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Old rail cars get back on track
From Silverton Standard, the place where you can write!
Posted on July 05 2012, 3:44pm by Mark Esper in Local News category
They're being restored to reassemble a train for Engine #315 to pull.
The wheels from a 1902 high-sided gondola sit on tracks outside the
Silverton Northern Engine House. Behind them, a restored 1904 drop-bottom gondola.
“We’re trying to put together a train for the 315”
Slowly but surely the old rail cars are coming together, being restored after years of sitting in rail yards or remote sidings.
“We’re trying to put together a train for the 315,” said Jerry Hoffer, referring to the recently restored Engine #315. “But as long as it’s been taking us to do it, it’s probably not going to be a very long train.”
The pieces are being dismantled and reassembled at the old Silverton Northern engine house near the depot. The site is being developed into a railroad museum.
On Monday, Johnny Camp of J&J Sandblasting and Painting, was working on the latest arrival, a disassembled 1902 high-sided gondola that had been sitting at the Tacoma siding for years.
 “It’s amazing how the old timers built these things so well,” Camp said. He was blasting off perhaps a century of rust and grime from the body bolster and draft gear of the high-sided gondola.
“We tore it apart,” said Jerry Hoffer. “It will get all new wood and we’ll put it back together. There wasn’t a good stick of lumber in either of them.”
The other gondola was the 1904 drop-bottom gondola recently restored by the Durango Railroad Historical Society. It too was rescued from decades of sitting idle at the Tacoma siding. For years the car hauled ore out of Silverton.
Also slated to be part of a train for the 315 is the old Silverton Northern Caboose, also at the engine house, awaiting its own restoration.
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