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Wednesday, August 22, 2018

Durango and Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad


Durango and Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad coloradoviews.filminspector.com


Here is one of the finer, but oft-overlooked, attractions of Colorado: the Durango and Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad. I did not take these photos and have no idea who did - I found them in an old set of slide carousels that I picked up at a thrift store. So, whoever took them - thanks.

Durango and Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad coloradoviews.filminspector.com


Accordingly, I don't know when these shots were taken. From other shots in the collection, I think this train ride took place either in the late 1970s or very early 1980s.

Durango and Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad coloradoviews.filminspector.com


The Durango and Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad was founded in 1879. So, this is a railroad that Bat Masterson could have taken, or Wyatt Earp, or Doc Holliday. Its original purpose was to haul gold and silver ore from southwest Colorado north to Silverton.

Durango and Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad coloradoviews.filminspector.com


The Durango train (as it is usually called) made the news in 2018. It is suspected of causing a forest fire, called the 416 Fire, in June 2018. The 416 Fire blazed out of control and consumed about 50,000 acres in the San Juan National Forest. This caused the train to shut down and cost it millions of dollars.

Durango and Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad coloradoviews.filminspector.com


Whether or not the fire was caused by the Durango Train, it devastated the economy of southwest Colorado. Closing the Durango Train down for over a month and also canceling the Silverton July 4, 2018 Fireworks celebration and Purgatory Ski Resort showed how dependent the region is upon tourism. Large portions of the San Juan National Forest also were closed. The disaster only escaped media attention because of its remote location and scattered population.

Durango and Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad coloradoviews.filminspector.com


During normal times - when there aren't any fires - the Durango Train offers fabulous views. Hopefully, these pictures prove that.

Durango and Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad coloradoviews.filminspector.com


By the way, if the Durango train looks somehow familiar despite your never having been anywhere near it, there are some good reasons. The Durango Train has been featured in numerous Hollywood productions, including "Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid" (1969), "Support Your Local Gunfighter" (1971), and "The Prestige" (2006).

Durango and Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad coloradoviews.filminspector.com

2018

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