JERRY McBRIDE/Durango Herald
What’s red and weighs 29,000 pounds and holds 30 people? The Knight Sky. It’s the Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad’s newest open-air observation gondola.
It took Melcher Brothers Inc., of Durango, almost a year to build, and it was and engineered by Clarence Anderson, of Telluride Iron Works, also of Durango.
The Knight Sky was built with some 20th century technology. This is the first time a car on Durango’s narrow-gauge tracks will use roller-bearing trucks, the wheel pairs on the railcar. “And that should offer a smoother ride and less maintenance,” said Jim Melcher, of Melcher Brothers.
The railcar’s construction was contracted by Denny and Judy Beggrow, owners of Soaring Tree Top Adventures, and D&SNG will operate it with 15 seats dedicated to the railroad and 15 to Soaring Tree Top Adventures to take customers to the soaring resort, located north of Durango along the Animas River.
The Knight Sky joins the railroad’s other deluxe and first-class railcars, the Legacy and the Legend, which take patrons to Soaring Tree Top Adventures. The new car is expected to be on display during D&SNG’s Narrow Gauge Day at the depot May 4.