Oklahoma Railway Museum
Central Oklahoma Chapter of NRHS
3400 N.E. Grand Blvd
Oklahoma City, OK 73111
(405) 424-8222
Open Thur. Fri. Sat.: 9am-5pm
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SAN LOUIS VALLEY SOUTHERN RAIL BUS

Builder Winter - Weiss, Denver, Colorado
Built 1924
Acquired 1985
Previous owners Southern San Luis Valley Railroad subsidery of Colorado Aggregrate Company

History
The car had the truck axle added for "traction" sometime in the 1950s.. The initial location was between the front and rear truck just ahead of the lead axle of the rear truck. The car still looked the same as your photos as late as Sept. 1949. A photo in the book shows the extended front end was added by 1960. I suspect this extension was added to accommodate an air compressor to operate the train brakes on the cars as there are brackets and piping still in place that indicate a compressor was once located there. The M-300 is very light and freight cars loaded or unloaded would not have any problem pushing it down the track once they got to rolling.

The SLVS experimented with the rubber wheel drive system when the steel wheels (on the rear truck) proved to provide inadequate traction. The rail bus was used to replace a mail/passenger train. The problem with the rubber tire system was the tires heated up on the rail to the point they last only a couple of round trips of the line. The same problem occurred with the first D-500 that was built with rubber wheels. Replacing a blown tire on that thing would be downright exhausting, particularly at high altitude. It seems that both the M-300 and the first D-500 were quite adept at blowing tires. The M-300 also had a steel trailer car of narrow gage dimensions (standard gage axles however) that was used infrequently and finally finished its days as the pump house for the SLVS water well.

As for how the car came to Oklahoma City. One of the traveling members of the Oklahoma Railway Museum (then called the Central Oklahoma Railfan Club, also called the Central Oklahoma Chapter of the NRHS) happened onto the SLVS at Blanca about 1985. He caught sight of the M-300 and asked the railroad if they would part with it. About 6 months later the M-300 was loaded on the back of a flat bed semi-trailer and trucked back to Oklahoma. The car earned the name "The Mouse" because of its silver/gray paint and the fact that a whole troop of mice could be seen falling out of the M-300 and running all over the deck of the trailer as it was towed over La Veta Pass.


 

 
 
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The Oklahoma Railway Museum, Inc., 3400 N.E. Grand Blvd., Oklahoma City, OK 73111

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