Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Original paint of caboose 1006 discovered

The Colorado and Southern Railway Society continues their fantastic work in Silver Plume restoring caboose 1006.  They recently discovered a piece of wood in the car with the original paint color.  Their plan is to replicate that color when repainting the old bobber.

Work is estimated to cost $1500 to restore the cupola.  They have already raised 70% of the money.  If you're interested in helping the restoration process, they suggest contacting them via the Colorado and Southern Railway Society Facebook page for details on how to go about it.

Sunday, June 26, 2016

C&S 60 gets a bath and coach 70 gets some wax

The Colorado and Southern Railway Society, in addition to its work on caboose 1006, also continues to work with engine 60 and coach 70 in Idaho Springs.

In May, coach 70's floor was waxed and a great deal of cleaning and polishing went on.

 Unfortunately, vandalism continues to be a challenge as a window of the coach was broken recently as well.

In June, engine 60 and her tender got a pressure wash.
The society plans to install newly replicated cab doors soon.  
They also hope to assess the consolidation and her coach for the potential of "being returned to serviceable condition."

Thursday, June 23, 2016

The 5 Remaining C&S Locos: Update 3

As my reading and research continues I want to continually update this article from its original form as published in The Bogies and the Loop.  Updates are in bold and underlined. 

And Then There Were Five:

 The Stories of the Remaining Five C&S Locomotives 

By Kurt Maechner  

          On a cold winter morning in 1975 C&S 71 was hauled up onto a flatbed truck in Central City. The destination was the newly reconstructed portion of the Georgetown Loop route. The engine got away, but much to their surprise, when they tried to move the tender, they were met by a string of Central City residents barring its passage out of town. They gathered in protest like Greenpeace stopping a whaling ship. What is it about these little engines that pulled people out of bed to protect it? Why do we still haggle on internet groups about the fates of these relics of a bygone railroad? Perhaps they each say something about life, even about us. Maybe we can even learn from their stories.

         Five engines remain of the C&S from its roster of 69. Each has an intriguing story of how it outwitted the grim scrapper. These are their stories…and a little about what each says about life.

The Other 64 

    A vast majority of the C&S engines met the scrapper one way or another. 35 of the 69 were scrapped by the C&S itself. 29, though eventually scrapped, were sold or traded to various companies and lumber railroads including Morse Brothers, Hallack & Howard Lumber Company, Manistee & Luther R.R., Clarkson Saw Mill Company, B.G. Peters Salt & Lumber Company, Oak Grove & Georgetown R.R. Co., J.J. White Company, Ed Hines Lumber Company, and the Montrose Lumber Company. A few notable exchanges include C&S 55 that was sold to the Milwaukee Road and operated on their Bellevue & Cascade narrow gauge line. Number 64 was moved to Mexico to run for the Sosa & Garcia Company. Two engines (no. 69 & 70) went to the White Pass & Yukon Route in Alaska. Finally, two of the C&S’ last and largest engines, no. 75 and 76 were eventually purchased by the Central Railway of Peru to be used for the Cerro de Pasco Copper Corp. There are several hearsay reports that one of the engines tumbled to the bottom of a canyon due to an unrecorded derailment. Other sources claim to have found a photo from the ‘60s of one of the battered remains in a long-forgotten scrapyard in Peru.

     And then there were five.

71: All Roads Lead to Home  

       Do all roads really lead to Rome? In real life, all roads lead to home. In all its small positive and negative nuances, our home affects us more than any other influence in life. Whether we love it or have run from it, it must be reckoned with. One C&S loco was adopted by a town, and despite unsuccessful efforts to remove it, and successful efforts to abuse it, it remains affectionately at its adopted home.

       When the railroad finally received permission to abandon the South Park in 1937, the C&S, finding no buyers in 1938 for their surplus locomotives, began the process of scrapping them.  This began in 1938 with No. 5 and one month later consumed 65 and 58.  

     There was an attempt at saving at least one engine for posterity.  The railroad made an offer to any town along its line: A free narrow gauge locomotive to stuff and mount. This would have been engine 6.  Despite the number of people who protested the abandonment of the line, not a single town along its remaining rails took them up on the offer.  A memo to the Superintendent of Motive Power stated that "the scrapping of 6 narrow gauge engines, one of which we asked you to hold up anticipating that we could use the engine for historical purposes.  We now find that none of the towns is agreeable to accepting this engine.  You may therefore scrap engine 6."

