For almost 130 years the shrill whistles of steam locomotives have echoed off the steep walls of Southwestern Colorado's beautiful Animas River valley. Railroads first came to this remote region in the decade of the 1880s, in search of gold and silver. Colorado had just achieved statehood, and the rush was on to exploit the new territory to the fullest.
Durango became the center of this booming mining district, and after pausing there briefly, the Denver & Rio Grande pushed its rails 45 miles up the Animas valley to Silverton. The line, then called the Silverton Branch, was a marvel of 19th-century civil engineering. Today it operates as the Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad, and it is no less a marvel.
The Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge is also a priceless and nearly perfectly preserved example of living history. Every year, hundreds of thousands of visitors come to Durango to ride the trains-still powered by superbly maintained steam engines-and to experience the unblemished wilderness of the Animas River gorge.
D&SNG trains and locomotives, the people who run them, and the superb scenery they traverse are the subjects of the photographs in this book. The history of the line has been covered in many other Volumes, so the photographs here seek to portray this breathtaking railroad as it operates in the 21st Century.
Durango: Where History Meets Magic, pp. 12-29;
Up the Broad Animas Valley, pp. 30-41;
The Stiff Climb to Rockwood, pp. 42-53;
On the High Line, pp. 54-67;
Into the Animas Gorge, pp. 68-89;
Silverton!, pp. 90-99;
D&SNG Locomotives, pp. 100-115;
D&SNG Railroaders on the Job, pp. 116-131;
Year-Round Railroading, pp. 132-143;
Down the Animas to Tacoma, pp. 144-157;
The High Line and Home to Durango, pp. 158-171;
acknowledgments, pp. 172-174;
Index, pp. 175-176.
Narrow Gauge Preservation Foundation, hardcover with jacket, 176 pages, 11 x 8.5 x .5 in., 250 photographs-all in color.