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To Durango 10/13-15/2023

by Chris Guenzler

10/13/2023 In May, Elizabeth and I decided to participate in the two-day photo charter in October, then in July, Dak Dillon announced his two-day photo charter on the Cumbres and Toltec Scenic Railroad the same week. With the opportunity to once again ride these two great railroads in Colorado, we decided to go ahead and purchased the last two tickets for the Durango and Silverton event.

Elizabeth and I arose on a very wet morning and following our Internet duties and a good breakfast, departed our home in Columbia and headed west.

K-28 100th Anniversary Excursion Specials Fall Photo Special Overview (October 16 & October 17th)

In commemoration of our cherished K-28 locomotives turning 100-years old, the Durango and Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad is pleased to offer a very rare and unique opportunity to experience an excursion from Durango to Silverton and return powered by two Alco K-28s. The helper will be cut in mid-train, recreating a look and train operating scenario that harkens back to earlier decades on the Denver & Rio Grande Western.The Silverton Train with mid train helper will operate October 16th and 17th. The two-day experience will offer the northbound mid-train helper with numerous run by opportunities to photograph and video this historical recreation. The consist will include a caboose, three coaches, gondola, concession car, and eight freight cars with livery backdated to a mid-1950s Denver and Rio Grande Western look.

Day One (October 16th): The 14-car consist will navigate the Animas Canyon for a 10-hour excursion to Silverton with plenty of locations to photograph the train from along the right of way. After a late afternoon arrival in Silverton, Durango’s own and well-known author Jerry Day will give a presentation about the history of the K-28 locomotives during a special cocktail hour held at the Grand Imperial hotel. Complimentary appetizers will be served, and alcohol will be available for purchase. An organized night photo shoot will not be held in Silverton, however guests are welcome to capture images of the locomotives and consist at the Silverton depot on their own accord throughout the evening.

Day Two (October 17th): For the southbound return trip back to Durango, our K-28s will power two separate trains, one freight and one passenger, for the return trip to Durango. Again, there will be ample photo run by opportunities offered throughout the day.

A box lunch for each guest is included for both days of the excursion.

While extremely unlikely, if due to any unforeseen event one of our K-28s is not available for service for the mid-train helper, that role will be filled by one of our K-36 or K-37 locomotives.

Elizabeth drove us west on Interstate 70 west of Topeka to a rest area, where I took over for the rest of the trip. I drove us to Salina and after an early dinner at Perkins, we found the first station of the day.

Santa Fe Salina station built in 1916 to replace different depots and was to serve all of the Salina railroads. It sported red brick, a Spanish-style roof and a large control tower. Union Pacific currently uses the depot as a district office.

Missouri Pacific Salina station in 1887 which served freight and passengers until the Union depot was built in 1912. It is of a Richardsonian Romanesque design of rough-cut native limestone which is one of few in the region. The site contains the first geological survey benchmark and the structure was designated a local landmark in 1985.

The Missouri Pacific freight station.

Union Pacific freight station. From here we went to a CVS and Elizabeth bought more film before we proceeded to Carnerio and our next station.

Union Pacific station from Elsworth, moved 11.2 miles way in Canerio at the Hodgden House Museum complex. I drove us to Oakley and stayed at the Kansas County Inn for the night.

10/14/2023 We arose and following our Internet duties, checked out and we went to the International House of Pancakes for a very good breakfast then did not have to go far for the station.

Union Pacific Oakley station built in 1940.

Union Pacific power set 4594 and 3941 here. I drove to Wallace City and Elizabeth navigated us to the next station on our list.

Union Pacific Wallace City station at the Fort Wallace Museum, built in 1879. Next we went to Sharon Springs.

National Railway Equipment SD40-2 7264, ex. First Union Rail 7264, nee Burlington Northern 7264, built by Electro-Motive Division in 1980. I drove us into Colorado and we found a station that Robin and I visited in 2015.

Union Pacific Kit Carson station built in 1904. In addition to handling passengers and freight, this depot also served as the station agent's residence. A prominent bay window located in the office area provided the agent with an unobstructed view of the track in both directions. With minor exceptions, the interior of the depot retains its original layout and materials. Although moved from its original track side location by the Kit Carson Historical Society for use as a museum when threatened with demolition in 1969, it remains architecturally important as the most intact Colorado example of this depot type.

Union Pacific caboose 23400 built by the company in 1959.

The Kit Carson Railroad display board at the station.

A buffalo head display. We drove to Eads then followed the Colorado Pacific Railroad's tracks.

BNSF 9157 East awaiting a crew at North Avondale. Elizabeth then drove us to Pueblo and we had dinner at Jersey Mike's then resumed the drive to Alamosa, checking in to the Quality Inn and Suites for the night.

10/15/2023 After our regular morning preparations, the two of us checked out and went to Campus Cafe for an excellent breakfast then drove to the train yards for pictures.

