Sunday, February 9, 2014

Today's Train of Thought- Olympic Consolidateds, Feb 9th, 2014

In honor of the opening weekend of the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Today's Train of Thought harkens back to the 2002 Winter games on Salt Lake City- the last Olympiad to take place in the USA.

Part of the ceremonies leading up to the 2002, the Olympic torch moved by rail more than once but it's final and most noteworthy leg was on the 16-mile Heber Valley Scenic Railroad in Utah where the tourist railway went past Soldier Hollow in Wasatch Mountain State Park- home of the cross country skiing and biathlon venues. The torch train featured three steam locomotives operating as a tripleheader- an impressive feat considering that at the time, the Heber Valley was home to two working steam locomotives at the time. A few weeks prior to the game, Nevada Northern 2-8-0 Consolidation was trucked in from Ely, NV to help with the Heber Valley's increase in traffic- allowing the ALCo to operate with Heber Valley's in-house Baldwin 2-8-0 Consolidations- former Union Pacific #618 and Great Western #75. Each of the Heber Valley's Consolidations were lettered for their former owners as well.

Here, contributor Greg Brubaker caught the rare tripleheader steaming across a trestle over the Provo River with the torch train enroute to the Soldier Hollow venue on Feb 7th, 2002. Within a few weeks of the closing ceremonies, the Nevada Northern #93 was trucked back to Nevada. While the Heber Valley still has the #75 and UP #618, both are idle awaiting their FRA mandated 15 year boiler inspection.

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