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Steam & Excursion > Putting the Ponies to Bed in Durango


Date: 08/12/17 21:41
Putting the Ponies to Bed in Durango
Author: LJGross

The trail up Smelter Mountain in Durango is steep, rocky and quite exposed to the sun. But the reward for a solid 45 minutes of climbing is a lofty perch overlooking downtown Durango and the compact yard complex of the Durango and Silverton. There's no better time to make the climb than a weekday evening in early August. The sun is at your back, but not so low as to cast shadows over the yard. It's the perfect place to watch the intricate ballet as the railroad tucks away three trains (and sometimes four) in the space of about 90 minutes.

1) K36 481 gets things rolling as she pilots the first train of the day into the Durango Depot, which dates back to the Rio Grande's arrival in town back in the 1880's.
2) After discharging her passengers, the 481 pulls forward around the balloon loop that encircles the roundhouse. Visible on one of the ladder tracks around the turntable is the diesel acquired this year from the Georgetown Loop.
3) The 481 cuts off and pulls forward past the lead to the coal dock at lower right, where the pit crew awaits. Meanwhile, switcher #11 gets underway to take on its chores for the evening.








Date: 08/12/17 21:46
Re: Putting the Ponies to Bed in Durango
Author: LJGross

4) The coaling facility is not elegant but it is effective. The front-end loader makes quick work of refueling the 481.
5) While the 481 is coaled, 482 rolls across College Avenue and into the depot with train #2. Meanwhile, the depot switcher has coupled onto the consist of the 1st train and waits for the 482 and her train to clear.
6) The switcher makes a move to add another tourist coach to the 1st train consist. Tomorrow's 1st train will be the 1-loco maximum of 12 cars.








Date: 08/12/17 21:50
Re: Putting the Ponies to Bed in Durango
Author: LJGross

7) After a stop under the sand tower and then over the ashpit, the 481 eases back onto the turntable.
8) A quick spin and the 481 is lined for her stall and backs in.
9) Now it's 482's turn at the coal dock while the switcher, having tucked away train #1's consist, reaches back to grab train #2.








Date: 08/12/17 21:56
Re: Putting the Ponies to Bed in Durango
Author: LJGross

10) While 482 is coaled up, here comes 486 into the station with the third and final train of the day
11) Another tourist coach needs to be added to the second train, so the switcher makes a quick move to grab one. There won't be an extra section tomorrow (Friday) but all the trains will be max length.
12) After receiving the necessary TLC, 482 rolls into the turntable, ready to be put away for the night.








Date: 08/12/17 21:59
Re: Putting the Ponies to Bed in Durango
Author: LJGross

13) Just a quick shift is needed to line 482 up with the proper stall
14) Good night
15 With the shadows lengthening and evening coming on, it was time to work my way down the trail and back to my car. As I headed home, 486 was still getting some attention on the turntable lead and I took a quick shot over the fence.








Date: 08/12/17 22:01
Re: Putting the Ponies to Bed in Durango
Author: LJGross

16) The hostler takes a break from tapping the 486's running gear with the ball peen hammer in his right hand.

Another few minutes and 486 will join her sisters in the roundhouse and things will be quiet until tomorrow morning, when they get to do it all over again.

Thanks for looking!




Date: 08/12/17 22:03
Re: Putting the Ponies to Bed in Durango
Author: dan

great series



Date: 08/12/17 23:19
Re: Putting the Ponies to Bed in Durango
Author: atsf121

Love the point of view, great story

Posted from iPhone



Date: 08/13/17 00:40
Re: Putting the Ponies to Bed in Durango
Author: mundo

Thanks for the great photos.



Date: 08/13/17 03:23
Re: Putting the Ponies to Bed in Durango
Author: jointauthority

Awesome photos, definitely my favorite post in a long time. Thanks, I really enjoyed it. Have to visit them one of these days.

Posted from iPhone



Date: 08/13/17 04:02
Re: Putting the Ponies to Bed in Durango
Author: LoggerHogger

This is a very nice set of photos taken from an angle not seen before. Thanks for sharing.

Martin



Date: 08/13/17 05:02
Re: Putting the Ponies to Bed in Durango
Author: Jbarton

Excellent series of photos. What a great viewpoint. Its too bad the coal tipple is no longer there like in Chama.

Jim Barton



Date: 08/13/17 08:46
Re: Putting the Ponies to Bed in Durango
Author: TexasRocket

Jbarton Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Excellent series of photos. What a great
> viewpoint. Its too bad the coal tipple is no
> longer there like in Chama.
>
> Jim Barton

It would be nice to see them use the coal tipple in Chama on special occasions.



Date: 08/13/17 09:30
Re: Putting the Ponies to Bed in Durango
Author: TCnR

Great photo essay.
Those RF photographers really stand out in the turntable photos.



Date: 08/13/17 14:35
Re: Putting the Ponies to Bed in Durango
Author: nycman

What a great vantage point! Thanks for sharing those unique photos.



Date: 08/17/17 11:38
Re: Putting the Ponies to Bed in Durango
Author: mikel

Wow !! Great set of shots !! From a drone I take it ?

Mike



Date: 08/17/17 15:10
Re: Putting the Ponies to Bed in Durango
Author: ns1000

Thanks for the views!!



Date: 08/17/17 18:21
Re: Putting the Ponies to Bed in Durango
Author: flyingfred

mikel Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Wow !! Great set of shots !! From a drone I take
> it ?
>
> Mike


The OP stated that he climbed a trail up a mountain for 45 minutes to get these pictures.

-Fred-



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