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Rio Grande Narrow Gauge in the 60's
The DRGW narrow gauge was the last major steam operation in the U.S. The climb over 10,000 foot Cumbres pass was spectacular, with two engines handling 70 car trains. Hopefully these images convey some of the drama of mountain steam railroading.
Photo Album By: John West
 
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Photo ID: 268161

It is late afternoon and the shadows are getting long as the 484 with its helper cut in ahead of the caboose pulls a Cumbres turn into the small yard at the top. It is the crew's second trip up t... (more)

Railroad: Denver & Rio Grande Western Railroad
Locomotive: Steam 2-8-2
Location: Antonito, Colorado, USA
Locomotive #: DRGW 484
Train ID: Unknown
Photo Date: July, 1963


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By: John West

Added: Jan 21, 2009

People's Choice 3

Views: 20,144
Comments: 14

Favorited: 119
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Photo ID: 257837

The 488 with a Cumbres turn really smokes it up as it climbs the final 4 percent around Windy Point to the pass. As was normal practice, a helper is cut in ahead of the caboose in the distance. ... (more)

Railroad: Denver & Rio Grande Western Railroad
Locomotive: Steam 2-8-2
Location: Chama, New Mexico, USA
Locomotive #: DRGW 488
Train ID: Unknown
Photo Date: July, 1964


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By: John West

Added: Oct 29, 2008

Views: 5,705
Comments: 4

Favorited: 22
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Photo ID: 210961

The temps are way below freezing during the night, steam engines tend to drip, ice forms, and the result by early morning is an engine solidly frozen to the rails. So the hostler burns some oil s... (more)

Railroad: Denver & Rio Grande Western Railroad
Locomotive: Steam 2-8-2
Location: Chama, New Mexico, USA
Locomotive #: Unknown
Train ID: Unknown
Photo Date: December, 1961


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By: John West

Added: Nov 09, 2007

Views: 8,215
Comments: 1

Favorited: 13
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Photo ID: 196647

The crew of a Chama to Durango train gets ready for departure. This is the next to last year of operation of the narrow gauge by the DRGW.

Railroad: Denver & Rio Grande Western Railroad
Locomotive: Steam 2-8-2
Location: Chama, New Mexico, USA
Locomotive #: DRGW 498
Train ID: Unknown
Photo Date: August, 1967


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By: John West

Added: Aug 08, 2007

Views: 6,942
Comments: 1

Favorited: 18
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Photo ID: 193341

A westbound freight starts its long slow climb to 10,000-foot Cumbres pass on a cold December day. This train had been preceeded by a flanger and spreader train to clear the way.

Railroad: Denver & Rio Grande Western Railroad
Locomotive: Steam 2-8-2
Location: Antonito, Colorado, USA
Locomotive #: Unknown
Train ID: Unknown
Photo Date: December, 1961


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By: John West

Added: Jul 12, 2007

Views: 8,934
Comments: 4

Favorited: 34


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Photo ID: 192945

Another old Anscochrome saved by Photoshop. The headbrakeman takes water prior to the Farmington turn leaving Farmington for Durango. The Farmington tank was notorious for bad water, but apparent... (more)

Railroad: Denver & Rio Grande Western Railroad
Locomotive: Steam 2-8-2
Location: Farmington, New Mexico, USA
Locomotive #: DRGW 497
Train ID: Unknown
Photo Date: January, 1960


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By: John West

Added: Jul 09, 2007

Views: 8,207
Comments: 4

Favorited: 20
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Photo ID: 184271

The 473 switches an inbound train at the east end of the Durango yard. The boxcars were probably empties that would be spotted at the lumber mill for loading. Note the 473 is equipped with footb... (more)

Railroad: Denver & Rio Grande Western Railroad
Locomotive: Steam 2-8-2
Location: Durango, Colorado, USA
Locomotive #: DRGW 473
Train ID: Unknown
Photo Date: October, 1962


