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Rio Grande Narrow Gauge in the 60's
The DRGW narrow gauge was the last major steam operation in the U.S. The climb over 10,000 foot Cumbres pass was spectacular, with two engines handling 70 car trains. Hopefully these images convey some of the drama of mountain steam railroading.
Photo Album By: John West
 
Link to this album:
https://www.railpictures.net/album/157/
 

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Photo ID: 807097

A Cumbres turn rounds Windy Point on its way to Cumbres with a cut of cars headed for Alamosa. Two or three cuts will be put together for a long train down the other side of the pass. Today the v... (more)

Railroad: Denver & Rio Grande Western Railroad
Locomotive: Steam 2-8-2
Location: Antonito, Colorado, USA
Locomotive #: DRGW 484
Train ID: Unknown
Photo Date: July 23, 1963


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By: John West

Added: Jul 10, 2022

Views: 1,972
Comments: 3

Favorited: 12
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Photo ID: 621792

You gotta have a caboose. And you want to get home. Given such a challenge railroaders can be very creative. Their regular caboose was bad ordered in Chama, and there was no spare. So rather t... (more)

Railroad: Denver & Rio Grande Western Railroad
Locomotive: Steam 2-8-2
Location: Chama, New Mexico, USA
Locomotive #: DRGW 492
Train ID: Unknown
Photo Date: September, 1964


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By: John West

Added: Jul 02, 2017

Views: 8,814
Comments: 3

Favorited: 43
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Photo ID: 586457

With the 488 on the point and 487 helping mid-train, a long westbound train, probably at the limit of 70 cars, is strung out along the hillside above Los Pinos River west of Rock Tunnel. The rear... (more)

Railroad: Denver & Rio Grande Western Railroad
Locomotive: Steam 2-8-2
Location: Chama, New Mexico, USA
Locomotive #: DRGW 488
Train ID: Unknown
Photo Date: September, 1964


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By: John West

Added: Aug 21, 2016

Views: 3,919
Comments: 3

Favorited: 14
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Photo ID: 586184

A long eastbound train rounds Tanglefoot curve east of Cumbres. Tanglefoot may or may not have been a term used by the railroaders, it does not appear in any timetables or special instructions, bu... (more)

Railroad: Denver & Rio Grande Western Railroad
Locomotive: Steam 2-8-2
Location: Antonito, Colorado, USA
Locomotive #: Unknown
Train ID: Unknown
Photo Date: July, 1963


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By: John West

Added: Aug 18, 2016

Views: 8,878
Comments: 4

Favorited: 49
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Photo ID: 509296

"Through the weeds not around them". That was a parody of the DRGW's old advertising slogan, "through the Rockies not around them", dreamed up by DRGW engineer Andy Payne, probably while running ... (more)

Railroad: Denver & Rio Grande Western Railroad
Locomotive: Steam 2-8-2
Location: Durango, Colorado, USA
Locomotive #: DRGW 478
Train ID: Unknown
Photo Date: September, 1965


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By: John West

Added: Dec 05, 2014

Views: 10,157
Comments: 3

Favorited: 32


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Photo ID: 497420

A caboose hop leaves Durango headed for Farmington. It will pick up its train at Carbon Junction, where the cars were set out the prior evening by a train from Chama. The caboose, two loaded boxca... (more)

Railroad: Denver & Rio Grande Western Railroad
Locomotive: Steam 2-8-2
Location: Durango, Colorado, USA
Locomotive #: DRGW 488
Train ID: Unknown
Photo Date: December 20, 1961


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By: John West

Added: Sep 10, 2014

Views: 7,811
Comments: 3

Favorited: 51
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Photo ID: 402270

Early on a cold winter morning two engines are serviced before hauling another long train over 10,000 foot Cumbres pass to Chama. Two more engines, a flanger, and a spreader will run ahead from A... (more)

Railroad: Denver & Rio Grande Western Railroad
Locomotive: Steam 2-8-2
Location: Alamosa, Colorado, USA
Locomotive #: DRGW 480
Train ID: Unknown
Photo Date: December 18, 1961


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By: John West

Added: Jul 01, 2012

Views: 6,305
Comments: 2

Favorited: 36
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Photo ID: 401911

