News & Reviews News Wire Durango & Silverton buys White Pass & Yukon diesels NEWSWIRE

Durango & Silverton buys White Pass & Yukon diesels NEWSWIRE

By | April 13, 2020

First two MLW locomotives are en route to Colorado; two more will arrive in 2021

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The Durango & Silverton is purchasing four of these MLW DL535E locomotives from the White Pass & Yukon. The first two are now en route to Colorado.
Bob Johnston

DURANGO, Colo. — The Durango & Silverton is expanding its locomotive roster, adding four diesels with the potential to be tourist attractions in their own right.

The D&S has announced it is acquiring four of the White Pass & Yukon Railway’s distinctive Montreal Locomotive Works DL535C diesels, 1,200-hp C-C locomotives built in 1969 and 1971. The railroad said work on the acquisition began last September and was finalized in January; terms of the deal were not disclosed.

The first two locomotives, Nos. 101 and 107, began their trip on Saturday, when they were loaded on a barge in Skagway, Alaska, to begin a multi-week trip to Colorado. The other two units will be selected later this year and moved to Colorado in the second quarter of 2021.

While steam locomotives will remain the Durango & Silverton’s primary power, the railroad will now have 10 diesels on its roster. Initial plans for the new diesels are for maintenance-of-way use and on the short-trip Cascade Canyon Express summer excursions.

“Reliable narrow gauge diesels of this size, design, and efficiency are few and far between, so the D&SNGRR jumped at the chance to acquire them when we were first approached by the WP&YR,” Durango & Silverton General Manager Jeff Johnson said in a press release. “The addition of these locomotives … gives us more operational depth for greater engine scheduling and maintenance flexibility, and the ability to develop and implement new excursions and special events specifically using these engines.”

The railroad will also be receiving two new MP2000NG locomotives from Motive Power & Equipment Solutions of Greenville, S.C., later this year. The Durango & Silverton agreed to the purchase of those 74-ton, A1A-A1A locomotives last year for $3.2 million.

The Durango & Silverton plans to build a new 45-by-100-foot shop adjacent to its Durango roundhouse to maintain its diesel and maintenance equipment, and is currently obtaining the necessary construction permits.

12 thoughts on “Durango & Silverton buys White Pass & Yukon diesels NEWSWIRE

  1. 9/15/2020 – 10:00 AM this morning WP&YR number 101 left Bellingham, WA on a lowboy semi trailer. That is a long drive to Durango!

  2. Great news for both rr’s. A locomotive in the bumblebee paint scheme would pay homage to the great history of DRGW passenger service.

  3. This only tells one half of the story. Why did WP&YR sell the locomotives? Is WP&YR going to replace them with newer locomotives or are they downsizing?

  4. A question for Arthur. Who travels all the way to Alaska to ride behind diesels? The answer, scenery and the chance to ride over an historic narrow gauge railroad. The same goes for the D&SNGRR and a chance to see the great scenery along the Animas River as one travels between Durango and Silverton.

  5. There may be a hidden agenda here. If the state prohibits the operation of the steam locomotives during high forest fire risk season, the railroad probably could use the diesels to continue operations.

    I have ridden on the Durango & Silverton four times. It is the scenery that has continuously drawn me back to the trip.

  6. Who is going to travel all the way to Durango to ride behind a diesel, when you can do that at home?

  7. I think they could get away with at least one locomotive maintaining current paint scheme and lettering font but read ” Durango & Silverton” if not “White Pass & Yukon”

  8. In case anyone forgot….

    “National Rail Equipment (NRE) out of Mt. Vernon, Ill., will deliver two new E3000CC-DC model locomotives. The locomotives will include NRE 5650 trucks and GE764 motors and have 3300 h.p. EMD16-645 with the capability for a single engine to haul up to 16 of our passenger cars on tour. This locomotive is 65 feet long and weighs 265,000 pounds but integrates easily into our existing track structure and facilities, well within the AAR plate C clearance envelope. These will arrive in time for our 2020 season.”

    So these older locos were excess.

    Also of note, the holding company for White Pass is wholly owned by the same entity that runs Carnival Cruise Lines. So if the COVID issues drag into the Alaska summer cruise season (starts in late May), and keeps the ships from bringing in passengers, this can put the White Pass into a little bit of a lurch.

    If Carnival survives the whole pandemic (they probably will) they might have to rethink their plans in Skagway long term until the cruise biz recovers. White Pass is fortunate COVID hit in the late winter and not in the summer.

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