Locomotive 315: The Lives, Times, and Rebirth of an 1895 Steam Engine by George F. Niederauer, President of the Durango Railroad Historical Society, is the extraordinary story of an ordinarly little steam engine that survived to steam again when the odds were completely against it.
The engine began work in Colorado's richest mining district, hauling ore, freight, and passengers through narrow canyons and over steep grades. Over time, better locomotives supplanted it. The 315 ended up switching cars in a real yard on the other side of the Rocky Mountains, then enjoyed a brief period of glory when Hollywood came calling. Its working days over, it was saved from the scrap heap only to end up in a city park for fifty-seven years, exposed to the elements. the relic was a sorry sight when a small group of optimistic, determined railroad buffsdecided to refurbish it. After seven years and $450,000, the little steam engine once again travels the narrow gauge tracks.
This book is a celebration of accomplishments: the advent of steam-powered locomotives, the role of railroads in opening up Colorado, the inventiveness of the builders who continuously changed and improved locomotives, and an indefatigable group of men who would stop at nothing to bring the 315 back to life.