Be A Part of History!
Come and be a part of history with us!
The public is welcome to our weekly worksessions, each Saturday from 9:30 AM – 1:00 PM in the Trainmen’s Building located on the north-west corner of the Union Station in Ogden, Utah.
Scouting organizations, youth programs, and railfans of all ages can tour our locomotive shop. Ask questions, take photos, and enjoy a story or two from one of our volunteers.
Volunteers must be 18 or accompanied by a guardian. Closed-toed shoes (preferably steel toe boots), long pants and long sleeve shirts, gloves and eye protection are required. Volunteers are expected to sign a waiver before their initial worksession.
223 Restoration Crew
Andy Anderson (inactive)
Born in Tombstone Arizona, Andy has some stories to tell. His dad was an engineer on the Southern Pacific and his mom was a telegrapher also on the Southern Pacific. Andy worked in copper mining operations in Arizona for 25 years and found his way to Utah where he now works for Kennecott mining. He does project work for Kennecott and is responsible for large endeavors where he brings his supervisory and planning talents to bear. He tells the story of how he became a volunteer on the #223. He was explaining a “dispatch board” or “track board” to his daughter when volunteer Dave Wagstaff walked by and immediately understood that here was a man who would fit right in with the restoration team. Because of Andy’s multiple talents with tools, and the fact that he a boilermaker by trade, he has become a vital part of the efforts to bring back #223 to life. Andy is still working for Kennecott in project management, but he finds volunteering at the shop “downright relaxing!”
Andy feels that one of the biggest benefits to bringing back #223 to life will be watching kid’s eyes when they see big wheels, steam, stripped engineer’s hats and when they hear the throaty sounds of a steam engine with its unforgettable whistle.
Adam is one of our volunteers who has no relatives, living or dead, with a history related to the railroads. That makes him unusual in itself. When you add that to all the things that qualify him to lend a helping hand in the shop; Adam is a valuable resource. Because of his carpentry skills, he is involved with the creation of building trade show displays and museum exhibits. This may seem like rough carpentry as seen from a distance but his work qualifies him as a “finish” carpenter. Adam learned many skill from his father and deserves to be in a commercial featuring father’s teaching son’s talents. Once he found the steam shop, he began arriving on the Front Runner to share his skills and learn new ways to help put the 223 back together. He brings experience in heavy equipment installation, power washing, pipe fitting and sand blasting.
Adam is a student of milling machines” and five axis C&C machines. He hopes that in the rebuilding of the 223 he will be spending time in the creation of new replacement parts necessary because of the wear and tear on 223’s operating systems over the past 120 years. As the 223 rebuild get’s into its 2nd phase, Adam will is sure to be an integral part of the volunteer team. We look forward to having Adam hold in his hands a part or assembly ready for installation. We all have felt that special feeling and wish to pass along that experience. Adam’s grand dad was an engineer for Kennecott mining operations.
David’s dad brought him up with an appreciation for trains by having him assist in the creation of an HO gauge setup in the basement. As David grew up, he took on the trumpet, collecting and repairing R. R. pocket watches, and developing an interest in anything mechanical. He then experienced the England to France train through the Chunnel observing just how far behind America is when it comes to moving people by train. He states that it is a shame that AMTRAK stopped passenger operations between Salt Lake City and Pocatello, Idaho. He then went on to an Associates of Applied Science degree (AAS) from Idaho State and took up using the old film photo technique.
David became interested in the 223 and its opportunities for volunteer work when he joined the efforts of the Hostlers. He comes to the shop on the Frontrunner from Salt Lake City. He keeps a 32 foot power boat on Lake Jackson and is most proud of his work with his dad building an F/brown gas rear engine racing car. He holds two land speed records in his class with his car named “SCRAP IRON”.
When John first began servicing diesel locomotives as a young man, he had no car so he took the Chicago rail transportation to the AT&SF 38th St. shop. Over the years, John became proficient as a mechanical maintenance man for the railroad and remembers working for $3.50 an hour in 1958. John faked his birthday at age 17 to get hired. In the army he shined by taking apart and rebuilding heavy equipment. The army made him a leader where he learned to read blueprints and put men to work. John earned a National Certificate as an auto/truck and industrial steam boiler systems mechanic. Even today John proudly states he has no need to take his cars to a shop and empty his wallet.
