Cumbres & Toltec nears goal to restore Ten-Wheeler No. 168

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Engine 168 shows off new valve chest studs and a lower crosshead guide, as rebuilding work proceeds. Soon, the crew will drop the drivers to begin work on the foundation running gear.
C&TS: Stathi Pappas
ANTONITO, COLO. — The Cumbres & Toltec Scenic Railroad has received a $25,000 grant from the Gates Family Foundation for its Engine 168 Project capital campaign, now nearing its goal of $501,000. The Engine 168 Project aims to return Denver & Rio Grande No. 168, a T-12 class Ten-Wheeler built by Baldwin Locomotive Works in 1883, to service in 2019.

The grant highlights a recent surge in donations to the Engine 168 Project. “The Gates award is wonderful news. It pushed the campaign past $475,000, closing in on the goal,” said Jerry Dziedzic, co-chair of the fundraising team. The Donate to 168 gift-matching promotion which the campaign ran in April and May amazed Dziedzic:
“We tallied 168 people who donated to Engine 168. You can’t make this stuff up!” Fundraising also had a boost from Colorado’s new Enterprise Zone designation for the project, making donations from Colorado residents eligible for tax credits.

The railroad reports continued progress on No. 168. After completing the tender late this winter, work turned to the pilot truck, cylinders, and valves. The shop finished the lead truck axles and bearings, surfaced the valve ports, and made new studs for the valve chest. Machining and installing crosshead guides and crossheads is underway. This summer, the crew will drop the drivers and start on the foundation running gear.

People often ask Stathi Pappas, assistant general manager and project manager, how working on 168 compares with other steam restoration efforts. “A project like this demands good machinists, a skill set that maintaining our full roster keeps sharp. Also, steady funding helps us plan and work efficiently. It’s much harder to work through starts and stops that get in the way when the money dries up.”

The Cumbres & Toltec Scenic Railroad, a National Historic Landmark, operates 64 miles of original Denver and Rio Grande line between Antonito, Colo. and Chama, N. M. Its Engine 168 Project is part of the railroad’s plan to recreate a complete, authentic early-20th century passenger train with No. 168 and five original D&RG passenger cars.

The Gates Family Foundation makes philanthropic investments throughout the state of Colorado that contribute to the quality of life there, create opportunities for youth, and support stewardship of such an extraordinary place, particularly Colorado’s natural inheritance.

Contributions can be made via the Donate to 168 tab at the Cumbres & Toltec Scenic website, or by phoning Tracy Gallegos, 575-219-3306. The Cumbres & Toltec Scenic is a 170(c)(1) non-profit organization and donations are tax-deductible.

Information from C&TS

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