Silverton Northern Railroad News!


  • The Plymouth 5 ton engine destined for use on the Silverton Northern arrived
October 27 in Palisade, Colorado for needed repair work at the Mammoth Locomotive Works. It is shown here being transferred from the transport trailer. In the background is the mainline of the Union Pacific Railroad that runs between Denver and Salt Lake City
  • Mac Brewer and Mike Geryak stacking rail that was trucked over from Ridgway in August of 2016.
  • A full trailer load of rail from the Ridgway Railroad Museum is unloaded at the Silverton Northern construction site.
  • Symbolic of the first spike to be driven for the Silverton Northern.This polished steel spike will signal the completion of the demonstration piece of track now being built.
  • Mike Geryak works with Loren Lew to align ties. One rail is spiked down first, then the parallel rail is gauged from the first rail and then spiked.
  • Work continued with the track crew this week, starting on Sunday, then Monday, and yes, Tuesday, Wednesday, and more on Thursday. Loren and Mike were busy working in the nasty cold rain and snow spiking down rail.
  • Mike Geryak, Mark Esper, and Loren Lew.Working on aligning the first lengths of rail to be spiked down on the Silverton Northern on October 11, 2015.
  • Tie Down
  • Construction started in June on our initial piece of track. Located just northeast of the power house, this will be the start of the rebuilt Silverton Northern and serves as our demonstration track.
  • One step closer!
  • Ready to go!
  • Rail Delivered75# rail now on hand for the initial section of 300 feet of track!
  • Loaded Up!
  • We added another load of ties the week of October 13, 2015.
  • Unloading Rail in Silverton

October, 2016

A private party has purchased a 5 ton Plymouth engine and 20 flat car that had been on display in Plymouth, Wisconsin for use on the Silverton Northern. The engine was loaded for transport on October 25 and is being transported to the Mammoth Locomotive Works in Palisade, Colorado for an engine overhaul. John Braun and staff at Mammoth will make the necessary repairs. Both pieces of equipment came from the long closed Badger Ammunitions Plant in Baraboo, Wisconsin. This small locomotive is ideal for use as a switcher and for construction use.

Also this summer, John Braun has leased space in the Powerhouse Industrial Park adjacent to the Silverton Northern rail project. He is renovating space in the powerhouse building with the intention of eventually moving his Mammoth Locomotive Works to Silverton. He and his wife Val lived outside of Silverton in the 1980s and they want to move back to the mountains for their retirement years. John has significant experience in steam locomotive construction and maintenance and looks forward to working on the Silverton Northern project.

July, 2016

We will start moving the balance of the rail from the Ridgway Railroad Museum to our new track site this month. There is about one mile of rail involved here. Unfortunately for the Ridgway folks, their expansion plans to run rail around the perimeter of the Ouray County Fairgrounds facility were denied by the county. We will be offering them use of our facility once we have enough track in place. We previously have had a permanent loan from the Galloping Goose folks in Dolores for a quarter mile of rail and our plans are to start hauling that to Silverton this summer, pending sufficient available funding. The rail at both locations came from the same source in Denver.

We have pledges for funding in place to secure the purchase of our first piece of rail equipment that we can operate on our track. This as yet un-named piece of equipment will be a fun addition to the Silverton Northern and will serve also as a fund raiser in its operation.

November, 2015

The "First Spike" ceremony will take place Sunday, November 8 at 1 p.m. to signal the completion of our demonstration track. Anyone may attend.

Winter, and the first snow of the season has closed down our track laying work for 2015.

October, 2015

Silverton Northern Wish List (for track laying):

  1. One portable air compressor capable of a minimum 100cfm per minute air output.
  2. Several lengths of air hose to connect compressor to air hammer used to drive spikes.
  3. Air hammer to drive spikes. This is what they look like and cost: rrtoolsnsolutions.com.
  4. Additional hand powered spike mauls and replacement handles. This is what they look like and cost: mcmaster.com.
  5. Miscellaneous hand tools, like shovels, picks, pry bars.

July, 2015: Grading is complete for the initial Demonstration Track for the Silverton Northern project. This stretch of grade 300' long will be the start of the SN project. Rail, ties and track material is on hand to get started. Cutting standard gauge ties to narrow gauge length will be the first work done starting after the 4th of July weekend.

June: The Silverton Northern committee members moved the restored Silverton Northern caboose 1005 from the engine house to a location on Greene Street on May 31, 2015 to serve as an information booth to promote the heritage activities of the San Juan County Historical Society. We will also promote the rebuilding of the Silverton Northern and our first piece of demonstration track.

October, 2014: Another load of ties arrived in Silverton on October 16. We now have enough ties on hand to lay about 250 feet of track. Also due to arrive the week of October 20 is our "OTM" material — other track material — that consists of new spikes, tie plates, and rail bolts, nuts and washers. We ordered enough OTM to lay 300 feet of track. We did well enough on fund raising efforts, especially our Main Street project, that we have added 200 feet of track to the original goal of 100 feet.

A volunteer crew laid out the track alignment on Saturday, October 18, starting from where we have our rail and ties stacked. All is now ready for some dirt work to establish our grade so we can start laying rail. More fill material has been arriving at our site from various construction projects around Silverton. The weather has been erratic but we are hoping that we can get work done on the track before real winter sets in.

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