Through the Rockies, not around them. So proclaimed the motto of the Denver & Rio Grande, later known as the Denver & Rio Grande Western. In order to accomplish that goal, the D&RGW laid track in some pretty inhospitable places. Steep grades, tight curves, and close clearances were commonplace. There was a good reason why a significant portion of their route system was built as narrow gauge. Putting standard gauge in a location like the one depicted here would have been extremely costly. Think about how much rock would need to be removed just to make the ROW a couple of feet wider.
This particular location is called "Elbert Creek", and is located on the old Silverton Branch, less than half a mile from Rockwood Station. The locomotive here is Alco K-28 #478. Sometimes referred to as a "Sports Model", the K-28s were class of 10 locomotives that saw extensive service on this line, long after the D&RGW introduced larger engines on other routes. This was because of the close clearances and weight limitations of the bridges on the Silverton Line. There are only three of these locomotives left now. Seven other sisters were "drafted" for service in Alaska during WWII, and alas, they gave their all. This particular re-creation of a D&RGW Freight on the Silverton Branch was performed for a 2011 charter operated by Dave Gross.
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.