Engine No. 9, built by Cooke Locomotive Works, was one of a pioneering set of locomotives that used narrow-gauge rail to navigate the high, dangerous mountain terrain of Colorado. It operated on the Denver to Leadville “High Line” from 1884 to 1937, pulling freight and passenger cars for 53 years. No. 9 was the last passenger train over Boreas Pass (the highest rail pass in the United States at the time) when the line was discontinued. Following its service, the locomotive went on display at the New York’s World Fair from 1939-40. Engine No. 9 is an icon of Colorado’s narrow-gauge railroad heritage. It represents the life-blood that helped Breckenridge and other Colorado mining communities survive and thrive in the late 1800s and early 20th century. Today’s visiting public will see Engine No. 9 in the same context as when it operated – within 30 feet of the original High Line track that came into Breckenridge from Boreas Pass.
During the summer and fall of 2010, the Breckenridge Heritage Alliance constructed an open-air shelter to house the locomotive. This project was accomplished with the aid of numerous community supporters who donated time, money and supplies to construct the shelter. The following local businesses and community members made this project possible: Breckenridge Building Center, Colorado Historical Society, Columbine Hills Concrete, Inc., Ethan Guerra, Inc., LG Everist, Mary Hart Design, Rich & Maryann Rowley, Rob Andrews Land Surveying, Theobald Engineering & Construction Services, Timberline Disposal, Town of Breckenridge. Engine 9 returned home on December 14, 2010. In 2011-2012, the BHA managed restoration of the Engine No. 9 tender, completed by Breck Ironworks and Harris Construction. Engine No. 9 and its tender are on a long-term loan to the Town of Breckenridge by History Colorado.