Sunday, June 6, 2010

Inaugural Test Run a Success on Opening Day

PLR News Release:

With construction crews resting their shovels and equipment for one day, it was time to unveil northern Arizona's newest narrow-gauge rail line. The first stretch of track is now open for short excursion rides at the mountain town of Paradise. Crews completed the terminus trackage and reverse loop and will be adding yard trackage through the summer. Although not yet a formal station stop, the main line now reaches to the nearby village of Twin Pines. Train whistles blew and the Paradise faithful came out on a blistering hot day Saturday to see the first test run. The first official "train" to make the run from Paradise to Twin Pines and back consisted of a diesel switcher and gondola car, allowing crews to inspect the line (pictured here). As railroad officials became more confident that all was well, they pulled out their sole steam engine to date, a restored Baldwin 10-wheeler relettered for the White Pass & Yukon Route. A box car and passenger car were added, and the train easily climbed Baldwin Hill as it headed out of town. Baldwin Hill was so named for the initial grade on the route, on which the PLR Baldwin locomotive consistently stalled and slipped. After further engineering and regrading attempts, nobody noticed a problem yesterday. Crews are planning to extend the main line to the route's longest trestle later this summer. In the meantime, railroad employees are enjoying more "test" runs around the yard trackage and up the short main line.

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