Updated: February 21, 2020 11:35 AM
Created: February 19, 2020 05:00 PM
DURANGO, C.O. — Locomotive No. 493 in Durango is the first train to run on oil instead of coal.
The train, which belongs to Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad, has been around for decades and was a museum piece for several years. Now, it is on track to be more environmentally friendly than a coal engine.
"We have made pretty significant changes to it, including a conversion from burning coal to burning fuel," said chief mechanical officer Randy Babcock. "Coal is kind of a dying thing and while we still have access to it for our other units, it's something that in the next decade or so is gonna be more and more difficult, so this is a good alternative."
It was confirmed that the 416 Fire in 2018 was caused by particles released from a coal-fired train engine. Extreme drought conditions, like the ones that summer, could keep the railroad from running coal trains in the future – meaning fewer passengers and fewer tourists for the four corners.
The railroad’s solution is to work on more oil engines, diversifying their fleet with environmentally-friendly options.
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