Friday, September 26, 2014

Durango to Silverton Railroad

Silverton was a tiny mountain town until 1882 when the narrow-gauge railroad tracks from Durango were completed. It grew to a decent-sized mining town based on silver, and they were taking it out "by the ton." Today the mining has mostly been exhausted and Silverton is a small tourist town with a beautiful steam-powered train ride leading to it.

The train ride has many beautiful views, and you have plenty of time to take it all in because it goes very slowly. It's a 3.5 hour ride to Durango! We took the bus up the mountain (1.5 hour) and the train back - which is what I would advise to anyone unless you really want to be on a train for 7 hours.

Our steam-powered locomotive in Silverton

I would not want to be the guy shoveling coal
We splurged and took one of the first-class cars near the back of the train. The seats were very comfortable and the view through the roof glass was great.  

The train goes along the Animas river much of the way making for superb views. I was able to get a few good pictures as the train went around curves, and a couple of times the tracks traversed a narrow ledge above the river bank.

Along the Animas River

On the cliff overlooking the river 

It was a pretty amazing feat of engineering to build this in 1882, but the silver boom was a strong incentive. Today we tourists get to take advantage of their hard work!

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