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Date: 04/06/20 01:27
San Louis & Rio Grande?
Author: railscenes

Recently the Ozark Mountain railroad equipment dealer started offering equipment from the San Louis & Rio Grande and other scatered euipment for sale, including the 2-8-0 #18. I also read somewhere that the company that owns this equipment declared bancruptcy. So I'm wondering what happened and how this promissing tourist/freight railroad came to an end? Is there a chance it could be revived?
We rode the Rio Grande Scenic almost 10 years ago and found it a good ride with meal service on the Santa Fe full dome car. 
Also, just curious yesterday gcm posted photos of the 1977 excursion with the T&P 610 and Southern 4501 here on TO Steam board. One of his great photos was of the rear of the train with an open end odservation car. It is a very shallow angle so I counted the windows. Is it the same car as this Lookout Mountain pictured in Alamosa, CO?
Thanks, Steve Rippeteau

Edited 3 time(s). Last edit at 04/06/20 14:43 by railscenes.

Date: 04/06/20 02:21
Re: San Louis & Rio Grande?
Author: dan

thought 18 had been sold  , but it is still on ozark's site

1744 was sold

SLRG hadn't offered steam in awhile, if customers want steam it isn't far away thou in Chama or Durango

the area the ran steam to, burned in 2017 so it isn't the same now

will see, they are in receivership

Date: 04/06/20 03:59
Re: San Louis & Rio Grande?
Author: Jimbo

Yes, the Lookout Mountain on the SL&RG is the same car that was rebuilt and operated by the Southern Railway in excursion service.

Date: 04/06/20 05:29
Re: San Louis & Rio Grande?
Author: Worthington_S_A

Jimbo Wrote:
> Yes, the Lookout Mountain on the SL&RG is the same
> car that was rebuilt and operated by the Southern
> Railway in excursion service.

Interesting that the "Lookout" and the other Southern heavyweights at SLRG aren't offered for sale. I hope they aren't figuring that they're worth more in scrap.

Date: 04/06/20 06:18
Re: San Louis & Rio Grande?
Author: UP951West

I'm sad about the end of the Rio Grande Scenic trains. To me it was the best standard guage train ride in the country. I rode it many times with my late buddy, John Arbuckle . 
Now the best train ride in the country to me is the C&TS from Chama to Antonito eastbound up the 4 % grade . I can never get enough of that . --Kelly

Date: 04/06/20 06:38
Re: San Louis & Rio Grande?
Author: randgust

The ownership and claims on much of this equipment will remain in question and possibly the courts for quite some time.   Some was even privately owned and not subject to sale, or had been sold prior to the bankruptcy action (or even subject to multiple prior claims being resolved), or is being retained by the trustee as operating equipment for the time being and transferred to a new leasing company.   Much of the equipment on lease elsewhere was reportedly done that way.

I wouldn't read much into it yet in terms of the absence of a sale offer means scrapping.   The trustees/receivers are looking to a very simple goal, get as much money as they can out of the assets as fast as they can.   There's nothing else driving this - whether they love or hate the equipment.    

The real show to watch here is the court battle between bankruptcy action and trustee action; so far the Colorado federal courts have ruled in favor of bankruptcy against just SLRG when the Illinois federal courts already decided in terms of the trustee of the entire IP empire controlling the assets.   That's also holding open any claims against SNC to see if any bankruptcy action is filed there that would overrule the prior trustee decision.    That's been posted on the STB website 3/3/20 AB1261, BTW, not random speculation.    Dueling federal courts is a new twist.

Date: 04/06/20 07:24
Re: San Louis & Rio Grande?
Author: co614

I find it interesting to see the totally unrealistic prices listed for this equipment. Prices that are no where close to what it will end up bringing when finally sold at a no reserve auction which is highly likely to be the eventual solution. 

   Also facinating all the pure junk on that Ozark site. We are looking for some decent coaches for a new start up and went there as part of our due diligence. Sadly it's all junk really and unless you're looking for a rails up rebuild there's nothing there.

