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My First Fan-trip

Not one but two big steamers
Story and Photos by Glen Brewer

The flyer I received in the mail was simply too much to ignore. Sunday, September 6, 1959, the Chicago, Burlington & Quincy would operate a steam excursion using not one, but two big steam locomotives, and one of them was to be a 2-10-4, Texas type. By late 1959, these wonderful machines were becoming increasingly hard to find. I simply couldn’t resist. Full Story

Photos and Story by Glen Brewer

One year later I was back. Now on my way east, I detoured once again to Durango on my way from LA to a new job in Dallas. Not much had changed since 1965, but a great deal has changed since. On this trip, I was not fortunate in finding freight activity. Otherwise, the visit was much like the previous year done in reverse. Once again, I toured the yard in Durango, rode the train to Silverton, and hurried on my way via Chama. But I added a detour to Monero along the way just to check the place out. Full Story

Photos and Story by Glen Brewer

By 1965, only 299 miles of D&RGW narrow gauge remained: Alamosa to Durango with branches to Silverton and Farmington, New Mexico. This was the last remnant of a once extensive three-foot gauge system stretching from Denver to Santa Fe and Ogden, Utah as well as to Durango and Silverton. During a journey to California, I made the trip by way of Chama, New Mexico and Durango, Colorado. The San Juan Extension was still intact, but the pipe business was done, and except for the increasingly popular Silverton Train, clearly business was once again on the decline. I fully expected all would be gone very soon. Full Story

Moving a Mountain

Photos and Story by Martin Burwash

The Montana Rail Link is a regional line that tends to think big. Maybe it’s the big skies of the Big Sky State. When you are having issues with a tunnel what do you do? Remove part of the tunnel, of course! Essentially, the narrow smokey hole through the Great Divide west of Helena, known as the Mullan Tunnel needed an upgrade. With the arrival of the newer hi-tech locomotives, the SD 70 ACe to be exact, the narrow confines, high heat and thick carbon laden exhaust was more than the computers and circuitry of the new engines could handle. Unit after unit, the engines assigned to help trains over Mullan Pass were falling victim to the harsh interior of the tunnel. Full Story


KCS 73D – The F unit that turned into an obsession.

 Most people, at some time in their lives are faced with a challenge, a quest or monkey on their back. It is something that they just need to do. One such monkey jumped on my back in October of 2008 and remained there for six months. Full Story

Took a break from family vacation in the Blues I got out last tuesday.

Started out day break in LaGrande, was an unusual scene with no trains in the yard at sunrise. Found two trains parked east of town on the main and coming down the grade from Telocaset.  More…


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Typical Winter day in the Gorge


I finally have been able to get away for a day of shooting. I have been busier than usual with OT at work and College. Seeing a forecast for a sunny day and high 50s in the Columbia River Gorge I decided to go for it…. (more)

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In search of the eponymous Brewer, Illinois

Photographic adventures of a young railfan

Glen Brewer

When I was a young boy, and of course typically not very interested in such things, my father mention to me one evening that there was a place in Illinois named for our family. He knew our branch of the Brewer family had pioneered near Danville at a very early date. Father went on to tell me that this place was located somewhere near the north side of Danville along the Chicago & Eastern Illinois Railroad. He didn’t think it was actually a town….  (more)

Doubling Heavies

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Doubling Heavies

Martin Burwash

This past summer, with the advent of longer, heavier DPU powered coal and grain trains, the Montana Rail Link opted to split these trains into two sections for the trip over Mullan Pass. Trains were broken apart in Helena, with Rail Link power fore and aft on the first and longer section. That movement was closely followed by the smaller section section, handled by the road power and rear DPU’s… (more)

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Is this any way to run a railroad museum?

A non-railfan’s plans for revitalizing the Colorado Railroad Museumn

Glen Brewer

I always assumed that the executive director of one of the nation’s major railroad museums would be a railfan. Certainly, Bob Richardson, the founder and the long time director of the Colorado Railroad Museum, was the consummate fan. But things have changed at the CRRM… (more)

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