Durango to Silverton RR
20 May 2011 | Durango, Co
Mike: weather = cold and snowy
Durango to Silverton: A trip on the Durango to Silverton railway
The weather was lousy (for humans) and, as is often the case, great for photos. It wasn’t great when we left Moab and rain relentlessly turned to snow as we gained elevation. Cortez, then Durango at 6500 feet (2000 meters). Passes farther east were requiring chains. We were lucky to squeak through and find a motel room without too much fuss. Just a little white knuckle driving. No way I’m camping in this crap.
The Durango to Silverton narrow gauge (tracks are one meter apart) railway was founded in 1870 and at one time connected to rail lines in the rest of the U.S. Today it runs on a 45 mile (72km) track between Durango and Silverton Colorado – at 9273 feet (2853 meters). Besides dragging tourists to Silverton, the trains also serve residents living where there is no road.
The D&RG line runs five trains. As there isn’t a store where you can pop in and buy old locomotive parts, the line has an extensive machine shop and foundry. All parts to keep them running have to be made from scratch. They’re looking to add two locomotives but, as you can imagine, they’re hard to come by.
All-in-all, it was a unique experience, weather be damned. All sailors know you get what you get and deal with it. The cars were first class, bar available, toasty, with an attendant to supply refreshments and narration. Worth every penny and then some.