Saturday, September 5, 2015

Durango Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad

Check this scenic train ride off our bucket list.  When we were last in the Durango area in 2005, we said to each other.."One day we'll come back and we will take this train ride."  
Our train trip was outstanding.  We were not disappointed, we enjoyed every minute.
 The original train depot in Durango was built in 1882.  I took this photo when we purchased our tickets in August.

Folks are gathering this morning to board the train.  It appeared the train cars were about at full capacity.  Our trip left at 8:45 for a three and a half hour ride through the San Juan Mountains to the historic mining town of Silverton..
This steam engine (aka as an over-sized boiler) has been in continuous use since 1925, when it was built.  
I could have taken many many photographs!  This one was taken as the train rounded a curve on a cliff overlooking the Animas River.
When I looked behind me, this was the view of the rear cars on the train track. 
I had to be very, very careful as I held my camera outside of the train car window.
We didn't see any wildlife this trip but the outstanding landscape scenery sure made up for it.
The train puffed out a lot of smoke and cinders.  I kept the window open because it was a little warm, not long afterwards I noticed had ashes all over my clothes .
I seemed every view we saw out the train car was picture perfect.
You can see others holding their cameras out the train car windows.

Our view arriving to Silverton.  You can also see the copper-colored stain on the stream bed rocks.  That's from the Gold King mine spill.  The Conductor on the train informed us that about 600 gallons a minute were still spilling out of the mine into the Animas River.
Once in Silverton, I could get a better picture of the over-sized boiler..oh, I mean train engine.
We enjoyed our short time in Silverton however we plan to travel back to the town in our Jeep.  We have been there before and it's a very interesting town to explore.  We had a 2 hour lay over to get lunch then reboard the train for a three and a half hour return trip back to Durango.  It pored rain during our lunch so I didn't bother to take any quality photos of the town.  Silverton's roads are dirt.

The rain did stop for our return trip.  The skies were not as clear for photos so I just relaxed and enjoyed just looking out the window.
We visited the D&SNG Museum in Durango right after we purchased our train tickets in August.  It was informative and made our train ride even better.  We learned a lot of history about the area and about the operations/restorations of the trains and cars.

This Roundhouse burned down in 1989.  The rebuilt one not only provided more modern working conditions for train employees, it allowed for this museum space.
Wouldn't it neat to see the turntable in action?
All train parts must be fabricated on site.
I think we spent well over an hour enjoying this museum. It offered other exhibits pertaining to the history of Durango and the western United States.
Ron especially enjoyed sitting in the engineer's seat.  In his former employment, one of his jobs was driving the shuttle wagon.  That's a smaller version of a train engine, used to move train cars from track to track.
Ron knew all about these gauges, valves and tubes.  In his former job, he was also knowledgeable about the industrial boilers used to run the plant.
Here is the firebox, where coal is shoveled into the boiler's belly.  That's fire brick you see above the coal.

It was indeed a memorable train ride and we may do it again one day.

We are camping at the Sky Ute Casino RV Park.  It is a Passport America Park, therefore our nightly camping expense is very reasonable.

The casino and hotel are both beautiful with interesting architecture.
Their indoor pool is exceptional with a Lazy River and hot tub, RV park residents get full use of all facilities. (insert big smile here)

More later.


  1. I looked at your blog tonight and was so glad to see you just posted. That train trip looked awesome. My son is coming here tomorrow from Gainesville where he went to see a football game and we will go out to lunch. Haven't seen him in over 3 years. Finalized all papers for the house and picked the colors out, now we wait for it to be built and delivered. We are really looking forward to it, even Joel. They have a wood working shop there and Joel has been wanting to learn woodworking. We are having lots of thunderstorms every afternoon here, well you know it is in florida. So of course when we spent the winters in the desert, no rain, so we didn
    t know if we had a leak, well we do, so that is something else to get fixed before we get the rig sold. Looking so forward to seeing you in Florida. Sincerely, Esta and Joel