On the High Bridge: Milepost 471.23. Here's a wide-angle view of the big K-37 #493 as she rumbles across the High Bridge over the Animas River (MP 471.23) with her Silverton mixed consist, heading north toward Tacoma, a little more than a mile distant. There are lots of angles from which to photograph this scene, if you're lucky enough to be on a photo charter, but this one is less often seen, mainly because most of the photographers who come here are not carrying an ultra-wide lens. I was at 16mm on a full-frame Nikon, and wishing I had brought my 14-24mm zoom. This train is significantly closer to me than it looks in this photo.
This image is also significant because it was one of the first photo charters to ever come here with the newly-restored K-37, which is the largest locomotive type ever to operate here. During the Denver & Rio Grande Western era, which ended in 1980, nothing larger than a K-28 had ever been this far north. Thanks to the efforts of Charles Bradshaw and his newly-formed Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad, improvements were made to the line, mainly in the form of expanded rock cuts and reinforced bridges, so that larger K-36 and 37 engines could be used to handle the longer trains that this new tourist line would need in the coming decades.
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.