Museum Attractions
The Denver and Rio Grande West Railroad

Railroad Exhibits
The Denver and Rio Grande (D&RG West) West Railroad came to Gunnison over Marshall Pass for the first time on August 6, 1881. The Denver South Park and Pacific Railroad came through the Alpine Tunnel. The tunnel is located between St. Elmo and Pitkin. The Denver South Park and Pacific arrived in 1882. Freight and passenger trains arrived in Gunnison twice a day.

The workhorse of the D&RGW railroad's feverish expansion into the mountain regions of Colorado during the early 1800's was a tiny narrow-gauge locomotive then designated class 60 (meaning 60,000 lb. engine weight). Baldwin built the first two of them in 1880, and Grant Locomotive Works of Paterson (New Jersey) erected 28 during 1881 and 1882, while Baldwin concurrently produced 54 additional engines. It is indeed remarkable that three of them have survived and are preserved today. The 223 (Grant) is displayed at Salt Lake City (Utah), and the 278 (Baldwin) is similarly enshrined at Montrose (Colorado). Both locomotives worked out of Gunnison (Colorado) with the 268, which was the D&RGW's last narrow gauge 2-8-0 in active service.

Baldwin assembled the 268 in 1882, giving it construction #6002. It had 15x20 inch cylinders and 36-inch drivers, which with 145-psi. steam pressure produced a tractive effort of 15,400 lb. (later the pressure was increased to 150-psi., producing a tractive effort of 16,000 lb. from which class C-16 was derived). Its grate area was very small-only 14 square feet and its tender held but 6 tons of coal and 2500 gallons of water. The engine alone weighed 58,600 lb., the loaded tender amounting to 53,000 lbs. Since they were designed to traverse 30-degree curves, the center drivers were made flangeless and with wider treads.Cinderella Number 268

The locomotive here ("Cinderella"--#268) shows the results of several mechanical modifications made during a 60-year period. When it was delivered, the #268 had a long wooden cowcatcher and a double-link coupling bar equally as long. The stubby smokebox was surmounted by an enormous diamond-shaped stack, ahead of which was a gigantic oil headlight housing. Both domes were ornamented with rounded beading typical of the era. The cab was so short that the fireman worked outside, while the engineer sat beside the hot boiler. The air compressor was located immediately ahead of the cab on the right side, but the airbrake reservoir was placed on the tender's underframe, behind the cistern. Modern "improvements" included automatic couplers, electric headlight and generator, two air compressors, two-bar crosshead, and a longer cab.

Local LandmarkBecause of its light weight, the #268 ran on the branches to Crested Butte, Baldwin and Lake City, and on the little-used main line to Montrose. As the railroad's oldest locomotive it became part of a rolling exhibit, commemorating the D&RGW's 75th anniversary, which toured the system in 1945. Repainted and fitted with diamond stack and headlight, the #268 was carried atop a standard-gauge flatcar. Four years later with a different stack and headlight, and repainted as shown in this picture, the little locomotive ran daily under its own steam at the Chicago Railroad Fair in the company of Colorado & Southern narrowgauge 2-6-0 No. 9. During 1952 it played a leading part in the motion picture "Denver and Rio Grande" filmed on the Silverton Branch, and afterward was brought to Denver for exhibition when the film was first shown there.

Train and Water Tower

In 1954, #268 hauled the last revenue train west of Gunnison prior to removal of the track, and in 1955 it was used on the wrecking train, which dismantled the Crested Butte Branch tracks. In August of that year, while still at work on the branch, it was replaced by one of the Rio Grande's 2-8-2's and was retired. After standing in Gunnison's City Park for three years, the #268 was again brought to Denver, where it was exhibited during the city's centennial celebration. Upon its return to Gunnison, it was painted black and placed in an open field at the opposite end of town from the park. The #268 has been restored and is now exhibited on a special site close to the park on the grounds of the Gunnison Pioneer Museum.

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