Carolina Southern F7A 9163, ex. Waccamaw Coast Line 9163, ex Canadian National 9163, nee Canadian National 9116, built by Electro-Motive Division in 1952.

San Luis and Rio Grande F40PH 227, nee Amtrak F40PH 227, built by Electro-Motive Division in 1976.

Diesel Motive Company FP10 1100, ex. New Century Rail Transport 1100, exx. Huntsville & Madison County Railroad 1100, exxx. Cape Cod Central Railroad 1100, exxxxx. Massachussetts Bay Transit Authority 1100, nee Gulf, Mobile & Ohio F3A 805A, built by Electro-Motive Division in 1946.

Railroad Passenger Car F7A 787, ex. Minnesota Zephyr 787, exx. Colorado and Eastern 716, exxxx. Cadillac & Lake City 716, exxxxx. Burlington Northern 716, exxxxxx. Burlington Northern 9756, nee Spokane, Portland & Seattle 804, built by Electro-Motive Division in 1953.

Diesel Motive Company SD70MAC 575 and Carolina Southern F7B 6622, ex. Waccamaw Coast Line Railroad 6622, exx. VIA Rail of Canada 6622, nee Canadian National 6622, built by Electro-Motive Division in 1957.

James E Strates Shows crew car 2, ex. Illinois Central 1803, nee Illinois Central coach 3653, modified heavy weight coach converted to crew car, built by Pullman in 1917.

Iowa Pacific dome car, ex. Dave Varilek in 1995, exxx. Robert Moen in 1987, exxxx. Rail Dome Corporation in 1978, exxxxx. Amtrak 9464 1972, exxxxxx. Burlington Northern 4604, nee Great Northern 1324 built by Budd in 1955.

Union Pacific Mobile Police Unit 250, ex. Southern Pacific Mobile Police Unit 250, exx. Southern Pacific test car 250 1971, exxx. Southern Pacific 3104 1961, exxxx. Texas and New Orleans 302 1951, nee Southern Pacific baggage-dorm 3104 built by Budd in 1950. It was sold to a private owner in Fremont, Nebraska in 2003 then was purchased by Iowa Pacific in 2014. It was sold in 2022 to a Dark Sky Station.

Iowa Pacific dining car 2014, ex. private owner in 1994, ex. Amtrak 8324 1971, ex. Southern Pacific diner-lounge 10411 in 1968, ex. Southern Pacific grill-lounge 10411 1957, nee Southern Pacific coffee shop-lounge 10411 built by Budd in 1950.

Iowa Pacific sleeping car 2894, ex. private owner in 1995, exx. Amtrak 2894 1980, exxx. Amtrak 2628 1971, exxxx. Union Pacific 1435 "Pacific Rest" 1969, nee Union Pacific 10-6 sleeper "Pacific Rest" built by Budd in 1958.

Denver and Rio Grande Western Alamosa station built in 1908.

Colorado Pacific Rio Grande SD70MAC 916, nee BNSF 9905, built by Electro-Motive Division in 1998.

Other former BNSF SD70MAC's, now owned by Diesel Motive Company.

San Luis & Rio Grande F40PH 459, ex. Canadian American Railroad 459, nee Amtrak F40PH 264, built by Electro-Motive Division in 1976.

Iowa Pacific sleeping car 9119 2002, ex. San Luis and Rio Grande sleeping car 9119, exx. Memphis Transportation Museum "Winston Hoover" PPCX 800331, exxx. Amtrak 2361 1971, nee Santa Fe 4-4-2 sleeping car "Regal City" built by Pullman-Standard in 1948.

Illinois Central tavern-lounge observation car 3306 built by the railroad in 1947, using components from coach 2175 built in 1916. It was retired in 1968 and sold to L. Saia then re-sold to the Holiday Train operation, running in tour service out of Chihuahua, Mexico. The car was later sold to a private owner in Texas and converted to a cabin, at which time the giant hole was cut in the side. This car was acquired by Iowa Pacific in 2012.

PPCX 800169 Morristown and Erie "Blue Ridge", ex. Ken Bitten in 1987, exx. Norfolk Southern 34, exxx. Norfolk and Western test car in 1980, exxxx. Norfolk and Western business car 101 1934, nee Norfolk and Western dining car 1010 built in 1914.

Minnesota Zephyr coach "Stillwater", nee Chesapeake and Ohio 1771 built by Pullman-Standard in 1950.

Minnnesota Zephyr coach 1669 "Northern Winds", nee Chesapeake and Ohio 1671 built by Pullman-Standard in 1950.

Former Cadillac and Lake City 1393 1970, ex. Norfolk and Western 1393 1964, nee Wabash coach 1393 built by American Car and Foundry in 1925.

Other passenger cars across the road.

A narrow gauge coach 50 miles from the nearest extant narrow gauge line, found in the San Luis Central yard. We made our way to Del Norte and Elizabeth spotted passenger cars at the end of a street so we went to investigate.