    I'd love to get that Lookout Mountain. Great car. 

   Ross Rowland 

Date: 04/06/20 07:57
Re: San Louis & Rio Grande?
Author: MaryMcPherson

I found it interesting that two of the most common cars to bring up the markers on the Southern / Norfolk Southern steam specials both found their way to the SLRG: Lookout Mountain and Mardi Gras.  Too bad the operation went kablooie... my friends Kurt and Tom had a blast when they stopped by there back in 2012.

Mary McPherson
Dongola, IL
Diverging Clear Productions

Date: 04/06/20 09:26
Re: San Louis & Rio Grande?
Author: WW

UP951West Wrote:
> I'm sad about the end of the Rio Grande Scenic
> trains. To me it was the best standard guage train
> ride in the country. I rode it many times with my
> late buddy, John Arbuckle . 
> Now the best train ride in the country to me is
> the C&TS from Chama to Antonito eastbound up the 4
> % grade . I can never get enough of that . --Kelly

The SLRG always struggled to get ridership on the Rio Grande Scenic.  As much as anything, the Spring Fire put a fork in the passenger operation.  A huge percentage of the most scenic part of the ride was, in many places, almost totlally burned off in that fire.  I was up in the area before all of the fire was even extinguished.  I've seen a lot of wildfire areas, but the amount of forest there literally incincerated was pretty incredible.  I do agree, before the fire, it was an extremely scenic ride.

One note for the OP--it's San Luis, the Spanish spelling, pronounced, "Sahn Loo-ees."

Date: 04/06/20 09:32
Re: San Louis & Rio Grande?
Author: xrds72

Here are Mardi Gras and Lookout Mountain last October when I had a chance to photograph everything in Alamosa then.

Date: 04/06/20 09:38
Re: San Louis & Rio Grande?
Author: tomstp

I rode it a couple of times.  Good trips.  Unfortunate that IP fooled away money on other proposed passenger trains.  Otherwise I would think SL&RG would still be a decent property.  Its earnings per day on stored cars is a good sum of money.

Date: 04/06/20 10:00
San Luis & Rio Grande-Neat Operation
Author: cozephyr

San Luis & Rio Grande RR, part of the Iowa Pacific empire, has offered an incredible experience to San Luis Valley visitors.  Unfortunately, receivership caught up to Iowa Pacific in October 2019.  Iowa Pacific 518 in Illinois Central inspired paint scheme at Alamosa, Colorado.

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 04/06/20 10:02 by cozephyr.

Date: 04/06/20 10:10
Re: San Louis & Rio Grande?
Author: co614

On thinking of it further it seems obvious to me that whoever set the asking prices on all that ex-IP equipment on the Ozark site did it as if IP was still in the market as an agressive buyer like they were while acquiring the extensive collection. Without them as a buyer, but now as a seller it makes those prices totally divorced from reality. My WAG is that the vast majority will end up selling at net scrap value and with todays weak scrap prices that ain't much. 

   For the creditors sake I hope the court holds off auctioning the collection until we get through this virus shut down otherwise it's entirely possible that there will be no bidders at any price??

   Sad but true. Ross Rowland

Date: 04/06/20 12:02
Re: San Louis & Rio Grande?
Author: JDLX

Just because a railroad operation appears to be a "promissing tourist/freight railroad" and a railfan's wet dream doesn't mean that it will be a viable business proposition.  Scenic, yes, but at the same time it was essentially an upstart operation in a neighborhood of well known and established operations.  SLRG did some intriguing things with their concert trains and other special events that really did try to separate them from their neighbors, but in the end they were a long railroad with extremely high operating costs on a line with a pretty thin traffic base to support it, and it didn't help that the corporate parent squandered resources in pursuit of a whole lot of highly unrealistic dreams.  I've often heard "world's largest model railroad" applied to certain shortline operations, the whole IPH "empire" seems to fit that description better than most.  

