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Rio Grande Southern No. 20 Returns with Train Rides
August 1, 2020
Saturday-Sunday, August 1-2
Rio Grande Southern No. 20: Return to Steam!
Steam Train Rides Behind Newly-Restored Locomotive
Join us for a special celebration on Saturday, August 1, continuing on Sunday, August 2! After a complex, 14-year restoration process, Rio Grande Southern steam locomotive No. 20 returns to operation at the Colorado Railroad Museum. A brief ceremony and banner-breaking at 10 a.m. (Saturday only) will be followed by Steam Train Rides every half-hour, from 10:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. Pulled by No. 20, of course! This will be the locomotive’s first day pulling trains for the public since it last ran in the early 1950s. Also on hand this day will be Model A and Model T automobiles, antique steam engines and live steam model trains, plus food and snacks available from local vendors to round out your visit!
Locomotive No. 20 has a colorful history, dating from 1899 and beginning its service life on the Florence & Cripple Creek narrow gauge line. This “bonanza railroad” ran between Florence and Canon City, north through hauntingly beautiful Phantom Canyon, to the gold mining towns of Victor and Cripple Creek. After the F&CC line ceased operation in 1915, No. 20 was sold to the Rio Grande Southern Railroad in southwestern Colorado. The locomotive served out its life pulling trains over this quirky, cash-strapped railroad running between Durango and Ridgway. This is the same railroad that made the “Galloping Goose” railcars famous!
In 2006, Rio Grande Southern No. 20 began a journey that would last 14 years and cost over $1.5 million along the way. It traveled to Strasburg, Pennsylvania for a complete overhaul, spending 12 long years having its boiler, frame, running gear and tender disassembled, assessed, and painstakingly restored. The work took much longer than expected because, as it turned out, the locomotive had been pretty much “worn out” by the Rio Grande Southern. Last summer, with its boiler and running gear work largely complete, the locomotive returned to Golden in pieces. Since that time, restoration specialists have been hard at work completing final plumbing, reassembly and testing. Come see the finished results this weekend!
ALSO HAPPENING THIS DAY:
Touring the Rails (10 a.m. – 2 p.m. Saturday and Sunday)
Volunteers are stationed at key locations throughout our outdoor Railyard to answer questions and point out some of railroading’s less obvious but more universal aspects between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. Learn how our turntable uses balance and leverage so a single person can push a steam locomotive all by themselves—and try your hand! Marvel at the primitive safety environment of the 19th century, and see how a caboose was central to this part of “working on the railroad.” Learn more about the telegraph, America’s first form of revolutionary electronic communication, which dates from over 180 years ago!
(Included with regular Museum Admission).
Sunday, August 2
Member Appreciation Day!
Rio Grande Southern No. 20 Steam Train Rides Continue
Enjoy all the same activities listed above for this weekend (except there will NOT be 10 a.m. ceremonies Sunday). Steam Train rides behind Rio Grande Southern No. 20 will of course continue! In addition, the train will operate with seating reserved aboard a special car (a Rio Grande Southern caboose) exclusively for members this Sunday. Plus, a Behind-The-Scenes Tour (focus TBD) will be offered several times during the day (limited availability) for members. Not a Museum member? Click Here to learn more about all the great benefits!
$10 adults, $5 ages 2-17, $8 seniors ages 60+.
Free for members, children under age 2 and active-duty military*.
$4 adults, $2 ages 2-17. Free for members & children under age 2.
Grounds open 9 a.m. – 5 p. m., rides operate every 30 minutes 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. (crews take a lunch break at 12:30 p.m.).
Know Before You Go:
Masks are currently required to gain entry to the Museum. We recommend purchase of admission and train ride tickets in advance, as our overall Museum and Train Ride capacities have been reduced for the time being. Although regular Museum Admission and Train Rides are free for Museum Members, we suggest advance reservations regardless.