Santa Clarita Valley History In Pictures
Gene Autry's Engine No. 463
Chama, New Mexico

Click image to enlarge


Boneyard ~1960s

Going Home 1972

At Home 1995

Under Steam 2015

May 28, 2015 — Gene Autry collected five locomotives and kept them at the Melody Ranch property he owned in Placerita Canyon from 1952/1953 to 1990. One was the Southern Pacific Mogul Engine No. 1629, which Autry gave in 1982 to the Santa Clarita Valley Historical Society. Today it is a static display in front of the Saugus Train Station at Heritage Junction Historic Park in Newhall.

The other was this one, Engine 463, from the Denver & Rio Grande. Newly restored for the second time since Autry returned it, Engine 463 is seen here under steam in front of the Cumbres & Toltec Scenic Railroad's shop at Chama, NM.

Photo by Mike Mazzetti, SCVTV.

About Engine 463.

Known as "mudhens" because they would frequently derail on lighweight rails and scoot across the ties like a waddling hen, Engine 463 is a narrow gague (3-foot) K-27 class 2-8-2 built by Baldwin Locomotive Works in 1903 and used until 1955 on the Silverton (Southern) Branch of the Denver & Rio Grande Railroad (renamed Denver & Rio Grande Western Railroad in 1924). Engine 463 is one of only two surviving K-27s.

Gene Autry purchased the locomotive in 1955 after it was retired from service and kept it at his Melody Ranch studio in Placerita Canyon, which he intended to transform into a Western museum. Engine No. 463 was used as a movie prop (as were other retired locomotives, including the Mogul Engine No. 1629, which Autry later gave to the Santa Clarita Valley Historical Society) until a 1962 wildfire devastated the property and dashed his plans.

The 463 was a derelict when, in March 1972, Autry "returned" it to the town of Antonito, Colo., for the new Cumbres & Toltec Scenic Railroad, which the states of Colorado and New Mexico jointly created in 1970 when they purhcased the line between between Chama, N.M., and Antonito from the old Denver and Rio Grande Western Railroad. The town of Antonito gave Engine 463 to the Cumbres & Toltec to restore; the restoration was complete in 1994 and it began hauling tourists. Engine 463 threw a side rod in 2002 and was taken out of service. In 2009, it was moved to the railroad's shop at Chama, where it was rebuilt. It returned to service in Spring 2013. As of 2015 it is the smallest engine on the line.

A tourist line that uses part of the San Joan Extension of the Denver & Rio Grande, the C and TS is still owned and administered jointly by New Mexico and Colorado. It is America's longest and highest narrow-gauge railroad and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. It is leased to a private operator who is responsible for carrying tourists on scheduled rides and maintaining the rolling stock and the associated rail museum.

TV1502: 9600 dpi jpeg from digital image May 28, 2015, by Michael Mazzetti.
• 1952-1962 Pre-Fire
• 1962 Fire
• 1962-1990 Post-Fire
• Veluzat Era 1991—

1962-1990 Post-Fire

Autry's Memories

Caretaker's Story


Train Collection

2 Locomotives

Engine 463, 1972 x2

Autry's Widow Withdraws Burbank Museum Plan 1985

Autry Obituary

Engine 463 Under Steam 2015

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