In his book Never on Wednesday, photographer Mel Patrick called this area of the Utah desert a “moonscape”, and I can’t imagine anywhere on earth that would more closely resemble the lunar surface. Here the sun has ducked below the horizon, but there was still a westbound near and we waited for it. There’s definitely a feel of railroading on the moon.
If you don’t have Never on Wednesday, I highly recommend that you seek a copy. It is a spectacular black and white photo essay about the Rio Grande Zephyr, and includes very thorough coverage of the most remote and scenic locations along the route.