The "Sports Model". Showing off her distinctive Alco, nose-mounted air pumps, and sporting a vee plow that looks just a little big for her, Denver & Rio Grande Western Locomotive 478 hauls a fast passenger train across the high steel trestle at Tacoma on the eastbound run to Durango.
The 478 is an Alco, K-28, built in Schenectady, NY in 1923, and she's one of just 3 left in existence. The D&RGW bought 10 of these so-called "Sports Models", but during World War II, seven of them were "drafted" into the US Army for service up in Alaska, working on the White Pass & Yukon. Unfortunately, the Army pretty much beat those poor horses to death. When the war ended, they were all declared scrap upon their return to the lower 48. The 473, 476 and 478 are the 3 members of the class that never got their "draft cards", and they are the only survivors. Today the 473 and 478 continue to see occasional service on the Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad. The 476 is (temporarily at least) retired with some major (but fixable) mechanical issues. She resides in the DSNG Museum in Durango. If the D&S ever needs a 7th locomotive, she'll likely be back in service in short order.
The Cumbres & Toltec Scenic Railroad and the Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad are all that remains of the legendary Denver & Rio Grande Western narrow gauge system. Here you'll find some of my favorites from these two beautiful railways.