DRGW 5371 ... Time Is Running Out! News Story Posted By Kevin (Click Name To Email)
Friday, November 10, 2006 - The very last of the Rio Grande units, DRGW 5371 has been holding out by itself for almost a year now in Helper, UT. Former Rio Grande employees (now working for UP) in Utah have gone to great lengths to prevent 5371 from being patched. It survived three 92-day inspections without receiving a patch!
Unfortunately, that will almost certainly change next week. All units receive 92-day inspections to ensure they are in proper working order and repair any problem found. However, once every three years, units are due for their triennial inspection. This is a top to bottom shake down of the unit; more extensive then the 92-day inspections are.
These inspections cannot be conducted in Roper as the necessary equipment is not there. In fact, the closest facility capable of performing the inspection is North Platte, NE. Once in North Platte, there will not be any former Rio Grande employees to help save the unit from its destiny. At 11:59:59pm on Monday, November 13, 2006, DRGW 5371 will have to be shut down as it cannot turn another wheel under its own power until its triennial inspection has been completed. Once completed, expect to see UP 8627 roll out from the shops in North Platte.
The tunnel motor is expected to travel west out of Helper over Solider Summit to Roper. From there, up to the Overland Route and straight across Utah, Wyoming and Nebraska to North Platte. It might leave as early as today or tomorrow to make it North Platte under power. However, it might not leave until Monday morning.
Feel free to click here to see all the shots I have of 5371 here on drgw.ws. It was a great ride and it is actually amazing that any Rio Grande power exists at all considering the railroad itself disappeared 18 years ago!