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Saturday, February 1, 2014

The Colorado Railroad Museum

Over Christmas Break, 2013-2014; I had the chance to visit the Colorado Railroad Museum on what was really quite a snowy morning.  Below is a pictorial of what I saw:

 One of the Museum staff was kind enough to brave the snow along with me and took me through a personal tour of the Museum grounds.  The first stop was the RGS "Galloping Goose" #7 that was operating and giving tours that day.  I had a chance to ride, but the video and photos were pretty bad, mostly due to the foggy windows and the terrible conditions outside.
 Along with #7, I also had a glimpse of RGS "Goose" #6 which is used for track maintenance on the museum grounds.  These Geese either had Pierce-Arrow or Buick 6 cylinder motors in them.

 Behind the parked Goose #7 is Burlington route #5629, a 4-8-4 steam locomotive.
 Next was a set of F units; both an 'A' unit and the 'B' unit which served as auxiliary power for the train before modern consists were developed with road diesels.  The F units were originally developed for freight service, but as can be seen in the photo, is best remembered as a passenger locomotive along with the PA, FA, and E units.
 A porter that appears to have been used most recently by Standard Oil company.
 Perched up on a small bluff is a Lima 3 truck shay, better known as Georgetown Loop #12.  She's lettered for the West Side Lumber Company she once served, and has had a long operational history for the museum, the Georgetown Loop, Westside Lumber Company, and everywhere in between.

 Shays have all their drive gear on the right side of the locomotive (with very few exceptions which had the gear on the left) so the boiler is off center.  I think this also gave the engineer (right side of locomotive correct?) a better view of the track ahead.  Shay's were typically used in logging and mining operations, having the ability to clime steep grades.
 After being on the bluff and getting cold, we decided to head into the shop.  Here I found a small Plymouth diesel under the number '3' for the museum.
 Also in the shop is D&RGW number 491, undergoing an extensive restoration which I told will make her steam-worthy again.  She's a 2-8-2 K series locomotive like those down in Durango under the Durango and Silverton name.

 outside the shop/roundhouse, sat a pair of diesels with the typical gold and navy blue Denver Rio Grande Western paint scheme.
 And here is an SW8 or an SW9 switcher which I believe is operational.

 Then there's my favorite, D&RGW number 50, essentially a glorified critter.  I have a G scale model of this locomotive by LGB which I hope to super detail and turn into a true model some day.
 Meanwhile Goose #7 was making laps around the 1/3 of a mile loop of track where the 3ft gauge equipment gets to stretch their legs, figuratively of course.
 Along the turntable sat the third goose in the museum's collection which is also in operating condition.  I suppose if you can fix a Buick or a pierce arrow, you can keep a galloping goose waddling down the track.

 One unique piece in the collection (out of many unique pieces) is this track mobile which rides the rails sideways, but runs on the road as a normal road vehicle (and looks somewhat like a tractor).

 The Museum also has a set of flangers which served the purpose of clearing snow from the inside of the track.  I believe these are 3 foot gauge, which makes them all the more unique.
 Then there's this locomotive, a 'C' class consolidation under the 'Flying Grande' lettering.  I believe it is a C-21.
 This car if I remember correctly was part of the 'Ski Train' that ran out of Denver up until a few years ago.  The museum got their hands on the car which carried all the skier's equipment.
 This little car was mean't to test the rails to check for stability and weight loading.  Iron and ballast could be added to increase the weight, and should it derail it isn't too bulky, so a crane, or a team with jacks could put it back on the tracks.
 Still has a bow for Christmas, this is an RPO car which handled the mail up until the 1960's.  These cars are legendary and very special.  I took pictures of the interior of a Union Pacific RPO car while in North Platte a couple years ago:

 This is a rotary snow plow which served the mountain railroads well, clearing snow that was 12 feet deep across the tracks.  Technically, it's a snow blower, but railroads refer to these as 'plows'.  This snow plow was originally closer to the river in a park, but was moved up to the museum at some point in the last few years.
 One of many stock cars that the Museum owns.  these cars would haul livestock from the plains to large pens, where the livestock would be transferred to mainline railroads and sent to places in the Midwest for slaughter and packing.
 There was also several tank cars which hauled a variety of liquids during their operational history.
 Along with WSL number 12 is this shay which was owned by a railroad with very colorful past.  Has anyone ever heard of the Argentine Central?  The Argentine Central was built as a tourist line in the mountains by Georgetown and Silver Plume, and literally went to the top of a mountain.  The line was going to connect to Leadville, but was never finished; just like the clear creek route to Silver Plume.
Finally back at the entrance, this little 0-4-0 was used on the Manitou and Pikes Peak Cog Railway by Colorado Springs.  Like the Argentine Central, this line went to the top of a mountain, Pike's Peak to be exact.  Unlike the Argentine Central, the Pikes Peak and Manitou used a cog railway, where a gear (series of gears) makes contact with a toothed third rail, and thus can climb very steep grades.  So steep that these locomotives had their boilers angled so that they'd be level throughout the route and therefore would boil water correctly.

Hope everyone enjoys these photos.

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