Saturday - February 3, 2018 7:56 am
Map to Meeting @ Bennett's BBQ Arvada
Map to Meeting @ Bennett's BBQ Arvada

Bennett's BBQ Arvada

Febraury 10, 2018
7490 W 52nd Ave, Arvada, CO 80002 (just north of Wadsworth & I-70) get directions by clicking this link


  • Final Rails In the Rockies Train Show Prep
  • January Meeting Minutes
  • Financials/Membership Update
  • Locomotive & Rolling Stock Standards Seminar

Club Seminar Series: Club Loco & Rolling Stock Standard Overview

In our second installment of the Club Seminar series for 2018 we'll be providing an overview to the club's Locomotive & Rolling Stock Standards following our February club meeting on the 10th. If you struggled to get your trains to behave on the club's layout with derailments and uncoupling at a show this session will be ideal.

In the session we'll cover the club's standard and recommended practices representing the minimum required to operate on the layout. These recommended practices has been developed by the club over the years and are based on the NMRA standards to eliminate most operating problems attributable to motive power and rolling stock performance our modular layout.  At the end of the session we'll have a hand-on demo and field any Q&A that the members have.

By Brent Rush, Club President
Thursday - February 1, 2018 11:53 am
Engine No. 1127 was one of two engines hauling a freight train eastbound out of Glenwood when it col
Engine No. 1127 was one of two engines hauling a freight train eastbound out of Glenwood when it col
This is article by Kathy Heicher appeared in the January 17, 2018 eWeekly edition of the VailDaily Newspaper and though it was interesting to share
The phrase "mass tragedy" is rarely associated with Eagle County. But 109 years ago, it happened.

A catastrophic train wreck at Dotsero on the freezing night of Jan. 15, 1909, stunned this mountain community and generated headlines throughout the country. The story is one of human mistakes with terrible consequences. It is also a story of people mustering courage out of a horrible situation and rising to the needs of others.

The riders on the Denver & Rio Grand Railroad's westbound passenger train that Friday evening had no reason for worry. The train was making good time, rolling at an estimated 60 miles per hour speed. Engineer Gustav Olson, one of the most trusted men in the D&RG system, had a clean safety record.

Olson and conductor Albert McCurdy had been notified at Red Cliff that an eastbound, double-header (two engine) freight train would steam out of Glenwood about the same time their train headed into the canyon. The trainmen were instructed to move the passenger train to a siding at Dotsero until 9:55 p.m., allowing the freight train to pass.

Locomotive Carnage

When the passenger train neared Dotsero, Olson glanced at his watch, misread the time by 10 minutes, and determined that he could make the next siding to the west, 5 miles distant. When the train failed to slow at the Dotsero siding, an alarmed McCurdy, riding in the caboose, signaled the engineer to stop. Seconds later, the headlight of the eastbound freight train came into view.

The trains collided on a deep curve near the Glenwood Canyon entrance. The section of track was sandwiched between the Colorado River and a steep rock wall. The engineers and some crewmembers of all three engines jumped out seconds before the thunderous crash.

The collision compacted the three locomotives into a single piece of twisted steel and iron. Passenger cars telescoped into one another. The "chair" car, popular with tourists, shattered into small pieces. Passengers were thrown from the train or crushed by the debris. The injuries were horrific.

The passengers in the rear cars responded quickly. Some grabbed shovels and threw snow on the engines, snuffing a potential fire. With only two railroad lanterns for light, guided by the anguished cries of the injured, they hurried to help the victims.

A calm young doctor on board commandeered the dining car as a makeshift hospital. Passengers tore sheets and pillowcases into bandages. Travelers raided their suitcases, donating whiskey and camphor for the injured. The doctor administered morphine shots. Blood rendered the floor sticky.

The mutilated bodies of the dead were covered with sheets and laid in the snow alongside the tracks. The ultimate toll was 21 deaths, including two entire families with small children; and 30-35 people seriously injured. No victims were from Eagle County. Some speculated that the freezing weather killed some people who might have survived.

Calamitous Scene

With the train wreckage blocking the tracks, it was morning before a relief train arrived to carry the survivors into Glenwood. The Glenwood hospitals and morgues overflowed. Engineer Olson, hospitalized with his own serious injuries, was reportedly suffering from "brain fever" caused by his anguish over the accident.

The next morning, Eagle County coroner Joseph Gilpin and sheriff Frank Farnum arrived by train from Red Cliff. Gilpin impaneled a coroner's jury of local men, most from Gypsum, to inspect the calamitous scene.

On Jan. 23, over 100 people jammed the coroner's inquest hearing in Red Cliff. The jury deliberated 51 minutes before delivering the verdict that engineer Olson had caused the deaths of 21 people by "disobeying orders through negligence or some unknown cause." The district attorney, citing a lack of conclusive evidence and a concern about wasting taxpayer's money, declined to prosecute.

Engineer Olson immediately relocated to Los Angeles, to recover from injuries and escape the post-tragedy spotlight. McCurdy quit the railroad altogether. Newspaper editorials called for greater safety measures from the railroad. And that doomed section of track near Dotsero earned the local nickname "Rio Grande Graveyard."

Kathy Heicher, president of the Eagle County Historical Society, lives in Eagle. She can often be found in the Eagle Public Library archives, searching out stories of the past. Contact her at

Thursday - January 25, 2018 10:51 am

Rocky Ops is the name adopted by the Operations Group of Model Railroaders in the Front Range Colorado area. The groups are dedicated to the realistic operations of model railroads as well as fellowship between rail fans and model railroaders.

Registration is now open for the Rocky Op South 2018 operating weekend, May 4th to 6th 2018 in the Colorado Springs/Pueblo area. Please go to for more information and to register. Click on 2018 for a drop down menu. Rocky Op South is an open event, so you are welcome to forward this to interested friends.

Hotel and Restaurant information is coming soon. Also the Friday session is in the afternoon, not the evening.

Here is the anticipated schedule for the weekend. Operating session times are subject to change, but will be confirmed in your operating session package available at registration. Last minute problems or questions can be resolved at registration on Friday before noon.
Friday, May 4:    Registration 10:00 am to 12:00 pm                                                    Session #1 - 1:00 pm, finishing by 5:00 pm
Saturday, May 5:    Session #2  - 11:00 am, finishing by 3:00 pm                                Restaurant location (TBD)  Happy Hour at 5:00 pm, Dinner at 6:00 pm
Sunday, May 6:    Session #3 - 10:00 am, finishing by 2:00 pm