K37 #491 NEWS

The Colorado Railroad Museum in Golden debuted its newest steam locomotive on Saturday. August 30. 2014 The K-37 is the largest operating narrow gauge steam locomotive in the Western hemisphere. Denver & Rio Grande Western K-37s are 2-8-2, Mikado type, narrow gauge steam locomotives. They were originally built by Baldwin as part of an order for thirty standard gauge 2-8-0, Consolidation type, locomotives, class 190, in 1902. They were renumbered into class C-41 during the railroad's reorganization in 1924 and were converted to three foot gauge in 1928-30 at the railroad's Burnham Shops with many new parts including new frames and smaller drivers. They were then renumbered into class K-37. The locos worked out of Salida, Colorado to Gunnison, Colorado and up the Crested Butte Branch as well as the Monarch Branch. The locos also worked out of Alamosa, Colorado to Antonito over Cumbres Pass to Chama and on to Durango and the Farmington Branch. Like the K-36s the locos were not permitted West of Gunnison or on the Silverton branch. However, the Silverton branch has since been upgraded to take K-36s.

Of the eight preserved K-37s, only #497 has been operational, both on the Durango and Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad and on the Cumbres and Toltec Scenic Railroad but it is now awaiting a major overhaul. However, as of 2014, engine #491 is under restoration at the Colorado Railroad Museum and is in reportedly excellent condition. The museum has now officially stated that they are restoring it to full operating condition.

Although the K-37s are actually about 2% lighter than the K-36s, they have proven to be much harder on track. Although the D&S originally owned four of the K-37s, they found that the longer engines were too hard on their track. 

# 491 was Donated to the Museum last year by History Colorado, this beast was brought back to life by Mike Spera and his crew for under $10,000! Looking forward to seeing it running regularly