Approaching Silver Plume. The former International Railways of Central America (IRCA) Consolidation #111 hauls last train of the day along the banks of Clear Creek, just 1/4 mile or so from her final destination at Silver Plume. Although the primary departure point for this line is down the hill a piece in Georgetown, at Devil's Gate Station, patrons can elect to depart on round trips from either end of the line. Since the locomotives are all quartered at Silver Plume, a single-direction run is made in the morning, to position the train at Devil's Gate, and another such run is made in the afternoon, bringing the last of the Silver Plume passengers back to their cars. That last run is what you see in this photo.
Although the Georgetown Loop rosters several diesels, and they do see a fair bit of use, the line seems committed to running steam during all of the peak tourist season. Two steamers are currently in use. The larger of the two is Westside Lumber Shay #9, which was obtained from the Midwest Central Railroad in Mt. Pleasant, Iowa in 2010 as part of a long-term swap agreement for a small 2-6-2 (#12) which the line owns. The arrangement worked out well for both operations as the 12 is better sized for the Midwest's operation and the big Shay is a better fit at The Loop. The 111, seen here, is owned by the Georgetown Loop and was restored to operation in 2016. In addition to these two engines, a third steamer was recently obtained. The former IRCA #40, another outside-frame 2-8-0, which ran at The Loop when Lindsey Ashby was the operator, has been obtained from the Ashby Collection and is now back in Silver Plume. During my visit in August of 2017, the 40 was in the shop and a restoration had been started. Hopefully, the 111 will have a very similar-looking sister to run with sometime in the next couple of years.