SP No. 18: kaput!
Date: 04-11-2019 - 14:00
I rode the special train on Tuesday. SP #18, 3 coaches, and 1 open air car.
First snafu was at Hermosa: little to no water in the water tank. The irrigation channel had been shut off. We backed up 50-100 feet and pumped water in from the nearby roaring creek. Lost 1 hour there. Plan was to drain the tender at Rockwood and refill 100 % there.
Never made it past mp 467, about where Hwy 550 goes over the tracks.
We came to a sudden stop there and I saw the fireman bail out and run to the front of the locomotive.
After waiting almost 20 minutes, the crew let us out and we had an impromptu lunch stop there instead of Cascade. We could gawk at the gaping hole in the cylinder on the engineer's side. It was about 2 fists wide in diameter. Mangled metal shards could be seen inside the cylinder.
We waited quite a while. Diesel #11 happened to be at Rockwood and came down and coupled on to #18. The train went back about a mile south to Pinkerton siding. We left the #18 there and proceeded back to Durango. Some consideration was given to pulling the train to Cascade with #11. Conductor finally decided we were within the window of afternoon avalanche danger so NO GO.
Crew and passengers were great. Everyone took the turn of events in stride.
D&S gave passengers a refund or full fare credit on the following day's trip to Cascade with one of the D&S locomotives.
I chose the latter and upgraded to the Alamosa parlor car. Locomotive was #476 plus 4 coaches, the solarium car and the Alamosa. The trip made up for the day before. It started snowing on the outskirts of Durango. It was off and on snow the rest of the way. A winter wonderland! No. 18 was still in the siding.