As a Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad train pulls into Silverton, a restored high-side gondola from the Denver & Rio Grande Western Railroad is unloaded Wednesday after being trucked up from Durango. It will join the growing display of rail stock at the railroad museum complex being developed by the depot. The rail car dates from 1902.
A 111-year-old high-side gondola that used to roll along the Denver & Rio Grande Western tracks rolled into Silverton on Wednesday, having been restored by the Durango Railroad Historical Society.
Restoration work on the 12-ton D&RGW 1400 railcar began in 2011 at a hangar at the Durango airport.
“It’s about 99.4 percent done,” said George Neiderauer, president of the society. “We’ve still got some details to do.”
The gondola was among two recovered from the railroad siding at Tacoma. Both cars now sit in Silverton after being restored at a cost of $90,000.
Gondolas, second only to boxcars as the most common railcars for hauling general freight, are symbolic in representing historic Colorado narrow-gauge railroading, according to the group’s website. Their roles in supporting the mining, railroad, agricultural, and construction industries contributed to the development of southwest Colorado. D&RG had about 3,111 gondolas of 22 different Classes or types.
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