The SLRG seemed to have everything going for it at this time. Iowa Pacific was a rapidly growing company, delighting railfans with passenger service using a variety of vintage equipment. Freight service was also a significant part of the operation. On this day, an extra train has been run to take 17 cars across LaVeta Pass for the next scheduled Walsenburg train to pick up, as the tonnage would far exceed the limits over the pass if held. Conductor Charlie pulls the pin on the cut. The hopper is loaded with perlite, which made up a substantial part of the freight generated on the line. I'm not sure of the status of that traffic, but fast forward to present and Iowa Pacific is in receivership, the passenger trains are all gone and equipment auctioned, and the SLRG is for sale. A far cry from the boom times I experienced on this visit in 2006. SLRG 455 is an FP40PH modified for freight service by the Canadian American Railroad, with the nose cut back to make room for the addition of stairs and a nose door to provide a safer platform for switching and cab entry during freight operations.
A compilation of DRGW's La Veta Pass route to the San Luis Valley now operated by the SLRG.
With Rio Grande Scenic passenger operations coming to a close in 2019, the Alamosa sub is once again freight-only, as reflected here.