Trainorder.

This trainorder authorized a two engine extra to run from Chama to Durango, doubleheading from Chama to Azotea, and again from Gato to MP 443 (the helper would run light ahead of the train on the other segments). In my experience two engine trains always doubledheaded between Chama and Durango, as opposed to the mid-train or ahead of the caboose helpers between Chama and Antonito.

While most of the route of Chama to Arboles is downhill, there was a short grade right west of Chama where the line crosses Willow Creek and then climbs to the Continental Divide just east of Azotea. On heavy trains west from Chama the helper was needed for that short stretch, and then was cut off at Azotea. On smaller trains the helper would run light ahead of the train all the way to Gato.

Although the next uphill segment (actually up and down) didn't start until Arboles, Gato was a regular water stop and a convenient place to put the helper back on the point for the mostly uphill run to Falfa.

From MP 443 near Falfa to Carbon Junction just outside Durango it was a 2 percent downgrade toward Durango. On September 26, 1958 the 483 and 494 were doubleheading westbound down that grade and derailed near MP 445. Fireman Paul Mayer on the 483 died from his injuries. Shortly after that accident a new rule went in the Special Instructions that prohibited doubleheading on most down hill parts of the railroad without authority of the Chief Dispatcher. Doubleheading on the those downhill segments continued occasionally during the winter when specifically authorized by the trainorders.

The trainorder is signed "Trotter" by the agent/operator at Chama. Jimmy Blouch provided the following information:

"Work record for Milton E Trotter indicates he began D&RGW service as a telegrapher during 1924 at Antonito.

"Through the years he worked at many various locations including:

Pagosa Jct from August 1929 through March 1932
Chama from April 1937 through June 1953
Durango October 1954 through May 1955

"I do not have information subsequent to May 1955 at hand."

This provides some insight as to how mobile railroad employees and their families had to be. It took a lot of seniority before you could call any one place home.