Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge begins era of oil-burning locomotives

Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge begins era of oil-burning locomotives

1 Durango

I have been to this railroad many times, because my wife and her family are from Ouray, Colorado. Ouray is north of Silverton on the Million Dollar Highway. 

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https://durangoherald.com/arti...odal,slide=undefined

Source: Durango Herald • Durango, Colorado • February 16, 2019

Gary: Rail-fan

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We usualy view most fires as bad.  But for some forests and grasslands, believe it or not, a fire could be a good thing.  Nature needs the fire as a reset.  Some trees need fire for them to sprout.  And smaller ones reduce under growth.  In some cases, instead of helping nature, humans have or are doing things which are the complete reverse.

The TEXAS SPECIAL:  The REAL RED streak of the golden prairies!

smd4 posted:

I imagine some of  the firemen are gonna be pretty happy about this. It will be much easier on them in a number of ways.

True, once they all learn the tricks of firing with oil. The down side will be for shop forces, as historically coal burner fireboxes were generally good for 15 years of service, while oil burner fireboxes had to be renewed at about 10 years. Lots of potential big temperature swings with resulting stresses on oil burners.

 

The reason they are going to oil burning is to prevent forest fires.

Last year the Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad was closed for over 40 days because of a forest fire that may have been started from a hot coal cinders.  This fire, which burned more than 54,000 acres. The forest managers & fire fighters are having issues with battling ever-longer droughts. This problem is well-recognized.

Al Harper, owner of the D&SNG, estimates using oil instead of coal to fuel locomotives will cut the risk of a locomotive-ignited fire by 95 percent. They will also safe on fuel because coal fired locomotives have to remain on during the night and a oil fired locomotive can be shut down during the night.

They have some crew members with experience on oil-burning locomotives and some who don’t, They now have a on going training program,

1 Inside Cab

John Harper, left, and Randy Babcock, both with the Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad, discuss the differences between oil-burning and coal-burning locomotives.

Gary: Rail-fan

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colorado hirailer posted:

That ain't preserving history, which is what l want done there, since l was lucky enough to get there and ride it in the 1950's, when it was a real railroad.  Meddlers always manage to destroy something.

 

The D&S hasn't been a "real" railroad in decades.  A fine tourist railroad, yes. 

Rusty

Dominic Mazoch posted:

And it will not smell right.  Coal has a different smell while burning than oil...

Smell is irrelevant if there are no more forrest fires.

Now what about keeping the oil warm?  Or is the air temps of the line warm enough where the fuel would not "turn into wax", and keep it flowing?

The tender has steam heating coils inside the fuel oil bunker, since back in the days of steam, bunker fuels were used, which HAD to be heated. Now, reprocessed waste oil is normally used as fuel for oil burning steam locomotives, which is still fairly fluid, even in cold temperatures. However, the heating coils are still there if needed to "warm" the fuel oil.

 

 

Dominic Mazoch posted:

And it will not smell right.  Coal has a different smell while burning than oil...

Now what about keeping the oil warm?  Or is the air temps of the line warm enough where the fuel would not "turn into wax", and keep it flowing?

 

I doubt they'll be using Bunker C. Probably used crank case oil. Which isn't that thick. And which can also be heated by steam coils in the tender.

You can also start ground fires with an oil burner if you're not careful.

EDIT: Hot Water beat me to the punch.

Steve

 

How about the Cumbres and Toltec?  Fire is a nuisance reality for both roads...l couldn't ride the C&T one trip because of fire, and this wasn't one of those ranger started fires that chased me out of Yellowstone and around Wyoming to sit at blocked bridges in the middle of the night.  Guess l better get to the C&T..was beautiful riding through yellow aspen on the eastern half..and that missed the Toltec. In the 1950's the Rio Grande narrow gauge was a real railroad..not sure what year that ended..

