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My annual Steam train trip
#1
Cumbres & Toltec Scenic RR...

Why my interest? My dad was born in 1927 in Pocatello Idaho. His dad worked for the Union Pacific RR as a pipe fitter and welder. My Dad’s “playground” was the freight yards. Pocatello was as big as Cheyenne as a rail hub. Pocatello had a 52 stall roundhouse for the locomotives…. 54 tracks…. 1 in, one out, and 52 stalls……. Almost a complete circle.
My Dad and I have been traveling every year since I was 4 to view/ride steam train operations. Our favorite is Narrow Gauge operations especially in Colorado and New Mexico. Colorado has the Durango and Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad and New Mexico has the Cumbres and Toltec Scenic Railroad (Chama, NM). And a few others.. Both D&SNGW and C&T NG RR are formerly part of the D&RGW RR… The tracks between Durango and Chama where pulled up in the 50's As freight shifted from rail to road and the mines died up.. 171 When I first rode the Durango train D&RG still owned it and ran it for tourist revenue not freight revenue…

We no longer ride the normal tourist schedules as we have done them many times in the past. Now we only take “charter” or “photographer special” runs… These charters are full of photo/video op “run byes”…….. They let you off and then back the train up and do a run by so you can film, etc… These trains are made to look typical of their era. Ours was a Triple headed 25 car freight consist and there were 34 paying patrons.
We all rode in 3 Cabooses. Very nice and all 3 where heated with a coal fired stove. Good thing because it was 29 degrees out when we left Chama…
Locomotives were all K-36 class (489, 488, 487)… K-36 designation is as follows:

K: Wheel alignment. Mikado, 2-8-2……. 2 lead trucks, 8 drivers, 2 pony trucks

36: 36 Tons of tractive effort.
These locomotives where originally standard gauge but where converted to Narrow gauge by the Denver & Grande. How? They pulled the wheels off, then pulled the counter weights off the put then wheels back on at 3’ then put the counter weights back on the outside of the driver wheels… Thus they are called “outside frame” locomotives.

More info here if you wish:

http://www.freewebs.com/drgwk36/technicalinfo.htm

Quote:Narrow gauge?

Many narrow gauge railways were built in the United States. The most extensive and well known systems were the 3 ft (914 mm) gauge lines through the Rocky Mountain states of Colorado and New Mexico. For a while the majority of the railway mileage in these states was narrow gauge. Tighter radiuses and less cost.. Grading, ties, etc….


Quote:Standard gauge?

Rail gauge is the distance between the inner sides of the heads of the two parallel rails that make up a single railway line. Sixty percent of the world's railways use a standard gauge of 1,435 mm (4 ft 81⁄2 in). Wider gauges are called broad gauge; smaller gauges, narrow gauge. Break-of-gauge refers to the meeting of different gauges. Some stretches of track are dual gauge, with three or four rails, allowing trains of different gauges to share them. Gauge conversion can resolve break-of-gauge problems.

Flew to Phoenix on an A320... Then, flight out of Phoenix to Durango (La Plata County Airport) on this plane... Seats 35... Has a lot more torque than a jet. On take off it really puts you in your seat.

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Start up in Phoenix and landing in Durango...



Wheels up....



Landing in Durango..



So, we get to the car rental place and Dad reserved a Nissan '09 Sentra. Nice car but with snow/deer etc I wanted sumfin bigger. I asked the guy if they had any trucks/suv's..... He said Ya, an Armada and a Pathfinder! I said give me the Mada... He said it is out but you can have the Pathy... Done...

'08 4x4! Oh and yes did use the 4x in Silverton but the old mine roads where covered in snow and did not wanna get stuck and no cell reception.


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Here is a shot of the Lodge in Chama, NM... That is my Dad chilling in there. No cell reception but the Lodge had wifi so I got the password and was able to email and post a few things. 165

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The hot tub was closed. What looks like an outhouse is actually a Sauna.. I didnt venture out there. It was 22 degrees out that night. 174

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Me havin a "soda" in the Pathy before makin samiches for me and Pops..

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The night before our ride we drove down to the engine house for a few night shots. Didnt turn out to well but here ya go... 164

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Videos:













They have to seperate the locomotives to cross 100+ year old trestles... They may or may not be able to handle the weight



A day later we drove to Silverton and saw the only train running that day on the D&SNGRR.. Snow on the ground and it was COLD! K-36 482 pulling into Silverton.





482 turning on the "Y" for return trip to Durango.. Dad commited a major no no among rail enthusiasts and walked into my video... Oh well, I should have used a tripod on these so it dont mattter. lol



Ok, I'm tired of typing so here are some random pics... A lot... lol

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Hotel in Durango.. Free cocktails from 5-7 and made to order free breakfast in the morning. $109 a night, DEAL

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Room in Durango.

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Court House in Silverton, built around 1880..

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On HWY 550 north to Silverton...


