The Utah State Division of History and Arts has proposed that the D&RGW 223 be presented as a static display in a new museum built on the property next to the Utah State Capital. This proposal conflicts with the Golden Spike Chapter of the R&LHS to restore the 223 to operation.
The Golden Spike Chapter has received several letters of support that highlight our desire to restore the 223. The following is a letter sent to the Utah Director of State History, Don Hartley, from Robert Holzweiss, President of the Railway & Locomotive Historical Society on November 16, 2019.
Mr. Don Hartley, Director of State History, State of Utah
Dear Mr. Hartley,
My name is Robert Holzweiss and I serve as the President of the Railway & Locomotive Historical Society (R&LHS), America’s oldest organization devoted to the collection, interpretation, preservation and dissemination of information relating to railroad history. I write you today after speaking with Steve Jones who serves as the Chairman of the Golden Spike Chapter of the R&LHS. Following our conversation, Steve shared several emails concerning the current status and future display and/or operation of D&RGW locomotive 223 which is currently undergoing restoration at Ogden Union Station. As you know, members of the Golden Spike Chapter have worked on preserving and restoring the 223 for almost 30 years. Although additional work is required, chapter members remain committed to restoring 223 to operation. When I visited Ogden in May, I toured through the restoration shop where chapter members volunteered their time and financial resources to work on the locomotive until an unfortunate dispute with the City of Ogden in early 2019 suspended all work.
Considering the ongoing dispute with the City of Ogden and the need for contractors to complete several remaining tasks, Steve worked with the Cumbres & Toltec Scenic Railroad (C&T) on a proposal to relocate the 223 to the C&T’s well-equipped steam shop at Chama, New Mexico.
Per the draft agreement, C&T personnel will complete the restoration to operation. Having just returned from a trip on the C&T and having some familiarity with the shop at Chama, I am confident C&T personnel can complete the work as outlined in their proposal. More importantly, once the restoration is complete, the C&T offered to operate the locomotive between Chama and Antonito, Colorado. This would fulfill a core mission of R&LHS and bring the decades-long work of the Golden Spike Chapter to a successful conclusion. Therefore, on behalf the 2400 members of the R&LHS, I strongly endorse the proposal to move D&RGW 223 to Chama to complete the restoration to full operation.
Thank you for your consideration. I would be pleased to speak with you directly if you think that is necessary.
Dr. Robert Holzweiss, President
Railway & Locomotive Historical Society
Mike Caldwell, Mayor, Ogden City
Mike Plowman, Executive Director, Union Station Foundation Stathi Pappas, Cumbres & Toltec Scenic Railroad John Bush, Cumbres & Toltec Scenic Railroad Steve Jones, President, Golden Spike Chapter, Railway & Locomotive Historical Society