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Steam & Excursion > D&SNG questions


Date: 01/15/22 18:59
D&SNG questions
Author: pennsy3750

My wife and I are taking the kids the out West this fall, so 2022 will be the year I finally make it to Durango.  Obviously, riding the Durango & Silverton is a top priority, and so I have a couple D&SNG questions:

One of the shots I really want to get is just south of Rockwood at Elbert Creek.  (Sometimes also referred to as Shalona.)  Seen for reference at this link, not my photo:
https://www.flickr.com/photos/trainsruleandroll/48062724636/
So the question is, if I were to shoot a northbound train around Hermosa, could I get ahead of it in time to park at Rockwood and hike into this spot?

I'm also intrigued by the Highline.  Obviously I'm not going to try walking out there...but is there someplace close that I could drive or easily hike into, and then launch the drone for an overhead look?

If a helper is required, does it run the full Durango-Silverton route?  Or does it leave town with the Cascade Canyon train, and then cut off somewhere and backtrack to help the Silverton train?

And finally, our travel dates line up with the D&SNG Fall Photographer's Special, and my wife is encouraging me to at least strongly consider riding on one of the two days.  Has anyone done this trip, and if so, do you recommend it?

Thanks!



Date: 01/15/22 19:30
Re: D&SNG questions
Author: Train29

 Elbert Creek is a walk through private property with lots of no trespassing signs. Or at least was last I was there.  The advantage of the Photographer's special is that you get to access locations (perhaps this one) with a group. The walk to the high line is easy from Rockwood. Flat along the tracks. It's also posted no trespassing by the railroad but unless it's changed, no one seems to care and the train crews wave as the train passes. Just be careful. It's a long way down. You can also chase the train from Durango by car but the lighting is wrong for morning unless you cross the tracks. The bridge in Durango not far from the staation  is easily accessible with ample parking nearby.  I suggest when riding purchase a first class car. Although far from the loco, your wife might enjoy the trip more that way. Also be aware the first departure of the day is a diesel. But check the timetable to confirm. As for accomodations, I highly recommend the historic Strater for the full Durango experience. It's close to the station as well.   I'm sure others with more experience will have other suggestions. Photo is the lake you were referring to and the High Line. Both taken while on private charters. 






Date: 01/15/22 21:33
Re: D&SNG questions
Author: Harlock

Generally you can hike out on to the high line, just be aware of train schedules.  There are some good spots to perch well off the line in safe spots.

Regarding that shot at Rockwood, you have to trespass on private property to get it, and no the fall colors special will not stop there.  It is a quick walk back from Rockwood and I have seen people recently do it but can't reccomend or not reccomend it myself, up to you.   

I did the fall colors train once and it was pretty good for a railroad-run charter.  When I did it they ran a mixed train with some freight cars in the front so there was some photographic interest, not sure if they are still doing that.  There will probably be about 80 people.   They run a big rope to stand behind for crowd control at most locations and it generally works.  There is a new gal handling the railroad-run charters and she is good.  If you're there during that time, do it.  You'll get some good shots.

If you don't do the fall colors train, I highly reccomend taking a normal trip up the line with your wife.  You may also be able to pull off the following with the fall colors train itself, depending on how its arranged.  Here's how I normally do it, if you have few extra dollars to spare:  Give them a call and get a custom itinerary.  Take the Silver Vista or the Knight Sky to Silverton, and then switch to the parlor car at the rear for the return journey.  The Alamosa parlor car allows you to stand on the open platform at the rear and get great views and shots of the right of way, which is stunning nearly all the way through, plus various comfy amenties such as a bar and an attendant.  The Silver Vista on the way up is great for views in every direction through a glass roof that catches the cinders for you.

Photo 1: D&S fall colors charter

Photo 2: view of the right of way from the rear platform

Photo 3: D&S fall colors train in 2010.  Don't know if they are still doing the mixed freight or not.




 

Mike Massee
Tehachapi, CA
Photography, Railroading and more..








