Northbound to Silverton. One of the D&RGW's three surviving "Sport Models" (K-28s) enters the Animas River Canyon via the Rockwood High Line with a 1930s-era passenger train bound for Silverton. As the train steps out onto the 2-mile stretch of track known as "The High Line," the river itself is to the viewer's left and some 400 feet down a very steep embankment. There are places on this stretch of track where the passengers will not be able to see anything substantial at the track level below the train. Needless to say, a derailment out here would be catastrophic. For this reason, the current operator of the line, the Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad, maintains a permanent slow order through this stretch. On the tighter curves, guard rail similar to that used on bridges is in place for additional protection. As the train works north, the river bed gradually rises and from Tacoma (MP 472) on north to Silverton, the vertical distance between the track and the water level is more like 20-30 feet.
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.