Sagebrush silhouette. Denver & Rio Grande Locomotive #425 and mixed train are silhouetted against the early morning sunlight as she charges across the lava-capped mesas of the New Mexico desert near Lava Tank (MP 291.4), headed for Chama via Cumbres Pass.
Mixed train service like what is pictured here was common on some of the D&RG's narrow gauge lines, notably the Chili Line that ran from Antonito to Santa Fe, and the Silverton Branch, which ran from Durango to Silverton. This line, from Antonito to Chama, was often referred to as the San Juan Extension, and was primarily a freight line back in the day, although the railroad did have a dedicated passenger train, called the "San Juan Express", or simply "San Juan." Passenger service on this line ended in the early 1950s, nearly two decades before common carrier freight service finally ceased in the late 1960s. Today of course, this line operates as the Cumbres & Toltec Scenic Railroad, and it features perhaps the greatest variety of scenery offered by any tourist railroad in the lower 48 United States.
A continuously growing album of photos that IMHO reveal the awesome and seldom seen beauty of railroads from the dimming of day to dawn's early light! From dusk to dawn, trains roll on! (I'm still finding sunset to sunrise surprises!)
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.