Silica Branch Operations

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Silica Branch Operations

John McCutcheon
I was looking at photos of  the Silica Branch and noticed that the engine always seemed to be facing (forward) west coming out of the branch. My assumption was that the train was run to Waterton, it dropped the caboose, turned on the wye and run in reverse so as the engine would be facing forward towards Waterton. Once back at Waterton the train was wyed, the caboose was picked up and the train proceeded back to Denver; is this a correct assumption.

Just trying to understand C&S operations please comment.
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Re: Silica Branch Operations

Jeff Young
There were no facilities for turning engines at the end of the Silica branch, so whatever way they went in they'd have to come out.

The Silica branch remained in operation for 4 years or so after the Platte Canon line was abandoned.  Most of the pictures I've seen come from this period.  They all show the engines facing Waterton, suggesting that was SOP at least at this date.  My assumption would be that the Waterton wye was still in use as it doesn't seem likely that they'd have backed all the way out from Denver.  But that's just an assumption.

Before that date, were Silica trains "specials", or was the standard through-train sent on a side excursion (similar to the way Keystone was handled)?
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Re: Silica Branch Operations

Mike Trent
Administrator
This post was updated on .
The Keystone Branch was actually it's own subdivision for some reason possibly related to the fact that it was originally intended to be the mainline to Leadville.  I don't recall that the Silica Branch was a seperate subdivision. Either way, all activity on the branch would simply have been "Extra" Such as "Extra #69 West to Silica". And a separate Extra #69 East for the return.  This practice would have certainly been the case for every operation over the Branch after abandonment, and before, it probably was simple a switching operation handled by an Eastbound helper running light down from Kenosha.
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Re: Silica Branch Operations

Jeff Young
Hi Mike,

Any idea if that would be an Extra from Denver, or just an Extra from Waterton (ie: as part of the bi-weekly or whatever freight to Como/Leadville)?

Cheers,
Jeff.
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Re: Silica Branch Operations

John McCutcheon
Mike

Are you saying a west bound freight from Denver would run to Silica and set the car's out at Waterton and proceed to Como. An east bound freight from Como would then pick up the loads and deliver them to Denver. This occurring when C&S operations were running over the complete line from Denver to Leadville. Just trying to picture this operation. Waterton had a long siding and photos seen to indicate that there were lots of freight cars set out at Waterton.
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Re: Silica Branch Operations

Mike Trent
Administrator
In reply to this post by Jeff Young
Hi, Jeff. They could have scheduled an extra from Denver before the line was abandoned if there was a reason to so, but probably pretty much everything West of Waterton after abandonment was a Denver to Silica Extra. And another for the return, of course. By the way, as you recall, in later years, there were no extra orders for switching on the Keystone Branch even though it was it's own subdivision. I can't say that wasn't the case when the Dickey Station was still operating before 1930, though.

And, there certainly would have been extra train orders issued for Stock trains to Dillon and/or Keystone.