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By: John West

Added: Apr 17, 2007

Views: 9,360
Comments: 8

Favorited: 28
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Photo ID: 177545

It's late in the season and winter is getting close. When this picture was taken the mainline to Alamosa had been abandoned and the Silverton branch was isolated. But it was still Rio Grande and ... (more)

Railroad: Denver & Rio Grande Western Railroad
Locomotive: Steam 2-8-2
Location: Durango, Colorado, USA
Locomotive #: DRGW 473
Train ID: Unknown
Photo Date: October, 1969


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By: John West

Added: Mar 01, 2007

Views: 7,203
Comments: 3

Favorited: 15
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Photo ID: 172893

A late afternoon Cumbres turn crosses the old unpaved road below Windy Point.

Railroad: Denver & Rio Grande Western Railroad
Locomotive: Steam 2-8-2
Location: Antonito, Colorado, USA
Locomotive #: Unknown
Train ID: Unknown
Photo Date: September, 1964


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By: John West

Added: Jan 25, 2007

Views: 6,720
Comments: 6

Favorited: 19
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Photo ID: 163319

An eastbound freight has departed Carbon Junction for Chama. The grade east from Carbon Junction was a steady 2 percent for about seven miles to the top of the mesa just west of Falfa.

Railroad: Denver & Rio Grande Western Railroad
Locomotive: Steam 2-8-2
Location: Durango, Colorado, USA
Locomotive #: DRGW 488
Train ID: Unknown
Photo Date: October, 1962


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By: John West

Added: Oct 28, 2006

Views: 6,093
Comments: 2

Favorited: 15


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Photo ID: 163222

The winter sun silouettes the sanding and coaling towers on the Durango roundhouse lead.

Railroad: Denver & Rio Grande Western Railroad
Locomotive: Steam 2-8-2
Location: Durango, Colorado, USA
Locomotive #: Unknown
Train ID: Unknown
Photo Date: December, 1961


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By: John West

Added: Oct 27, 2006

Views: 3,881
Comments: 3

Favorited: 10
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Photo ID: 159457

Durango had a classic small railroad terminal. Then the Colorado highway department decided they needed the industrial area in the background and the yard area in the foreground for new highway c... (more)

Railroad: Denver & Rio Grande Western Railroad
Locomotive: None
Location: Durango, Colorado, USA
Locomotive #: Unknown
Train ID: Unknown
Photo Date: September, 1965


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By: John West

Added: Sep 25, 2006

Views: 8,721
Comments: 1

Favorited: 23
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Photo ID: 157583

Close up the counterweight and running gear on one of the 470 class locomotives used on the Silverton.

Railroad: Denver & Rio Grande Western Railroad
Locomotive: Steam 2-8-2
Location: Durango, Colorado, USA
Locomotive #: Unknown
Train ID: Unknown
Photo Date: September, 1961


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By: John West

Added: Sep 08, 2006

Views: 2,586
Comments: 0

Favorited: 6
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Photo ID: 155582

An afternoon Cumbres turn with 483 on the point blows for the Coxo crossing on the old dirt road from Chama to Cumbres. A helper is cut in ahead of the caboose.

Railroad: Denver & Rio Grande Western Railroad
Locomotive: Steam 2-8-2
Location: Antonito, Colorado, USA
Locomotive #: DRGW 484
Train ID: Unknown
Photo Date: July, 1963


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By: John West

Added: Aug 18, 2006

Views: 6,167
Comments: 6

Favorited: 15
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Photo ID: 155581

The 480 and 488 soak up the late afternoon sun coming through the windows of the Alamosa roundhouse.

Railroad: Denver & Rio Grande Western Railroad
Locomotive: Steam 2-8-2
Location: Alamosa, Colorado, USA
Locomotive #: DRGW 480
Train ID: Unknown
Photo Date: September, 1961


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By: John West

Added: Aug 18, 2006

Views: 4,396
Comments: 4

Favorited: 18
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