??Another one of THOSE!!??  What you want to sell is not what I want to buy!

colorado hirailer posted:

How about the Cumbres and Toltec?  Fire is a nuisance reality for both roads...l couldn't ride the C&T one trip because of fire, and this wasn't one of those ranger started fires that chased me out of Yellowstone and around Wyoming to sit at blocked bridges in the middle of the night.  Guess l better get to the C&T..was beautiful riding through yellow aspen on the eastern half..and that missed the Toltec. In the 1950's the Rio Grande narrow gauge was a real railroad..not sure what year that ended..

They have extensive fire patrols that follow EVERY train on the C&T, some times TWO fire patrols (speeders) behind each train.

Steve24944 posted:

Lets not complain about changing the authenticity of the Railroad.   If the D&SNG and Cumbres and Toltec don't make these changes, they may switch to all Diesel, or have to shut down all together.

Steve

Hi Steve: Yes, Diesels are on there way to the D&SNG because the railroad has several lawsuits against them because of the forest fires and property losses.

In total, Al Harper, owner of the D&SNG, estimates D&SNG will invest about $7 million, not only on the conversion of coal-burning engines to oil-burning but to acquire two custom-built diesel locomotives and take other fire-prevention measures.

The diesels, being built by Motive Power & Equipment and Equipment Solutions in South Carolina, are slated to be in Durango this May.

Gary: Rail-Fan

Lot of people including me would be sad to see Steam Locomotives retired.   Would visitors to these historic railroads decline without Steam ?  I'm sure the management of these railroad operations are looking at that.    They might resort to running Diesel in periods of high fire danger, mid to late summer.    I'm sure many people would be highly disappointed, but better that than shutting down forever.

Steve

John Harper; owner of the D&SNG, is not sure when the two diesels will go into service, but he said they are planned to lead new runs from Rockwood to Cascade that will begin next year. Along with yard work on the D&SNG.

My speculation: He is doing this for a “Plan B” if one of the lawsuits goes against the D&SNG he will be able to keep the railroad running. The D&SNG is the main business in Durango & Silverton, Colorado. There are no plans to phase out steam power at this time.

Below are two examples of locomotives built by: Motive Power & Equipment and Equipment Solutions in South Carolina. I have no idea what two locomotives the D&SNG has ordered.

1 Sample Loco2 Sample Loco

Gary: Rail-fan

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I took the Durango and Silverton a few years ago and the number of cinder fire spots next to the tracks was incredible. Only a matter of time before they burned down the mountains. Couple that with he EPA polluting the Animas River even more and we are lucky to still have the railroad

breezinup posted:

I'd be interested to know how they got that SP 18 oil burner onto the Durango & Silverton property.  I didn't think there was any rail connection to the outside world anymore.

As stated below, she was brought in by truck. Besides, since the D&S is 3 foot gauge, even an "outside rail connection" would have required her to be loaded on a flat car, which is WAY too expensive anyway. Thus, the highway truck was the better way to go.

My wife & her family are from Ouray, Colorado. Which is just north of Silverton on the Million Dollar Highway.  This drive can be very beautiful but the road is also very intimidating, because of the high elevations and the road has a lot of sections with no guard rails. 

Myself, wife and three children would vacation every summer in Ouray. We did this for about 25 years until her parents passed. We had a lot of great times. Below is a painting that we purchased at a art store in Durango, and have placed over the fireplace in the family room. This painting is a classic image of the Durango Station. To the right is a framed cover of OGR Magazine, that has my layout story on the cover.

We would take the Amtrak from Dearborn, Michigan to Chicago. Change trains, and go west on the California Zephyr to Grand Junction, Colorado. Than rent a car or a family member would pick us up. We always travel coach. There was only one night on the train. Leave Dearborn at 7:10 AM and arrive the next day at Grand Junction 5:30 PM.

We would get home by Amtrak on the California Zephyr. A lot of times we missed our connection to Dearborn and we had to take the Amtrak Bus from Chicago to Dearborn.

1 D&SNG Family Room

Gary: Rail-fan

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