Engines and trains featured in the 2022 edition include:
Denver and Rio Grande Western 484 and 491 are doing a good job of smoking everything up at Alamosa,
CO with a westbound freight in June 1964. Possibly the conductor and engineers have just received their
orders from the operator (assistant dispatcher) at Alamosa, A.M. Ficci. He was a great friend to the railfan
community. If you called the office at Alamosa to inquire about whether any trains were running,
you always got the correct information if you spoke with Mr. Ficci (pronounced “fick-ee”).
Denver and Rio Grande Western 484 was plowing out the sidings at Cumbres, CO when it derailed on
February 20, 1953. According to the photographer, the tender was also derailed. Out came the tender “frog”
and within 30 minutes a combination of section crew and train crew hands had everything back on the rails.
A westbound freight was arriving at Cumbres and was delayed about an hour sitting by the snowshed.
Denver and Rio Grande Western 495 is leading a southbound Farmington Turn three miles north of Aztec, NM on
September 28, 1960. The pipe will be set out at San Juan, NM, a siding in the north end of Farmington. 495 will cut the
train and shove these cars onto the siding there to be unloaded. The box cars will go on to the main yard on the south
side of downtown Farmington. The box cars are loaded with bags of drill mud. Any empty cars will be picked off the
various sidings first. After all switching is done, 495 will stop for water, then head north, to San Juan picking up empties
for Alamosa. This was a very short train at 21 cars. 50 or more would be more typical on a freight in this area at this time.
Denver and Rio Grande Western Class K-36 Mikado (2-8-2) 488 is being serviced prior to making a
Farmington Turn on June 30, 1961. The roundhouse mutt apparently is not perturbed by all the noise. Traffic
was still fairly good, as a Farmington Turn had already left at about 7:30 am. 488 and its crew would leave at
about 4:00 pm with the second run of the day.
Denver and Rio Grande Western 478 and 476 are on a double-headed westbound 22-car freight, stopped for water
at Sublette, NM on May 28, 1968. The two locomotives were shopped in Alamosa over the winter, and they are being
returned to Durango for the 1968 Silverton train season. Crews were deadheaded to Chama, and the Alamosa-Durango
trip, normally a two-day run was done in one day, arriving at Durango a couple hours after dark. 478 took the 22 cars
of pipe on to Farmington the next week. 1968 will be the last year of Denver and Rio Grande Western operations from
Alamosa to Durango and from Carbon Junction, CO to Farmington, NM.
It is June 13, 1968; Denver and Rio Grande Western 493 along with 483 has brought a westbound freight from Alamosa
29 miles south through the San Luis Valley to Antonito. Fireman Jim Shawcroft is topping off the coal bunker for the
64-mile trip to Chama, NM. 493 will be the road engine, and 483 will be cut into the middle of the train as a helper. The
separation is necessary to comply with weight restrictions crossing the Cascade Creek and trestle further along the line.
Rio Grande Southern Mudhens 461 and 455 are at Ridgway, CO, being prepared to take a southbound freight to Rico,
CO on August 31, 1951. These locomotives were originally purchased from the Baldwin Locomotive Works in 1903 by
the D&RGW, which eventually sold the Class K-27 Mikados (2-8-2) to the Rio Grande Southern. On this trip they would be
passing Vance Junction, crossing the Trestles at Ophir and passing by Trout Lake, then crossing Lizard Head Pass before
arriving at Rico. Engine 74 sits in the background. It was purchased by the Southern from Morse Brothers in 1948. It was
originally a Colorado and Southern locomotive.
Denver and Rio Grande Western’s eastbound San Juan is making a station stop at Chama, NM in August
1949. Some of the passengers have detrained for a break. More than likely, the locomotive is being serviced.
There is an extra coach in the consist. In less than two years the San Juan would be discontinued. Note that
the Parlor Car “Alamosa” is bringing up the rear on this train. Today the “Alamosa” is still in service on the
Durango and Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad, some 72 years later. That is an impressive service record for
any rolling stock anywhere.
Denver and Rio Grande Western 486 and 491 are on a livestock car empty one mile north of Estrella (Star),
CO on September 26, 1960. The station agents along the line at two or three locations further west may
have ordered a quantity of stock cars and this train may make a number of set-outs on its way to Chama. It
was not unusual for droves of sheep to be loaded at Lumberton, NM. The railroad made an effort to have
cars at the loading pens before the livestock arrived. There was limited corral space. Also, the railroad had an
idea about the number of cars they would need and began delivering them in advance.
Denver and Rio Grande Western 499 is on an eastbound 16-car livestock train in Monero Canyon, NM on October 8, 1963.
The sheep were loaded at the Lumberton, NM pens that morning and the woolies were on their way to Alamosa. The
empty cars are moved to Lumberton the week before. 499 went west as a caboose hop. This crew would help load the
sheep, then take them to Chama, as seen here. Two locomotives waited for them at Chama with fresh crews. The sheep
would be transported up the pass, and the helper would be removed at Cumbres. The road engine would take the train
on to Alamosa. The entire eastward move was accomplished within the 24-hour time allowed.
How’s this for fall color? Denver and Rio Grande Western 488 and 492 are leading an eastbound Gramps Tank train
out of the Narrows and on the approach to Lobato, NM on October 11, 1962. Since this is a 16-car train, 497 is cut in
ahead of the caboose as a rear-end helper, out of view. The Lobato Trestle is only about one mile east of the train.
To meet the trestle’s weight restriction, point helper 488 will be cut off and cross the bridge light. The train will
cross the bridge and be reassembled. All tank trains originated in Chama, New Mexico; two Class K-36’s or K-37’s or
a combination of one of each could haul only eleven loaded tank cars and a caboose up the four percent grade to
Cumbres, en route to the Gramps Refinery at Alamosa, Colorado.
Denver and Rio Grande Western 485, a Class K-36 Mikado (2-8-2) is shuffling a cut of freight cars around in
a couple feet of snow at the Cumbres, CO depot on December 31, 1950. Engine 487, also a K-36, is on an
adjacent track clearing it for the eastbound San Juan passenger train, which the photographer said was
stopped at the snowshed, waiting for 485 and 487 to complete the clean-up. Today Engine 487 is in service
for the Cumbres and Toltec Scenic Railway, but 485 was not so lucky. In 1954 it fell into the turntable pit at
Salida, Colorado. It was severely damaged, and as a result, it was scrapped in 1955.