Hugging the rocky cliffs, Train 462 snakes its way around Rockwood, Colorado's famous High Line Horseshoe Curve, on its way north to Silverton. Locomotive 480, a Baldwin K-36 Mikado, is just tip-toeing here, observing the permanent slow-order, while the entire crew keeps a keen eye out for anything untoward. Guard rail lines the ROW for most of this stretch of track....just in case. Of all of the places on the line from Durango to Silverton, this is the one place they don't want to have a problem. Just off to the left is an extremely steep cliff, dropping away roughly 400 ft to the Animas River below.
In this photo, the locomotive has just passed the most harrowing spot, where the train is so close to the edge, that from the cab or the coaches, a person can't really see anything much underneath the train. Behind the engine, the train snakes off to the right and then back left, around the horseshoe curve. You can see the last three cars on the train just to the left of the engine, one of which is the famous Silver Vista open car. The train will continue at slow speed for another mile and a half, until it crosses the river at the High Bridge. From then on, it will resume normal speed. After a couple of more hours, she'll reach Silverton, just in time for lunch.
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.