Nickel Plate Railroad business car 2 built by Pullman in 1929.

Pennylvania Railroad parlor-buffet 1128, nee coach 1428, built by the railroad and owned by Don Shank.

Union Pacific railway post office car 906686, nee Union Pacific 5904 built by the Budd Company in 1963. After that, we found a caboose.

Denver and Rio Grande Western caboose 0580 built by the railroad in 1887. Next we headed to South Fork.

Southern Pacific B30-7 7863 built by General Electric in 1979.

The line of motive power.

United States Air Force 44 ton switcher 1244 built by General Electric in 1953.

Port of Corpus Christi 25 ton switcher 1 built by General Electric.

The South Fork station built in 1983 from Hooper, Colorado.

Passenger car of unknown history and number.

Autumn clolors across the road.

Denver and Rio Grande Western box car 3088 built by American Car and Foundry in 1904.

Denver and Rio Grande Western stock car 5551 built by American Car and Foundry in 1904. From here I drove us the the Chimney Rock National Monument amd we went to the visitor center and watched a very interesting and educational history of Chimney Rock.

A poor view of Chimney Rock.

What is Chimney Rock?

This undiscovered gem is an intimate, off-the-beaten-path archaeological site located at the southern edge of the San Juan Mountains in Southwestern Colorado. You'll walk in the footsteps of the fascinating and enigmatic Ancestral Puebloans of the Chaco Canyon, following primitive pathways that have not changed for 1,000 years. Archaeological structures and artifacts, abundant wildlife, and its setting in the breathtaking San Juan National Forest make Chimney Rock a must-see.

Chimney Rock covers seven square miles and preserves 200 ancient homes and ceremonial buildings, some of which have been excavated for viewing and exploration: a Great Kiva, a Pit House, a Multi-Family Dwelling and a Chacoan-style Great House Pueblo. Chimney Rock is the highest in elevation of all the Chacoan sites, at about 7,000 feet above sea level. From the base, the hike to the top is just a half mile and it’s rewarded with dramatic 360-degree views of Colorado and New Mexico.

From cliff dwellings suspended from red rock canyon walls to 1,000 year old Great Houses perched upon high mesa tops 7,000 feet above sea level- the four corners of the southwest is rich with cultural heritage. Discover the sacred land of the ancient Puebloan civilization in some of the most awe-inspiring landscapes. Explore preserved petroglyphs, rock wall art, ancient homes, great kivas, ceremonial buildings and much more. Each site on the tour has something spectacular to offer as you walk their primitive pathways back in time.

This undiscovered gem is an intimate, off-the-beaten-path archaeological site located at the southern edge of the San Juan Mountains in Southwestern Colorado. Archaeological ruins and artifacts, abundant wildlife and its setting in the breathtaking San Juan National Forest make Chimney Rock a must-see. Chimney Rock covers seven square miles and preserves 200 ancient homes and ceremonial buildings, some of which have been excavated for viewing and exploration. Chimney Rock is the highest in elevation of all the Chacoan sites, at about 7,000 feet above sea level.

On Sept. 21, 2012, President Barack Obama designated the Chimney Rock Archaeological Area as America’s 103rd national monument—the seventh to be managed by the U.S. Forest Service. Covering 4,726 acres of the San Juan National Forest between Pagosa Springs and Durango, the Chimney Rock National Monument is a significant archaeological, cultural, geological and biological site.

Surrounded by the Southern Ute Indian Reservation, the site holds great significance for the Native American tribes of southwestern Colorado and neighboring states. The site was once home to the ancestors of the modern Pueblo Indians, who built more than 200 homes and ceremonial buildings high above the valley floor more than 1,000 years ago. Archaeologists believe that the site marks a connection to the Chacoan society who inhabited Chaco Canyon in northwestern New Mexico.

Contrasting Geology

The dramatic geology of the monument stands in stark contrast to the majestic Ponderosa Pine forest and rolling savannah-like plains along the valley floor. The Piedra River cuts along the edge of Peterson Mesa in the northern portion of the monument. Steep cliffs and expanses of exposed sandstone and shale are evidence of the geologic era.

We exited the visitor center.

Writing on the wall. We drove the three miles to the parking lot on Chinney Rock.

Near the bottom of the third-of-a-mile trail, we saw the remains of the people who once lived here then climbed with stops to have water at this very high altitude.

The view as we climbed higher.

Looking down from where we were. When one reaches the top, there are several things to see.

This door lead the poeple into their temple.

Next to Chimney Rock is Companion Rock.

The area of the exploration.

The view from the top.

More of the ruins.

Your author at the top.

Elizabeth at the top.

One last view before we came down.

The Great House display board. We drove down the mountain and stopped at the Visitor Center for some purchases, after which Elizabeth drove us to Durango, where we had dinner at Denny's before checking into the Quailty Inn for night.