John states that he was showing his family around the Union Station in 2014 and when he got to the shop, he had found a way to give back to the community. He began volunteering and it wasn’t long before we found out just how much he could contribute to the projects. His field service engineering experience, his mechanical capabilities, his quick learning and willingness to “bring what I have and plug it in!” has made a difference. There are railroad genes in his blood as he has three relatives who have gone before him. John also brings his experience as a community “CERT” program member for disaster and search/rescue with certifications as a 1st Responder. We appreciate John’s attitude when he states, “People are very important to any project”
Joshua’s railroad relatives go back to 1891. Three generations on his dad’s side worked for the Illinois Central as engineers on both yard switchers and passenger trains. Because of this family history, Joshua chose a railroad theme for his Boy Scout Eagle project. He melded his expertise in movie media with the #223 restoration efforts and produced a 10 minute movie on the team’s progress to date. The DVD has been shared with other railroad museums and railroad historical societies along with sales to individuals.
Joshua graduated from BYU in 2018 and has a BA in Western U.S. History. Many of Joshua’s photography and video talents have been tapped by the restoration team. Joshua has also maintained the Golden Spike Chapter of the Railroad & Locomotive Historical Society’s social media page. The public can now call up on the computer information about the Chapter on Facebook and Youtube.
Prior to joining the restoration team Joshua had no experience with machinery but he jumped right in and now proudly has dirt and grease under his fingernails. He particularly enjoys working on the hot rivet team and doing research for Lee Witten our librarian.
When asked what the completion of the #223 restoration will bring to the community he answered, “It will help preserve the arts and crafts of restoration, such as hot riveting and woodworking as exampled by the recreation of the train cab”.
Mike Buckmaster (inactive)
Mike grew up in a mechanical family. His granddad had a farm in Colorado with a train track along its border. Granddad worked as a track inspector for that section but not as a full time employee. His grandma made the section gang meals which supplemented the farm income. Mike was stationed aboard the air craft carrier USS Coral Sea where he was a machinist mate assigned to steam driven turbines and this added to his life’s work as a man who uses his hands and can take the heat. He went onto a career in maintenance in the mining industry and air compressor maintenance at Kimberly Clark for 25 years.
Doug Clark talked Mike into checking out the restoration teams efforts on the #223 and Mike was hooked. Mike brings a wealth of maintenance experience on compressors, boilers and he is happy to say, high speed production diaper equipment.
Mike has been a care giver to his dad which tells you a lot about his family commitment. His wife has encouraged Mike to get away from the house and he willingly comes to the shop every Saturday morning. Mike has always been comfortable around men who enjoy their work, are self starters, and can appreciate looking back on a job well done. This is one reason he wants to bring the dream of a huffing, puffing narrow gauge steam engine on line.
Mike Burdett (inactive)
Mike’s earliest remembrance of the railroad is when his granddad lifted him up to see the “big boy” here in Utah when he seven years old. His granddad worked for the Union Pacific at the roundhouse off 29th street. Hanging around his granddad got him a ride on the coal fired Big Boy from the ash pit to the turntable. The ride on the turntable gave Mike a lifelong interest in railroads. Mike served our country as a Dentist in the Army and carried that profession into private life until retiring in 2009. All the time Mike was fixing teeth, he was active in something involving railroads. He was instrumental in having the state legislature designate the Ogden Union Station as the State Railroad Museum. Mike also has been a prime mover in the development of a tourist rail route from Ogden to the Golden Spike site at Promontory Utah where the Union and Central Pacific railroads met in 1869.
Mike considers himself a serious railroad buff. He recently appeared on film narrating a movie about the Denver and Rio Grande #223 now being restored by Mike and his fellow volunteers. When asked what the #223 restoration project will do for Ogden, Mike responded, “It will cement and document Ogden’s recognition as the Utah State Railroad Museum”. Mike was instrumental in bringing #223 from obscurity as a “relic” in Salt Lake City to Ogden. It is his dream that, after restoration, old #223 will be hauling tourists on a loop close to the Union Station.
