownership of the car in the late
1970's and repainted it blue. In 1981, VIA discontinued many trains and
Rainbow Falls was surplus to their needs. In June 1983, two brothers, Andy
and Tony Marchiando, bought the car from VIA. The car was returned home to
St. Louis and renovation work began. The exterior is now repainted in the
original colors and lettering.
The Pacific Sands was delivered to the Union Pacific Railroad in April of
1950. Part of a total of 50 Pacific Series sleeper cars delivered by the
Budd Company that year, the Pullman Company and Union Pacific had high hopes
for the future expansion of rail travel by re-equipping the "City" trains
with sleek, modern stainless steel cars. The early fifties was the high
point of the showdown between the train, automobile and airplane, and UP,
Pullman and other railroads were coming out fighting!
Half of the Pacific fleet was delivered in the famous two-tone gray Overland
paint scheme, the other half in Union Pacific's Armor Yellow, Gray and red
Streamliner colors. By 1953, all of the cars had been repainted to yellow.
Pacific Sands first operated by the Pullman Company until the late 60's,
when the Pullman Company was dissolved and operation of the cars was taken
over by the Union Pacific Railroad. Pacific Sands was a regular on all of
the "City" trainsóthe City of Portland, City of Los Angeles, and City of San
Francisco among others, and provided classic Pullman service in its 6 double
bedrooms and 10 single roomettes until Amtrakís formation on April 1, 1971.
The Santa Fe Palm Leaf was in the last group of thirteen 10-6 sleeping cars
ordered in 1951 for the Santa Fe Super Chief. These cars, built by ACF, were
part of the post war effort by Santa Fe to re-equip their fleet. Of the
thirteen Palm series sleeping cars, the Palm Leaf is the only known
survivor. Having traveled on the Super Chief several times between
Albuquerque and Chicago while growing up, itís possible that I actually
slept in this car!
Galloping Goose is the popular name given to a series of seven rail cars,
officially designated as "motors" by the railroad, built in the 1930s by the Rio
Grande Southern Railroad and operated until the end of service on the line in
the early 1950s.
Originally running steam locomotives on narrow gauge railways, the perpetually
struggling RGS developed the first of the "geese" as a way to stave off
bankruptcy and keep its contract to run mail into towns in the Rocky Mountains
in Colorado. There was not enough passenger or cargo income to justify
continuing the expensive steam train service at then-current levels, but it was
believed that a downsized railway would return to profitability. The steam
trains would transport heavy cargo and peak passenger loads, but motors would
handle lighter loads.
Motors were not only less expensive to operate, but were also significantly
lighter, thus reducing impact on the rails and roadbeds. This cost saving meant
that the first Goose was paid off and making a profit within three weeks of
going into service. RGS built more Geese, and operated them until the company
abandoned their right-of-way in 1952.
In 1950, when the railroad finally lost its mail contract (in favor of highway
mail carriers), #3, #4, #5, and #7 were converted for tourist operations, and
the "Galloping Goose" name was officially recognized by the railroad. Large
windows were cut in the sides of the freight compartments, and seating was
added. A figure of a running goose and the words "Galloping Goose" were added to
the carbody doors. This service lasted only two years, and the last work of the
"geese" on their home line was to take up the rails.
Goose #5 was bought by the city of Dolores, Colorado. After restoration in 1998
it is now operated from time to time on the Cumbres and Toltec, and Durango and
Silverton railroads, as well as at the Colorado Railroad Museum.
Getting two steam engines ready for a double header run to Antonito Colorado
requires an early morning start by the crews. Both engines have to be filled
with water and coal. Denver and Rio Grande Western 484 stops at the water tower
where a crew member fills the tank.
After clearing out condensation, the locomotive moves to the coaling station
where a front end loader dumps coal into the tender.
484 joins 487 and the crew makes final preparations for departure.