As to any questions about equpment ownership and why certain pieces are for sale while others aren't, the answers can largely be found in various recordations on the STB website.  IPH had pretty much all of its equipment consigned to various lenders as collateral for loans.  The equipment Ozark is selling was pledged to a bank I think in Minnesota, IPH defaulted on that loan and a business court awarded the equipment to them.  The bank subsequently sold the equipment to Sandton Rail, who had all the equipment remarked to SDCX reporting marks and put it on Ozark.  There have been similar judgements awarding ownership of other equipment to other creditors who have not elected to repossess or sell the cars, at least not yet.  Since at least the Sandton default happened before the bankruptcy filing I don't think those assetts are protected in any way, which is why some of the pieces (like the #1744 and Mount Hood's two diesels) have been sold and removed from those properties.  

Jeff Moore
Elko, NV    

Date: 04/06/20 12:13
Re: San Louis & Rio Grande?
Author: dan

IP thought they were flush with cash the sold some lines that had been rebuilt with FRA money, since they didn't retain the lines the feds wanted 33 million back .  This after Ed tried to get all these other ops going, now he had no cash?  IP tried to have each operation pay for itself, which like any biz they first few years can be a deficit operation, with huge capital costs?  So the stories of payment woes happened everywhere?   In New York there was outcry that kept freight biz from coming to fruition?   some of the hurdles that happened, corrections more info welcome!!  also heard the receiver wanted to be releived as well...whats fact and fiction with my statements?

Date: 04/06/20 13:11
Re: San Louis & Rio Grande?
Author: exprail

You're right, Ross.

Saddly, some of the equipment used in the Oklahoma operations were in pretty rough shape and had frequent B/O problems. My experience with them through my railroad employer was okay, but the condition of things, led me to question why we ever allowed the equipment onto our property. They certainly didn't approach the quality of passenger equipment found on museums and operations like 261.


Date: 04/06/20 17:47
Re: San Louis & Rio Grande?
Author: seaboardc30-7

Riding a steam-powered train over La Veta Pass in a dome car for just a few bucks was quite an experience.  Rode this trip out of Alamosa to La Veta  in 2009 shortly after this operation started.  Below are a few highlights from this trip.

There is a very important message to be learned:  ALWAYS ride them and chase them before they are gone.

1 - No. 18 on the lead of our train at Alamosa just before departing.
2 - Ex-Southern Railway open platform car Lookout Mountain
3 - View from the dome 


Date: 04/06/20 17:49
Re: San Louis & Rio Grande?
Author: seaboardc30-7

Last two photos

1 - Layover at La Veta
2 - Approaching the tunnel on the trip back to Alamosa

Date: 04/06/20 23:54
Re: San Louis & Rio Grande?
Author: dan

wow great pics

i  visited a few times, took Skip once he rode 1/2 and chased 1/2 the trip with me


Date: 04/07/20 02:17
Re: San Louis & Rio Grande?
Author: railscenes

Here are two more photos of the LS&I 18 that has made the rounds around the nation. I first ran across the 18 in the North Woods either in the UP of Michigan or Wisconsin. I'll have to dig out my notes and slides. The 18 was sitting in the weeds rusting away.
The next time I saw the 18 was on a flat car headed west on the Santa Fe Railway to the Grand Canyon Railway in about 1988. Since I was in the process of working in the yard switching our train in Ft Madison, IA, the camera was not handy.
Then in 2002 we volunteered with the NRHS 2002 train crew for Canyon Rails 2002. Sure enough here is the 18 keeping up with two other famous steamers. 
The next time we meet up with 18 is in 2010 at Alamosa, CO, in the 2nd photo.
So thank you to all who have contributed this information to answer a simple question with complicated answers about the SL&RG, or Rio Grande Scenic. The 18 should make some rail line a real fine excursion steam loco, whether on a mainline or branch line. We can only hope for the best. And another thought the 18 would make a real fine HO scale steamer for any model railroad. It even resembles the D&RGW standard gauge 2-8-0 locos that may have worked over La Veta pass over 70 years ago?
Steve Rippeteau

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 04/07/20 02:23 by railscenes.

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