For a long time it was normal practice for narrow gauge trains to handle standard gauge cars between Alamosa and Antonito and intermediate points on the three-rail. By the early 60's this practice... (more)

Railroad: Denver & Rio Grande Western Railroad
Locomotive: Steam 2-8-2
Location: Antonito, Colorado, USA
Locomotive #: DRGW 481
Train ID: Unknown
Photo Date: September, 1960


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By: John West

Added: Jun 27, 2012

Views: 12,156
Comments: 3

Favorited: 56
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Photo ID: 397964

A Cumbres turn approaches the west switch to Cresco siding while climbing to Cumbres. The cars will be left at Cumbres and the engines and caboose will return to Chama. After spending another ni... (more)

Railroad: Denver & Rio Grande Western Railroad
Locomotive: Steam 2-8-2
Location: Chama, New Mexico, USA
Locomotive #: DRGW 498
Train ID: Unknown
Photo Date: September, 1964


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By: John West

Added: May 16, 2012

Views: 6,259
Comments: 1

Favorited: 29
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Photo ID: 382618

DRGW Cumbres turns were often accompanied by a fair number of photographers and just curious tourists, and for the crews it was almost like a public performance. The brakeman smiles for my camera ... (more)

Railroad: Denver & Rio Grande Western Railroad
Locomotive: Steam 2-8-2
Location: Antonito, Colorado, USA
Locomotive #: DRGW 492
Train ID: Unknown
Photo Date: September, 1964


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By: John West

Added: Nov 30, 2011

Views: 10,086
Comments: 9

Favorited: 62


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Photo ID: 347829

DRGW 484 and another engine are serviced at the Chama coaling tower in preparation for a trip west to Durango. This coaling tower still exists on the C&TS and while it is not used it is very clos... (more)

Railroad: Denver & Rio Grande Western Railroad
Locomotive: Steam 2-8-2
Location: Chama, New Mexico, USA
Locomotive #: DRGW 484
Train ID: Unknown
Photo Date: July, 1963


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By: John West

Added: Dec 07, 2010

Views: 7,602
Comments: 2

Favorited: 30
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Photo ID: 347825

Extra 498 west climbs out of Willow Creek heading toward the Continental Divide at Azotea and ultimately Durango. One of the oddities of the Alamosa to Durango line is even though it crossed 10,00... (more)

Railroad: Denver & Rio Grande Western Railroad
Locomotive: Steam 2-8-2
Location: Chama, New Mexico, USA
Locomotive #: DRGW 498
Train ID: Unknown
Photo Date: September, 1964


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By: John West

Added: Dec 07, 2010

Views: 7,980
Comments: 2

Favorited: 40
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Photo ID: 310741

Railroad: Denver & Rio Grande Western Railroad
Locomotive: Steam 2-8-2
Location: Durango, Colorado, USA
Locomotive #: Unknown
Train ID: Unknown
Photo Date: October, 1962


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By: John West

Added: Jan 14, 2010

Views: 13,961
Comments: 3

Favorited: 69
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Photo ID: 305038

Cumbres section house framed by the snowshed. I like the details. The engine is taking water from the water plug, and a gon of new ties is on west end of the siding. The black dog by the switch s... (more)

Railroad: Denver & Rio Grande Western Railroad
Locomotive: Steam 2-8-2
Location: Antonito, Colorado, USA
Locomotive #: Unknown
Train ID: Unknown
Photo Date: July, 1963


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By: John West

Added: Nov 23, 2009

Views: 7,599
Comments: 2

Favorited: 30
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Photo ID: 292970

Doubleheading from Alamosa to Antonito. At Antonito both engines will take coal and water, and the helper will be cut into the train for the climb to Cumbres. It will be long after dark and prob... (more)

Railroad: Denver & Rio Grande Western Railroad
Locomotive: Steam 2-8-2
Location: Alamosa, Colorado, USA
Locomotive #: DRGW 480
Train ID: Unknown
Photo Date: December, 1961


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By: John West

Added: Aug 04, 2009

People's Choice 3

Views: 16,733
Comments: 8

Favorited: 90
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