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 Post subject: Re: Fire in Colorado D&S RR affected
PostPosted: Sat Sep 01, 2018 10:46 pm 

Joined: Sun Aug 22, 2004 6:10 pm
Posts: 133
I was there two weeks ago, we had to board the train at Rockwood but still a worthwhile ride. The train was very full, and they were running two trains. If the train would go down I think Silverton would be hurt worse than Durango. After 25 years I didn't recognize Durango, but they are mandating the preservation of some of the historic buildings.

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 Post subject: I too rode the D&S in August
PostPosted: Thu Sep 13, 2018 3:28 pm 

Joined: Sun Sep 26, 2004 10:51 pm
Posts: 93
Location: Eastern Pennsylvania
During a crazy week-long Western-USA trip, I took my family on a ride of the D&S in mid-August.

The busing situation to get to Rockwood from Durango was a little confusing: we were told to get on a specific bus number, but a different bus came, lettered for a rafting company, and they told us to get on that one, as they are all going to the same place. Some people rode nice tour style buses, but we ended up on a school bus.

The Rockwood station area was neat, and they had really jammed a lot of stuff in there. It was neat seeing how they were building what appeared to be a new inspection pit. The crews were friendly and we watched them move around some equipment.

The ride to Silverton was nice, and the dramatic canyon just out of Rockwood was the highlight. We enjoyed walking around the town (in light rain) and the businesses seemed appreciative of us spending some money. But, the ride had a lot of "tree-tunnel" effect.

I would have been more impressed with the train, but we had ridden the Cumbres & Toltec the day before and quite honestly the Durango & Silverton paled in comparison! The ride quality on the C&T was much smoother than the D&S, with the coaches rocking a lot less. ROW quality differences? The true open car on the C&T and how it was included in the regular coach price was a real difference too, as well as being able to enjoy the vestibules. I enjoyed the varying scenery on the C&T too, and their included lunch was awesome. I'm glad that I rode both trains, but if I make it back out to Colorado, I primarily plan on riding the C&T again.

I rode the D&S back in the 1980's when I was a teenager, and I recall liking the section from Durango up to Rockwood, with the crossings and the bridges. Maybe I would have enjoyed the D&S more if the full route was in operation.

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Jim Evans


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 Post subject: Re: Fire in Colorado D&S RR affected
PostPosted: Thu Sep 13, 2018 6:05 pm 

Joined: Wed Jan 20, 2016 1:15 pm
Posts: 203
While both railroads have great things to offer, I hope you did appreciate the historic cars on the D&S. While the friends of the C&T are working on making it possible to ride in authentic coaches... there is something very special about the D&S how they have historic coaches, pulled by a historic locomotive, operating on a historic line and even a historic route (the Silverton was an actual commercial train on the D&RGW).

I do wish the D&S would put in historic walkover seats in all of their coaches. Even the seats in the Knight Sky were in pretty sad shape... but they have bigger bills to pay right now.


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 Post subject: Re: I too rode the D&S in August
PostPosted: Fri Sep 14, 2018 12:46 am 

Joined: Sun Aug 22, 2004 8:51 pm
Posts: 1579
Location: Southern California
jrevans wrote:
The ride to Silverton was nice, and the dramatic canyon just out of Rockwood was the highlight. We enjoyed walking around the town (in light rain) and the businesses seemed appreciative of us spending some money. But, the ride had a lot of "tree-tunnel" effect.

I enjoyed the varying scenery on the C&T too, and their included lunch was awesome. I'm glad that I rode both trains, but if I make it back out to Colorado, I primarily plan on riding the C&T again.
My comment about the two railroads is that the scenery on the D&S is vertical while the scenery on the C&TS is horizontal. On the C&TS the scenery is more expansive and varied.

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Brian Norden


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 Post subject: Re: I too rode the D&S in August
PostPosted: Fri Sep 14, 2018 9:30 am 

Joined: Sun Sep 26, 2004 10:51 pm
Posts: 93
Location: Eastern Pennsylvania
Brian Norden wrote:
My comment about the two railroads is that the scenery on the D&S is vertical while the scenery on the C&TS is horizontal. On the C&TS the scenery is more expansive and varied.

That's a good way to describe it Brian!

I enjoyed both rides, but the C&TS was definitely more special to me.

Departing on the train from Antonito, behind steam, going across the barren scrub-brush scenery made me feel like I was back in time to the early 1900's. I loved how the scenery changed the entire trip, and how we could see the tracks ahead of us and behind us as we ascended and descended the hills. Crossing the state border 11 times was pretty neat too!