Richard Bush (inactive)
It’s not often the shop has a volunteer with a college degree in music, played sax with the world famous Stan Kenton band and loves getting his hands dirty. Richard has had a love affair with trains since he was five and although no one in his family was ever associated with trains, Richard is setting an example. Ever since he saw the 223 on display in SLC, he wanted to find out how the music of the “choo” was made in choo-choo. As a child he also rode the train at Lagoon, walked the tunnels from the Union Station under the tracks that came up on the platforms, and rode the Bamberger trolleys. When Richard became a professional musician, he recognized the difference between a concerto, the music of the spheres and the very distinctive music of a steam locomotive. He loved the sound of steam being released, relished standing in its stream, knew the rhythm of steel wheels clacking along the tracks and the warm but blunt sound of the whistle announcing arrival, departure and a hundred other messages. His music from the woodwinds he played is different than the noon whistle at the Union Station but he loves them both for different reasons.
When Richard heard our own Lee Witten lecture on the rebuild of the 223, he was hooked, and offered to do anything to be close to the sounds, smells and grime of the shop. Richard brings his experience as a wind instrument repair man to the 223 from when he worked to bring back the sounds of a broken bassoon and now to bringing back the 223. He has a sense of history and how the steam engine contributed to the building of America fits in nicely with his sense of repairing either a bassoon or a set of steam engine breaks.
Richard Carroll (deceased)
Richard’s dad was a boilermaker for the Southern Pacific and his Uncle Pete was a switchman/inspector for the Ogden Union Railroad & Depot. He is an Ogden native, born in the old Dee Hospital on Harrison Blvd. Richard later joined the Air Force where he spent 41 years in air craft maintenance on both piston and jet engines. After retirement, Richard became a docent at the Union Station and being close to big powerful noisy train engines just came natural. He morphed into a volunteer, helping to build a wooden frame for the old decrepit Denver and Rio Grande’s #223 which had been brought from a Salt Lake City park. As a volunteer, Richard brought several shop talents, including milling machine operations and welding which became building blocks for the other disciplines required to restore the #223.
When it became obvious that the restoration process demanded a dedicated shop, Richard went to work finding one. He was instrumental in convincing the powers to be to allow the volunteers the use a storage area for what is now the “shop”. This allowed the volunteers and get out of the old laundry building. He then brought his organizing talents to the front by arranging for heat, light and power. He also found many of the existing tools, including milling machines which allowed some serious work to be begun on the 223. Richard is always ready to lead, teach or do it himself. The community owes much of its current success to Richard and his get it done attitude.
When asked what his volunteer experience has meant to him, he answered; “A lot of satisfaction and a lot of frustration”.
Doug Clark (inactive)
Doug holds a B.A. degree in economics. He served our country from 68-72 as a Captain in the Army where he was part of the “Escort Detachment” returning our lost soldiers to their families for burial. He can claim no family members who worked on the railroad. His earliest memories of the railroad are watching his grandfather board the steam commuter to Bayonne New Jersey when he was eight. He worked for Ingersoll Rand as a Field Service Engineer becoming thoroughly grounded in the theory of air compressors and the repair of these complex machines. When the company moved Doug to Utah, he wandered into the Union Station and asked if he could volunteer. A brief interview later, and he became a valued part of the restoration team.
Doug brings to the #223 restoration team knowledge of pressure vessels and boilers which is what steam trains are all about. As a self starter, Doug fits right in when it comes to solving problems. When he cleans his fingernails, Doug can pound out music on the piano or strum a guitar.
Vern was born in Ogden and his grandma used to bring him to the Union Station because it had so much to offer a young man. Vern could relate to the railroad with all its big trains, and museum because his granddad used to work as a machinist for the Southern Pacific. Vern remembers bringing his kids to the station in 2004 just to do what his grandma used to do. He and the kids were admiring #223 when Maynard Morris collared him with an offer of volunteering.
Vern had used his hands in heavy labor all his life and the idea of using his welding and engine expertise as a volunteer was enticing. He had worked loading railroad grain cars, construction jobs and is currently working welding utility trailers. Vern’s first assignment in the #223 shop as part of the restoration team was to drill holes in the new tender for hot rivets.
