In February 1999, the D&S ran a special train in honor of the Denver Broncos' recent victory over Atlanta in the Super Bowl. The special part of the deal was: the first 750 people who showed up at the depot wearing Bronco colors would get to ride for free! Never ones to pass up a good deal, we were second in line on that chilly Saturday morning. As thing turned out, there was no panic about it; everyone who showed up got a ride. There were only a few empty seats, though.
It was a fun trip. Everyone was in a festive mood, including the one gentleman who partook of too many concession car beverages, and whose behavior got him tossed off the train in north Durango... (Yes, they really will do that.) The locomotive was flying twin Bronco flags from the pilot, and we were greeted by an unending succession of waves and honks and cheers. Plus, the ground had a fair bit of snow, making the sightseeing more interesting.
Here's a sampling of my photos from that fun day, not so long ago.
|The waning gibbous moon is setting in the west as we prepare to load up for the trip.|
|To tell the truth, my kids hate football, but they'll dress up for the occasion if forced to! Offspring No. 2 is having a good time nevertheless. Lots of orange and blue on this trip, you can see.|
|Here's the obligatory High Line shot. Note the flags on the loco, and you can see on the combine a "AFC Champions" placard. Detail shot further down this page.|
|I just liked this view-- it shows the cliff, the river, the train-- mountain railroading in all its glory. You can also tell that we were among the first customers, to get seated so far to the rear of the train.|
|Around the corner, another High Line view. The sky north of Durango had turned dismal, but it didn't dampen anyone's mood.|
|The head end has just crossed the bridge over the Animas River. The disadvantage to being so far back is that you cannot see the steam blow-out when the loco is on the bridge; the trees obscure the view.|
|The train has stopped to take on water at the XXXX tank. In this view, one gains an appreciation for the serpentine nature of the narrow-gauge track in this area.|
|During the water stop, the brakeman is watching for the signal to proceed. It's a pretty narrow shelf above the river that the track occupies.|
After the water stop, we proceeded up to Cascade Wye and backed in for the lunch break.
|The combine proudly wears a Broncos poster.|
|Everyone was taking turns getting their portrait taken by the locomotive. Is that some kind of spark suppression system on the stack?|
|Shortly, we boarded for the return trip. The skies cleared up a bit, and the snowscape was glorious. Here we are, rolling along beside the Rio de las Animas Perditas.|
|I couldn't resist one more zoom shot of No. 481. It's a pretty gentle coast through this section of the canyon, and she's not having to work noticeably at the moment.|
|The High Line is actually upgrade when traveling south, and the engine is making smoke as we creep along the ledge. The shaft of light coming over the clifftop makes for an interesting lighting effect.|
Hats off to the D&SNG management for hosting this free event. It showed a positive community-relations attitude on the part of the company, and everybody that I saw had a really good time on the trip.
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© 1999, 2005, James R. Griffin. All rights reserved.