Draft plans for an elaborate Silverton Railroad Historic Park encompassing the Silverton Northern Engine House and the adjacent Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge railyard were unveiled Monday.
Jerry Hoffer, representing the San Juan County Historical Society, and George Neiderauer of the Durango Railroad Historical Society asked the Town Council to support a $17,000 grant request to the Colorado Historical Fund to reconstruct the old oil shed that Hoffer described as “the dilapidated building to the front and left of the engine house.”
The old shed is on its last legs, but the plan is to convert it into a clean space for lunches and even conferences for those working on restoration projects.
“We need the space down there,” Hoffer said.
And Neiderauer said the bigger scheme is to develop a narrow-gauge historical park.
“Our goal is to preserve an example of almost every type of fright and work car that was used on the line,” Neiderauer said.
He said the Durango railroad group is well on its way to accomplishing that goal.
“We’re going to have eight cars ready over the next couple of years,” he said. Eventually some additional track will need to be laid between the depot and the engine house for about a dozen cars, fully restored, with interpretive signs.
With the park’s conceptual plan drafted, Neiderauer said work on the details will be starting soon.
“We hope to start with engineering studies with the approval of the town and railroad,” he said.