D&SNG Railroad convert to eco-friendly alternative

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DURANGO, Colo. (KRQE) – A local railroad is entering a new era, by moving away from coal.

“Going back as far as early as 1901 railroad experimented with oil-burning locomotives and converting their coal-burning ones,” said Chief Mechanical Officer Randy Babcock.

For the first time, the Durango and Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad has converted one of its steam locomotives to burn recycled oil, which is considered more eco-friendly than coal.

“This is the first step forward for us to a new generation at a time when coal is waning,” said General Manager Jeff Johnson.

“Engine 493” was actually built back in the 1920s and has not been in service for more than 50 years. The crew that restored and converted it, says bringing it back to life was a huge undertaking that took thousands of man-hours.

“It takes a lot of skilled people, welders, machinists, general mechanics. Without all these gentlemen here, this would not be possible,” said Mechanical Foreman Charlie Cross.

The crew is about to begin converting a second locomotive to oil, then move on to the rest of the fleet. They say train passengers are not likely to notice a difference in the experience.

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