Time to go to work. For most of the 11-mile journey from Durango to Hermosa, the Firemen on the Silverton Trains can take it easy. Running on nearly flat country, the big K-36s are loafing to a degree. But once the trains hit the US 550 crossing in Hermosa, things get serious. The grade steepens sharply to 2.5% for the 6.5-mile run up to Rockwood. The firing begins in earnest just before the trains reach Hermosa and by the time they hit the crossing, the pops are often lifting. Here, we see DSNG 482 in all her glory, smoking furiously and venting steam as she starts up the hill with Train 461, the 8:30 AM departure out of Durango. The Fireman will get a break again when she hits Rockwood. The High Line is relatively flat and there's a permanent slow order for several miles. And yes.....I did get my hair full of cinders taking this shot. :)
The Cumbres & Toltec Scenic Railroad and the Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad are all that remains of the legendary Denver & Rio Grande Western narrow gauge system. Here you'll find some of my favorites from these two beautiful railways.