Locomotive 278

Locomotive #278 has historic charm as it retains some of the characteristics of the original Baldwin design. As noted in historical documents regarding the class 60 / C-16 locomotives, these engines were extensively rebuilt through the years. These rebuilds were a combination of appliance upgrades and safety requirements that altered their original appearance. Historians have determined that #278 was not rebuilt at the same time most of its siblings which most likely contributed to the original flued domes and smokebox door remaining with the locomotive.

#278 was retired in 1953 and donated to the city of Montrose Colorado for display. The locomotive suffered vandalism and in 1978 an arrangement was made to lease #278 to the National Park Service for display on the Cimarron Creek Bridge near the Black Canyon.

The attachment is a PDF of the National Register of Historic Places justification and description of this display. The document has historical background regarding #278 and might be of interest to the reader. It can be viewed CLICK HERE

#278 was cosmetically restored and placed on the Cimarron trestle in 1976. According to records there has been routine maintenance performed in the 1980’s.

Deterioration became so great that the total Cimarron display site was reconditioned starting in 2012. The bridge was to be reconditioned along with the displayed items. Locomotive #278 was restored by Mammoth Locomotive Works which included more extensive work than just cosmetic. Tender sills were replaced, a new cab was built along with numerous running gear repairs. It is unclear as to the extent of those replacements and repairs that constitute “mechanically sound rebuild” or lesser value of “cosmetic” but #278 was returned, and “looking good”, to the display in 2019.

Currently the cab has deteriorated both cosmetically and structurally. There is considerable damage to the fireman’s side between the roof and sidewall. It is unclear as to the cause of this damage. There has been speculation this damage is from a falling rock and another scenario is that the damage is due to delamination of cab materials.

The cause of the deterioration needs to be determined but limited access and continued exposer to the elements might be a contributor to any losses of structural integrity.

Current Projects
At this time the C-16 society will research and gather information regarding #278 conservators’ intentions to repair and maintains #278. No planned expenditures or donations will be appropriate for now.