By Justin Franz
GOLDEN, Colo. — Following a successful visit to the Cumbres & Toltec Scenic Railroad this fall, Rio Grande Southern 4-6-0 20 is back home at the Colorado Railroad Museum preparing for a busy few months in Golden.
Jeff Taylor, curator of equipment and rolling stock at CRM, said RGS 20’s first trip away following its multi-year restoration was an enormous success and brought a lot of good publicity to the museum. RGS 20 traveled to the C&TS for the railroad’s first-ever Victorian Iron Horse Roundup, which claimed to be one of the world’s largest gathering of operating steam locomotives from the 19th century. After that, RGS 20 headlined a number of photo charters. Taylor said CRM and C&TS are already talking about how they can collaborate again in the future with RGS 20, although he notes it probably won’t happen in 2022.
“It was a great event,” Taylor said. “We expect that the success of this visit will open the door to future visits.”
The museum also hopes to someday bring 20 to the Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad. Taylor is particularly excited about having the locomotive run to Silverton, where it once was used in the filming of the movie “A Ticket to Tomahawk.”
Locomotive 20 returned to steam in 2020 following a 14-year overhaul. The locomotive was built by the Schenectady Locomotive Works in 1899 for the Florence & Cripple Creek Railroad. It was sold to the Rio Grande Southern — which operated between Durango and Ridgeway — in 1916 and ran until 1951. The locomotive was briefly put on display before being moved to the Colorado Railroad Museum in 1959.
The locomotive returned to Golden earlier this month and will operate on Oct. 23 and 24, for the museum’s Harvest Haunt event and then on the Polar Express starting in mid-November. Taylor said RGS 20 will hold down operations the first few weeks before 2-8-2 K37 491 is pushed into service.
Visit ColoradoRailroadMuseum.org for more information and tickets.