Crossing the Animas. Although the morning sunlight is already bathing the western walls of the Animas Canyon, the bottom of the gorge is still in shadow as the first of the Silverton Trains crosses the river for the second time on its journey north. On the point this morning is K-28 Locomotive #473, which is representative of the class of engines that frequently ran on this line from the 1920s through about 1980.
On the old Silverton Branch of the Denver & Rio Grande Western, the railroad crosses the Animas no fewer than 5 times, with the bridge you see here having the highest elevation above the water. This particular iron bridge is located just a mile and a half north of the famous "High Line". It was built in the late 1800s and served the D&RG, and later, the D&RGW for nearly 100 years. When the line was sold and became a stand-alone tourist operation called the Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad, the bridge was modified with some external bracing to enable it to handle the larger K-36 locomotives that now haul most of the Silverton tourist trains.