Volume 2, No. 3 - July, 1999

Engine No. 74

A Narrow Gauge Legend




A very special thanks to Mike Trent for allowing me to publish this article. I am so very, very pleased to be able to post this article on the web site. It is a major accomplishment on Mike's part and I am very thankful for the privilege of bringing it to you. I think you will agree that Mike is to be commended for his efforts in the research and writing of this superb history.

Thanks also go to John Coker and Joe Crea for allowing us to use their drawings and prints. John Coker's drawing on this page shows engineer Bert Nash and fireman Leo Croonenbergs in the cab of the 74 on the infamous Rocky Club trip of 1949. Joe Crea's prints of the 74 appear later in the C&S section of this article.

More thanks go to the Denver Public Library and to the Colorado Railroad Museum for allowing us to use many of the photos in this issue. Hot links to both appear in the links section of this web page.

Another big thank you goes to Kathy House a good friend and the editor that makes sure all of my spelling is correct and all of my commas are where they belong. It is through her efforts that this page looks as good and reads as well as it does.


As you can imagine, a locomotive that's over one hundred years old has quite a history. As a result this article is quite lengthy. I have broken it up into several sections to speed up loading time. The first time through I highly recommend that you read the sections in order. All of them can be reached from this page--or once you are into it, from the preceding or following sections. This will allow you to reach each of the sections easily and quickly, or if you wish to return in the future to read only certain parts.

As many of you know, the 74 came to the Rio Grande Southern from the Colorado & Southern. Many are unaware that the locomotive had belonged to two previous owners before the C&S. In reality, only the last four years of its working life were spent on the RGS. Because of this, Mike and I made the decision to include the entire history of the engine in this article. Besides, it would be impossible to understand the events, famous and infamous, of the locomotive's RGS years without understanding what had gone on in the years before the RGS got her.

So it's all here, from the time she was built, to the latest plans for her restoration. From the canted valve chests that were her curse, and her salvation, to the green boiler paint and broken windows that marked her debut on the RGS. Much of it is told in the words of the men that actually ran her. Where appropriate, comments from knowledgeable people from our own times are also included.

Many, many people helped with the research and writing of this article. Mike will thank them in the forward but I will take the opportunity now, to say thank you so very much for making this history possible. Bravo to all of you. Bravo.

There are a number of photos included in this article. By clicking on the photo or the photo number, you will see a full screen version of the same photo. Below the caption of this larger photo you will see a hot link to return to the text. You can also use the "Back" command in your browser.


To began the history of the 74, "a narrow gauge legend" click on the forward button...


Forward - The Early Years - The C&S Years - The RGS Years - Back Home Again

Return To Opening Page


I hope to continue updating the page quarterly, so please come back to visit. Please feel to write me bdwhite@orci.com with any comments on the page, good or bad, or just to chat.