Water Stop: Los Pinos. D&RGW K-27 Locomotive #463 eases gently to a stop on the downhill grade approaching the Los Pinos Tank in preparation for a water stop. On this day, the 1903-vintage Baldwin "Mudhen" was hauling a special eastbound equipment move of several MOW cars, including Derrick OP, for the Friends of the Cumbres & Toltec. This was in preparation for a Maintenance of Way Photo Charter that would take place two days later out of Antonito.
Until recently, the Los Pinos Tank had been out of service for quite a number of years. With water available at Osier and Cumbres Pass, the Cumbres & Toltec did not need this tank for regular passenger operations. A couple of years ago however, the tank was restored to operation by the Friends. Not only is this a historic piece of the railroad's infrastructure, but it does come in handy for photo charters, which have a tendency to use up water quickly. On a line with steep grades, it never hurts to have another source of water. In 2015, the restoration of the Los Pinos Tank really proved its worth when the C&TS started having problems with the water supply up on Cumbres Pass. Instead of having a major logistics problem to deal with, the line simply started making their water stops about 5 and a half miles further east, here in the Los Pinos Valley.
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.