Last week, the Colorado Springs City Council approved a lease agreement between the city and the Cumbres and Toltec Scenic Railroad for the restoration of Steam Locomotive #168, which is on display in Antlers Park.
C&TSRR proposes to remove the locomotive from its current static display, restore the engine to working condition and operate it as part of their “museum on wheels,” according to a news release from the city.
When the restoration is complete the locomotive will become an integral part of a truly historical railroad composed of vintage steam locomotives and restored historic passenger cars dating back to the 1880s.
It will operate on the railroad’s 64-mile stretch of track, which is the last surviving portion of the narrow gauge rail line operated by Denver & Rio Grande Railroad. The lease agreement requires that #168 retain its National Register designation and continue to serve as a memorial to Gen. William Jackson Palmer, the visionary that founded both Colorado Springs and the Denver & Rio Grande.
As a result of the action taken at the City Council meeting, the C&TSRR will now begin a review and approval process by the National Register of Historic Places. That decision is expected by July. The locomotive will remain in place until that time. Once removed from display, the site in Antlers Park will be graded and seeded with turf grass.