Vern now brings his kids to the shop to keep them up to date on the restoration progress. He hopes to instill a kindness for, if not a passion in the kid’s hearts for railroading. He believes that teaching his kids how to use their hands to make “stuff” is vitally important to their future.
In 2009 Maurice walked by the shop and struck up a conversation with the volunteers. Before he left he was hooked on the thought of working on the restoration of the Denver & Rio Grande steam locomotive #223. He and his wife came to Ogden to be close to family, the scenery and the “unpredictable weather”. Maurice was into photo camera retail in his past life and brings significant knowledge of photography to the shop along with his other hobbies of wood working and machine tool capabilities.
Maurice claims no relatives with railroad experience but now claims great pleasure in volunteering with “good old boys with big toys”. His is proud to be part of the camaraderie of the shop and like so many of the other volunteers, can always find something needing to be done. Maurice believes that the #223 project will enhance the public’s image of the Union Station and its museums. He smiles when he says, “What’s not love about a steam engine?”
Brent Groth (inactive)
Brent is what the Brits call a “Train Spotter”. He finds the best locations for taking pictures and has had many of them published. He has a B.S. degree in Anthropology. When you add his field research excavations into thousands of year old Indian sites plus his mechanical abilities to restore Mercedes Benz rare “Gullwing” autos, you have a fellow that fits right in with the other folks at the shop. Born in Heber, Utah and growing up playing with his dad’s Lionel railroad models, Brent remembers his first encounter with the 844 when, at the age of four, he got away from his parents and climbed on the 844 to spots where he should not have been. That was the beginning of a lifelong interest in real trains. He went on to be a part of the opening day celebrations of the Calif. R.R. museum in Sacramento and rode the last run of the California Zephyr in 1983.
In 2012, Brent enjoyed visiting the 844 on its excursion to Ogden and wandered into the shop. When he saw what was happening with the 223, he was hooked. Brent now joins his dad in driving from Heber to Provo and then riding the Front Runner to the shop on Saturday mornings to join the restoration efforts. He and his dad purchased two RR passenger cars from the Henry Ford Museum in Dearborn Mich. and are looking for a steam engine to complete the picture. He sees the possibility of running the train to generate income to help children of need. Brent considers a steam engine a “work of art”. He says that if you listen, you can hear the engine talking to you. It will agree with you if you know what you are doing or tell you to change the way you are treating her. He looks forward to driving the 223 and seeing if the feeling is the same as driving the rare Mercedes Benz gullwing.
Sandy Holmes (inactive)
When the big steam trains came into Ogden, Sandy would walk out on the 24th viaduct just to stand in the fog of steam wafting up from the engine. She even volunteered to haul large hoses to fill the tenders with water. This is the way Sandy remembers the trains of Ogden. Later working for the Union Station, Sandy had access to the roof where she would stand and watch the rail yard hum with activity from the best view in town. When Slim Jolley invited Sandy to join the volunteers working on the #223, she jumped at the chance just because “I love the place!”
Sandy may be new to the crew (2012) but she brings experience in CNC machine tooling and an enthusiasm for learning more about welding, riveting and large band-saw operations. Sandy lives near the rail yards and admits that maybe her love of trains and the sounds of the whistles may now be part of her DNA. That DNA may also be there because both her grandfathers worked for the Union Pacific. Her paternal granddad was a supervisor in the yards and her maternal granddad got his hands dirty as both a breakman and switchman.
Like all the volunteers at the shop, Sandy is willing to do anything, considering every experience a pleasure and an opportunity to build her railroading DNA. When asked what the completion of #223 will mean to her, she answered, “Hearing its whistle will run chills up and down my spine”.
Jay’s dad drove the elevated “L” out of the Howard Street station in Chicago where Jay learned to play checkers with the crews in the ready room. His dad let him ride up front with him when he took the “L” to the shops. Jay’s dad then worked his way up to Engineer on the Atchison Topeka & Santa Fe out of San Bernardino. He shuttled WWII war equipment and materials over Cajon Pass to the desert training grounds. Jay’s first steam train ride was a solo trip from Chicago to the plains of Montana when he was seven, where he lived with his grandma for part of the war. He fondly remembers being put into the hands of the black porters who passed him along for the multi- day trip. The porters taught him how to whistle and make a Pullman pull down bed.