Departing from the very built up Durango, after parking next to McDonalds, made me feel like I was getting on a tourist train. And living close to Strasburg, I've been spoiled by the crown jewel of tourist railroads!

Crescent-Zephyr wrote:
there is something very special about the D&S how they have historic coaches, pulled by a historic locomotive, operating on a historic line and even a historic route (the Silverton was an actual commercial train on the D&RGW)


I'm not sure that I noticed any historical difference between the two railroads when it came to the equipment, but I'm not a historian. I do recall that the coach windows on the D&S operated differently than the C&TS (top versus bottom open, I believe). The "open" cars on the D&S did not seem very historical. Both railroads had awesome cars and locomotives.

On the C&TS, they were very welcoming on the train, allowing us to stand on the vestibules, and their guide narration was very good. On the D&S, I was allowed to take a quick picture from the vestibule, but was chastised if I spent more than fifteen seconds there.... I hear that there was a lot of turnover at D&S from the fire caused layoffs, so maybe this factors into my on-train experience.

Silverton is a great destination town for the train. They gave us plenty of time to eat, shop and look around. The opposite was true for my C&TS experience. We took trip number 2, Antonito to Chama and the bus back to Antonito. There was such little time upon arriving at Chama, that I didn't get to see anything. I literally ran into the yard taking pictures and almost missed the bus back! My wife was calling and texting me that the bus was leaving and I was the last person to board. I was very disappointed not to be able to look around the Chama yard. The C&TS should definitely allow some additional time there before the bus departs. After getting off of the bus in Antonito, we drove back through Chama on our way to Durango, but everything seemed to be closed up by then, and I didn't want to tresspass.

Both railroads are very special and I'm glad that I was able to experience them, even with some spousal grumbling about back to back long train rides. :) Hopefully my kids will have pleasant memories of the trains, as I did from riding the D&S when I was a kid.

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 Post subject: Re: Fire in Colorado D&S RR affected
PostPosted: Fri Sep 14, 2018 10:56 am 

Joined: Fri Aug 27, 2004 4:02 pm
Posts: 1114
Location: Back in NE Ohio
Quote: "Silverton is a great destination town for the train. They gave us plenty of time to eat, shop and look around. The opposite was true for my C&TS experience. We took trip number 2, Antonito to Chama and the bus back to Antonito. There was such little time upon arriving at Chama, that I didn't get to see anything. I literally ran into the yard taking pictures and almost missed the bus back! My wife was calling and texting me that the bus was leaving and I was the last person to board. I was very disappointed not to be able to look around the Chama yard. The C&TS should definitely allow some additional time there before the bus departs. After getting off of the bus in Antonito, we drove back through Chama on our way to Durango, but everything seemed to be closed up by then, and I didn't want to tresspass."

I took the bus return option from Silverton to Durango in '09 when I rode the D&S and my impression was that the layover in Silverton was too long. I chose to go back by bus because I needed to get back to Denver that night, and ended up only saving about 90 minutes versus taking the full round-trip by train, and also spending $14 more to go back by bus. Essentially, the bus and the train left Silverton at the same time. I can understand maybe an hour or so in Silverton to have lunch and look around some, but my guess is that most people who choose the bus return option do so to get back earlier, much earlier. Don't get me wrong, it was after 11 pm when I got back to the Denver area anyway, so I'm glad I did it that way, but it would have been even better to get there before 10 pm.


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 Post subject: Re: I too rode the D&S in August
PostPosted: Fri Sep 14, 2018 1:51 pm 

Joined: Sat Sep 04, 2004 10:54 am
Posts: 791
Location: Tucson, Arizona
jrevans wrote:
We took trip number 2, Antonito to Chama and the bus back to Antonito. There was such little time upon arriving at Chama, that I didn't get to see anything. I literally ran into the yard taking pictures and almost missed the bus back! My wife was calling and texting me that the bus was leaving and I was the last person to board. I was very disappointed not to be able to look around the Chama yard. The C&TS should definitely allow some additional time there before the bus departs. After getting off of the bus in Antonito, we drove back through Chama on our way to Durango, but everything seemed to be closed up by then, and I didn't want to trespass.



There's a good reason that the bus leaves immediately upon the arrival of the train from Antonito. I worked for the bus company that has the contract for Cumbres and Toltec. All of our drivers are based out of Chama. Upon the bus returning to Antonito, the driver has to secure the bus and drive a company car back to the base at Chama. If the railroad wanted to add more time to the return trip from Chama, they'd have to pay for an additional driver, on account of the Hours of Service law.

