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UP 844 Heads East on the KP
News Story Posted By Kevin (Click Name To Email)
Saturday, April 29, 2006 - UP 844 (UP's last operational 4-8-4) left Denver on day two of its month-long excursion between Cheyenne, WY and San Antonio, TX. While we here in the Denver-Cheyenne area are rather blessed with Cheyenne Frontier Days (and the resulting steam train) each July, it was indeed a rare thing to see the steam train heading east on the Limon Sub across the eastern plains of Colorado.  
The weather today was 180 degrees different from yesterday. It was completely overcast, cold, and drizzly today. While you might at first think "well that figures", it was actually a good thing in many ways. First of all, the colder weather equated to greater STEAM coming off the 844. That was the big bonus. The second benefit was the saturation of colors. The wet weather really brought out a lot of the colors in the Plains on the trip east. Finally, while I certainly prefer direct sunlight to overcast conditions, with the sun being hidden, there was no need to worry about pesky shadows! :-)  
The train took some time getting from 36th street out to about Mesa, but after reaching Mesa (somewhere around 10am), things picked up quickly. The train had a track warrant all the way from Mesa (roughly MP 627) to MP 595, where there is a dispatcher change. At Strasburg, the train stopped long enough to take on some water. Here, the number of railfans chasing the train was revealed! I would estimate that there were at least three dozen cars and fifty or more railfans gathered in Strasburg (and later spread out along I-70 and US 40).  
After the break at Strasburg, the train continued east, stopping again (temporarily) at Byers to perform some checks on some brake valves. After that stop was completed, the train received another warrant from MP 590 to MP 570. That would cover as far as we (we being myself and my two daughters) would go. At that point, bathroom breaks and hunger had to take priority!

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