     However, by 1941, one town (and eventually Idaho Springs), Central City, who had lost its railroad connection 10 years earlier, changed its mind and said yes. Engine 71, that had the unfortunate privilege of being used on many scrapping operations on the line, was chosen. Along with gondola 4319 and combination car 20, it was taken to the end of track at Black Hawk in April of 1941. It was then hauled by truck and found a home on exhibit near the site of the Central City depot.

     There it would remain for a little over 45 years.

   She did receive some attention over the years.  During the 1950's or 1960's, the CB&Q sent someone along to spiff up the paint and, in the process, added the Burlington herald to the whole train.  A fence was also added to keep vandals out.  Rick Steele comments in the Narrow Gauge Forum that he scraped and repainted the engine and No. 20 back to the original C&S markings in 1970.

       Puffs of steam would return to the air in Central City, however, in 1968 as the Colorado Central Narrow Gauge tourist railroad laid track to Packard Gulch. They ran trains with two Central American locomotives. This group, along with the locos and rolling stock, eventually moved to take over operation of trains on the Georgetown Loop project in 1973. The Colorado Historical Society (CHS), who owned the track, had the idea of also taking 71 to Silver Plume to restore it and run it on the Loop. The engine was indeed taken to Silver Plume which lead to much consternation in Central City. A town newspaper referred to the situation as the “Great Train Robbery.” When the CHS then tried to move the tender, this is when some city residents came out to stop it. Their town had requested the locomotive and they wanted to keep it. Following this incident, the engine was promptly returned home.


     Steam rose again from the bear trap stack of 71 from 1987 to 1990. Another organization stepped in to run the Central City line, this time named The Blackhawk and Central City Narrow Gauge Railroad. They had their eye on 71. There is a lot of discussion on the efficacy of the running of the locomotive in these years. That being said, she did live again, if even for a brief moment of relived
history. The group certainly had big goals. A tourist guide from 1988 states the railroad as planning “to reach Blackhawk in the next five years.” This, unfortunately, was not to happen. The railroad folded and 71 sat again, still, with her gondola and combine until she was moved once again. 
  The Narrow Gauge Discussion forum states that at some point the land where the train had previously been displayed was sold, and so the train, minus the gondola, was transferred to the Couer d'Alene Mine on the opposite side of the valley in the early 1990s.  By 1996 a chain link fence had been erected around the engine .

Casinos came to the City of Central in 1991 and she was eventually placed high up with the combine on a display track by Harvey’s Wagon Wheel Casino. The gondola sits in a park near Eureka Street. There’s much consternation over her most recent appointment, but, let’s face it, she’s at least at home.

74: Being left behind may be a part of the plan 

     We are all prone to asking, “What might have happened if…” Regret and longing make us wonder if we had not been left behind by some person, job, or opportunity, would we have found what we really wanted? Then again, maybe being left behind was part of the plan, a far greater plan than our own. 74 may have wondered this as it sat lonely at Morse Bros. Machinery in 1948.

     World War II either saved or destroyed many an engine. Many of the unemployed locos were scrapped for the war effort. Others were used where needed. C&S 74 had the privilege of working with two sister engines on the last remaining narrow gauge portion of the railroad between Leadville and Climax. Molybdenum was a hot commodity in the war effort and Climax had a lot. So much, in fact, that they needed to standard gauge the line, which they did in 1943. Numbers 74, 75, and 76 were then placed on flatcars and shipped to Denver. They were sold to Morse Bros. Machinery and sat on their property for three years. That’s when a Peruvian railroad came looking for some narrow gauge motive power. They took 75 and 76. 74 was left behind to wallow away alone. Left behind.

     Two years later, though, another life awaited 74. In 1948, the Rio Grande Southern was wheezing out its last breaths. The Galloping Geese had bought it a few more years, but the light was fading. The Rocky Mountain Railroad Club knew their chance to see and ride the line was dwindling. They wanted to plan as many excursions as possible. When the club approached the RGS receiver about this, he remarked that it was too costly to lease a D&RGW engine to haul their trains. The Club countered by suggesting that they buy a locomotive. For whatever reason, they took the bait and purchased 74.

     One member of that railroad club was a man named Dr. John B. Schoolland. He was very interested in the Colorado & Northwestern Railroad which ran through his resident town of Boulder and discovered that 74 had started its career on that very railroad. Recognizing that the RGS was near its terminus, he set out to save the engine so it could be displayed in Boulder. The city’s community started various fundraisers that eventually ‘bought’ 74 and had her shipped via rail. 74 returned home in August of 1952 and was placed in Central Park along with a D&RGW coach and RGS caboose.

