The following letter of support comes from Norm Nelson, president of the Utah State Railroad Museum Authority (USRMA), regarding future plans for the D&RGW 223. This letter was sent to several members of the Utah State Division of History & Arts, as well as Mike Caldwell, Ogden City Mayor:
Don, Mike, Jill, Doug, Kevin, and Josh:
The Utah State Railroad Museum Authority (R&LHS) endorses the plan presented by the R&LHS and the Cumbres & Toltec Scenic Railroad to take over restoration of Denver & Rio Grande Western (D&RGW) Locomotive 223. We have reviewed and endorse the joint plan presented by the R&LHS and the Cumbres & Toltec Scenic Railroad in a letter of intent to the Utah State Division of History and Arts.
We feel this plan is in the best interest of Locomotive 223, the Utah State Railway Museum Authority (USRMA) preservation mission, the general history of the United States railroad, and the generations to come who will need to touch, experience, and connect with the sights, sounds, and joy of railroading.
The USRMA is chartered with supporting activities in Weber and Box Elder Counties that promote and preserve railroad history and heritage. The Golden Spike Chapter of the Railway and Locomotive Historical Society (R&LHS) is a charter member of the USRMA with their primary mission being the restoration of D&RGW Locomotive 223 to operating condition. The restoration of 223 is currently at a standstill due to Ogden City locking the doors to the restoration building after the R&LHS has invested 25+ years and thousands of dollars in the project. We believe that it is imperative to find a way to complete the R&LHS mission of restoring this significant historic artifact to operation.
We urge you to reconsider showcasing Locomotive 223 in the new Utah State History Museum and instead support this plan that will see it returned to its original operating environment, guaranteeing that it will be preserved for future generations to experience and enjoy–not just view.
We also believe strongly that the railroads played a huge part in the history of Utah and should be showcased in the State History Museum. We urge you to select another locomotive currently in the Eccles Rail Center that has far more relevance to Utah history and will be far more impressive to the average visitor than the diminutive 223. Basically, we ask you to let each locomotive fulfill the purpose and connection for which it was built–one to run the rails of Colorado, and the other, to support the history of Utah.
Norman I Nelson, Chairman
Utah State Railroad Museum Authority (USRMA)