Monday, January 25, 2010
Riding in a 2-8-8-2 Locomotive
Milepost 154 has some wonderful post and pictures of trains and riding trains. As an eight year old I had several rides in the cab of a Denver & Rio Grande 2-8-8-2 steam locomotive. These engines were used as "helpers" to push heavy freight trains up the grade from Hot Sulphur Springs, CO to the West Portal of the Moffat Tunnel at Winter Park, CO. They were based at Tabernash, CO which was once an important maintenance site. At the time, a roundhouse still existed.
My family lived in a house car and my father spent that summer as the foreman of a track crew. Most crew members were Navajos. There were no other children near my age in the area so I spent my days exploring all the engines and railroad equipment.
The engineers and firemen liked me and let me ride on their trips. I would come back badly needing a bath from the coal dust. There exists no greater thrill for an eight year old than blowing the steam whistle of one of those monsters at every crossing!