Rio Grande class K-36

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Denver & Rio Grande Western
K-36 class
Scurve.jpg
D&RGW K-36 No. 488 at the Cumbres and Toltec Scenic Railroad
Type and origin
References:[1]
Power typeSteam
BuilderBaldwin Locomotive Works
Model12-34 1/4 E 68-77
Build date1925
Total produced10
Specifications
Configuration:
 • Whyte2-8-2
 • UIC1′D1′ h2
Gauge3 ft (914 mm)
Driver dia.44 in (1,118 mm)
Loco weight187,100 lb (84.9 t)
Fuel typeCoal (Nos. 480 and 489 converted to oil, 482 being converted)
Boiler pressure195 lbf/in2 (1.34 MPa)
CylindersTwo
Cylinder size20 in × 24 in (508 mm × 610 mm)
Valve gearWalschaerts
Loco brakeS-6 (part of 6-ET schedule equipment)
Train brakes6-ET automatic air brakes on all. 480, 481, 482 and 486 also have straight air equipment.
All delivered with G-6 equipment new.
Performance figures
Tractive effort36,200 lbf (161.03 kN)
Career
Operators
Numbers480–489
LocaleColorado and New Mexico
Retired1955 (No. 485), 1962–1968
PreservedFour (Nos. 480, 481, 482 and 486) preserved on the D&SNG, five (Nos. 483, 484, 487, 488 and 489) preserved on the C&TS, one (No. 485) scrapped
RestoredNo. 480; July 1985
No. 481; 1981
No. 482; May 1992
No. 483; 1970
No. 484; 1983
No. 486; August 2000
No. 487; 1970
No. 488; 1970
No. 489; 1974
DispositionNo. 483 in storage and remainder operational

The Denver and Rio Grande Western K-36 is a class of ten 3 ft (914 mm) narrow gauge 2-8-2 "Mikado" type steam locomotives built for the Denver and Rio Grande Western Railroad (D&RGW) by Baldwin Locomotive Works. They were shipped to the Rio Grande in 1925 and were first used along the Monarch Branch and Marshall Pass, but were later sent to the Third Division out of Alamosa. Of the original ten, four are owned by the Durango and Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad (D&SNG) and five by the Cumbres and Toltec Scenic Railroad (C&TSRR). Number 485 fell into the turntable pit at Salida and was scrapped in Pueblo in 1955, with many parts being saved.

The locomotives are of outside-frame design, with the driving wheels placed between the two chassis frames which support the boiler, but with the cylinders, driving rods, counterweights and valve gear on the outside. This general arrangement is shared with the earlier K-27, K-28 and later K-37 Mikado engines.

Designation[edit]

The locomotives' designation of K-36 comes from two different sources. The K in the designation comes from the locomotives' wheel arrangement (Mikado), and the 36 stands for 36,200 pounds of tractive effort.

In Service[edit]

The K-36s were used primarily as freight locomotives out of Alamosa to Durango and to Farmington, New Mexico, as well as out of Salida to Gunnison (over Marshall Pass) until 1955 and to Monarch on the Monarch Branch until 1956. They were built with special valves to allow brake control between locomotives while double-heading and were commonly found between Alamosa, Colorado and Chama, New Mexico. They were heavily used during the pipe boom in Farmington and hauled long freight trains between Alamosa and Farmington.

In 1937, three K-36s, Nos. 482, 483 and 489, were equipped with steam heat and signal lines to haul passenger trains like the Shavano and the San Juan Express. Eventually, in 1945, Nos. 484, 485 and 488 were also equipped, too.

As of 2020, eight of these locomotives still operate regularly. Nos. 483, 484, 487, 488 and 489 are owned by the Cumbres and Toltec Scenic Railroad (C&TSRR) and Nos. 480, 481, 482 and 486 are owned by the Durango and Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad (D&SNG). However, No. 483 is stored out of service at Chama. As of June 2020, No. 489 is temporarily out of service while it undergoes a new smokebox installation during its Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) mandated 1,472-day inspection. However, due to COVID-19, No. 489 is currently expected to return to service later in 2021. On December 15, 2020, the C&TSRR announced that, in addition to the 1,472-day inspection and rebuild, No. 489 is also being converted from burning coal to burning oil. No. 489 will be the first and only so far locomotive on the C&TSRR to be converted to burn oil. No. 489 is currently expected to be back in service again in time for the 2021 operating season, although an exact date is still to be announced. In addition, as of early November 2020, No. 480 is also currently undergoing a conversion from burning coal to burning oil and will be the third and last locomotive so far on the D&SNG to be converted to burn oil, the others being K-37 class No. 493 and K-28 class No. 473.

Roster[2][3][edit]

Number Photo Builder's
Number
Current
Owner
Notes
480 D&SNG 482&480 2006.jpg 58558 D&SNG Retired in 1970.
Went to D&SNG in March 1981.
Restored to operating condition in July 1985.
Operational.
Converted from coal-burning to oil-burning and returned to service May 2021.
481 Colorado - Silverton 02.jpg 58559 D&SNG Went to D&SNG in March 1981 and was the first K-36 run to Silverton.
Operational.
482 D&SNG 482 2006.jpg 58541 D&SNG Retired in 1962.
Went to C&TS in 1970.
Traded to D&SNG in October 1991 in exchange for K-37 class No. 497.
Restored to operating condition in May 1992.
Being converted from coal to oil burning as of June 2021.
483 483 heading to Farmington - Flickr - drewj1946.jpg 58584 C&TS Retired in 1968.
Went to C&TS in 1970.
Removed from service in 1977.
Almost swapped out with K-28 class No. 478 in 2015 from the D&SNG.
Stored in Chama, NM.
Undergoing a cosmetic restoration as of 2016.

483 also hauled the last scheduled passenger train on the Denver and Rio Grande Western Railroad on May 29, 1965. It was a fan trip from Alamosa to Durango, Colorado.

484 Cumbres & Toltec train.jpg 58585 C&TS Went to C&TS in 1970.
Restored to operating condition in 1983.
Operational.
485 D&RGW Durango yard 1940.jpg 58586 N/A Crashed in the turntable pit in Salida.
Due to severe damage, No. 485 couldn't be repaired and was scrapped on January 24, 1955.
Many parts were salvaged and used on other locomotives.
486 D&SNG 486 2008.jpg 58587 D&SNG Retired in 1962.
Went to Royal Gorge Park for display in December 1967.
Traded to D&SNG in May 1999 in exchange for K-37 class No. 499.
Restored to operating condition in August 2000.
Operational.
487 LCA CumbresToltec.jpg 58588 C&TS Went to C&TS in 1970.
Operational.
488 Scurve.jpg 58589 C&TS Went to C&TS in 1970.
Operational.
489 Chama K-36-Steam-locomotive-489 2012-10-24.JPG 58590 C&TS Retired in 1962.
Went to C&TS in 1970.
Restored to operating condition in 1974.
Operational.
Undergoing FRA mandated 1,472-day inspection and conversion from coal-burning to oil-burning as of December 15, 2020. K-36 489

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Denver & Rio Grande Western Mikados". Steam Locomotive dot com. Archived from the original on 21 September 2010. Retrieved 12 February 2010.
  2. ^ "Denver & Rio Grande Western Roster". Rio Grande Modeling & Historical Society. Archived from the original on 22 November 2008. Retrieved 12 February 2010.
  3. ^ "Durango & Silverton Steam". DRGW.net. Retrieved 12 February 2010.