Moffat Railroad Museum moves 225,000 pound crane into place |

Moffat Railroad Museum moves 225,000 pound crane into place

A bystander watches as workers from Terry Crane & Rigging move the 225,000 pound stea crane onto temporary tracks north of the Moffat Road Railroad Museum in Granby.
Lance Maggart / Sky-Hi News

Early last week Granby’s Moffat Road Railroad Museum realized the successful completion of a project of immense proportions, the relocation of 225,000-pound steam crane to its new home on the museum grounds.

The crane, a 1913 Denver & Salt Lake railroad crane, was previously moved to Grand County in mid-April but had spent the last two-and-a-half months sitting on Union Pacific railroad tracks just north of the museum. Last Tuesday Terry Crane & Rigging of Salida used two large cranes to transfer to historic piece of railroad stock onto temporary tracks running perpendicular to the UP tracks.

Dozens of local citizens showed up to watch the proceedings early Tuesday. Workers from Terry Crane arrived on scene around 7 a.m. and after rigging up the 1913 steam crane the 100 plus ton piece of equipment was slowly lifted into the air and spun before being placed on the temporary track. Overseeing the proceedings from the sidelines was museum director Dave Naples.

For Naples the successful transfer of the steam crane was the culmination of months of effort to bring the equipment to Grand County and one of the crowing jewels of the museum, which has been in development for nearly a decade.

“It feels like there are 225,000 pounds off my shoulders,” Naples said with a slight chuckle after the crane was put into place. “It feels good to have it done and done really well. It was done very professionally and we had no problems on any level.”

Naples thanked a long list of local individuals including Marv Dewey and Kenton Johnson for their assistance with the effort.

“I really want to make sure the UP gets their due,” Naples said. “They came through in a pinch and helped us a great deal in this.”

Naples went on to specifically highlight the contribution of Ed Dickens, senior manager of heritage operations for Union Pacific.

Naples said the next steps for the 1913 crane would be to paint the stock with its original Denver & Salt Lake colors, black with white lettering, and to repaint the crane’s original number 10300, onto its exterior. The crane, which includes a additional boom car, has a unique connection to Grand County. According to Naples the steam crane currently on the museum’s ground was the actual steam crane used by the Denver & Salt Lake railroad in the early 20th century in Grand County. The crane was used to clear obstructions and wrecks from tracks on the rail line that was laid down in Middle Park.

Moving forward Naples said the museum will focus on completion of the visitor center once funds for the work become available. Naples said the museum will continue to develop the museum as a tourist attraction for the area and hopes to gain as much community support as possible.

“If anybody wants to help they can call me at 907-281-9094,” Naples said.

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