The Restoration of Former Denver and Rio Grande Combine 211.
Through an ongoing partnership with Hinsdale County Historical Society and the people of Lake City, CO the Durango and Silverton Railroad is proud to be able to provide periodic updates on the restoration of former Denver and Rio Grande combine 211.
Car 211 was originally constructed by Jackson and Sharp in 1881 for the D&RG as coach number 74. Later renumbered 298, the car served as a standard coach until it was converted to a combine (half coach – half baggage car) in 1900 for use on the branch lines of the D&RG. Being able to seat 22 passengers and handle the mail and a small amount of freight, a car of the 211’s design was ideally suited to handle the limited traffic on some of the most rust covered, weed choked, light weight rails of the D&RG’s system, such as the Lake City branch.
With the Lake City branch abandonment in 1933, and an ever-decreasing need for a combine car on other routes, the 211 found fewer opportunities for work until it was finally declared surplus and was stricken from the roster in the early 1940’s. Its trucks and metal parts removed, 211 spent most of the next 75 years moving from place to place within Colorado,
first as a chicken coop, then as a derelict artifact, until finally in 2017 it was brought back home to Lake City. In 2021, Lake City’s Hinsdale County Historical Society contracted with the Durango and Silverton Railroad to restore car 211 to its late 1920’s appearance. Work began in Lake City with a full assessment of the car followed by fabrication of bolsters and truss rods in order to set the car back on wheels.
In August 2022, the 211 was transported to Durango to begin its full restoration, which is currently ongoing and expected to last into 2024. Funding for the first stages of the project has come through donations and grant monies from the Colorado State Historic Fund, National Trust for Historic Preservation and El Pomar Foundation.
For additional information visit the Hinsdale County Historical Society visit: https://lakecitymuseum.com
To help support this project, donations can be made at https://lakecitymuseum.com/railroad-car-211
Updated December 16th, 2022.