Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Looking for Longmont's Dinky Steam Engine

If you remember the visit to Sterling, Colorado, you saw the picture of their Dinky steam engine that was a workhorse at the Great Western Sugar factory there.  Dinkies were used to switch railroad cars on the factory grounds, sort of like tugboats.  This one in Sterling was built by the Davenport Locomotive Works.

Most of the Great Western sugar beet factories had a Dinky and a good introduction to them can be found in an article by Jeff Terry. 

As you can see above, Sterling preserved their Dinky (#2121) in a little park along the railroad tracks, close to their shuttered factory.   Ft. Morgan has one of their Dinkies at the front door of their still-running sugar beet plant:

And the former Great Western Sugar town of Ovid, Colorado has saved their Dinky (#2150) in a city park:

Longmont's sugar factory had a Dinky too (#2123), and according to Terry, it was "noted for its enormous coal bunker which extended over it's cab roof."

So what happened to Longmont's Great Western Sugar Dinky?  Terry's article (from 2001) says it was sold to a Kansas City, MO  railroad museum in 1978 for restoration but that museum had since shut down.   He mentioned that it could eventually end up at the Midland Railway museum in Baldwin City, KS (45 miles SW of Kansas City).  That was written a while ago but it seemed like a good place to start, in determining the whereabouts of Great Western Sugar Dinky #2123 that worked the factory railroad yard in Longmont. 

A contact at Midland Railway answered an email, telling me that the Longmont Dinky was not at their facility but they put me in touch with someone who did know where it was.  That friendly person told me that Dinky #2123 is privately owned and sits on a railroad siding in NE Kansas City in an industrial, railroad-park type of area south of the Missouri River, inside I-435:

Even though the Longmont Dinky is on private property, we can use the satellite view from Google Maps to get a glimpse of what's left of it.  It sits between two buildings, as circled below:

A closer look.  There it is!

And, a different aerial perspective from Bing (it looks like the white railroad car above can move around):

The actual Google map link is here if you want to look around yourself.  

So there you have it.  This story could have had a happier ending if the Longmont dinky was preserved and sitting in a Longmont park (like has happened in some of the other sugar beet factory towns) instead of rusting away in the Northeast Industrial District of Kansas City.

Here's hoping that it can still be restored someday.


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