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Locomotive #497 under steam in the chama, nm yard
Rio Grande K-37 Class Locomotive to Climb Cumbres Pass Once More
With an eye to our future while respecting our past, the C&TS Commission recently approved the future restoration of a K-37 to give the railroad an additional workhorse locomotive to handle demand. Both the #492 and #497 are being evaluated for renovations.
Cumbres & Toltec Scenic Railroad will restore one of the Rio Grande K-37 2-8-2 locomotives, returning that model to the 64-mile narrow gauge railroad for the first time since 2002.
The addition of a K-37 locomotive will give the railroad five large locomotives necessary to cover the regular schedule, engineer/fireman schools, and special events.
Saga of Pay Car F or 0452 Coach Outfit Car*
As with many cars on the narrow gauge, Pay Car F and Coach 0452 have an interesting history of swapping places when a need arose, and the shop forces made do with what was available.
First Pay Car F was damaged on the Rio Grande Southern in 1909 and sent to the Alamosa Car Shop. At the same time Outfit Coach 0452 was in the car shop for repairs.
452 was originally built in 1879 by Billmeyer & Small as D&RG chair car 24. As built, the car was 42′-0″ in length, weighed 26,500 pounds, had a duck bill roof and 11 arched windows, and a seating capacity of 25 passengers. The car’s name was Twin Lakes.
In 1883 the car was rebuilt to a pay car, and in 1885/1886 it was redesignated business car F (first) as part of a system wide renumbering of passenger equipment.
An 1891 description showed the car to have a Baker heater, oil lamps, an office, six sections, a toilet, and accommodations for 12 persons. By 1903 the car had a bull nose roof, eight seats, one berth and a kitchen. In 1906 the length was reported as 40′-8″ in length and 44,200 pounds.
In 1909 it was wrecked on the Rio Grande Southern, and its car body was switched with tourist construction car 0452 (first). Car F (first)
became 0452 (second) at the Alamosa Car Shops.
In 1920 it was inventoried as a coach outfit car used by the engineering department. The 1923 D&RGW inventory described it as cook outfit car. In December 1925 it was equipped with an acetylene welding outfit, which was removed in August 1933. In 1954 the car was described as kitchen car.
It was sold to the C&TS in September 1970 on freight car trucks as the D&RGW retained all passenger car trucks for the Silverton Train.
When the rebuild is completed 0452 will ride on correct passenger car trucks.
*Pending research is being conducted on this interesting piece of C&TS rolling stock to determine its amazing history & journey across the Narrow-Gauge Circle.
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restoration underway in antonito, co
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