Locomotive No. 9 could return to Breckenridge
summit daily news
BRECKENRIDGE – Locomotive No. 9 may have missed the town’s 150th anniversary last year, but locals are hopeful for the iconic engine’s return by this fall.
“I’m just happy that it looks like this thing is nearing an end; I’ve had relationships that haven’t lasted this long,” town Councilman Jeffrey Bergeron said. “It’s just been a nightmare.”
The steam locomotive that moved people and supplies into town from 1884 through 1937 is parked in Grand Junction. Breckenridge town staff is working with the Colorado Historical Society to bring it back to town in the next few months.
Bergeron said it’s no fault of the town that the engine hasn’t yet made its return. Town staff expected to have it on display as part of the Breck 150 celebration last summer.
The locomotive is a state asset, and there have been a number of complications delaying its arrival. A call for comment from the Colorado Historical Society was not immediately returned.
Larissa O’Neil, executive director of the Breckenridge Heritage Alliance, said an agreement pending with CHS would include a $130,000 contribution from the organization in addition to finances raised locally to get the engine transported and placed in town.
The engine is to be installed at Rotary Park on Boreas Pass Road on the tracks with the rotary snowplow – in a historically accurate design.
An open-air shelter is to be constructed to protect the locomotive from the elements.
“We’re going to ask for help from the community to build the structure,” town spokeswoman Kim DiLallo said.
A requirement for the state asset to be returned to CHS in 15 years – with exceptions requiring approval from the state Legislature – has complicated the matter. It’s expected that if the train must be removed, a suitable replacement would be provided.
Depending how the agreement unfolds, it’s expected that the groundbreaking for the engine’s shelter will occur during Railroad Days in late August, with the locomotive installed in early October.
Town council is expected to address the plans and agreement with CHS at its July 13 meeting.
SDN reporter Robert Allen can be contacted at (970) 668-4628 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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