FIFTEEN MINUTES AT ROCKWOOD

 


On Memorial Day 2000 (May 29), after a day of wandering around in the mountains north of Durango, we stopped by Rockwood just to look around. Rockwood, of course, is a station stop on the Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad, formerly of the Rio Grande. It's situated in the mountains north of Durango, in a meadow surrounded by ridges. Immediately upgrade is the cut which leads to the famous High Line over the Animas Gorge; this is the last easily-accessible location on the line until it reaches Silverton.

(click on thumbnail pictures for a larger version)
On this day, we mainly were wanting just to explore the place a bit. There's a small "depot" (basically a shelter), a few sidings, and a wye for turning equipment. Quite a number of narrow-gauge hi-rail machines are kept there, including front-end loaders and track speeders. We just poked around and enjoyed the late spring weather for a few minutes, until suddenly we heard the whistle of an approaching train, and saw smoke to the east.
Soon the train hove into view, approaching the rock cut. I wasn't going to let this photo opportunity get away!
Engine #481 and her engineer were capably in charge as the train approached the station stop.
Up at the head end, after stopping, a group of river rafters detrained and moved to some waiting vans. We had received waves from at least fifty different passengers by this time!
Shortly after the train's arrival, as the rearmost trainman kept a watchful eye on his charge, a track speeder which had been following the train approached and stopped a bit down the track. It was pulling a water tank behind it, for fire suppression. The area was under an extreme fire danger warning, and this seemed a sensible precaution.
Never waste an opportunity for a portrait beside a famous train, is one of my mottos. This is me with my eldest offspring.
In a few minutes, the train resumed its trip back to the barn. As it disappeared around the curve beyond the depot, the track crew was already busy putting their little rail-borne fire truck away in the siding. It was a rather interesting fifteen-minute visit to this historic spot on a historic railroad.

 


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