Travelers Tale: Photographing the Durango Silverton Railroad
Have you ever contemplated the baby boomer travelers’ fascination with the steam locomotive?
Does it stem from a nostalgic remembrance of the 1960s television show, The Wild, Wild West? Certainly, we love the sounds and smell of the railroads of old. But, perhaps the child in us dreams of saving the day as we protect the passengers from a band of marauding train robbers speeding our way on their trusty steeds.
While I’m not completely certain of the answer, I can tell you that when this baby boomer traveler contemplates steam locomotives, the first thought that comes to mind is to photograph it.
A few weeks ago, we were driving the incredibly beautiful scenic Highway 550 from Durango to Silverton when I spied a cloud of smoke up ahead. Thinking it might be the beginnings of a forest fire, Carol and I both watched intently as we approached.
To our surprise, the billowing smoke was coming from the Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad hauling carloads of gawking tourist up the mountain to the remote mining town of Silverton, Colorado.
As my wife will attest, when we encounter a “photo-op” like this, I am certain to be grabbing my camera in hopes of a new beautiful photograph to add to my burgeoning collection of travel photographs.
I raced up to a crossing, hopped out of the car, and snap, snap, snap.
I raced up to a crossing, hopped out of the car, and snap, snap, snap. But I didn’t like my results. So I raced back to the car, raced ahead to another crossing, and snap, snap, snap. However, once again I was dissatisfied with my captures.
It was at this time I was beginning to get “the look”. You know, a look that telepaths, “are you going to do this all day!”
As we had a full day of driving ahead, I decided to settle for what I had, and began again our scenic road trip to Ouray, Colorado.
However, about 5 miles up the mountain, we drove across a railroad overpass and I screeched the car to the side of the road, grabbed my camera, and off I went to stand on the bridge in hopes of a great photograph from a new lofty perspective.
After roughly fifteen minutes of waiting, I was rewarded with this beautiful scene in my trusty Nikon lens.
Snap. Snap. Snap.
When I showed Carol the resulting photograph, she said, “Well, I suppose it was worth the wait”.
“Hah”, I said, “you bet it was worth the wait. Look at that photograph … the bend in the track, the mountainous backdrop, the dark smoke distorting the scene, people hanging out of the sides of the train”. “That’s a great photograph”, I said.
Well, I hope you agree. I think I’ve captured a dandy photograph of the Durango & Silverton chugging its way up the mountain.
We’ve yet to ride this train. It’s on our bucket list. But here are a few train rides that we have enjoyed in our travels:
- The Grand Canyon Railroad
- The Rocky Mountaineer (Canadian Rockies)
- White Pass & Yukon Route Railroad in Skagway, Alaska
Have you enjoyed a scenic train ride? Tell us about it in the comments section below.