Converting Our 7th Locomotive to Oil-Burning
Exciting news out of the D&SNG roundhouse this week:
K-28 number 478, which first entered service in October 1923 for the Denver and Rio Grande Railroad, will 100 years later be returned to service.
“Over the past few years the D&SNG has continued to see record ridership, which has resulted in daily scheduled doubleheader trains. That continued growth and need for regular doubleheaders is what makes returning the 478 to service a natural choice.” says D&SNG general manager Jeff Johnson. The 478 last saw service in April 2016 and has been on display in the D&SNG’s Roundhouse Museum ever since. Work to return the 478 to service is expected to begin in early 2024 and take between 24 to 36 months to complete. Aside from the standard Federal Railroad Administration Form 4 requirements, work will also include a conversion to burn oil.
In addition to the 478 returning to the active roster, the D&SNG is also expecting this coming winter to see the last regular use of coal. The D&SNG’s last active coal burning locomotive, number 481, will see its final winter as a coal burning engine before undergoing a conversion to burn oil later in 2024. “A few years ago I always thought we would want to keep a coal burner,” said Randy Babcock, AHR Chief Mechanical Officer “the reality is that it just doesn’t make business sense to maintain a locomotive that we only intend to use a quarter of the year.”
Conversion of the 481, along with the return to service of the 478 will ultimately give the D&SNG an active roster of seven operational oil-fired locomotives – 473, 476, 478, 480, 481, 482, and 493. Additionally, locomotive 486 will remain on display in the D&SNG Roundhouse Museum.