C-19 Individual Locomotive History

RGS No. 40


The RGS purchased many consolidations from the D&RG during its formative years and the vast majority of these were from the class 56 and Class 60 stables. While virtually all of the C-19 locomotives saw frequent service over the Southern. Rio Grande Southern No. 40 was one of two former D&RG Class 70 (1881 group) locomotives that arrived on the Southern late in 1916. The "Quartz Creek" arrived as road number 411 on one summer day in 1881. After seven years of service on the Gunnison Extension, the 411 was rebuilt into Class 74 standard gauge engine No. 802. Following 10 years of dutiful service on the broad gauge, the 802 returned to the narrow rails in 1898 rebuilt as class 74 D&RG No.402. The Rio Grande Southern purchased the 402 in the fall of 1916 (along with two other C-class engines) at which time it was painted in RGS livery and given the number 40 after a shopping in March of 1918. Through the years, the RGS 40 carried its own unique look with a mismatch of dome styles and a box headlight. Serving faithfully for over 25 years, RGS 40 would later become an iconic steam engine to enthusiasts of this long-suffering and beleaguered road. Early in 1941, the 40 was shopped and emerged from her roundhouse respite sporting a rebuilt smokebox and removal of the locomotive mounted main air reservoir that had adorned her right side for many years. The most obvious alteration in the 40’s appearance was the application of a newer herald that would late be nicknamed the RGS "Rising Sun".  The large “40”, once painted on the tender sides, was replaced with smaller numbers on the cab sides.

RGS 40 Durango, Colorado 1942

Its appearance was largely unchanged until fate finally caught up with her in August of 1943. On this day, No. 40 was working up Cima Summit (outside of Hesperus, Colorado) while coupled with RGS ten wheeler No.20. The 40 derailed a driver on a curve and turned on her left side while taking helper No.20 over the ballast with her. Consequently, both engines suffered considerable damage. While the 20 would rise from its damaged state to serve for almost another decade, old number 40 was deemed unworthy of rebuilding, and the scrapper’s torched prevailed over her twisted remains.