  The years were not kind as neglect and vandalism set in. Various community members and students worked to touch up the engine off and on. Unfortunately, the RGS caboose was destroyed via a student prank using dynamite and was replaced with a Rio Grande caboose. In 1979 the Boulder Model Railroad Club committed to taking care of the site. 74 and her train were eventually moved a bit to a new curved track and have been maintained beautifully since. It wears its original no. 30 from its C&NW days. The most recent chapter in this engine’s life is that the CHS shipped it to a company to see if it could be restored for use on the Georgetown Loop Railroad. This was decided against, but 74 was cosmetically restored and returned to Boulder. Who could have guessed that being left behind in 1948 would have saved her for our enjoyment today?

9: Sometimes reinventing yourself opens new doors.  

     Most of us like to stay on the rails marked out for us. With change comes friction and we like to avoid it at all costs. But complacency can also destroy us. Some of us learn that to find life anew we must reinvent ourselves in some way: physically, occupationally, or spiritually. Sometimes that reinvention comes whether we like it or not. This is the story of little number 9, a mogul that has lived more lives than any other C&S engine.

     If ever there was controversy surrounding a C&S locomotive, number 9 takes the cake. Built by Cooke in 1884, the loco started out on the South Park Line. She had the honor of pulling the last scheduled passenger train from Denver to Leadville in 1937. She spent two more years on the Clear Creek line and South Platte branch, but an opportunity in 1939 put the engine out of the scrapper’s hand. From 1939 to 1940 New York hosted the World’s Fair. Many railroads sent representative trains. The Chicago, Burlington, & Quincy, which now owned the C&S, planned on sending one of their Cooke moguls as a narrow gauge representative.  Engines 5, 6, 8, or 9 were the options.  They settled on No. 6, leaving the others to be scrapped.  However, according to Narrow Gauge to Central and Silver Plume, "the suggestion was made that the 9 was in better shape and might well be used instead--which was in fact done."

   According to The Mineral Belt Vol. 2, "C&S 2-6-0 Number 9, Railway express and RPO car 13, and coach 76 were put on exhibit in Denver before being moved to the New York World's Fair in 1939.  Number 9 had just been run through the backshop and coaches were resplendent in new paint.  The 2-6-0 was the only engine of this wheel arrangement saved from scrapping."

     Evading the torch by inches, number 9 then was sent along with her two cars to the World's Fair. CB&Q then kept the little train in storage at their Aurora, Illinois shops until 1948 when Chicago held its railroad fair. The engine and her coaches were leased to the fair to be run as a quaint old time western train. Painted for the defunct Deadwood Central (which, incidentally, according to The Mineral Belt Vol. 1 was the railroad from which CB&Q 537 came from), labeled “Chief Crazy Horse”, and sporting a hack false balloon stack, the engine chugged around a small track pulling visitors.
     She was again stored until leased in 1957 by the tourist hauler Black Hills Central in South Dakota. The line simply put the engine on display. I have read in a few spots that some believe the engine was pulled
behind another engine and made to look operational by burning tires in the boiler.

     Twenty-four years later, in 1981, the Colorado & Southern was finally absorbed into the Burlington Northern and the controversy began. By 1986 BN and the Black Hills Central entered a legal fight over the ownership of the mogul. The end result was that BN decided to send it home by giving it to the Colorado Historical Society. They had it stored on Morningstar siding near Silver Plume on the Georgetown Loop RR. It was relettered on one side in alignment with C&S days, though it still retained a red cab for some time. Its greatest surprise was yet to come.

     When the CHS, who owned the GLRR trackage, and the folks who owned and operated the railroad  reached an impasse in negotiations, a major debacle resulted. The end result was that the operator took all of the rolling stock and locos off the property and moved or donated them elsewhere. Still wanting to operate the railroad, the CHS, hunted for a new operator. However, they had no locomotives…except number 9. Both 74 and 9 were shipped away to check the feasibility of restoring one of them to operation. It was determined that number 9, using 74’s tender would be the best bet. In 2006 Ulrich Locomotive Works completed work on number 9 and sent her back to the Loop. It was an exciting day, yet, retained a bitter end.

     There was already an uproar over the changing of GLRR operators, but the furor was somewhat tempered by the excitement of seeing a real C&S loco run again. When number 9 was pulled out of service due to mechanical problems before the end of the season in 2006, many people’s anger erupted. Regardless of opinions on all sides of the issue, number 9 was traded to the town of Breckenridge. They had an old Sundown and Southern locomotive at their Rotary Snowplow Park. This engine seems to have more promise to have the power to pull trains on the Loop and is being refurbished.
     The trade originally required that number 9 had to be operated. There were plans to build a short section of track in Breckenridge and run the loco off of compressed air. This has all changed and, after an impressive cosmetic makeover at Mammoth Locomotive Works, the engine was put on display in December 2010 between a rotary and a C&S boxcar at what is called Rotary Snowplow Park. Reinvented once again.

