Colorado Steam

When you think of Colorado steam what comes to mind first? For most people it would be either the Durango & Silverton or the Cumbres & Toltec tourist railroads. If you were hoping to see these, I am sorry to disappoint you. I have not been to either. Howevev, I have visited many other steam locomotives in Colorado. Many of the photos shown here were taken during my visit to Colorado back in 1993.

Cheyenne, WY

I am starting off by showing you a locomotive in Cheyenne, WY. This is Big Boy 4004. It is displayed in Holliday Park on US 30 in Cheyenne. Cheyenne is also the home for Challenger 3985 and Northern 844 (plus a few others). I understand that there was a flood in this park a few years ago and 4004 was partially under water!

Forney Transportation Museum, Denver

Big Boy 4005 is on display at the Forney Transportation Museum. Notice the red firebox on this Big Boy. I don't know why it is painted red. The Forney Transportation Museum is mainly an automobile museum. However, they have four steam locomotives on display: the Big Boy, a C&NW 4-6-0, an 0-4-4 Forney, and inside, a narrow gauge 0-4-0 from Denmark.

Since my visit, the Forney Transportation Museum has moved to a new location at 4303 Brighton Blvd, Denver, CO. Backshop Enterprises managed the move with the help of numerous contractors as well as the BNSF, UP and the FRA. They have also had all their equipment porfessionally repainted back to their proper colors and lettering. Several RR historical societies helped with this effort.

Colorado Railroad Museum

Chicago Burlington & Quincy 5629 The Colorado Railroad Museum in Golden (near Denver) has a large collection of steam locomotives (see my steam list for details). This photo shows their largest. It is CB&Q Northern 5629, built in 1940 and retired in 1956. It has sister locomotives in three other cities in the U. S. Peaking out behind 5629 is B-4A Consolidation 191. 191 is a typical narrow gauge engine of 1880. It was built for the Denver, South Park & Pacific (later renamed Denver, Leadville & Gunnison). According to a museum brochure, it is the oldest locomotive in Colorado.

The photo on the left also has two locomotives in it. D&RGW C-19 Consolidation 346 is in the front. Built in 1881, it is the oldest operating locomotive in Colorado. Currently, 346 is their only operating locomotive. Behind it on the same track is D&RGW C-18 Consolidation 318. 318 is up on blocks getting a major overhaul. The photo on the right shows a better view of 318.

This is Denver & Rio Grande 583, a class C-28 2-8-0. 583 is the sole surviving standard gauge D&RG steam locomotive. Since this photo was taken, the museum renumbered this locomotive to 683.

RGS 20 & Standard Oil 1 Rio Grande Southern No. 20 and Standard Oil 1.

crm1 crm2 In 2004 the Georgetown Loop Railroad ceased operations. At that time, their steam locomotives were relocated to the Colorado Railroad Museum. The photo to the right shows No. 12 and 14 (under steam) at the new museum roundhouse. The photo on the far right shows locomotives No. 40, 12, and 14.

Cripple Creek and Victor Narrow Gauge Railroad

Cripple Creek & Victor 2 and 3 Cripple Creek & Victor 4

Cripple Creek, a gambling town, is nestled back in the mountains. The CC&V NGRR has four locomotives: two 0-4-4-0s and two 0-4-0s. The first picture shows the two 0-4-0s. Number 2 (on the left) is under steam. Number 3 (on the right) is a "tank" engine and is named "Vista Grande". The second picture shows one of their 0-4-4-0s. It is also operational.

Georgetown Loop Railroad

The Georgetown Loop Railroad runs between Georgetown and Silver Plume along I-70. The main visitors center is in Georgetown while the locomotive shops are in Silver Plume. These two towns are separated by only a couple miles. However, Silver Plume has an elevation that is over 600 feet higher than that of Georgetown. A spiral was built into the railroad line connecting the two towns in order to minimize the grade. The first two pictures show 3-truck Shay number 12 pulling a train over a portion of this spiral named the Devil's Gate Viaduct. The other two pictures show locomotives 12 and 14. The above photos were taken back in the early 1990s.

The Devil's Gate Viaduct is 300 feet long and over 100 feet high. In 1939 the original loop was dismantled and the bridge sold for scrap. I-70 was planned to cut right through this area. A great deal of effort caused I-70 to be re-routed in order to preserve the "Loop" railroad grade. The line from Silver Plume to Georgetown was rebuilt and completed in 1975. The Viaduct was rebuilt and completed in 1984.

This West Side Lumber 3-truck Shay has been on display at Silver Plume for many years. The photo on the right was taken in June, 2000 by Roger Kirkpatrick. In 2005 this locomotive was moved to an unknown location.

This former International Railways of Central America class B-4G narrow gauge 2-8-0 was brought up from El Salvador in 1973. It spent several years at operating at the Georgetown Loop Railroad. In April, 1999 it was loaned for a short while to the White Pass & Yukon in Skagway, Alaska. The photo on the left was taken at Silver Plume in June, 2000 by Roger Kirkpatrick after it returned from Alaska. Since 2004 this locomotive has been stored at the Colorado Railroad Museum.

