Work Extra 315 approaches Cresco Tank. On this misty, late summer morning, Engineer Jeremy Garcia is using all of his years of experience and skill to keep little 315 on her feet as she claws her way up to the tank at Cresco, with 5 cars behind her and wet rails under her feet. The stack talk on her approach is pretty awesome for a little locomotive, and the plume is equally impressive. Rather than go for the iconic, but worn-out image of the locomotive stopped at the tank, I decide that the distant approach shot is the more interesting view of this location, so that's the memory that I've decided to preserve here.
The D&RGW, and later, the Cumbres & Toltec Scenic Railroad have maintained a wooden water tank at this location since 1893. Located about 4.5 miles and 900 vertical feet from the summit of Cumbres Pass, the small, Consolidation-type engines from the early years of the line always needed water here and 315 is no exception. With the arrival of the larger, superheated Mikados in the 1920s, this tank was less important, although still present as an emergency supply of water. The K-36s of the present-day Cumbres & Toltec Scenic Railroad seldom stop here, taking water at the standpipe on Cumbres Pass instead.
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.