Last Sunday (April 18, 2021), I was finally able to catch a move on the old Missouri Pacific Towner Line. The route used to be a significant route linking the Rio Grande (and later SP) at Pueblo with Kansas City and Chicago. As of the UP merger, traffic evaporated overnight around 1997 and most of us here in Colorado had given the line up for dead. Sure, the state bought it and preserved it for a while, but when it was sold to a scrapper masquerading as a short line, we all assumed it was just a matter of time.
Then Stefan Soloviev showed up. A billionaire whose business interests (KCVN, LLC and Crossroads Agriculture) own some 78,000 acres in eastern Colorado along the route, he recognized the value of rail transportation to his ag enterprises and put an offer on the table to purchase and refurbish the line for use. It took several years, but the STB finally pried it away from the scrappers and forced the sale in 2018 to his new railroad, the Colorado Pacific. The last several years have been spent doing millions in repairs and upgrades. Still, while the line is in better shape than it’s been in a while, train traffic has been sparse thus far. When I got word they’d be pulling 134 coal gons out of storage and hauling them east on a beautiful spring Sunday, I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to get out with the camera. I’ve been waiting to photograph a train on the eastern part of the line for 21 years now, and I finally got it. It’s the most fun you can have at 15-25 mph.
Update (Mar 15, 2021): Apparently Lulzbot is actually building releases again, and they’ve released one compiled for Stretch. Just use that and you’ll be fine. Here’s the link. The rest of this is no longer needed, and indeed their source seemed to have a few bugs that I kept tripping over today (specifically multiply object). Then the power cable to the bed failed, and my fun is over until I get a replacement connector later this week.
Upgrading my workshop machine is one of those things that’s been on my “to do” list now for several years. Having had some time this afternoon on conference calls, I finally got around to it. Out with the old i5-3750K, in with the “new” (retired from my primary desktop) i7-6700K. I figured it would be an easy transition. Throw on Ubuntu 18.04 (can’t move to 20.04 for a couple reasons yet), copy over my home directory, set a few things, and bada bing, we’re back in business, right?
Of course there’s always those things you forget. One of those was that Ubuntu 18.04 and the packages of Lulzbot’s version of Cura don’t get along. Their deb for 3.6.23 was linked against glibc 2.28, which is newer than the 2.27 in 18.04 and derivatives (such as Mint 19.x, which is what I was running before). So it’ll install, but it won’t run. All you get is this fun error:
/usr/share/cura-lulzbot/cura-lulzbot: /lib/x86_64-linux-gnu/libc.so.6: version `GLIBC_2.28’ not found
Shortly after the turn of the decade in January, I was perusing Reddit’s /r/dataisbeautiful and found someone who had built a location heatmap using OpenStreetMap, his Google location history, and some python to tie it all together. Given I’ve been carrying an Android phone and letting Google spy on me since early 2010, it seemed like a great way to end off the decade.
After eight years of completely ignoring my personal website, I’ve decided it’s time to make something out of it again. There’s almost no content up here at the moment, but hopefully moving onto an actual easy-to-maintain blogging platform will actually encourage me to write and post things occasionally.