Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Day 10 Wednesday May 15: Durango CO – Moab UT

The owner of this very nice United Campground was equally nice and extended our check-out time so we could go fishing at Lemon Lake outside of Durango.

Thomas tried his luck earlier in the Animas River, but way too fast and muddy. 

Here we are – no luck at all with the fish, but with scenery like this, who cares!

Lake Lemon - beautiful place;
about 80 feet low due to drought and
reduced snowfall.

We also enjoyed the lovely drive and thought of Shane and Travis as these winding, mountain roads make Durango a biking haven.

And here's a biker now! Go for it my sons!!

Some “teaser” photos of wonderful rock formations coming into Moab:

Now to get the camp set up and on to Arches and more of these incredible rocks plus Moab Brew Pub and shopping tomorrow!

Monday, May 27, 2013

Day 9 Tuesday May 14: Durango Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad The Track, Cars and Structures

While the sign below indicates "for trainmen only" there may be some of you non-train viewers that might be interested in this section.

Door on Crew Bunk Car

Thomas paid close attention to the railroad details and his mind was trying to figure out how we could incorporate some aspects on our HO scale layout.

Here are a couple of maintenance areas:


A variety of rail cars could be seen on sidings along the route as well as at the rail yard in Silverton. The weathering on these old cars is an inspiration to us model railroaders who try to get our new model cars to look like them.

The DSNGRR is working diligently to refurbish and preserve these cars. The following photos show 2 sets of boxcars, in photo 1, the cars have not been restored, in photo 2, they have been restored:

The "Galloping Goose" was one of the more unusual cars. It was used to carry maintenance crews to work sites and the Company Bigwigs would ride it to survey the railroad. In some instances, people could pay a fare and get a ride to another town.

We enjoyed the little "Scooter" work cars that spend all day checking track conditions and making necessary repairs:

There were also some interesting structures along the way. Wouldn't this old mine be fun to scratch build? Go for it Greg Fisher!

Or maybe the Silverton Depot:

Or how about this wooden water tower? The train uses metal towers now, but I personally like the old look - so much for efficiency!

I have numerous bridge photos: these are my favorites:

I thought the detail on this flat bridge approach would be of interest. The smaller inner rails help support the train on track to help prevent derailments.

And finally some possible accent pieces for a layout:

Even the stuff in the trash piles by the track looked good!

Needless to say we are both inspired and ready to get going on our layout when we get back to Indiana. Tom and I hope you've enjoyed this small sample of our DSNGRR trip. We both highly recommend this outing if you are planning a trip out west; we'd like to do it again ourselves, maybe in the fall next time.

      You can check out their website at: www.durangotrain.com
or call 1-888-train-07 (872-4607).
We'll also be glad to answer any
questions or do a program for your train group. Please contact us through Tom's email at tjduffy43@yahoo.com.

Day 9 Tuesday May 14: Durango Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad
The Train

Engine 493 on the tracks at Silverton.

Engine 480 is a Baldwin K-36 class,2-8-2, built in 1925 by the Baldwin Locomotive Works of Philadelphia PA.  Weighing 143 tons fully loaded with water and coal they can pull with 36,000 pound of tractive effort,
translating to @ 1,200 horsepower.


Engine 480 lets off steam in Silverton.

Water Stop

Engine 473 is an Alco K-28 class,2-8-2, built in 1923 by the American Locomotive Works of Schenectady NY. Weighing 127 tons they can pull with 28,000 pound of tractive effort, translating to @ 900 horsepower. Engine 473 is one of the last 3 survivors of this class,
all owned and operated by the DSNGRR.

Although the engines are impressive, they obviously cannot get anywhere without a dedicated and talented crew. Here are the ones we met:

Engineer Mike Nichols, Engine # 473, who graciously signed our copy of the book "America's Railroad, The Official Guidebook", a concise history of  the DSNGRR. 

Maintenance on the engine at Silverton before the return trip to Durango. Engineer Mike checks all the work very thoroughly.


Brakeman Donald Urchlieta graciously poses during the break at Silverton.

Dot was our wonderful hostess on the Cinco Animas car. She kept us amply supplied with snacks and beverages as well as entertaining us with many fine railroad store and facts.

Engine 480 pulls into the station at Durango
after a hard day on the tracks.

Day 9 Tuesday May 14: Durango Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad The Trip

This was such a great experience (plus the fact I took over 800 photos!), I'm breaking it down into three sections: The Trip, The Train and for you more avid train enthusiasts The Track, Cars and Structures.

All train buffs have heard of the Durango Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad and we were certainly no exception: this was a must do for both of us on this trip; so much so that we splurged and reserved seats on the Cinco Animas restored first class club car with VIP Presidential service – definitely a superb decision!

In addition to traveling in style, we had a fine group of fellow travelers on board with us. Many were fellow train enthusiasts and we enjoyed their tales  travels on other trains. Several with also avid photographers who shared the rear open air platform with Elizabeth for a great deal of the trip.

We even went one step further and bought the "official photograph!"

The route follows the Animas River from Durango to Silverton, a distance of about 50 miles taking some 3.5 hours one way. The train passes through an incredible range of scenery that includes hillside valleys, escarpments, vast canyons, narrow passages, snow capped mountains and one spectacular waterfall. Words are totally inadequate so you'll have to rely on my pictures:

The Animas River Gorge was so spectacular, I have to include several photos. We especially thought of Thomas' sons James and Thomas who would be crazy enough to do the raft trip here!

Waterfall: note the ice and snow; again, no words:

Silverton was once a major mining center in the late 1800's, complete with saloons and bordellos, and was the site of several armed labor disputes over the years. Today it is a charming tourist destination with still no paved roads. We enjoyed lunch at Grumpy's Tavern located in the historic Grand Hotel. 


They even have a cute old-time piano player:

This is probably about all you can take of the scenery so move to part 2 of this section: The Train!