D&RGW 483 Leads the Trains Magazine Charter out of Chama, NM

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Yard Limit


August 1968 and Denver and Rio Grande Western locomotives 483 and 484 team up to take the last revenue freight train from Chama New Mexico to Antonito Colorado. Shortly after that, the line was sold to the states of New Mexico and Colorado and plans were laid to turn the railroad into the tourist line that it is today.
Going back many years, #483 was the favorite K-36 among D&RGW engine crews.
#483 was one of the few K-36's equipped for passenger service. She often pulled the San Juan Express when a K-28 was not available, and was used on many of the three-day Alamosa-Durango-Silverton excursions in the late fifties and early- to mid-sixties.
#483 was the helper on the last westbound revenue freight on the D&RGW from Alamosa to Chama on 08/28/68, pulled the last revenue freight from Chama to Durango on 08/29/68 and the last D&RGW freight to Farmington on 08/31/68.
After being used briefly for movie work in September, 1968 for which she received the atrocious red and gold "Scarlet Harlot" paint that we recreated for the C&TS' 40th Anniversary in 2010, she pulled the National Park Service Special from Durango to Alamosa in November, 1968 - the last D&RGW passenger move over Cumbres Pass.
#483 assisted #473 in moving #481 and a short train that included cars of flues and other locomotive parts from Alamosa to Chama on December 5, 1968. #483 (and a caboose?) returned from Chama to Alamosa the next day - the very last D&RGW train over Cumbres Pass.
On September 1, 1970, #483 was turned over to the C&TS by the D&RGW; by evening Ernie Robart had re-lettered her tender from flying Rio Grande to CUMBRES AND TOLTEC SCENIC RAILROAD (with a 'Toltec Gorge Route' herald) and she had been fired up for service the next day.
During the fall of 1970, #483 was the only engine in service on the C&TS; she pulled several trains of equipment from Antonito to Lava, Big Horn, Sublette, Toltec Siding, Osier, Cumbres and Chama to free up the single track at Antonito so that construction of a rudimentary yard could begin. She also pulled the C&TS first fan trip - The Governors' Special - in early October, 1970.
Along with #484, #483 pulled several of the C&TS first revenue passenger trains in 1971 and 1972, the first C&TS dinner trains in the summer and fall of 1972, and the first photo freight - The Toltec Rattler - on October 22, 1972. By the mid-1970's #483 was simply worn out; she was set aside by 1977 and has not operated for the past 35 years.
August 25, 2018, fifty years after the last freight over Cumbres Pass, a photo freight special departs Chama with 488 renumbered 483 to honor the occasion.

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