Cumbres & Toltec and the Golden Spike Chapter

Some time ago it became obvious that the R&LHS Golden Spike Chapter was not going to be able to continue working on the restoration of D&RGW Locomotive 223 and that we were not going to have access to the Trainman’s Building at Union Station. We made the tough decision to divest ourselves of the tools and equipment that we had accumulated over the 30 years we were working on the restoration. There were thousands of dollars’ worth of tools and equipment that needed to find a new home. As an example, each of the two gantry cranes had been purchased at a cost of $7,000.00.

We wanted to find an organization that would use the tools and equipment to restore and preserve historic railroad equipment. Because of a longstanding relationship between our organization and the Cumbres & Toltec Scenic Railroad we decided that everything should be donated to them. John Bush, president of the C & T arrived in Ogden on August 6th. John, and a number of Golden Spike Chapter members and volunteers spent Friday, August 7th disassembling equipment and loading the truck and trailer.

A special thanks to all of our members and volunteers who helped with this back breaking project: Lee Witten, Lee Secrist, Matt Jensen, Thomas Brown, Steve Jones, Slim Jolley, Maynard Morris, and Danny Caliva. Thanks also to Ogden Union Station staff for providing access to the building and supporting us throughout the day.

There will be at least one more trip to Ogden to pick up additional small equipment and tools as well as the need to hire a commercial mover for the heavier equipment.

Discussions with John Bush throughout the time we were loading the equipment and tools confirmed that we made the correct decision.

12 thoughts on “Cumbres & Toltec and the Golden Spike Chapter

  1. steverlhs says:

    Hi Everyone, Let me clarify the disposition of 223. The R&LHS Golden Spike Chapter never wanted to own the locomotive (in hindsight this was probably a mistake). We thought that the State of Utah donated it to Ogden City with the understanding that the Golden Spike Chapter was going to do the restoration. When the restoration was complete it would become a part of the Utah State Railroad Museum collection. Don’t let the name fool you. The name is a ceremonial designation. The museum and almost all of the collections are owned by Ogden City.

    Fast forward to today. Ogden City has denied that they own 223 so that forced the State of Utah to step in as the owner. The State is deciding what they want to do with the locomotive. The R&LHS and the C&TS submitted a joint concept paper to the State proposing that 223 be donated to the C&TS. That proposal is being considered by the State along with several other options.

    The R&LHS Golden Spike Chapter has not been able to work on the restoration since Ogden City locked us out of the building. So, we have morphed ourselves into a “Friends of 223” organization and are advocating for it to be donated to the C&TS. That decision has not yet been made.


  2. Roger Cutter says:

    When the storm clouds arrive, remember the sun is not too far behind. Sad part is all the great folks from SLC that worked on 223 will now have a long drive to visit here. Hopefully one the day it goes back into service, all those who worked on her can be there for the first ride.
    My hat is off to you all.


  3. Maurice Hartz says:

    As a 53 year member of the NRHS, I applaud this decision to donate the tools, and equipment to the C&T. They are a great organization and everything is ending well. I hope the C&T will place a plaque on the engine recognizing the donors and other pertinent information. Congratulations to the Golden Spike Chapter, NRHS, for everything they have done to preserve this locomotive, worthy of restoration !


  4. Bill Daniels says:

    I just re-read the announcement and noticed that there was no mention of what was to become of the 223… Will it go to Chama (as I mistakenly stated above), or what? Anybody know for sure?


  5. Paul Prine says:

    It is unfortunate that the Golden Spike chapter could not resolve the existing political situation. The caliber of work done by the group is evident in the completed cab and tender. Donating the assets of the chapter to the CT&S is a positive step. Under the direction of John Bush, we should see 223 joining their operational stable of historic NG steam. 👍🏻


  6. Bill Daniels says:

    Yes, the 223 will go to Chama, to join the stable of steam locomotives there. It’s my guess that the 223 will be operational in a year (or less)… and since the 223 was going to operate on the C&TS anyways, it just gets there early. My condolences to the members of the GSRHS on having to do this, but, given the situation, this is the best possible outcome. Thank you guys for everything you have done.


  7. Mike Perry says:

    So sad to hear, as past President of the Loveland Historical Society I have heard so many similar tales of historic preservation needing to go by the wayside because of funding or lack of volunteers. Makes you wonder what’s going to happen to our history


  8. turnerbartymailcom says:

    Very sad to hear your news that you cant continue at your old site. Hope 223 can be finished, have you found a new home for her?
    Best wishes


  9. Doug Shunk says:

    So sad to read that you are being closed down, is 223 also going to the C&T to finish the great work you have done so far ?


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