Durango Silverton Narrow Gauge
In late May or early June, the wrong question to ask after you have purchased your
ticket on the open cars: "Is it cold on the open cars?"
Differences between the open cattle car and enclosed cars:
The train man's response was "I hope you have a heavy coat." The photos
above were taken on May 24, 1999. They are, from left to right, the road pass
(10,900') driving from Durango to Silverton, coming into Silverton, and watching the train
steam into Silverton. Driving back we were caught in a snow storm.
You get a better view from the open cars. But even in the last week in May and the
first week in June, it wasn't so crowded that we couldn't wander out to the open cars, and
then retreat to our seats in the closed ones when we got chilled. Actually, we noticed
that in May they were running a completely empty enclosed car. This MAY have been for
those unfortunates on the open cars if things really got nasty.
Silverton is a quaint little pre turn-of-the-century town. Its main businesses involve
shops, restaurants, eateries for the train traveler and those exploring the local outdoor
wonders. You will many SUVs in the photos. These are NOT decorative or status symbols;
they are essential life around here year round. At 9300', Silverton has 14 frost free days
a year--the local think this is an exaggeration. Much of the color that you see in the
hills is tailings from abandon mine operations.
Main street Silverton! That is not a church, but city hall on the left.
However, there innumerable churches given the town's size.
Silverton was a wide open Western town at least until 1947 when the last
brothel closed. It is now a respectable restaurant.
The train does not stop at the actual train station shown below along
with a spare engine. It actually stops almost on Main St. which is shown on the next row.
The car trip between Durango and Silverton is beautiful, but does not
follow the Animus River Gorge. It goes over two passes at 10,600' and 10,900'. The shot
below was at the higher of the two.
The train winding its way gingerly along the Animus River Gorge. This is a spectacular
full day round trip from Durango to Silverton. If you don't like heights, this is not