Denver & Rio Grande Western


Narrow Gauge


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The Denver & Rio Grande Western Railroad flung a web of narrow-gauge track across the mountains of Colorado, Utah, and New Mexico.  A colorful, if not always economical, proposition, the Narrow Gauge left a lasting imprint on the areas it served.

Fortunately for us, some remnants remain in operation today-- notably the Durango & Silverton NGRR and the Cumbres & Toltec Scenic RR.  It doesn't take much prowling around to find many traces of the Rio Grande.

There are also many sites that preserve pieces of equipment.  Ridgway has a museum, Alamosa has a display, and one need not mention the Colorado Railroad Museum in Golden.  There are many other locations where traces remain, in formal preserves and otherwise.

Below is a sampling of photos showing remaining traces of narrow-gauge equipment.

Rolling Stock

Baggage & Mail car at Hermosa, now being used as a storage shed by the D&SNG.
Caboose No. 0575, on display at Ridgway.  This is a sister to the 0500 that is used on the D&SNG.
String of derelict freight cars, stored on the house track at Tacoma, north of Rockwood on the Silverton line.  Included are several gondolas, stock cars, and flat cars.
Stock Car No. 5574 on display at Ridgway.  The museum crew also uses it to store materials for projects in progress.
Stock Car No. 5591, stored at Tacoma.  It's definitely seen better days.
Bottom-dump gondola No. 702, on display at Ridgway.  The museum is seeking assistance with completing restoration-- contact them for details.
Box Car 3130 at Ridgway.  Interesting that this car shares a number with a standard-gauge GP40-2 diesel locomotive!  They were never on the roster at the same time, however.
A sad photo indeed, this is the cab from K-37 locomotive No. 496.  It sits on the ground at Hermosa, along with the other junk.  How it came to rest here, I'm not entirely sure.


Motorcar shed at Hermosa, although it's not used for that any more.  It might seem unremarkable, except as compared to a similar structure at West Portal, showing that the general design for these sheds was used all over the D&RGW system.


Narrow-gauge truck bolster at Hermosa.  This piece was cast in a railroad foundry, sometime prior to 1908-- or at least, the mold was constructed before that date.  (In 1908 the D&RG Railway and the Rio Grande Western were consolidated as the D&RG Railroad.)
Flatcar No. 6519 was built in April 1942, and is now used by the D&S.  Pictured here at Hermosa, a close-up of a truck reveals another in-house casting.  Note the "D&RGW" cast onto the sideframe.
Also on No. 6519, a stake pocket shows off D&RGW lettering-- the railroad even cast the pockets for its rolling stock.  Yes, the other stake pockets on this car bore the same markings.




? 2008, James R. Griffin.  All rights reserved.