A Classic Day of Railfanning
For various sentimental reasons, probably my favorite year of operations. On the railroad, it’s still solidly D&RGW. Two, count ’em, two home-road passenger trains still ply the rails– nowhere else in the nation can that be said at this time. The area has not yet succumbed entirely to montane “urban” sprawl. First and second-generation diesels can be seen operating side-by-side. What’s not to love?
What follows is a scale re-enactment of one Saturday in early January 1982. Per Rule No. One, I’ve blurred a few lines of reality, but the flavor of the day is authentic. Pretend for a moment that we have two friends, amateur railfans, who have split up to cover the line on both sides of the Divide in order to photograph the Ski Train’s annual Mayor of Denver special. The passenger department has borrowed a pair of dome coaches from the Rio Grande Zephyr for the day and put them on the Ski Train instead. While waiting for the special, our photographers also encounter the usual assortment of revenue trains.
It’s been a long, tiring, but satisfying day for our small cadre of railfans. Tomorrow they’ll take their film to Walgreens for some 1-hour film developing, and they’ll gather to swap stories. Meanwhile, the railroad never sleeps; it goes about its business as always.
here is the track plan.)