Rio Grande Locomotives on the Dead Line

Denver, March 12, 2002

After the Union Pacific merger, most Rio Grande locomotives had been serving for decades, and were nearing end of life– or end of lease.  As a result, by 2002 UP was gathering together many of those units destined for sale or scrapping.  Denver’s Burnham shops were the major colleciton point for former D&RGW locomotives.

These photos were taken by Jim Chance, a machinist for the D&RGW / SP / UP, at the Burnham shops in Denver. All of the units pictured were sold shortly thereafter, and shipped to new locations. It was the last time that most of these Rio Grande veterans would be seen in Denver, and we’re grateful to Jim for taking these pictures.

Click the images for a larger version.

DRGW-Mvc-017fGP40 #3060, front view. DRGW-Mvc-012fGP40 #3084, brakeman’s side front. DRGW-Mvc-014fGP40 #3084, brakeman’s side rear view.
DRGW-Mvc-010fTunnel Motor #5345,
conductor’s side; still has its Pyle lights.
DRGW-Mvc-013fTunnel Motor #5345, conductor’s side rear view. DRGW-Mvc-009fTunnel Motor #5347, engineer’s side rear view.
DRGW5347Tunnel Motor #5347, engineer’s side front view.

DRGW5353Tunnel Motor #5353, engineer’s side front view.

DRGW-Mvc-003fTunnel Motor #5353 from the rear .
DRGW-Mvc-015fTunnel Motor #5360, front view.

DRGW 5361Tunnel Motor #5361, head-on front view.

DRGW5372Tunnel Motor #5372, brakeman’s side front view.

DRGW-Mvc-008fTunnel Motor #5372, rear view. DRGW-Mvc-004fTunnel Motor #5386 from the front. DRGW-Mvc-007fTunnel Motor #5386, rear view.
DRGW 5405Tunnel Motor #5405, front view. This unit is the leader in the header image above, which was taken on April 8th 1984. DRGW-Mvc-001fTunnel Motor #5406, engineer’s side rear view.

DRGW5406Tunnel Motor #5406, engineer’s side front view. Notice the half-painted sill stripe on this one.

I’d personally photographed a number of these while in service. Seeing them so decrepit (in some cases) is bittersweet. On the other hand, several of them still look ready to work, although some had major mechanical issues. And on the other hand, though 5361 was blowing oil out its exhaust stack in November 2001, it survived and was still working at least as late as 2009. You just never know…