The "Grande" at its grandest. In a re-creation of the glory days of the D&RGW, a pair of K-36s rumble past the stockpens on the outskirts of Chama, NM, hauling a long train of freight cars over the last mile of iron from Durango. Except for the spark arrestors on the stacks, and the missing code lines, there's not a lot about this scene that differs greatly from how it would have looked 50 years ago, when Rio Grande narrow gauge freight operations stood alone as the last bastion of steam railroading in America. Fortunately, the "Grande" survived just long enough for its value as a historic relic to be recognized, and for preservation action to be taken. It is through the foresight of some key political leaders and the hard work of some selfless volunteers, that the grandest of the narrow gauge lives on in the mountains of the American Southwest.
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.