Saturday, June 28, 2014

Denver & Rio Grande Western, USA

Lately I've been under a huge-train-cards attack...need I mention the striker? I dont think so :P

It is such a fantastic series of cards!! Absolutely love them!
And so much text on the backside...makes all the research so easier...since I do not really have to do any in the first place :D

So here is what it says:

Denver & Rio Grande Western

Passenger service between Denver and Salt Lake City, to say nothing of Chicago-Pacific Coast passenger traffic on Rio Grande rails, was not one of the Denver & Rio Grande's early corporate objectives, Its organizers were thinking more of building a narrow-gauge railroad from Denver to Mexico City, and enhancing their fortunes by selling land in new communities adjacent to the track. However, a series of unexpected events turned their attentions to the west. The Santa Fe railway had blocked southward expansion into New Mexico, and the mineral wealth of Colorado's southwest corner and Leadville provided impetus to construct trackage in those directions. Midway between the two lines, D&RG track crossed the Cintinental Divide at Marshall Pass, terminating at Grand Junction. Meanwhile, in Utah, the D&RG people had been busy buying up short lines and connecting them with short lengths of new track, eventually extending that little system eastward and joining D&RG trackage in Colorado in 1883.

This narrow-gauge route between Denver-Salt Lake City was 735 miles long, and the journey required almost 34 hours. The Pacific Express departed Denver at 7:30 am, crossed Marshall Pass at dusk, and took the entire next day to traverse Utah. Short stops for meals were made at South Pueblo, Sargentis, Green River and Provo, supper being had at Salt Lake City following a 5:10 pm arrival. The accommodations were hardly luxurious by modern standards; Pullman buffet-sleeping cars and (new) attractive emigrant sleeping cars, plus ordinary coaches formed the train's equipment. Open-top observation cars were added for that part of the trip though the Grand Canyon of the Arkansas River and the Black Canyon of the Gunnison River. It wasn't fast, but the journey must have been interesting and restful.

By 1890 this narrow-gauge routing had been replaced by one of standard gauge. The California Fast Mail left Denver daily at 9 am and ran over three rail tracks to Leadville, thence on standard-gauge (converted from narrow-gauge) as far as Rifle. New standard-gauge track was then used into Grand Junction, beyond which was a short stretch of converted narrow-gauge line. More new standard-gauge track, replacing a long segment of unsuitable narrow-gauge, was used to reach White House, while the remainder across most of Utah was converted narrow-gauge line. Meal-stops were made at Palmer Lake, Pueblo, Salida, Green River and Provo, with Salt Lake City arrival scheduled at 4:35 pm (of the following day) in time for dinner. Pullman buffet-sleeping cars and tourist-sleepers, destined for Los Angeles and San Francisco, were included in the train's consist.

The route remained unchanged for almost half-a-century, but the overall time had been reduced to less than a day. And, the equipment had been vastly improved (including the addition of dining cars, in 1899). But all this was to change drastically in 1934. The Rio Grande built a short connection between the Denver & Salt Lake railroad and its own rails, shortening the Denver-Salt Lake City run to 750 miles. Over this line ran the Panoramic on a  15, 5 hour schedule, with Chicago-San Francisco sleeping cars included. The Panoramic became the Exposition Flyer in 1939, and a decade later it was superseded by the California Zephyr.

The picture on the card shows the California Zephyr during its 11:46 am stop for a crew change at Grand Junction, Colorado. The diesel-electronic locomotive in charge of No 18 is a 6000 horsepower three-unit set of PA1/PB1 models built by Alco-GE in 1947.

Yep, that's quite some history to get to the actual moment on the card, but to me it was a great read...I mean, it is trains we are talking about after all ;-)

and quite some recent stamps here...all issued in the very left you have an Abraham Lincoln stamp, that is said to show his statue, composed of 28 blocks of white Georgia marble.
The other two stamps come from a set of 10 songbirds' stamps....I think that by now I have received all those 10 stamps on different cards sent by Bryon :) On this one you can see the Scarlet Tanager (on the left) and the Mountain Bluebird (on the right). So lovely!

And a huge huge huge thanks to Bryon (again)!! :)

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