He served in Korea where he was a member of the Army all Far East rifle team. His career as a hospital CEO didn’t provide any of the technical tools needed to bend metal, hot rivet or fix a boiler, but his days of owning a flour mill specializing in stone ground products did teach him how to wield a hammer and saw. Jay served on the Union Station Foundation’s board before he became active with the restoration team of #223. Jay can look at a situation and always find non technical things to help the cause. He has been successful to garnering community support for projects, raise small sums of money and finding community volunteers for special purposes.
The sign said “BE A PART OF HISTORY!”, so Slim signed on as a volunteer for the restoration of the #223. Being a bit of an adventurer, and because her granddad was an engineer on the Santa Fe, she figured she must have railroad DNA. Her granddad had the run from Prescott to Seligman Arizona. Her aunt was a telegrapher for the Santa Fe which also helped convince her to sign up. Slim came to Ogden as a dispatcher with a trucking firm (she had also been a driver) so transportation was once again in her life. When growing up, Slim learned how to use her hands around the family horses swinging a hammer and is comfortable around tools.
Slim enjoys the comradeship in the shop. She is part of the hot riveting team and feels like after literally thousands of hot rivets pounded into the tender, the team is almost family. Slim feels that volunteering in the shop is an opportunity to learn new skills.
Slim feels that once #223 is completely restored, people will come to see an operating steam engine. When people see the engine they may even remember a relative that they too had who worked on the railroad.
Steve is President of the Railroad & Locomotive Historical Society and is on the Board of the Union Station Foundation. These leadership credentials have given the restoration team of the Denver and Rio Grande steam engine #223 the inside track to financial and community support. Steve can’t claim any relatives who worked for a railroad and he has no working railroad experience. He fondly remembers his father taking him from the family farm in Pennsylvania to the amusement park to ride on a steam train. Even though it didn’t go very far, it burned a lasting memory in his mind. The thrill remains! Steve followed his wife when she came to Ogden to work, and with a couple of computer science degrees, began his own building automation systems company.
While getting acquainted with Ogden, Steve looked for volunteering opportunities and found the Golden Spike National Monument where Mike Burdett snared him into volunteering at the shop where #223 was being revitalized. This was a nice adjunct to Steve’s childhood participation in model railroading. When asked what his greatest “return on investment” is as a volunteer, Steve states, “Seeing new volunteers find a spot on the team. Some volunteers come with sophisticated shop talents while others just want to help. Everyone goes home after a Saturday of work, feeling good about their time in the shop”
Steve believes that what he is doing is preserving history which would have been lost without the work of the volunteers.
Carl Leuschner (inactive)
Carl is a professional Pattern maker! He brings 45+ years of experience to the shop in both the ship and airframe industries. When we need a part to be cast through the process of a poured hot metal molding, Carl is the man that creates the wooden patterns (models) from either original engineering drawing or by creating a new pattern from an original cast part. Carl is one of a dying breed of talented men still able to reverse engineer and to measure with special rulers and calipers. If we had to replace Carl with a computer program, we wouldn’t be able to afford it, and right now we can’t afford to lose Carl.
Carl’s satisfaction as a volunteer comes from being able to create a pattern that ultimately becomes a part of the Denver and Rio Grande’s steam engine #223’s restoration.
Carl has had no relatives who worked on a railroad, but he can now add trains to his experience with ships and planes.
Maynard is our leader on the restoration of #223. None of his relatives ever worked on a railroad but Maynard didn’t let this minor point get in the way of learning how to restore a steam engine. With a degree in nuclear engineering, and a career in the Air Force, Maynard took to large complex projects with the same enthusiasm he tackled the #223. While in the Air Force he was chosen for leadership roles and even went to a “secret school on the care and upkeep of those things that make a big bang”. The Air Force then sent Maynard to school where he obtained a Master’s degree in logistic management. He became proficient in military satellites and traveled around the globe evaluating their performance. Maynard also worked in the civilian world of engineering and finished his career with the title of “Senior Staff Engineer”.
