Denver & Rio Grande Western #315

This C-18 rolled out of the Baldwin shops in 1895.  The Florence and Cripple Creek RR bought her for $8001 and named her the "Elkton".  She worked for the F&CC for about 17 years, when major flooding shut down the railroad in 1912. 

The D&RG bought the "Elkton" in 1917 and moved her to Salida, where she was repaired and put back in service as #424.  When the D&RG reorganized in 1921, she was renumbered #315. 

She saw service on most of the D&RG narrow gauge, spending most of her time in Alamosa and Gunnison, ending active life as a switcher in Durango.  In 1948, she starred in the movie "Colorado Territory" and was determined to be obsolete in 1949.

The Durango Rotary Club saved her from the scrappers torch, leasing her from the D&RG for display.  The D&RG backdated her appearance to the 1870's and she was moved to Brookside Park in 1950.

No longer operable, she again starred in the 1956 movie "Around the World in 80 Days".  A diesel engine pushed her down the tracks and Hollywood trickery both disguised the diesel and made the #315 look active. 

When the D&RG abandoned the San Juan Extension, #315 was donated to the Chamber of Commerce.   In 2000, #315 was granted historical landmark designation and ownership was transferred to the city of Durango.

The Durango Railroad Historical Society was founded in 1999, primarily to repair the heavily deteriorated #315.  The goal was to return her to a 1930's appearance.

Not only did the Society achieve their goal, they returned her to service!  In August 2007 her boiler was fired for the first time in 58 years.

Specs

Class: C-18
Builder:  Baldwin
Serial #: 14352
Year: 1895
Wheel Arr: 2-8-0
Drivers: 38"
Cylinders: 16x20
Weight: 72,000
Tractive Effort: 18,325

Work is underway to restore a section of the Silverton Northern Railroad tracks through Silverton and connecting to the D&SNG.  The engine house is also part of the project, to be completed at a later date.  Eventually the Casey Jones railbus and #315 will be housed there.   Currently (2009) #315 has winter storage in Silverton outside of the engine house under a tarp, summer finds her running on narrow gauge rails around Colorado.  A location for summer display has not been determined - discussions are underway for use of D&SNG museum space, or a D&SNG siding, or returning her to the Durango park she sat in for years, or... 

September 2009 found her running a special photo freight on the Cumbres & Toltec Scenic RR.  These first 11 photos were taken then.  The last three were taken during Durango's Railfest 2011.  They did not have the funds to fire her this year. 

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LightBox 2 Album created with JAlbum

More info:   Durango Railroad Historical Society

San Juan County Historical Society (owners of the engine house)

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