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A Time for Turbines

The western sun is shining on a turbine set at Laramie, Wyo., on October 20, 1967. We had taken the Santa Fe to Denver and picked up a Union Pacific train to Laramie, via Cheyenne. When we arrived in Laramie, there were no rental cars available because it was Homecoming Weekend at the University of Wyoming, so we were stuck in town. However, this isn’t the worst place to be stranded! There was lots to photograph here and the fall weather was perfect. Apparently, a UP employee had used his chalk to designate this train as the North Platte Special! Photo by John P. Stroup

A Time for Turbines

trp-2015-4By Don Sims

Imagine that it’s 1949 and you’re standing at the top of the San Bernardino mountain chain in Southern California, specifically at the place where Cajon Pass reaches its railroad peak. This is the location of the famous train order office known to Santa Fe and Union Pacific as Summit. It’s at a time when just about everything motive power-wise has changed from steam to diesel, though a few of the former can still be heard as an era ends.

Chants coming from an internal combustion source now dominate, but on this particular day an unusual noise is heard. It sounds like the roar of a jet engine coming around the sharp curve at Summit’s west end and coming into view with a heavy eastbound drag is what appears to be another snub-nosed diesel in UP livery. It looks like a diesel carbody, but sounds like an airplane struggling to become airborne.

Read more in the Winter 2015 issue of Trains & Railroads of the Past

This article was posted on: November 9, 2015