Steamscape - Los Pinos. After filling its tender with water at the Los Pinos Tank, D&RGW 315 heads west toward Cumbres Pass with 10 freight cars and a caboose on a cool, late summer afternoon.
The Los Pinos Tank that appears in the background of this photo has been a fixture here since the 1890s. In fact for many years, there were other facilities here as well, including a section house, bunk house and coaling station. These facilities were often very handy for rotary crews working to keep the Cumbres line open in the winter. All except the tank have long since been removed. Until recently, the tank itself had been out of service for quite some time, but a recent effort by the Friends of the Cumbres & Toltec has given the old tank a new lease on life. It is now active again and available for use as an emergency water stop. The Cumbres & Toltec Passenger trains typically do not use it, as they take water at Osier and Cumbres Pass, and the more modern, superheated engines don't need water in between those stops. Since the Los Pinos Valley is a popular spot for charter activity, the tank has become quite handy, as charters, particularly with older engines such as 315, have a tendency to use up water very quickly.
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.