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Chama Bunk House
Chama Coal Tipple
Chama Depot
Chama Oil House
Chama Round House
Chama Sand House
Chama Water Tank



Water Tank at Chama, NM

chama water tank southwest 1995 tlhprn.jpg (116141 bytes)

The Water Tank at Chama, New Mexico is unique because it has two spouts. One spout is on the east ready track that leads directly to the ash pit and the roundhouse. The west spout is on the track that leads to the front of the Coal Tipple & Sand House. Double spouts allowed service to more engines during the busy freight hauling days of the railroad.

Water Tank South View (8 K) Water Tank Section (10 K)

This all-timber tank was built to standard gauge specifications so it is larger than most narrow gauge tanks. When first constructed the tank held approximately 50,000 gallons of water. Full of water the tank weighs as much as two K-36 locomotives.

chama water tank spout 1995 tlhprn.jpg (90364 bytes) chama water tank frame 1995 tlhprn.jpg (39720 bytes)

The original tank built in 1881 no longer exists. The existing structure was apparently built in 1897 and survived the fire of 1899 that destroyed most of the structures in the yard. In the winter of 1994 this tank was disassembled and the barrel, columns, some bracing and parts of the floor beams were replaced. The roof was removed with a crane and replaced after the barrel was reconstructed. During reconstruction two water railroad cars from the rotary snow plow train served as a temporary water tank system. This 1994 restoration project is one of many undertaken on the property using the Secretary of Interior’s Guidelines for Historical Preservation.

Originally the entire Chama tank was painted a reddish-brown color. Later in its D&RGW lifetime it was repainted with reddish-brown bottom timber framing and a buff barrel. It has been lettered with the Flying Rio Grande logo, the D&RG Herald   and currently sports the flying Cumbres & Toltec logo.


A spring northwest of the yard originally supplied water to the tank in Chama. A survey from 1926 shows a dedicated pipe line from the spring. Today the water tank is filled by pumping water out of the Chama river west of the yard to a cistern northeast of the new enginehouse. A pump located in the old enginehouse draws from the cistern and sends water to the water tank. The pump in the enginehouse was steam powered in the early 1900's but was later converted to electricity.

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