Steamed and ready in Silverton. Just a few minutes past the alpine sunrise in Silverton, Colorado, Eureka & Palisade #4 sits in front of the old D&RGW Freight House, fully steamed for the day's excursion to Durango. The blue flag still hangs on her tender, as crew members are still circulating around the train, oiling and inspecting for any items that could be of concern. You'll note that her tender is not yet piled high and deep with wood. That's the only operation that still remains to be done before the passengers can be boarded and the train can set off on what can only be described as a rolling time-warp through the wilderness of the Animas Canyon.
Although she looks beautifully preserved in this photo, Eureka hasn't always looked like this. Built by the Baldwin Locomotive Works of Philadelphia, PA for the Eureka & Palisade Railroad in Central Nevada, Eureka did indeed look this way when she was delivered. She served the E&P for just over 2 decades before being sold to the Sierra Nevada Wood and Lumber Company, where she ran for over 40 years. It's a good bet that during that time, she lost a lot of the glitz and jewelry she was built with. When the lumbering line went under in 1938, the #4 was sold for scrap, but was very fortunately rescued by Warner Brothers, which used the locomotive quite a number of films over the next 40 years. When her movie career finished, she was sold to Old Vegas, an amusement park in Henderson, NV. it was there that Eureka almost met her end for a second time, when a burning building collapsed on the locomotive, badly damaging her. The resulting basket case was discovered by Las Vegas Attorney Dan Markoff, who then worked with his dad to restore this engine to its former glory, over a period of 6 years.
Amazingly, most of what you see here is original. The big exceptions are the cab and the pilot beam, both of which were badly damaged in the fire. Equally amazing, when this photo was taken, Eureka was still certified to her original manufacturer's boiler pressure of 120 PSI. The engine completed it's most recent FRA 1,472 SDI a couple of years ago and remains operational today. She had been scheduled to appear in the summer of 2020 at the Cumbres & Toltec Scenic Railroad, but this has been rescheduled for 2021, due to the COVID pandemic.