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Unusual Pipe Train on the Moffat
News Story Posted By Kevin (Click Name To Email)
Wednesday, July 18, 2007 - This is something that you don't see everyday! I have to admit that I don't remember the last time (before today) that I saw a mainline (non-local), non-passenger train led by a four-axle unit.  
 
UP has been sending unit pipe trains up the Craig Branch off and on for over a year now and another one was headed west today. That right there is rare enough; also nice to find something non-coal here in Colorado! The train came into Denver with two new CSX ES44DCs. A third unit was added in Denver (as pipe trains of the past have had issues stalling going up the Moffat).  
 
I figured the new leader would be an AC4400CW or perhaps an SD70M. I got a call that there was a possibility (although it seemed unlikely) that an unpatched Espee unit was in the lead. Okay, so perhaps an unpatched Espee AC4400CW wasn't that out of the question. So, I was floored when I heard a reference to SP 9794 on the scanner. Yep, an unpatched Espee GP60 led two Dark Future GEVO's on a unit pipe train on the Moffat.  
 
I had to make a minor diversion on the way into work and head up to Cliff (about 38 miles west of Denver). According to the scanner, the crew had just tied the train down on the siding of Cliff. The crew was heading back east one siding to pick up a manifest that had been tied down there.  
 
Now, unfortunately, the west switch of Cliff (for those not familiar) is just about the last place you want to have to try to shoot pictures of a westbound at 9 o'clock in the morning! The sun was almost directly behind the train...and you can't shoot from the other side of the train as, well, there is a big mountain there! So, attached is my best attempt (considering the lighting) at getting this rare move....  
 
See all the shots by clicking here.  

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