June 1, 2018 and we come to Chama New Mexico to video D&RGW
315 making a special freight run from Antonito Colorado to Cumbres Pass and
back. That video is available here:
We are also here to document the second weekend of the season and feature D&RGW
locomotives 484, 487, and 488.
The Denver and Rio Grande Western K-36 class are ten 3 ft narrow gauge,
Mikado type, 2-8-2 steam locomotives built for the Denver and Rio Grande
Western Railroad by Baldwin Locomotive Works. They were shipped to the Rio
Grande in 1925, and were first used along the Monarch Branch and Marshall
Pass, but were later sent to the Third Division out of Alamosa. Of the
original ten, four are owned by the Durango and Silverton Narrow Gauge
Railroad and five by the Cumbres and Toltec Scenic Railroad Number 485 fell
into the turntable pit at Salida and was scrapped in Pueblo in 1955, with
many parts being saved.
The locomotives are of outside frame design, with the driving wheels placed
between the two chassis frames which support the boiler, but with the
cylinders, driving rods, counterweights and valve gear on the outside. This
general arrangement is shared with the earlier K-27, K-28 and later K-37
The locomotives' name of K-36 comes from two different sources. The K in the
name comes from the locomotives' wheel arrangement (Mikado), and the 36
stands for 36,200 pounds of tractive effort.
The K-36s were used primarily as freight locomotives out of Alamosa to
Durango, and to Farmington, New Mexico, as well as out of Salida to Gunnison
(over Marshall Pass) until 1955 and to Monarch on the Monarch Branch until
1956. They were built with special valves to allow brake control between
locomotives while double-heading, and were commonly found between Alamosa
and Chama, New Mexico. They were heavily used during the pipe boom in
Farmington, and hauled long freight trains between Alamosa and Farmington.
In 1937, 3 K-36s, 482, 483, and 489, were equipped with steam heat and
signal lines to haul passenger trains like the Shavano and the San Juan
Express. Eventually in 1945, 484, 485, and 488, were also equipped, too.
With the support of the States of New Mexico and Colorado, and railfans all
over the world, these historic locomotives will continue to climb the grade
to Cumbres Pass and travel through Toltec Gorge for years to come.
In June of 2018 D&RGW 315 led this photo freight from Antonito to Cumbres
Pass and back to Antonito the next day. This video captures 315 leaving
Cumbres Pass on its way toward Antonito.
Denver and Rio Grande Western Railroad 315 was built in July 1895 by Baldwin
Locomotive Works of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania for the Florence & Cripple
Creek Railroad. Named the Elkton, it was one of twelve Consolidations of the
same class built for F&CC. It served the Florence & Cripple Creek for about
17 years. After the flood of 1912, the F&CC was financially unable to repair
its roadway, so it was isolated at Canyon City and then put into storage at
Colorado Springs after the F&CC closed down in 1915. The Elkton and her
sister engines sat derelict until 1917 when five of them were purchased by
the D&RG. D&RG bought a sixth sister in 1920. The engines were loaded aboard
D&RG flat cars and moved to the D&RG Burnham Shops in Denver, where they
were repaired and upgraded to help meet the increased transportation demands
of World War I.
When the engines were put into service the F&CC #3 became D&RG #425. After
the reorganization of D&RG and its merger with the Rio Grande Western in
Utah in 1921, the railroad became the Denver & Rio Grande Western. The
locomotive was called D&RGW #425 for a short time. Following the
reorganization, many locomotives were renumbered to bring order to the
locomotive classes, and D&RGW #425 became D&RGW #315 in January 1924.
The 315 was first assigned to the Alamosa Division as a freight engine,
where it was known to be in Chama around 1921-22 and in Durango around 1928.
It was leased to the Rio Grande Southern for a period in 1926-1927. It was
on the Gunnison Branch in 1929 and idle in Salida for a few years after the
stock market crashed and again in the late 1930s during a recession. It
served the Ouray Branch out of Montrose from 1933–1936 and again during
1939–1941. By the early 1940’s, as bigger locomotives came on the line, many
of the smaller 2-8-0s were either being scrapped or used as yard engines. In
March of 1941 the 315 was sidelined for a few months. It was taken to
Alamosa for repairs during September and October, then sent to Durango to
become a yard engine. At this time, it gained a rear light and had the road
pilot replaced with a switchman platform. It was shopped again in 1945,
receiving new flues and other major work.
In 1948 the 315 was used in the Warner Brothers movie, Colorado Territory.
When released in June 1949, it was the first of many films made by Hollywood
in the Durango area, which saved the Silverton Branch line through tourism.
The 315 remained in service in Durango until October 1949.
Jackson Clark and the Durango Rotary Club saved the 315 from being scrapped
by convincing the D&RGW to lease it to the city for display. The 315 was
placed in Brookside Park on North Main Street in September 1950. When the D&RGs
was getting ready to abandon the Durango to Alamosa line, the 315 was
donated to the Chamber of Commerce in 1968. In 1986 the 315 was moved to
Gateway Park, now Santa Rita Park, to be near the new visitors center.
Since being displayed in a park the 315 received numerous coats of paint and
lost a number of parts. In October 2000, at the request of the DRHS, the
locomotive was granted a historic landmark designation by the City of
Durango. In December 2000 the Chamber of Commerce transferred ownership to
the City of Durango.
The 315 normally operates on the Durango and Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad
during that railroad's annual Railfest event held every August. In 2016, the
315 made a return to the Cumbres & Toltec Scenic Railroad to participate in
their Narrow Gauge Rendezvous event held on August 25. It remained on the
C&TS to play a part in the festivities associated with 37th National Narrow
Gauge Convention on September 4, 2017.
We lead off with Amtrak 3 being led by AMTK 3 as it passes through
After a tragic derailment near Kingman, AZ, Amtrak 3 became Amtrak 4 in
Flagstaff, AZ. Passengers were bused in from California and Kingman.
Unfortunately, the train was still pointing west so BNSF 5836 was attached
to the end of the train to lead it east.
In this video we see it approaching Albuquerque, New Mexico where the BNSF
engine is removed and the train turned around; a process that added an
additional 3 hours to an already 6 hour late train.
As part of our continuing series featuring private rail cars, we present the
Patron Tequila Express!
While private jets may be the plush way to scoot around these days, for past
generations luxury travel meant traveling by private rail car. Private train
cars were the modes of transportation for presidents, business titans, and
celebrities. And while very few of these elegant train cars still exist today,
the tradition lives on aboard The Patrón Tequila Express.
Built in 1927 for the Gulf Mobile and Ohio Railroad, Car 50 is 85 feet long and
equipped with a gourmet kitchen, dining room, three staterooms, and an
observation room that’s filled with rare textiles and exotic wood carvings.
The train is privately owned by John Paul DeJoria, founder of Paul Mitchel l
Hair Care Products, and Patrón Spirits Company , and is therefore open only to
DeJoria’s personal guests. The actor Dan Aykroyd, a close friend of DeJoria’s,
frequently travels aboard the Patrón Tequila Express, where he enjoys sipping
cocktails on the outdoor deck. Before DeJoria bought the car, notable folks like
Franklin D. Roosevelt, Huey P. Long, and Clark Gable were passengers aboard the
Only when the train is used for special events can the public explore (and sip
Patrón cocktails) inside.
Follow us on YouTube
Help our channel and webpage by becoming a Patron!