If you watch Maynard in the shop, you can see his mind working out a problem with those same talents he developed in school and on the job; engineering, logistics, maintenance and leadership. If Maynard doesn’t have a metal part in his hand, look for a technical book, an engineering drawing or a note in his pocket to check out a paint that can be applied over a rusty air tank. If you are standing around with your hands in your pocket, you can be expected to be put to work simply because he needs good men and women to help get the job done. Just to fill in his time, Maynard had his own radio show and some may even call him a pool shark.
Shaun grew up in the Syracuse, Utah area. His grandfather was a painter for the Union Pacific R.R. working out of the Union Station. Shaun has a B.S. degree in Info Tech which is how he spends his working day with the L.D.S. church keeping the computers up to snuff. He was once the President of the Ogden Camera Club and still has a passion for photography. He has over 70 cameras which can easily consume his free time. It is photography that brought him to the shop. He was trying to use up a roll of film and knew about the shop, so he stopped by and has been making his talents useful ever since. He smiles when stating he doesn’t know one end of a screwdriver from the other but he tinkers with cameras so we think he can break down a steam engine in a pinch. He has no goal for his volunteer work at the shop but is bringing his talents to the community by writing articles associated with his pictures. He feels that this public information effort will enhance the community’s interest and perhaps its volunteer efforts. Shaun is impressed with the friendliness of the volunteers at the shop and how they go out of their way to inform the visiting public of the shops activities.
“I’ve always had a fondness for old stuff. One day I poked my head into the steam shop and found the answer to my free time: a really old authentic narrow guage steam engine. It was time to get my hands dirty.” Joshua’s great grandad used to keep the ideling steam engines in the Pittsburg, Penn. yard ready to roll in the 1890s so steam is in Joshua’s blood. Joshua started small when he was a kid with running Lionel model railroad setups. When he was four years old he became facinated with the engineering capablities of lumber company “Shay” steam engines and how they were specifically designed for the rigors of hauling trees out of the forest. He recoginzed that, like his father, he had a knack for mechanics.
Currently, Joshua is a Senior Airman in the U.S. Air Force and the Air Force has recoginized his talents by assigning him to a “Expeditionary Mechanics” team. This assignment takes him overseas to solve problems. Joshua is building a personal library on engineering, steam, railroads and his other hobby; rebuilding old outboard motors that spent their lives in Mexico. In addition, Joshua is studing aeronautical engineering leading to a college degree.
We are lucky he poked his head into the shop that Saturday morning because he has proved that he learns fast and is willing to jump in on any problem popping up in the shop.
Adam has a fascination for 19th century railroading. His dad used to bring him to the Union Station just to let the sights, sounds and smells rub off on him. Because his dad new someone, Adam got to climb on the Amtrak equipment which later led to his becoming an employee of the company. Adam’s steam experience began with the Heber Valley Railroad in 1995. He then worked with the BNSF. These experiences led to his becoming an Engineer in 2001 at the age of 19. After becoming and Engineer, Adam operated steam locomotives in Oregon. He became the Road Foreman of Locomotives on a short line in Kansas and as an engineer with the Utah Railway on coal trains over Soldier Summit. Adam is currently a conductor with Amtrak and spends his free time building 2.5 scale steam locomotives in his home work shop. With Adam’s varied experiences associated with live steam engines, working shop tools and heavy equipment and interacting with the public, we are pleased that his dad brought him to the Union Station so many years ago and that the smell of oil became one of his favorites.
When Lee moved to Utah so his wife could return to where she grew up, he had no idea he would be a volunteer working on the restoration of the Denver & Rio Grande steam engine #223. He had spent five years making traction motors for the big EMD diesels but that was far removed from steam engines. He later went into law enforcement where he says, “If you saw it on TV, I’ve done it”. To hear his stories, you can believe the truth in them.
He has no relatives who toiled on a working railroad. Lee has a home wood shop so he brought hands on knowledge to the project. By jumping into his volunteering on the #223, he has become proficient in many of the tasks demanded by the restoration of a steam engine and the construction of a new tender.