This former International Railways of Central America class B-4G narrow gauge 2-8-0 was brought up from El Salvador back in the early 1970s to operate at the Central City Narrow Gauge Railroad. It was relocated to the Georgetown Loop Railroad in 1978. This photo shows it on display in Georgetown back in the 1990s. In February, 2001 restoration efforts had begun on this locomotive in the Silver Plume enginhouse. According to reports, its boiler had been removed from the frame and sent to Denver to be torn down, inspected, rebuilt, and reflued. The cab had been removed and was awaiting other repairs. The drivers had been removed and were sent to Durango for turning. Today this locomotive is located at the Colorado Railroad Museum.

In 2003 or 2004 No. 8 was displayed at the former location of No. 44 in downtown Georgetown.

Please visit the current Georgetown Loop Railroad web site for current photos and information.

Fort Morgan

These three 0-4-0T locomotives are all in the city of Fort Morgan. They were all owned by the Great Wester Sugar Company of Fort Morgan. They were built by Davenport. There are a few other Great Western Sugar Company locomotives. They are: This 0-4-0T was built in 1929 (construction number 2148). It is displayed at the Great Western Sugar Company in Fort Morgan. I do not know the engine number for this locomotive. Photo, April, 2000 courtesy Roger Kirkpatrick.
This 0-4-0T was built in 1923 (construction number 1950). It is locomotive number 17. It is displayed in City Square Park in Fort Morgan. Photo, April, 2000 courtesy Roger Kirkpatrick.
This 0-4-0T was built in 1930 (construction number 2176). It is locomotive number 41. It is displayed in the so-called Riverside Park which wraps around the Mort Morgan Power Plant (seen in background). Photo, April, 2000 courtesy Roger Kirkpatrick.

Other Colorado Steam


C&N class B-4F consolidation number 30 is displayed with a few cars in Central Park in Boulder. As it is not protected by a fence it looks like it is in pretty rough shape. In May, 2000 it was being cosmetically restored.

Central City

Colorado & Southern class B-4E consolidation number 71 is in Central City. It was restored to operational order in 1987 and ran until sometime in 1989. It is in good mechanical shape (possibly operational) but rusting away. It is currently unknown whether or not a new place to run it will be found. Since this picture was taken, 71 has been moved to the Cour d'Alene Mine in Central City and then later moved down the hill to Harvey's Wagon Wheel Casino and displayed with Colorado & Southern Adams Express Company car number 20. Central City was undergoing major construction while I was there. It seemed like every building was being converted into a casino. Much of the right-of-way where 71 used to run has been torn up so it is highly unlikely that 71 will ever run again, at least in Central City. I don't know how they are able to move this locomotive around. The town is very "hilly". Notice the spark arrester on the smokestack.

Colorado Springs

D&RG class T-12 ten-wheeler number 168 is on display in Antlers Park in Colorado Springs. As you can see, this locomotive has been restored to immaculate display condition.

Idaho Springs

C&S class B-4C consolidation number 60 is displayed nicely in Harold A. Anderson Park in Idaho Springs. It can be seen from I-70 as you drive past the town. Notice the spark arrester on the smokestack. No. 60 was built by the Rhode Island Locomotive Works in 1886. No. 60 began her career on the Union Pacific owned narrow gauge Utah and Northern Railroad as No. 263. In 1890, the Union Pacific transferred U&N locomotives No. 260 - 265 to its Colorado-based Denver, Leadville, and Gunnison Railroad, where the original engine number was retained until the Colorado and Southern assumed operation of all Colorado-based Union Pacific narrow gauge lines. This included the Clear Creek Branch. At this time the C&S renumbered all of its narrow gauge engines and No. 263 became No. 60. Information taken from plaque displayed near No. 60.


Colorado Southern 641 C&S consolidation number 641 is on display near the LC&S depot in Leadville where a tourist train runs (powered by a diesel).

Palmer Lake

At the time of this photograph, D&RG consolidation number 433 was on display in Palmer Lake (about halfway between Denver and Colorado Springs). It has since been moved to the Colorado Central Station Casino in Blackhawk, CO and renumbered "71" (the real C&S #71 is on display in Central City at the Coeur d'Alene mine). 433 sits on display almost exactly where the east end of the original C&S narrow gauge yards ran up the canyon. 433 is a beautiful locomotive in terrible mechanical shape according to Floyd Cothran's inspection several years ago when another party was interested in possibly restoring it to operation. It is probably important to know that 433 was used in Central America and never ran on D&RG.


This is a narrow gauge Kopper Mine Company 0-4-0T is displayed at the Salida City Park. From the photo I can't quite make out what is said on the plaque: Donated To The Salida Museum in Memory of ____ _____ 18?? to ??63. Photo courtesy Roger Kirkpatrick.

Manitou Springs

Four of these Manitou & Pikes Peak cog locomotive are left, #1 in Golden, #2 in downtown Manitou Springs, #4 (operational) at the M&PP railway, and #5 on display at the base station at M&PP. As you can see, the wheel arrangement for this locomotive is 0-4-2. It is also built so that the boiler is level as the engine sits on an incline. Notice the wacky linkage that is used to transfer motion from the cylinder to the two (front) drive wheels.

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