C-19 Individual Locomotive History

D&RGW No. 342


D&RGW 342 in Alamosa, Colorado July 28 1935.
Its service years behind, 342 remained here until her dismantling in 1938.
Photo by Don Rogers, Steve Swanson Coll.

In September of 1881, Denver and Rio Grande locomotive No. 410 (Treasury Mountain) arrived in Colorado ready for service on the rails of young the slim gauge railroad. Only seven years later, the 410 was converted to standard gauge switch engine #801 to aid the D&RG’s newly broad-gauged territory. By 1900, the railroad’s standard gauge power pool was relatively flush and the #801 was converted back to narrow gauge for continued service on the steep grade territories of the original D&RG mainline. Re-christened as No.411, the diamond stack consolidation resumed its duties alongside the fleet of class 60 and other class 70 freight power that dominated the Rio Grande locomotive fleet in the early twentieth century. The 411 received a new steel boiler around the end of September in 1913. Emerging from the shops with an extended smoke box, shotgun stack, and other era-typical appurtenances, she typified the appearance of many sister locomotives that saw similar rebuilding during the 1910s. By June of 1915, the 411 sported her first dynamo and electric headlight. On January 5th of 1924 (shortly after the railroad was re-organized as the D&RGW), Class 70 411 was renumbered 342 as the railroad was undertaking a motive power re-classification effort. Now designated as class C-19, the former Treasury Mountain would spend the better part of 10 years actively serving the remaining D&RGW narrow gauge routes. Although much of its remaining service time saw it on the old 3rd division, the 342 was used for a period out of Durango, Colorado, having been photographed as the road engine of the first oil train from Farmington, New Mexico in 1924. Shortly thereafter, the 342 was working out of Gunnison on the Crested Butte branch. By 1928, the old C-19 was hard at work as a switch engine in Salida, Colorado. The early depression years reduced motive power needs on the slim gauge lines, and the 342 sat out of service from April 4th, 1932 until January 17th 1934. Yet, the 342 would have one more respite from the dead line! Steamed up and sent west to Montrose, it was assigned to the western slope terminal during the next year, seeing service to Ouray among other duties. On February 14th, 1935, time was winding down for the old 342. After bringing the late morning train 354 up to Montrose from Ouray, 342 was quickly turned back out to help Extra 360 East to Gunnison. The 342’s firebox was cold by the next day as it and the 453 were handled dead-in-train on a Salida bound consist. The dead engines were set out at Mears Junction, being picked up on February 16th by an Alamosa bound freight train. The 342 sat out of service in Alamosa for over two and a half years, and her rusting remains finally fell to the scrapper’s torch around October 15th, 1938.