D&RGW 315’s First Cumbres & Toltec Scenic Runs

DRGW 315 is an 1895 Baldwin 2-8-0, built originally for the Florence & Cripple Creek as their “Elkton”, otherwise known as #3. The engine – along with her four sisters – went to the Rio Grande in 1917 after the F&CC folded, and eventually 315 wound up as the Durango yard switcher during the twilight of the narrow gauge. As the engine came due for major work, it was sidelined and placed on display in a city park in 1950. Eventually it passed to the Durango Chamber of Commerce, and then to the City of Durango itself.

In 2000, the Durango Railroad Historical Society was founded with the idea of restoring 315. At Railfest 2007, that dream became reality, when 315 moved under her own power for the first time since being idled in 1950. Last year, while 315 made a number of runs, it stayed on the home rails of the Durango and Silverton. This year, the DRHS, in cooperation with the Cumbres & Toltec Scenic, brought the engine to Chama for a series of six photo specials.

Monday, 16-Jun-2008 marked the engine’s first revenue trip over Cumbres Pass in at least sixty years, and likely many more. The trip was a photo freight from Chama to Antonito, picking up most of the cars at the top due to 315’s limited ratings on the 4% out of Chama. I decided to chase that run rather than ride it, and the results are posted here.

Sunday, Jun 15, 2008 – Getting to Chama

Monday, Jun 16, 2008 – 315 from Chama to Antonito

All photographs in this trip report were taken with a Canon EOS 40D using either a Canon 24-105mm F4 L IS/USM, Sigma 18-50mm, or a Canon 100-400mm f4.5-5.6L IS/USM.

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