By Dominic Garcia
IDAHO SPRINGS, Colo. (CBS4) – A group of train enthusiasts is looking to restore a 131-year-old train that has deep Colorado ties. The old steam Locomotive 60 was built in 1886 and ran on the Colorado & Southern Railway. It traveled all over the state but spent most of its life traveling between Denver and Leadville.
In 1941 it was donated to Clear Creek County and has sat near the Idaho Springs city council building ever since.
“She’s seen a lot of Colorado,” said Benjamin Fearn, Vice President of the Colorado & Southern Railway Society.
His group wants to restore the locomotive to full working condition and is currently working to secure grants for the project that will cost between $300,000 and $500,000.
We believe the highest state of preservation is operational condition because it represents the artifact in its proper context…she is a relic, and she’s very important the way she sits. But you don’t get a sense of what it really is because it’s not alive,” he told CBS4’s Dominic Garcia.
When it was in its prime, Locomotive 60 traveled to places like South Park and Boreas Pass, and it was even part of the snowplow trials at Hancock in 1890.
“She probably did, from the records we’ve seen, on average about 50,000 miles a year. She’s seen a lot of places she’s seen a lot of Colorado,” said Fearn.
His group needs to first evaluate the locomotive’s boiler. The next step will be asbestos removal and after that the rest is mostly cosmetic. They not only want to restore the locomotive, but the passenger car on display behind it built in 1986. It’s lined with spacious, cushy seats and it even has two bathrooms on board.
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“For those of us who do this there’s no greater thrill than seeing one of these things come to life and do what they were meant to do,” Fearn said.
The group needs to now renew their contract with Idaho Springs and then they can get the plans in motion to have the locomotive moved to a site for restoration. It will then be returned to Idaho Springs.