The condition of tourist and scenic railroads across the state has been something of speculation lately. Specifically, a cloud hangs over the Georgetown Loop railroad operated by the state historical society and Railstar. After a season which most would describe as lackluster in 2006, their featured star, Colorado & Southern engine No. 9, needed repairs after only a few months in operation. It’s uncertain whether it was the heavy grades of the loop, the large passenger loads or the fatigue brought by mechanical efforts to compensate for the grades and loads. What is certain is that No. 9 will not be in operation on opening day 2007. Their remaining steam engine, Colorado & Southern No. 12 is questionable for the 2007 season as well. Repair work must be done before the engine is serviceable. It could be that the Georgetown Loop will be without regular steam for a considerable part of the season. The diesels they have secured are likely up to the task, but as evidenced in Durango and elsewhere, diesels just don’t draw the fans that steam does.
Meanwhile, the San Luis & Rio Grande has promised that the engine they purchased, Southern Pacific 1744, will be running over La Veta Pass this summer. SP 1744, a Baldwin 2-6-0, has a storied past, along with a troubled second life as an excursion steamer. The engine will be trucked in hopefully at the end of this month.