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Utah Belt photo gallery

By | October 29, 2018

Online bonus photos from the cover story of the December 2018 Model Railroader

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We didn’t have room to publish all the photos from Eric Brooman’s spectacular HO scale Utah Belt, featured in the December 2018 Model Railroader. Check out these bonus trackside images.

Train passing over a bride over water
Westbound Extra No. 4102 crosses the upper reaches of Furnace Creek and is just about to crest the summit at Jemez. Engine no. 4102 is an SD70MAC purchased on the used locomotive market and rebuilt at the El Paso Shops. With the recent downturn in traffic, especially in coal, the UB, like many roads, has held off buying new Tier 4 power, and instead has chosen to rebuild older AC units.
Train passing over a bride over water
With some NS power in the mix, a UB coal train crosses the San Pedro River at Coal Bank.
A fatality of EPA regulations, the Schreckhaft Chemical Company west of Benton closed down operations in 2016. It was one of those companies that you really didn’t want to know what was being made there. Switch crews got in and out as quickly as possible. There still remains a large dead zone of vegetation around the complex.
The engine terminal at East Benton has been expanded and upgraded to meet increasingly strict OSHA safety standards. Caged ladders and platforms have been installed and reinforced, fire suppression systems have been upgraded and the ever increasing application of aluminum paint is present. Run-through power from the large Class 1’s has become common place.
A westbound has a clear block as it crosses the San Pedro at Cody’s Camp. A brace of SD70ACe’s are in charge of this empty coal train. The majority of mainline power is now AC. The cottonwoods echo the sounds of the train as it clatters across the bridge.
Passenger car
Tourists gather outside the John Allen Memorial Visitor Center at Ephraim, N.M. The center is housed in a retired Gorre & Daphetid passenger car.
Passenger car
Train traveling along a mountain
A long favorite photo site on the Utah Belt is Cortez Point just west of Iron Mountain, where the railroad clings to the cliff on a rock retaining wall. Long overdue slide protection is now in place. An eastbound is working upgrade along this potentially dangerous area with increased confidence there isn't an obstruction waiting ahead.
Train traveling along a mountain
Train coming out of a tunnel
An eastbound coal train, with ES44AC no. 4485 on point, exits the east portal of Tunnel No. 4 in Furnace Creek Canyon, leaning heavily on its dynamic brakes. The "Golden Week," referring to the color of the aspen trees, is in full effect in the high country of the West.
Train coming out of a tunnel
Train passing by a body of water
An eastbound rounds the curve at the base of the rock formation known as El Portal. Here, the Utah Belt leaves the Rio Grande Valley and begins to follow the San Pedro River upstream. Rock slide detection fences have finally been installed. The normally docile San Pedro can become a raging torrent during the monsoon season as attested by the debris along the banks.
Train passing by a body of water

12 thoughts on “Utah Belt photo gallery

  1. BOO and Happy Halloween from all us ghosts who hang out in the Schreckhalt Chemical Co. building!

    Thanks for posting these Utah Belt bonus photos.

  2. You can’t tell this isn’t a real picture!! They nailed the sceanry and scale , wow , how many hours days months did this take ?

  3. Wonderful collection of photos of an amazing layout. Especially nice touch on the tribute to John Allen and G&D. We owe a lot to that pioneer. Well done. Thanks for sharing the story!

  4. Absolutely spectacular track work, perfect weathering, and a modeling theme that provides a realistic source periodic updates to the layout. The Utah Belt is definitely one of the best!

  5. I have seen thousands of model rr photos. These are truly off the hook! Congratulations for such extraordinary modeling! Just remarkable. For some of us modelers this could be intimidating. For others this is inspirational. I hope those viewing these pictures will choose inspiration.

  6. Thoroughly enjoyed Eric’s photos… thanks for posting these overflow pics on the website and look forward to seeing the others in my next MR magazine! Drew Halverson really made this a true top-of-the-line model railroad adventure when he, Kent and Charlie were chasing trains and capturing it on video. Eric is a master modeler!

  7. I remember seeing photos of Utah Belt back in the 1980s as a kid, really cool it’s still around today and ever changing!

  8. Cool pictures! You know, one must really wonder just what was being made in Schreckhalt Chemical Co. 🙂

  9. Hello and good afternoon when are they going to make a book and on the history of the Utah belt railroad

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