31: Age Matters 

     Popular culture (read: those trying to make money) bombard us with a belief that whatever is young and new is better. It wasn’t that long ago, however, when age was venerated, when being older made your opinion and insight valuable to others. Today, it seems, all it takes is being young, trendy, and having the ability make a hit song. C&S 31 comes from the former era and it holds a title: the oldest locomotive in Colorado; and that counts for something.

     While this consolidation doesn’t seem to have quite as storied of a process as the others, it bears learning
nonetheless. C&S 31, built in 1880, began its career as number 191 on the South Park Line. It later joined the Denver, Leadville, & Gunnison and finally the C&S as number 31. It served for 22 years on those lines until it was sold in April 1899, a year after the creation of the C&S, to the Edward Hines Lumber Company in Illinois and run as Washburn & Northwestern #7. In 1905 it was sold to the Thunder Lake Lumber Company in Wisconsin and run as Robbins Railroad #7. As a side note, one source said that the cautious owner of the line thought it was too heavy to be used unless the ground was frozen. In 1932 it was retired and placed on display at the Rhinelander Log Museum in Wisconsin. It remained there for a little over four decades.

     Finally, in 1973, through the efforts of the Colorado Railroad Museum, the engine was moved back home. She was restored to her appearance as DL&G 191 and is believed to be the oldest surviving locomotive in the state at 130 years old. Within the past few years 191 received an entire cosmetic make-over and has been proudly displayed on numerous publicity materials related to the museum. For at least a few of us, yes, age matters.

 60: Stay ready for work 'til the end.  

     For those who relish the goal to eat, drink, and be merry, life’s twilight years hold little promise. But for those who believe their lives hold a greater purpose, one that outshines occupation, we want to stay ready for work, whatever divine work this might be.  One of the five C&S survivors did just that.

     C&S 60 began her life on the Utah & Northern in 1886. She eventually joined the DL&G and ultimately the Colorado & Southern. A story concerning her latter days suggests that the engine was being used to scrap the remainder of the Clear Creek line in 1941 when, well, she just broke down in the town of Idaho Springs where the loco was subsequently donated to the city for display.  

     The "break down" story, however, is likely a myth.  The Colorado & Southern Railway Society, a historical preservation group that has taken on the mantel of caring for No. 60 and her coach, have studied the engine's service records at the Colorado Railroad Museum and there found evidence to discredit such a story.  

     Their research reports, "The C&S mileage records for 60 show she received a complete overhaul in April of 1936. She ran for a year till mid 1937 when she was stored serviceable in Leadville from mid 1937-January 1939.  The records contain monthly inspection sheets filled out for every month of her layup and which state she was stored serviceable in Leadville."

     There the diminutive consolidation lived out her remaining years ready to do the work she was born to do.  In fact, she had the chance to do just that one more time when in the early winter of 1939 she again plied the rails for 6 months.  She was stored again in June, but this time, as she awaited another fire in her belly, the mileage record demonstrates that it was not to happen again.

     The C&S Ry. Society, consequently concludes that "all of our research seems to support that the idea of the breakdown is a myth."  They theorize that "the story of the 'breakdown' seems to come from having one of her eccentric links disconnected.  We haven't determined why that is or when it was done.  However, from the records, and from physical inspection this far, 60 appears to be in excellent mechanical condition with only mild wear from her service time."

     When the Clear Creek lines were abandoned in 1941, as mentioned in the story of No. 71, towns were offered a locomotive for display purposes, and Idaho Springs stepped up.  There is a bit of a complication in this gift, though.  Apparently, Clear Creek County argued, as long ago as 1936, that the railway had not paid a tax debt.  In 1941 the country accepted the locomotive as a settlement for this dispute.  Curiously, the town specified in the agreement that they wanted No. 60 to wear a snowplow.

     No. 60 then traveled to the Burlington Route's shops in Aurora, Illinois to be readied for display.  She was shipped back by flat car and was shoved along with coach 70 by engine 69 to the town.  The engine and her small train were on display on the old right of way in front of a gift shop for many years.  Some have referenced that the gift shop owner sometimes burned old tires in the boiler to simulate steam in order to garner customers.