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More random shots..... Tired now... Any questions? Just ask.. 165 171

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Shots from in the Caboose's

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Few more.... Tired yet? I am! LOL

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The infamous "Tangle Foot Curve"

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I regret to say that I could not go on at least 5 of the photo run-byes... My knees could not hike up or down some of the hills even if it was warm out... I would take a look and decide. My Dad did most of them though even at 80 and crippling arthritis... Was a great trip. The normal tourist runs were done for the year and this was the last run on the C&T until at least March (snow). We will be back next year... Man I hate the cold.. I love socal... I left Durango Monday morning and it was 31.... Landed in SD? 105! 166

One more thing... Notice the white flags on the locomotives? If it is anything other that a normal scheduled train, they are designated "specials" and RR protocol calls for white flags on the locomotives.. Also. for authenticity the locomotives were painted with the Rio Grande paint scheme just for this charter... 164
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#2
looked like you had fun! hope you and your dad have many more years of doing this!
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#3
What can I say? I actually felt like I made the trip with you. I was on the plane on take off and landing and then saw and heard the trains. I love the old steam engines and have made a few rides on them over the years, but never in the mountains. Actually at my age I got to make a few trips on them when they were in their prime. Those were the good old days for sure.

Thank you for sharing your trip with us.

OkieScot
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#4
(10-29-2009, 11:30 PM)Firebreed Wrote:  looked like you had fun! hope you and your dad have many more years of doing this!

Well every year we go, we go with the assumption it could be our last time there.

(10-30-2009, 08:32 PM)OkieScot Wrote:  What can I say? I actually felt like I made the trip with you. I was on the plane on take off and landing and then saw and heard the trains. I love the old steam engines and have made a few rides on them over the years, but never in the mountains. Actually at my age I got to make a few trips on them when they were in their prime. Those were the good old days for sure.

Thank you for sharing your trip with us.

OkieScot

It was a great trip. We have never been there this late in the year before. Usually we go in September and get the fall colors of the Aspens. We were too late for that this year by about 3 weeks. 171
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#5
BEAUTIFUL Pics!!
05 Nissan Frontier 4x4, Stillen SuperCharger, BFG AT's Tongue
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#6
Awesome Kev. Thanks for the pics and video. Getting to see and hear a steam engine is a rare opportunity.
06 nismo CC 4X4: SOLD and replaced with 2017 Jeep Unlimited Rubicon; Teraflex 3" lift, 315/70-17 Cooper STT PRO tires on Fuel Trophy wheels, JCR bumpers front and rear w/Warn 9.5cti winch in front, Ace sliders, GraBars, Weathertech window deflectors and floor liners
98 Jeep Wrangler in the garage, 2" lift, 33X12.50 BFG MTs on 15X8 MT Classic Locks, Pioneer/MTX/RF P3 Sound, Borla Header w/Flowmaster
63 and 67 Nissan Patrols (under construction)
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#7
(10-30-2009, 11:02 PM)mdawg4x4 Wrote:  Awesome Kev. Thanks for the pics and video. Getting to see and hear a steam engine is a rare opportunity.

The steam whistle echo just kills me.. I LOVE IT...
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#8
I have heard one, at Grand Canyon, in my life, that I can remember, and can just imagine that sound echoing through the mountain valleys back in the day when that was the only rail travel.
06 nismo CC 4X4: SOLD and replaced with 2017 Jeep Unlimited Rubicon; Teraflex 3" lift, 315/70-17 Cooper STT PRO tires on Fuel Trophy wheels, JCR bumpers front and rear w/Warn 9.5cti winch in front, Ace sliders, GraBars, Weathertech window deflectors and floor liners
98 Jeep Wrangler in the garage, 2" lift, 33X12.50 BFG MTs on 15X8 MT Classic Locks, Pioneer/MTX/RF P3 Sound, Borla Header w/Flowmaster
63 and 67 Nissan Patrols (under construction)
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#9
I miss the old steam whistles. I was raised about a mile and a half from the east west rail line into Oklahoma City so I got to hear the whistles quite regularly. When the diesels started running and they used the electric horns I hated it. With the steam whistles it was fun to hear them at night when you were in bed not so much with the electric horns.

I miss the good old days and I feel sorry for those of you too young to have lived through that wonderful time of life. I would not give up all of my wonderful experiences, nor even the aches and pains too be young again. I have lived the best of both worlds.
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#10
185185185 this topic
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#11
X185185
(10-30-2009, 08:49 PM)krh2 Wrote:  We have never been there this late in the year before. Usually we go in September and get the fall colors of the Aspens. We were too late for that this year by about 3 weeks. 171

But steam engines with snow in the background and foreground is just as scenic!
06 nismo CC 4X4: SOLD and replaced with 2017 Jeep Unlimited Rubicon; Teraflex 3" lift, 315/70-17 Cooper STT PRO tires on Fuel Trophy wheels, JCR bumpers front and rear w/Warn 9.5cti winch in front, Ace sliders, GraBars, Weathertech window deflectors and floor liners
98 Jeep Wrangler in the garage, 2" lift, 33X12.50 BFG MTs on 15X8 MT Classic Locks, Pioneer/MTX/RF P3 Sound, Borla Header w/Flowmaster
63 and 67 Nissan Patrols (under construction)
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#12
Thanks for sharing those beautiful pictures. I was raised about two hundred yards from railroad tracks. I certinally remember those old steam engines several times every day going by the house.
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