"Last Run"* of the Eureka
Hi All, I thought I would give everyone a heads up about the future. As most of you know Railfest 2012 is coming this August to the Durango & Silverton railroad. Many of you have expressed an interest in riding behind Eureka, but never got the chance. Well, this coming Railfest may well be your last opportunity for quite a while. In 2013, the FRA waiver that was granted Eureka to continue operation for 5 additional years before having to do a 15 year/ 1472 service day inspection will expire. That means, unless the inspection is done before the next Railfest, Eureka will not be operating as it has for Railfest. It is an enormous amount of work and expense for an individual to do these types of inspections, and I do not know when or if I will do it. I ain't the spring chicken that I used to be. So, if you have a desire to ride behind an original 1875 wood burning 4-4-0 through the Rocky Mountains, that carried passengers through the Wild West in Nevada before Custer's Last Stand, this may well be you last opportunity for a long time, if ever... -Dan Markoff
Due to the nature of my work as a locomotive engineer on the very last rung of the roster on a commuter line, my schedule is not usually conducive to making events such as the Durango & Silverton's Railfest. Usually, my week ends at 02:00am on Sunday Morning after an 8 to 10 hour shift, and running to Durango for a 09:45 departure is hard to make, even for a rare event such as this. Luck, or so I thought, was in the cards for the weekend as our annual rules exam was scheduled for that Saturday. Even with Company's Annual Picnic at the Albuquerque Isotopes baseball game, leaving the house at 05:00 would not be a problem. But that Thursday, a torrential rainstorm dropped a huge amount of water just to the East of Kewa Pueblo washing out a portion of the railroad tracks. In an effort to bring the track back up to standards, I received a call at 22:00 Friday evening asking if I could make it to work at in four hours to help finish the job of restoring the line. I ended up working a full 12 hours for the shift, and still decided to go to the ball game... getting home at 22:00 that night... Personal choice to wreck myself for that one though. Even with a lack of sleep for the weekend, and being woke up at 04:00 on Monday asking if I could somehow make it to work ASAP (until they found I was in Colorado) I was able to grab some of these timeless shots. Enjoy.
* Update, in 2017, Dan had finished the work on the Eureka to make her FRA compliant once more, and now, the "last run" moniker assigned above is bunk. But until then, it remains as a anachronism.