Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge: A Quick History
Duane A. Smith
Subjects: History, History - General History, History: American, United States - State & Local - General
Summary: Duane Smith does a wonderful job of pointing out the spectacular engineering feats that were necessary to conquer the rugged, isolated mountains of the San Juan country. Yet the rich gold and silver strikes needed the cheap and reliable transportation afforded by the railroad. Durango was the jumping off point - reached in July 1991 by the Denver & Rio Grande Railroad. Then the railroad headed north. Its goal was Silverton and northward to the rich San Juan mines. Not only did the construction crews battle the rugged steep mountains, but they had to deal with the snow - deep snows - and the constant danger of avalanches. For many years the railroad was the lifeline to Silverton as it was the only way in and out.
Now it still is a lifeline as it brings thousands of tourists each day in the summer to this bustling little tourist town.