2006-10-21

Rio Grande Southern Engine #20 To Be Restored

According to the Colorado Railroad Museum, Rio Grande Southern engine #20, long stored on the museum grounds on loan from the Rocky Mountain Railroad Club has been officially donated to the Colorado Railroad Museum, along with Business Car Rico and D&RGW caboose 0578.

Of more significance, however, is the fact that #20 will be restored. From CRRM's Iron Horse News,
An anonymous donor has donated $400,000 to fund a rebuild of the 20 to operating condition, specifying that all work would be done by the Strasburg Railroad shops in Pennsylvania. Another $100,000 has been placed as an endowment to maintain the engine. The 20 and its tender, plus the tender for 346, have been trucked to Strasburg, and work on determining the condition of the boiler and running gear will commence as soon as possible.
To my knowledge, the museum has been without owning an operating steam engine since work was begun to overhaul D&RGW #346, which was due for some time. However, since the Georgetown Loop Railroad Inc. lost it's lease with the State Historical Society to operate over the Georgetown Loop, their locomotives and cars have been stored on the grounds and operated occasionally.

On a related note, there is a rumor that the owners of the ex-Georgetown equipment are considering placing a third rail down the Royal Gorge Route, which they also own. A tender on one of the engines has been labled with the flying Royal Gorge logo in white. Could we possibly one day hear a steam whistle once again echoing up from the depths of the Gorge? Only time will tell.