ANTONITO, Colo. — After four years of restoration work on Denver & Rio Grande 4-6-0 No. 168, Cumbres & Toltec Scenic Railroad celebrated by having the Baldwin locomotive pull D&RG coach car No. 292 and caboose No. 0579, painted in its original red color, from Antonito, Colo., to Lava Tank, on Oct. 14, 2019.
The 20-mile round trip acknowledged the fundraising efforts of the Friends of the Cumbres & Toltec. Trains magazine had awarded its 2018 Preservation Award of $10,000 to the Cumbres & Toltec Scenic Railroad in Chama, N.M., to complete restoration work on this locomotive. The grant sponsored restoration of No. 168’s boiler jacket. Hundreds of donors, including prominent philanthropic foundations, contributed to this $501,000 restoration project.
During a July 2019 Trains visit to Antonito, director of special projects for the Cumbres & Toltec Scenic Railroad, Stathi Pappas said, “Our jacket is being made to the Baldwin standards with riveted seams, hooks, and clamps, and then it will be blued like a fine firearm to imitate America Iron which was the typical jacketing material in the United States during our period of significance for this locomotive, which is about 1916.”
For the special excursion, fourth generation railroaders, engineer Max Casias and fireman Carlos Llamas operated D&RG No. 168, with Cody Underwood serving as brakeman and Stathi Pappas working as the conductor. After a water tank car was coupled and the train was reversed, the railroad held a ceremony at Lava Tank to honor the donors and the crew. In attendance were County Commissioner Dan Love and Matt Mayberry and Kate Paul of the Colorado Springs Parks Department.
“We dedicate this locomotive to successful future use and strong partnerships with the city of Colorado Springs and the Cumbres & Toltec Scenic Railroad,” Cumbres & Toltec Scenic President John Bush said during a toast.
Philadelphia’s Baldwin Locomotive Works built the engine in 1883 for the Denver & Rio Grande. The locomotive continued in service for another 50 years and retired from the Denver & Rio Grande Western in 1938, when it was made a public park display in downtown Colorado Springs, Colo. Then the city granted permission to C&TS to restore and operate the engine.