- July 31, 2018
-- The Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad™ (D&SNGRR)
, which offers distinctive year-round rail experiences and special events to passengers of all ages in the remote, scenic wilderness and high-mountain landscape of Colorado's San Juan National Forest, today announced it has entered into a definitive agreement with Greenville, S.C.-based Motive Power & Equipment Solutions, Inc. (MPES) to acquire two of its signature MP2000NG repowered diesel locomotives.
dollar acquisition further diversifies the D&SNGRR's fleet of vintage and modern locomotives, and fulfills its previously-stated promise to use a broad spectrum of motive power and conveyances to transport guests on beautiful experiential excursions through the scenic wilderness of Southwestern Colorado. In addition, the acquisition demonstrates the D&SNGRR's ongoing evolution of its business model, and its ability to safely offer passengers trips all year round amidst a wide variety of weather, drought, and fire conditions.
The D&SNGRR is investing over $3 million in the two new MP2000NG repowered diesel locomotives, which are being designed around CAT 2000HP engines with GE 764 traction motors to achieve the power and speed required on the steepest grades of the D&SNGRR line. When completed, each locomotive is expected to pull an eight-car consist along the full route from Durango to Silverton and back. The purchase was facilitated by financing arranged by account managers at Durango-based Alpine Bank. The D&SNGRR anticipates taking delivery of the MP2000NG locomotives by late spring of 2019.
"Because of long-term drought conditions and changing climate patterns in Southwestern Colorado, the D&SNGRR must constantly evaluate and modify its business strategy and operations to ensure it can safely run all year round and in a variety of seasons and weather conditions,"
said Allen C. Harper, co-owner, chairman, and chief executive officer of the Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad. "As a result, the D&SNGRR will evaluate where to integrate these MPES engines into its operating schedule, and use them for various excursions and special events throughout the year. The purchase of these two new MP2000NG repowered diesel locomotives is just one component of a much larger long-range operational plan that includes the conversion of one coal-fired steam locomotive to oil-fired steam, and the ongoing assessment of alternative power sources and technologies which the railroad can potentially utilize in the future."
"MPES has a long, proven track record of success in the design, fabrication, and delivery of high-quality specialty transportation products for a diverse collection of rail companies around the world, including heritage scenic lines such as the Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad," said David Wilkerson, president and chief executive officer of Motive Power & Equipment Solutions. "The company's extensive experience in developing and manufacturing repowered diesel locomotives will enable the D&SNGRR to achieve superior performance and cost efficiencies, while being environmentally conscious."
The D&SNGRR has not determined the final cab design of its two new MP2000NG repowered diesel locomotives, but it expects their appearance to be similar to locomotives used by the Bryson, City, N.C.-based Great Smoky Mountains Railroad (GSMR), another successful heritage railroad owned by D&SNGRR parent company, American Heritage Railways. Their color will be forest green, as seen in the wilderness of the San Juan National Forest. One locomotive will be numbered 550, referencing the highway linking Durango and Silverton, and the other locomotive will bear the number 416, in recognition of the extraordinary effort firefighters devoted to protecting life and property during the recent 416 Fire.