Parque Natural Mexiquillo


Durango to Silverton Narrow Guage

The 45 mile railroad from Durango to Silverton is one of a few remaining remnants of narrow gauge track that once hauled livestock, freight, and most importantly ore through out Colorado in the 1800s. In 1882 William Jackson Palmer with great difficulty extended his Denver and Rio Grande railroad to Silverton. The thin air prevented smelting the ore on site, so it was hauled 3000 feet down the mountain to Durango where the silver and gold could be extracted.

Three foot wide narrow gauge is cheaper to build and can make sharper turns than 4 foot 8 inch wide standard gauge. If the road bed cut into the cliffs had been wide enough for standard gauge, it would have tripled construction costs.  

Don't look down

We chose a car that offered historical narration. Kathy, in the persona of Palmer's daughter Dorothy, presented a very knowable and entertaining account of Palmer family history and the building of railroads narrow gauge railroads in Colorado during our 3.5 hour ride up to Silverton

Commercial use of the this route ended in 1968. These cars were left behind

We did not stop at the restored depot outside Silverton. Thankfully the train continues another mile right up to the edge of town.

Current location 37.400874, -107.535779

1 comment:

  1. WOW, beautiful Colorado, beautiful pictures !!