Rotary OY after dark. Here's a rear quarter view of OY and her auxiliary water car as they sit in the Chama Yard. Like most of the Leslie-type rotary snow plows, OY was built as a standard gauge unit with standard gauge trucks in 1923. Only the axles were re-gauged for use on 36" track. She was also delivered without a tender. Railroads such as the D&RGW typically paired their rotaries with the tender of a retired steam locomotive and such was the case with OY. Again the tender was a standard gauge unit, with the axles shortened. Note also that the tender was equipped with a covered coal bunker, to prevent snow from falling into the fuel supply when plowing in deep cuts. The cab curtains in front of the footplate serve to provide the firemen (there are typically 2) with a sheltered area in which to work in cold weather. Because the rotary was the hardest-working steam engine in the rotary outfit, it was common to add an auxiliary water car behind the tender. Again, the tender of a retired steam engine typically filled that role. In 1958, the D&RGW decided to re-purpose a narrow gauge oil tank car #0472 as a new auxiliary water car, because it provided increased capacity. The car still fills that role today. Note how much larger the former standard gauge trucks are under the tender vs. the narrow gauge trucks on the water car.
Behind the rotary outfit are the Chama Coaling Tower (left) and Sand Tower (right). While both have been heavily restored by the Friends of the Cumbres & Toltec, the tourist operation does not use either one. Coal is typically loaded with a diesel-powered, front-end loader, and sand is loaded by hand, from the bags in which it is supplied. It should be noted that when the rotary is steamed up as you see it here, it sounds just like a steam locomotive, because it has essentially all of the same appliances. It has a dynamo to run the lights, and an air pump to to operate the brakes, flanger blades and firebox doors.
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.
A continuously growing album of photos that IMHO reveal the awesome and seldom seen beauty of railroads from the dimming of day to dawn's early light! From dusk to dawn, trains roll on! (I'm still finding sunset to sunrise surprises!)