Fall color at Cement Wall. Deep in the Animas River Canyon, a Silverton Mixed Train behind D&RGW #473 charges north with some loads for the residents and businesses in Silverton, passing through a section of line just south of Cascade, called "Cement Wall" or "Cement Fill" (MP 476.7).
Historically, the old D&RGW Silverton Line has been a tough stretch of railroad to maintain. Running close to a riverbed at the bottom of a very steep canyon, slides and washouts have been a problem since the railroad was first built in the early 1880s, and those problems persist even in 2020. The spot you see here was pretty well wiped out during a flash flood on the Animas in 1970, back when the D&RGW still owned the railroad. Given the vulnerability of the line at this location, the railroad elected to go beyond just refilling the spot and laying down new track. Instead, they built this fortified cement wall, which has since given this place its name. Fortunately, it appears to have stood the test of time rather well for the last 50 years. It ain't pretty, but at least the railroad no longer has problems here.
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.