If you live in Northern Utah, you’ve likely visited Ogden’s Union Station on Wall Avenue and Historic 25th Street. The station is home to several museums, an art gallery, and a restaurant. But did you know that one of the largest and most unique restoration projects is also happening at Ogden’s Union Station? Each Saturday morning, local volunteers are busy restoring a 130-year old locomotive at the Ogden Union Station Restoration Shop. Members of The Golden Spike Chapter of the Railway & Locomotive Historical Society are restoring the Denver & Rio Grande Western Railway locomotive No. 223. This locomotive was originally built in 1881 and spanned 60-years of service, three fires, a wreck, 30-years on display in a public park, and now part of a 20-year restoration.
Visiting the restoration shop is free to the public. Work begins each Saturday in the Trainmen’s Building on the north end of the Union Station at 9:30 AM. Entering the restoration shop is like stepping back in time when parts were machined by hand with very few power tools. A few weeks ago during my visit, the crew were heating rivets in a furnace, carefully moving them with tongs, and then finishing the installation by hammering them into place. The following week they were manufacturing a frame so a railroad speeder could safely be moved onto the train tracks without damaging the concrete.
Visitors are welcome to watch, ask questions, and learn about locomotive history. If you have children that are interested in trains, the restoration shop is essentially a “working museum.” The volunteers are full stories, and love to share their knowledge about the project. You can find more information about the Ogden Union Station Restoration Shop on their website, Facebook page, or watch one of the videos on YouTube.
About the Author
Shaun Nelson is a photographer from South Ogden, Utah, that blogs about vintage cameras and film photography at Utah Film Photography. You can see more of his work at UtahFilmPhotography or ShaunNelsonPhotography.com.