Example. Driver A is assigned to drive the bus from Antonito to Chama and return to Antonito. All drivers are based in Chama. The driver has to drive to Antonito to pick up the coach, drives Antonito to Chama and lays over to meet the Antonito to Chama train. All of the layover time is counted as On Duty, Not Driving. If the coach has to be moved for servicing or loading during the layover, that gets counted against the driving time. After making the return trip to Antonito, the driver then has to drive back to base in Chama.

Typical pool for the operation is two 45 foot coaches and one 30 foot coach and three drivers. The drivers for the 45s were based out of Tucson, Arizona and rotated every couple of months. Company was very strict about us driving on Highway 17-on duty or off. 17's a very dangerous road-had one fatality while I was there.

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 Post subject: Re: I too rode the D&S in August
PostPosted: Fri Sep 14, 2018 1:54 pm 

Joined: Wed Jan 20, 2016 1:15 pm
Posts: 203
jrevans wrote:
Crescent-Zephyr wrote:
there is something very special about the D&S how they have historic coaches, pulled by a historic locomotive, operating on a historic line and even a historic route (the Silverton was an actual commercial train on the D&RGW)


I'm not sure that I noticed any historical difference between the two railroads when it came to the equipment, but I'm not a historian. I do recall that the coach windows on the D&S operated differently than the C&TS (top versus bottom open, I believe). The "open" cars on the D&S did not seem very historical. Both railroads had awesome cars and locomotives.


About half of the D&S Coaches were built for the D&RGW prior to 1900.
All of the Concession Cars were built as Baggage, Mail, or Combine Cars for the D&RGW prior to 1900.
All of the Parlor Cars were built prior to 1900 in various passenger configurations.

You are correct the gondolas, along with about half of the coaches were built in the 1960's for the Silverton line as a tourist line.

In contrast, the C&T coaches were built in the 1980's on old D&RGW flat cars.


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 Post subject: Re: Fire in Colorado D&S RR affected
PostPosted: Sat Sep 15, 2018 11:36 pm 

Joined: Sat Apr 15, 2006 9:55 pm
Posts: 260
Location: San Diego area
I rode the Silverton back in the mid to late 1950's when it was still a D&RG operation. Still have my ticket stub, punched by Alva Lyons, who I've heard was involved in trying to keep D&RG from shutting it down. We went in the Spring, and I remember the coal stove in one corner of the car keeping us warm. My big mistake was that I was wearing a white sweater! (My first ride on a coal burner.) Lots of activity at the round house and yard with freights

I've ridden it several more time since, and volunteered several years on the C&TS as a docent. I prefer the latter.


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 Post subject: Re: I too rode the D&S in August
PostPosted: Tue Sep 18, 2018 2:10 pm 

Joined: Sun Sep 26, 2004 10:51 pm
Posts: 93
Location: Eastern Pennsylvania
Crescent-Zephyr wrote:
About half of the D&S Coaches were built for the D&RGW prior to 1900.
All of the Concession Cars were built as Baggage, Mail, or Combine Cars for the D&RGW prior to 1900.
All of the Parlor Cars were built prior to 1900 in various passenger configurations.

In contrast, the C&T coaches were built in the 1980's on old D&RGW flat cars.


I have to admit that I had no clue that the cars which I rode in were actually "new" steel cars made from old flat cars! They definitely were not as ornate inside as the D&S coaches.

That definitely explains some of the differences that I saw between the coaches on the two railroads. I guess that it may have explained the difference in ride quality also.

Thanks for pointing out the difference to me. I've learned something.

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 Post subject: Re: Fire in Colorado D&S RR affected
PostPosted: Tue Sep 18, 2018 7:32 pm 

Joined: Sat Apr 15, 2006 9:55 pm
Posts: 260
Location: San Diego area
And the reason for the "real" coaches being on D&S and not C&TS is that D&RGW still owned and operated the Silverton Branch when it was sold to the private operator. They were still using the old coaches. There was no passenger equipment elsewhere on the line when it was sold to the states of CO and NM for the C&TS. Only freight equipment, so they had to go with what they had.


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 Post subject: Re: Fire in Colorado D&S RR affected
PostPosted: Sun Sep 23, 2018 3:29 am 

Joined: Fri Mar 05, 2010 3:41 am
Posts: 3419
Location: Inwood, W.Va.
Story from the Durango Herald, on the return of service.

https://durangoherald.com/articles/2424 ... olls-again


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