   As in the case of engine 71 in Central City, it appears that the Chicago, Burlington, & Quincy Railroad sent a crew to spiff up the engines in the 1950s or 1960s and consequently repainted the engine with the Burlington herald on the tender and "C&S" under a smaller engine number on the cab.  When the paint scheme was returned to the original, as it is today, is unclear.

     Using temporary track early in the '80s the train was moved forward into what is now Harold A. Anderson Park.  This is where she is today.  At some point the old Idaho Springs school house was moved next the train and converted to the town hall.  In the summer of 2015 the C&S Ry. Society completely needle scaled and repainted 60's smokebox with a graphite based paint mix to reflect its appearance while in operation.  They also added coal boards to the tender.

     In recent years number 60 also was taken into consideration for operation on the Georgetown Loop. This was decided against, of course, but the consolidation still sits proudly on the track ready to do the work she did so long ago.

     History has led these five locomotives down a trail as serpentine as the grades they once climbed. Where will history take us? It might, like 71, take us back where we came from. We might find ourselves left behind like 74, but it could turn out better than we expect. Maybe we’ll find ourselves in a situation that requires us to reinvent ourselves like number 9. For those of us who’ve earned our keep, we may need to remember that age matters like C&S 31. Yet, no matter what life brings our way, no matter when we might finally drop off the serviceable list like number 60, there’s a calling to keep doing the work we were created to do until we change trains at that great Union Depot that awaits us all.

References: (I have a very lengthy reference list that I have yet to copy to this article-it will come some day!)

Hauck, Cornelius W.  Narrow Gauge to Central and Silver Plume.  Colorado Rail Annual no. 10. Colorado Railroad Museum, Golden 1972. 

Correspondence with the Colorado & Southern Railway Society via their Facebook page.  

The Mineral Belt Vol. 1

The Mineral Belt Vol. 2

Narrow Gauge Discussion Forum

Sunday, June 12, 2016

Mysteries of Alpine-part 3, Remaining Rails and the Stone Boarding House

Mysteries of Alpine-part 3

By Kurt Maechner

By 1924 a pile of rocks and a blocked tunnel allowed a small stretch of track to hang on several more decades.  So, where did the rails go that remained between the supposed rock fall near the Palisades and the entrance to the tunnel?  According to Ray Rossman, who has done so much work at the tunnel complex, the answer is: the Forest Service.  In 1959, they began the process of shearing off the ties and rocks to make the road passable.  Presumably, the remaining rails went as well.

The last set of untouched rails outside the tunnel, then, were those under the collapsed snowshed at the west portal.  I saw them on my visit to the tunnel in the early 1990s.  Rossman wrote that when the snowshed timbers were removed, those rails were used as part of the recreated track that now runs in front of the restored telegraph office.

Mystery #3: The Haunted Boarding House

I couldn’t resist the title.  The stone boarding house of the Alpine Tunnel facilities wasn’t haunted, but somehow it was abandoned…long before 1910. 

Most assume that the original boarding, or section, house burned in the 1905 fire.  It was at this point that the C&S built the two story boarding house that stood so prominently next to the small telegraph station.  It only makes sense that this structure was built to replace the burned one…except that it never burned. 

Take a look at the bottom 1906 photo on page 282 of the DSP&P Pictorial Supplement.  The engine house is clearly blackened and destroyed from the recent fire.  The stone boarding house, however, is not charred a bit.  This picture lends an interesting clue to its story, though.  The roof, while not burned, is nearly entirely collapsed. 

Rewind to the year 1896, one year after the tunnel’s reopening.  On page 280 of the same book, one can see the roof of the boarding house in a significant state of deterioration.  No tar or shingles appear either. 

Let’s rewind once more.  Mac Poor noted that 1890 UP records indicate a “small section house” was built.  He gathers that this must be what eventually became the station or telegraph office.  So, within 8 or 9 years from the tunnel opening, there was deemed a need to replace the stone structure.  Why?

My theory is that the stone boarding house was used from the opening of the tunnel through the first closing in 1890.  The following years of idleness slowly deteriorated it.  Yet, there must have been another reason why it wasn’t deemed worth fixing upon the tunnel’s reopening in 1895.  The engine house certainly was rejuvenated.  Was a stone structure too cold?  Was there some defect in its construction?  Was it too small?  The answers to these questions may forever remain a mystery.  Whatever the reason, the company seemed okay to let it just fall apart.   

Note: I want to express my appreciation to Hart Corbett who brought many of the above details to light through a DSP&P forum correspondence several years ago.