September 7, 2002

The Friends of the Cumbres & Toltec Scenic Railroad Executive Committee, acting on behalf of the board of directors, has approved the use of funds from the Another Century of Narrow Gauge Steam campaign to purchase parts necessary to return locomotive 484 to service. Mindful of the long lead time for these parts and the economic difficulties faced by Rio Grande Railway Preservation Corporation, the Friends acted to provide assistance. The Friends has placed orders for valve and piston rings. It is expected that these parts will cost approximately $10,000, and will require six to eight weeks for delivery. In addition, the Friends is seeking grant funding to complete the work on 484 and its tender.

Locomotive 484 is one of two locomotives that must be returned to service in order for the railroad to field a minimum of three operating locomotives upon opening the 2003 season. Of the three locomotives in service this year, two of them--engines 463 and 497--will not be operable as of January 18, 2003, because they must be brought into conformance with the new Federal Railroad Administration Part 230 boiler requirements. The third operating locomotive, 487, has been granted an extension on its boiler through 2003, after which it will require a major overhaul.

Locomotive 484 has been out of service since the spring of 1999, when it suffered a serious derailment during a snow-clearing operation undertaken by the previous operator. In addition to repairing damage brought about by the derailment, 484’s boiler and firebox have been the subject of an extensive overhaul by the Chama shop crew, although progress has been hampered by the economic losses to RGRPC brought about by the Forest Service closure. When completed, 484 will be the first C&TS locomotive to completely conform to the new FRA boiler standards.

Because of the obvious necessity to prepare locomotives for the 2003 season, and the long lead times required to purchase these parts, the Friends believes that this use of ACNGS funds is in the best long-term interest of the railroad, regardless of who operates the railroad next year.

Through the end of August the ACNGS fundraising campaign had received aggregate contributions and/or pledges of approximately $466,000 (including cash donations of $206,000) from 440 donors. Of the cash received, $106,000 remains available for use, $70,000 has previously been advanced to RGRPC, $20,600 has been set aside for the permanent C&TS endowment fund and $10,000 has been used or reserved for general campaign expenses.

The Friends is committed, long-term, to the restoration and preservation of the C&TS, and in spite of the uncertainty about the railroad and who will be its operator in 2003 and thereafter, the Friends is continuing its fundraising efforts. In the next few months the Another Century of Narrow Gauge Steam campaign will be expanded to non-members, general railfans and others who might find the Friends’ mission of saving this unique, world-class historical treasure attractive. We need the active and ongoing support of every member and non-member alike who believes, as we do, that this is a cause worth fighting for. If you haven’t yet made a contribution or pledge to the ACNGS campaign, we urge you to do so today. If you have already done so, we thank you very much. We will continue to use the campaign funds in the best long-term interest of the railroad, in the hope of preserving Another Century of Narrow Gauge Steam.

Please contact Bob Craine (; or 918-317-4376) or Tim Tennant (; or 505-880-1311) for additional information, or visit the Friends’ web site at

Return to the Another Century of Narrow Gauge Steam home page