Tunnel Motors on the MRODV

Rio Grande Power in the Union Pacific Era

Who would have expected, after two mergers with larger roads, that one would see a pair of Rio Grande tunnel motors leading a train in November 2000? Yet that's just what happened on the 25th of November, and we were lucky enough to capture the event as the train (MRODV)* descended the Big 10 loops at Rocky.

We first noticed the train as it met with a westbound manifest up at Clay siding; the haze made it difficult to identify the power, but binoculars revealed the billboard "Rio Grande" lettering. We immediately headed for the pull-off at Rocky to watch it come down the hill.

 Here the train traverses the upper Big 10 loop. You can see the hopper-car windbreak behind the train.
 Here the train is between the upper and lower loops. You get a good look into the bowl around which the track must circle.
 Now we can see both ends of the train, as the middle section snakes around the lower Big 10 loop.
We can see the power better now, which includes a UP C44AC. Note the block of centerbeam flat cars at the head end, which contain wallboard from the American Gypsum plant at Gypsum, Colorado.
Passing the signals at the east switch of Rocky siding, we can see evidence that we're in the post-Grande era. Note the plate on 5385's nose where the Mars light used to be, and the UP-style ditch lights. At least they painted the stripes across the nose patch...
 ...close enough to feel the ground rumbling now...
 My videographer and helpmate, capturing the train on 8mm.
 The power curves under the recently-rebuilt Colo. 93 bridge.


* MRODV is the UP train symbol: M (Manifest Freight), RO (Roper Yard, Salt Lake) to DV (Denver).

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