COBWEB CORNERS: Two stories of the missing engine
By Mel McFarland
This story has bothered me for years, and now I need to dig it out, so to speak. Other events around it have caused these memories to come to the surface, you will see!
Years ago, I wrote a book on the Colorado Midland, and one of the pictures shows a parade float with a little steam engine that was built by the apprentices in the various shops during their training. It did not resemble any of the Midland locomotives, but it was a functional engine, with all working parts. I have several stories about it, and I will share them with you today.
I have heard two versions of the history of the engine. I do not know which is true, but here they are. One says that the engine was later given away in a contest, but it sat in a backyard in Colorado City until it was sold to a zoo somewhere. Memories of the engine are few as to where it actually went. Not many zoo railroads survive, and those that do, do not have any knowledge of an engine like this one.
The other story is even better. It says that John Bock found it and bought it for his young son, John, in the 1920s. It was moved to the Red Rock area, and a track was built for it to be run around on a big loop. As the story goes, young lads would run it in the summer, but once the novely wore off, it sat rusting away. In the end, an exciting event was planned for it. The track was relaid so that the train would fly through the air into a pond on the property! The engine was repaired and fired up, and a small of crowd of Mr. Bock's close friends ran it for a few last runs about, and once it was ready they gave it full speed and jumped, watching it climb a new track into the pond with a great splash and hiss, sinking into the mud at the bottom.
There are other tales of bits of railroad history going into ponds on the property. I have not a clue to the validity of any of the tales. I do not even know if they are the same ponds that can be found there now. I just know that most of the participants are now no longer with us. Or are they ALL gone?