SLRG under RailAmerica

For two and a half years, the San Luis & Rio Grande was a RailAmerica operation.  Between
July 2003 and December 2005, SLRG leased up to seven 4-axle units in the GP40 series from Helm and elsewhere, all originally build by EMD.  One of them even was originally a Denver & Rio Grande Western diesel, which means that it was back on home rails, for a while.

We just happened to be passing through Alamosa on opening day for the SLRG, July 2nd, 2003. The first day on the job had its share of headaches, evidently, since the locals hadn’t departed by noon. I managed a few shots downtown, and again of the Monte Vista local as it returned.

SLRG01 Viewed from the south side of the downtown yard, the new power is lined up next to the depot.  There are two paint schemes represented here.  The
Monte Vista local is on the right, heading out with a cut of tank cars.
SLRG02 A closer look at HLCX No. 4301, in its maroon-and-blue livery.  It turns out that this unit was originally Rio Grande No. 3065, a GP40– back on home rails, albeit in camouflage…
SLRG03 The Monte Vista local returns later.  This is the first time I’d seen a unit
running tail-end-first in the valley.  Evidently they didn’t bother to turn
the unit on the wye at Sugar Junction.
SLRG04 A little closer now.  My camera was acting up and underexposing everything
on this day, dern it…
SLRG05 Here she is, HATX No. 805, eastbound under typical June skies.

The newly-formed railroad set about trying to improve their situation, including renewed sales efforts and installation of plant. A fueling facility was installed in the Fall of 2004, and parts of the line were re-ballasted.

We came through Alamosa twice in late 2004, in September and again on November 12, 2004. I captured the images below on those visits. This was still a year before the Permian buy-out.

HATX_805 This look at No. 805 was taken in September 2004. It’s seen from the south, across the yard.  In the foreground you can see the evidence of old tracks being removed in the unused portions of the yard, in preparation for installation of the tank farm for railroad fuel. Some segments of three-rail track had remained in the yard area until this project removed it all.
DRGW01423_2004 This photo also dates from September.  The Rio Grande caboose No.  01423 was sold to SLRG along with the rest of the line back in 2003.  As you can see, the local taggers had found it.The caboose later found its way to the D&RG tourist line and sat in Monte Vista for many years until being sold to a private owner in Albuquerque in 2015.
SLRG_2004-Alamosa An overview of the downtown yard area.  The track removal is painfully evident in this shot.
SLRG-041112_1 Taken on November 12th, this shot is of a high-nose GP40, a later arrival on the SLRG.  Per Nathan Holmes,  DGNO (Dallas, Garland & Northeastern, another RailAmerica line) No. 4016 was built in 1966 as Norfolk Western 1335 (and also became a Norfolk Southern unit of the same number).
SLRG 2004-11-12 Here’s a look at the rest of the power present in the yard that afternoon.  HCLX (Helm Leasing) No. 4302, HATX Nos. 804 and 803,
and HCLX No 4300 are not busy at the moment.  HATX No. 805 and HLCX No. 4301 are out on a job, apparently.
SLRG 2004-11-12 This view shows the new tank farm, recently installed.