Date: 01/16/22 09:26
Re: D&SNG questions
Author: railstiesballast

I took the photo special one fall and thoroughly enjoyed it. Many of the passengers were from Durango, it was their chance to ride after the heavy tourist rush was over.  
We got a couple of meets and passes in our photo stops, an unexpected bounus, but I don't know the schedules for 2022.
Of course it is a worry whether the D&SNG will survive a bad jury verdict from the fire so don't hesitate.



Date: 01/16/22 14:35
Re: D&SNG questions
Author: BAB

All the photos I saw before my train ride there gave no indication how narrow most of the other canyon wall is and really after a while nothing new to see for quite some time. Glad I road the Parlor car on the way back am sure I will get flamed for this but some others had the same take on things. Now when I return to the area in 2022 after 22yrs I will be only riding the second railroad I did that year the Cumbres and Toltec which has great vistas almost every foot of track all different. Most of which you could choose the year of your choice due to lack of anything modern. Just my thoughts and those at that RR are very friendly to deal with got to look around the entire area. After watching the hostler dump the ash pan he came over to me and offered a cab ride while I waited for my train to depart. Night watchman told me to go down into the shop and look around before that. Don't know how things are at this time but hope the same.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 01/16/22 14:36 by BAB.



Date: 01/16/22 17:35
Re: D&SNG questions
Author: callum_out

BAB don't feel like the Lone Ranger, one of the coolest rides I can remember was during the Narrow Gauge Convention riding
to Tacoma behind the diesel. Having ridden as a kid on the true Rio Grande mixed service behind a K27 I can vouch for the
scenery starting to look familair after a while.

Out 



Date: 01/17/22 08:57
Re: D&SNG questions
Author: BKLJ611

BAB Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> All the photos I saw before my train ride there
> gave no indication how narrow most of the other
> canyon wall is and really after a while nothing
> new to see for quite some time. Glad I road the
> Parlor car on the way back am sure I will get
> flamed for this but some others had the same take
> on things. Now when I return to the area in 2022
> after 22yrs I will be only riding the second
> railroad I did that year the Cumbres and Toltec
> which has great vistas almost every foot of track
> all different. Most of which you could choose the
> year of your choice due to lack of anything
> modern. Just my thoughts and those at that RR are
> very friendly to deal with got to look around the
> entire area. After watching the hostler dump the
> ash pan he came over to me and offered a cab ride
> while I waited for my train to depart. Night
> watchman told me to go down into the shop and look
> around before that. Don't know how things are at
> this time but hope the same.

I second this opinion. C&TSRR > D&S

Posted from iPhone



Date: 01/18/22 08:43
Re: D&SNG questions
Author: Cumbresfan

BAB Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> All the photos I saw before my train ride there
> gave no indication how narrow most of the other
> canyon wall is and really after a while nothing
> new to see for quite some time. Glad I road the
> Parlor car on the way back am sure I will get
> flamed for this but some others had the same take
> on things. Now when I return to the area in 2022
> after 22yrs I will be only riding the second
> railroad I did that year the Cumbres and Toltec
> which has great vistas almost every foot of track
> all different. Most of which you could choose the
> year of your choice due to lack of anything
> modern. Just my thoughts and those at that RR are
> very friendly to deal with got to look around the
> entire area. After watching the hostler dump the
> ash pan he came over to me and offered a cab ride
> while I waited for my train to depart. Night
> watchman told me to go down into the shop and look
> around before that. Don't know how things are at
> this time but hope the same.

A few things have changed at the C&TS (no shop access for example) but you can still walk just about anywhere else on the property as long as you stay clear of operating equipment and keep the kids from climbing on cars. 

And the views are still just incredible any time of the season. The RR has several new trips planned for this year (provided NM Covid rules don't shut down NM trips as in 2020). One disappointment at the start of the season will be the lack of the hot meals at Osier due to last September's lunch station fire, but the RR is hopeful they might be resumned by late summer and for the fall color trips.



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