Running Los Pinos Creek. Here's a wide-angle view of our Rio Grande Southern freight re-creation, as it runs behind DRGW 315 along the Los Pinos Creek on the east side of the valley.
Note the mix of DRGW and RGS-lettered equipment. The Rio Grande Southern was not a particularly successful or well-financed operation. The narrow gauge line ran west out of Durango to Dolores, and then north to Rico, Telluride and Ridgway, originally for the purpose of serving mining operations. Although owned for much of its history by the Denver & Rio Grande Western, the line's equipment consisted of a dog's breakfast of leased and hand-me-down locomotives and rolling stock, mainly from the parent line, much of which was pretty worn-out before it arrived on the railroad. In fact, during the Great Depression of the 1930s, the railroad was in such dire straits that the cost of running regular trains became burdensome. This led to the development of the famous Galloping Geese, which could transport small quantities of passengers, freight and mail far more cheaply than running a train like the one seen here.
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.