Bound for Durango. Just after 10 AM local time, our Mixed Train behind DRGW #473, departs Silverton and makes the first of 7 crossings of the Animas River, on its southbound (railroad east) journey to Durango, Colorado. Pictured here is the timber bridge at MP 495.25, just a mile and a half south of town.
A departure at 10 AM might seem a little late for a photo charter, but that's about the earliest you can capture this scene if you want full sunlight. The mountains to the east of Silverton typically block the sunlight from reaching the floor of the river valley until about this time, at least in October. Even then, you can see that the foreground in this image is still in deep shadow. Leaving this late, our Conductor is already starting to get concerned about two northbound tourist trains, both of which are already in the canyon. And as you might imagine, on a railroad line that runs in a tight canyon, alongside a river, there are limited places where two trains can pass. Leaving this spot, we'll highball for Elk Park (MP 490.67). There, we'll be able to pass Train 461, and grab a couple of run-bys. Next, we'll head for Needleton Siding (MP 484.00), where we'll clear Train 462. At that point, we'll have the line to ourselves.....for a while.
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.