Rio Grande class K-36

  (Redirected from D&RGW K-36)

The Denver and Rio Grande Western K-36 class are ten 3 ft (914 mm) narrow gauge 2-8-2 "Mikado" type steam locomotives built for the Denver and Rio Grande Western Railroad (D&RGW) by Baldwin Locomotive Works. They were shipped to the Rio Grande in 1925 and were first used along the Monarch Branch and Marshall Pass, but were later sent to the Third Division out of Alamosa. Of the original ten, four are owned by the Durango and Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad (D&SNG) and five by the Cumbres and Toltec Scenic Railroad (C&TS). Number 485 fell into the turntable pit at Salida and was scrapped in Pueblo in 1955, with many parts being saved.

Denver & Rio Grande Western
K-36 class
Type and origin
Power typeSteam
BuilderBaldwin Locomotive Works
Model12-34 1/4 E
Build date1925
Total produced10
 • Whyte2-8-2
 • UIC1′D1′ h2
Gauge3 ft (914 mm)
Driver dia.44 in (1,118 mm)
Loco weight187,100 lb (84.9 t)
Fuel typeCoal
Boiler pressure195 lbf/in2 (1.34 MPa)
Cylinder size20 in × 24 in (508 mm × 610 mm)
Valve gearWalschaerts
Loco brakeS-6 (part of 6-ET schedule equipment)
Train brakes6-ET automatic air brakes on all. 480, 481, 482, 486 also have straight air equipment.
All delivered with G-6 equipment new.
Performance figures
Tractive effort36,200 lbf (161.03 kN)
LocaleColorado and New Mexico
Retired1955 (No. 485), 1962-1968
PreservedFour (Nos. 484, 487, 488 and 489) preserved on the C&TS, four (Nos. 480, 481, 482 and 486) preserved on the D&SNG, one (No. 485) scrapped
DispositionNo. 483 in storage and remainder operational

The locomotives are of outside-frame design, with the driving wheels placed between the two chassis frames which support the boiler, but with the cylinders, driving rods, counterweights and valve gear on the outside. This general arrangement is shared with the earlier K-27, K-28 and later K-37 Mikado engines.

The NameEdit

The locomotives' name of K-36 comes from two different sources. The K in the name comes from the locomotives' wheel arrangement (Mikado), and the 36 stands for 36,200 pounds of tractive effort.

In ServiceEdit

The K-36s were used primarily as freight locomotives out of Alamosa to Durango, and to Farmington, New Mexico, as well as out of Salida to Gunnison (over Marshall Pass) until 1955 and to Monarch on the Monarch Branch until 1956. They were built with special valves to allow brake control between locomotives while double-heading, and were commonly found between Alamosa, Colorado and Chama, New Mexico. They were heavily used during the pipe boom in Farmington, and hauled long freight trains between Alamosa and Farmington.

In 1937, 3 K-36s, Nos. 482, 483 and 489, were equipped with steam heat and signal lines to haul passenger trains like the Shavano and the San Juan Express. Eventually in 1945, Nos. 484, 485 and 488, were also equipped, too.

As of 2020, 8 of these locomotives still operate regularly. Nos. 484, 487, 488 and 489 are on the C&TS and Nos. 480, 481, 482 and 486 are on the D&SNG, and one (No. 483) is stored out of service at Chama.


Number Photo Builder's
480   58558 D&SNG Retired in 1970.
Went to D&SNG in March 1981.
Restored to operating condition in July 1985.
481   58559 D&SNG Went to D&SNG in March 1981 and was the first K-36 run to Silverton.
482   58541 D&SNG Retired in 1962.
Went to C&TS in 1970.
Traded to D&SNG in October 1991.
Restored to operating condition in May 1992.
483   58584 C&TS Retired in 1968.
Went to C&TS in 1970.
Removed from service in 1977.
Almost swapped out with K-28 class #478 in 2015 from the D&SNG.
Stored in Chama, NM.

483 also hauled the last scheduled passenger train on the Denver and Rio Grande Western Railroad on May 29, 1965. It was a fan trip from Alamosa to Durango, Colorado.

484   58585 C&TS Went to C&TS in 1970.
485   58586 N/A Crashed in the turntable pit in Salida.
Due to severe injuries, 485 couldn't be saved, and was scrapped on January 24, 1955.
Many parts were salvaged and used on other locomotives.
486   58587 D&SNG Retired in 1962.
Went to Royal Gorge Park for display in December 1967.
Traded to D&SNG in May 1999.
Restored to operating condition in August 2000.
487   58588 C&TS Went to C&TS in 1970.
488   58589 C&TS Went to C&TS in 1970.
489   58590 C&TS Retired in 1962.
Went to C&TS in 1970.
Operational. K-36 489


  1. ^ "Denver & Rio Grande Western Mikados". Steam Locomotive dot com. Archived from the original on 21 September 2010. Retrieved 12 February 2010.
  2. ^ "Denver & Rio Grande Western Roster". Rio Grande Modeling & Historical Society. Archived from the original on 22 November 2008. Retrieved 12 February 2010.
  3. ^ "Durango & Silverton Steam". Retrieved 12 February 2010.