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Durango & Silverton

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Denver & Rio Grande Western found that they had a money spinner they did not quite know what to do with when tourists discovered the Silverton Train in the late 1940s. The Rio Grande eventually sold the line to Charles Bradshaw Jr a business man who vowed that the Silverton would never go diesel, who invested heavily in improving the line and restoring/improving locos and rolling stock. The railroad is now owned and operated by American Heritage Railways as Mr Bradshaw felt it was the only company he could trust with the railway.



D&SRR K36 482 awaiting to leave on the 08:45 to Silverton

The K36s were built by Baldwin in the late 20s roughly equal in terms of pulling power to the GSR 800 class allowed heavier freight trains to be hauled than the smaller 2-8-2 & 2-8-0 locos then in use on the DRGWR narrow gauge lines.



The box car (generator van) coupled immediately behind the loco adds a nice touch to the twice weekly mixed train that operated in the 40s & 50s.



Staff dressed to look the part, with brakemen awaiting the conductors call.



482 on the famous "High Line" above Los Animas Canyon


The railroad basically runs alongside the Los Animas river except a section of the canyon which was too narrow and twisting to provide a footing for a railroad. The loco is leaving a horseshoe curve where it was claimed the engineer and rear end brake man could shake hands across the canyon.



482 "blowing down" from a trestle in the canyon


A practice to remove impurities from a locomotive boiler, usually carried out on a high embankment or bridge in a remote place to avoid scalding anyone/scaring livestock.



Disintegrating stock cars

Non-essential freight stock does not appear to have received much maintenance since DRGWR days, seasoned timber and ironwork stands up well in a low humidity climate. Volunteer input on the DSRR appears to bee mainly limited to the theatrical aspect of railway operation train guides and people in period western costume.

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Silverton looks like the set for a Western though modern cars and SUVs destroy the illusion.


The economy appears to revolve around feeding and entertaining the passengers off the Silverton Train which runs in two sections in summer.


We went for a stage coach ride around town and had some old time pictures taken, for some reason I ended up looking like a railroad baron posing with his family.








The railroad offers the option of train or coach one way for visitors who don't want to spend 6 hours on the train.


Switching Durango.jpg

GE 80ton ? diesel switching at Durango


The Durango & Silverton is a well polished operation pretty much one mans vision of a steam passenger railway, further east the Cumbres & Toltec is a horse of an entirely different colour

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Was there a month after the WTC was hit, Had an Airshow itinerary booked but they were all cancelled so went railway & culture instead!


Booked the observation open car with no windows, When we reached the snow line things started to get a wee bit cold but a 2 massive 'buckets' of Hot Chocolate save the day. I still have the cups they take a whole kettle of water!


Great spot to visit. Loved listening to the radio during my stay there were instead of Traffic watch they had 'Bear Watch'


These shots bring back great memories and nice to see no yellow jackets or yellow lines in evidence.

Edited by Georgeconna
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