Double-header westbound at Tanglefoot. A classic, early 1900s double-header graces the complex curves of the Cumbres Loop, known more popularly as "Tanglefoot Curve." This train is westbound and just about a railroad mile from reaching the summit of Cumbres Pass. The grade here is about 2.5% and freights headed west out of Alamosa, Colorado would often have multiple engines in order to handle the steep climb. With the lighter engines, such as those depicted here, the railroad would typically double-head. When heavier engines, such as the K-36 and K-37 came along a couple of decades later, it was determined that the bridges on this line, specifically the ones at Cascade Creek and Wolf Creek (Lobato) were not designed for the extra weight. Helper locomotives on most trains thereafter were cut into the middle or end of the train, so that there would never be more than one locomotive on the bridge at any one time.
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.