When asked what he has learned on the project he states, “Just how much he doesn’t know about the many talents necessary to be useful in the shop”. He looks up to the men of the early days of building rolling stock and how they got the job done without the convenience of modern tools. Lee believes that Americans have a short memory when it comes for our history, and the completion of #223 will help them remember.
Steve Smith (deceased)
Born in Ogden, Steve is a fourth generation railroad man and serious buff. His great grandfather helped build the railroad into Utah. His dad worked for the Ogden Union Railroad & Depot of the Union Pacific. His mother worked as a genealogist for the Southern Pacific. Steve began his railroad career as a concessionaire at the age of 13 and has stuck with his passion, and has no plans to abandon it. He advanced to Senior Trainman with the Heber Creeper of Heber Valley Utah and has sought any experience associated with railroading. Steve is generally recognized as a railroad historian and usually can give you the complete background of almost any engine number you can come up with. He was part of the design and construction team of the Salt Lake City Light Rail and the Front Runner which now drops off riders at the Union Station.
Steve brings an encyclopedic understanding of the operating aspects of our major project, engine #223 of the Denver and Rio Grande Railroad. He believes #223, when completed, will bring Ogden another community attraction like “Iron filings to a magnet”.
We have found that Steve is a versatile man. He can wire as an electrician, work as a machinist, paint, grind and leave a tidy work area. But Steve shines as a mechanic and the shop has always been grateful for an experienced volunteer mechanic. Steve came to us with years of experience, an AA degree from Weber University in diesel mechanics and a willingness to get his hands dirty.
Steve grew up in Keyser West Virginia near the Baltimore and Ohio R.R. He claims no relatives who worked on any railroad and his first train ride wasn’t until 1969. He graduated from the B & O railroad school for clerks where he learned that he really wanted to get grime under his fingernails and not paper cuts. In 1987, Steve hired on at Hill Air Force Base as a civilian mechanic for the Army/Air Force railroad operations. He added to his duties the coordination and transfer of surplus rolling stock to the Union Station.
In addition to his U.S. Army/Air Force experience he can claim experience as a heavy equipment mechanic with the Southern Pacific R.R. All this experience caught the eye of Steve Jones who figuratively grabbed Steve by the arm in 2013 and dragged him into the shop for work on the 223, speeders, diesel locomotives and anything that comes our way designed for the betterment of the Union Station and the community.
Dave’s grandfather worked as a fireman on a railroad in the east and his dad worked security on the Ogden Union Railroad and Depot. When Dave was a young man he worked as an “oiler” here in Ogden making sure the wheels of freight and passenger cars ran smoothly. He remembers that when the Timken bearings became popular, he lost his job as an oiler. He doesn’t remember what he was paid in the fifties, but says it wasn’t enough for the way he looked at the end of the day. Dave does remember the day the big #844 was in town in 2008 and when walking the length of the train, he wound up in our current shop. He was hooked!
Dave hasn’t missed a Saturday in the shop since the day he became a volunteer. He looks forward to doing odd jobs, but is most proud that he is part of the hot riveting team. Dave grew up on a local farm and remembers the time he enjoyed driving his dad’s tractor. Someday, when the #223 is up and running he hopes to drive it also. Dave states that he recommends volunteering at the shop because whenever he pushes the door open, his troubles fall on the ground outside.
Lee says he made the transition from biology school teacher to railroad buff when he attended a meeting of the Railroad & Locomotive Historical Society- Golden Spike Chapter and was talked into becoming the Union Station’s librarian. Because his dad was a conductor on the Union Pacific from 1936-74, Lee thought this position would be a good way to honor his father. Lee uses his photography and organizing skills to create a railroad oriented library with over 33,000 photographs of railroad and other Ogden/Weber County historical subjects. The library also includes books, CDs and artifacts. Lee takes phone calls from all over the world from history aficionados seeking hard to find information.
Lee is also the editor, photographer and writer of the R&LHS Golden Spike newsletter. When the Denver & Rio Grande #223 steam locomotive restoration projects began, Lee jumped right into becoming an active member of the restoration team. Lee says that the restoration of #223 has brought notoriety to the project throughout the world of narrow gauge railroad buffs. Lee states that his greatest satisfaction from his volunteer efforts is the preservation of history and the help he has been able to give researchers.