The red, white and blue Patriot engine is the Pueblo Railway Foundation’s finest example of its collection of Colorado & Wyoming (C&W) railway equipment. The Pueblo Railway Museum is proud to feature its collection of operational C&W locomotives as the Museum’s “motive power”. The Patriot, #102, is one of three Model GP7 locomotives owned and operated by the Museum. For more information on this website about our other two GP7 engines, #103 and #104, click here.
The Patriot engine began its life as simply “CF&I engine #102”, painted the same black color as any other engine owned by CF&I. Engine #102, along with engine #101, were purchased as a pair in March 1951 by Colorado Fuel & Iron Corporation (CF&I) for $282,950. These engines would be put to work on The Colorado & Wyoming (C&W) Railroad, formed in 1899 as a subsidiary of CF&I. For the first half-century of its existence, the C&W railroad was steam-powered. That all began to change in 1951, and this engine, #102, was the first engine to affect that change. Engines #101 and #102 were put to work in May 1951 at the C&W railroad’s “Southern Division”, working the coal mines of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains west of Trinidad, Colorado.
#102’s “sister”, engine #101
Engine #101 was nearly destroyed by the Colorado floods of June 1965, when the tracks were washed out by the swollen Purgatoire River west of Trinidad. Despite the damage from that accident, the engineers and crew at the Allen Mine shop had the engine back up and running again in six months. That engine, #101, was actually the first engine to get the red, white and blue “Bicentennial” paint job, in April 1975. The blue eagle and red ribbon design, submitted by Bruce Henderson and his daughter Denise, was the winning entry of a contest among C&W employees. Engine #101 was given a new number, #200, in honor of the Bicentennial celebration. Once the Bicentennial was over, the engine still retained the “#200” designation, but was repainted again, back to the standard C&W orange and white color scheme. In the early 80s, engine #200 was sold by the C&W railroad to the Sidney & Lowe railroad, where it was eventually scrapped.
Slideshow: Early history of C&W engines #101 and #102
Following the sale of engine #101, engine #102 continued to work in Southern Colorado during the 80s and 90s. This engine, along with its “cousins”, #103 and #104, were all purchased by the Pueblo Railway Foundation from the C&W railroad on September 26, 2003, just a few months after the PRF was founded. At the time the PRF made this purchase, it was not possible to get the engines to the Museum’s D Street Shop – those tracks did not even exist yet. So to make use of engine #102 in the short term, it was leased briefly in 2004 to the Canon City & Royal Gorge Railroad to help pull their dinner train.
Before the engines could be put to use at the Museum, they first needed a paint job. While engines #103 and #104 would get a recoat of the standard orange and white C&W colors, the PRF wanted something different for #102. The PRF wanted to recreate the same patriotic artwork on #102 that its sister #101 (#200) had so proudly displayed three decades before. But by this time, the Bicentennial design could only be viewed in postcards and photographs. The C&W train shop, where the engines had been kept before being purchased by the PRF, could do a basic paint job, but it could not afford to spend the time and manpower on something as complex as the Bicentennial design. The task of turning engine #102 into the work of art that it is today was taken on by a very special friend of the Foundation – Jill Moring.
And so a plan was formed. The C&W shop would put on the basic white and blue paint with red striping and trim. Then, the shop would be made available to Jill, and her assistant Howard “Cork” Hayden, to reconstruct the Bicentennial design in their “spare time” over the next several months. Eddie Greenhood, the person who had been the caretaker of the engine when it was owned by C&W, made special accommodations for Jill and Cork to be able to work safely inside the C&W shop. Jill and Cork began this ambitious undertaking in the fall of 2006 and worked five months to complete it.
Slideshow: Engine #102 arrives at the PRF and becomes “The Patriot”
Slideshow: The newly painted Patriot engine is taken out for a test drive
Two months later, arrangements were made to put The Patriot on a Burlington, Northern and Santa Fe train as a piece of “freight”, and deliver it to the PRF on June 3, 2007.
Slideshow: The Patriot comes back home to the Pueblo Railway Museum
One month later, on July 4, 2007, the new Patriot engine #102 was dedicated and christened. Some special friends who helped create The Patriot, and its predecessor, Bicentennial #101, attended the ceremony.
Slideshow: Dedication ceremony for The Patriot engine
These days, The Patriot spends most of her time inside the D Street Shop, where the engine – and Jill Moring’s magnificent paint job – are protected from the elements. #102 is brought out only for special occasions such as the July 4th train ride event at the Museum. In the past, The Patriot has also been featured at the Colorado Rail Fair event at the Pueblo Union Depot. The PRF hopes to see the Rail Fair come back in the summer of 2021 after being cancelled in 2020.
Slideshow: The Patriot engine, a “photo-op” wherever she is!
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