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Tunnel District

Tunnel District

The train route through Colorado has 43 tunnels. 33 of them are in the Tunnel District before the Continental Divide. Taking pictures in here is difficult because the views are almost straight up. The weather also changes dramatically as we move through here. From sunny to snowing at a moments notice.

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View North

View North

As the train climbs into the foothills it plays peek-a-boo with the plains. Here is a view to the north and the Flatirons near Boulder.

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California Zephyr

California Zephyr

We begin a train trip on the California Zephyr. The Zephyr runs from Chicago to Sacramento. We are only doing the Denver to Sacramento leg.

The train has a short run on the plains before climbing into the foothills.

Most of these pictures were taken from inside the train through the windows. Amtrak isn’t terribly fastidious about keeping the windows clean. You will see some schmutz from time to time.

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Bridge

Bridge

Staying on a train theme, but in a different city.

These are the supporting timbers for a train bridge in Lafayette. This section of track is relatively unused. It brings train cars to the few businesses that are in this area.

I suspect, but cannot find backing data, that the roman numerals are on the timbers to assist in assembly of the bridge. The parts were constructed offsite and sent for final assembly.

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Burlington

Burlington

Feeding the power plant, this train waits to drop off several hundred cars of coal.

These tracks are behind a building where I used to work. Every Wednesday a train would arrive and drop half the cars in the power plant. The other half would wait on the siding and moved later in the week.

It is astounding the tonnage moved to keep the lights on in a city of only 100,000 people. And this is just the coal, this isn’t the tailings of the mine, the diesel for the train etc.

There are four power generating units at the power plant. Only one of them runs on coal. That unit consumes 536,000 tons of coal per year. This amounts to 5,360 full coal cars per year.  This is over 53 miles of coal cars in a year.

I am sure this is all good for the earth. (not)

When we switch on a light we often forget what it took to put the electrons across that light bulb. A friend of Rainey’s sent me a link to a video about the Overview Affect. Well worth the time to watch it. Standing outside something let’s you see it more clearly.

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