On Saturday, we climbed aboard the Durango and Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad train. We were taking the longest trip that was offered- a 3 1/2 hour ride to Silverton, CO.
Silverton is an old mining town that boomed in the late 1800s. Extracting mostly silver, the town was a bustling area for a long time. The train was important to get imports into this remote town, and of course, to send out the goods extracted from the surrounding hills. When walking the town, history is everywhere from architecture, the old jail, and more. Tales of the wild west are prevalent. Me? I stuck to finding cool rocks, good beer, and some pizza.
The train ride was very fascinating. The steam engine traveled about 12 miles an hour, leaving plenty of time for seeing the sights of snow-topped mountains, rushing green waters of the upper Animas River, and the hillsides of fall colors. Some of the best scenery was traveling through narrow rock cuts, where if I were to put my hand out the window, I would be touching green lichen-covered granite.
Other interesting pieces to the ride were observing old train stops, where either coal or water was added to the engine area. Large water towers, about the size of a really large apple tree, were placed strategically along the route. We would stop and refill water, which took less than 10 minutes. Other stops were remote towns. What industry kept these residents alive and well in their homes eludes me. Having that remote area to live in would be incredible, especially with the Colorado scenery and quiet that comes with it.
The train itself is restored classic stuff. The passenger cars are wood interior with refurbished leather seats. Only 48 people to a car. The train had a total of about 8 cars, plus a concessions car that served popcorn, burritos, coffee, and bar service.
When we got to Silverton, everyone came off the train with smiles! Photos were snapped. Greetings exchanged. And we all headed into town for lunch. The restaurants were waiting for us and we all had a great blue sky day!