Thursday, 13 August 2009

Durango to Silverton.























As the ticket says, this journey is "a trip to yesterday". We are about to have a trip on the Durango to Silverton Narrow Gauge Railway, established in 1881 to carry silver from the silver mines down into Durango. It is the year 2000 and the mines are long gone. Silverton is just a tourist attraction with dirt roads and the ghosts of old silver miners.
To Silverton and back from Durango is a round trip of ninety miles during which the engine needs six tons of coal. We are only going one way - to Silverton and the journey will take three and a half hours of steady climbing.
As we stand on the platform at the station at half past eight on a sunny morning, the sturdy little engine chuggs importantly into town. We find our reserved seats, there are two hoots on the whistle and we are away. There is a holiday atmosphere with people waving from the platform.
This is a bit like playing at trains except that this is seriously hilly country as we climb through miles of pine forests on either side of the track. We are never far away from the Animas river - we are labouring up the side of it and it is cascading theatrically down to Durango. Suddenly we cross it and the river appears disconcertingly on the other side of the coach.
When we arrive at Silverton we find we are high in the Rockies and surrounded by snow-capped mountains.
We return by road, over the Molas Pass (10,899 feet asl) - these a real mountains and we are suitably impressed.
Meanwhile, engine 482 cuffs off down to Durango, blowing its whistle - to start the journey all over again. I am sure the journey back will be a "freewheel" after all that puffing and blowing.

# Apologies for the photographs - as they are stuck in a journal I made I have no option to to photograph them again rather than scan.
## If anyone reading this knows Durango, I would love to know if EO's is still open - in all the trips we have made to the US EO's restaurant stands out in a class of its own.
I have been "killing two birds with one stone" this week. Our Writers' Group are producing a booklet for our local little railway and we have all been asked to write on railways - so I have put them on my blog as I am very short of time (builders!) Tomorrow will be the last on and it will be written for children.

15 comments:

Bonnie, Original Art Studio said...

Not only a weaver of grass, you are a weaver of stories that are a delight to read. Your writing fills all the senses - nothing is left wanting.

Pamela Terry and Edward said...

These are so much fun to read. Is there any better way to travel than by train??

Golden West said...

I live just blocks from the 2nd busiest rail corridor in the USA, so trains and their whistles and horns are very much a part of our daily lives. I've thoroughly enjoyed your travel writings - thaks for taking us along!

steven said...

hellow weaver, i love trains. they were such a big part of my childhood when steam trains were the norm. i think i saw a television program about this train ride you took. the climb and the views are spectacular. have a peaceful day in the valley. steven

Eleanor said...

I would love to make that journey on a real coal train nfrom Durango to Silverton! Interestingly, there is a suburb in Pretoria here where I live in South AFrica called Silverton. Wonder if there is a connection? Many towns and villages were named after places in England by immigrants.

Pondside said...

Is there any placename that evokes the Wild West better than 'Durango'?
I'm really enjoying these train rides - the best way to travel.

Reader Wil said...

I agree with Bonnie: you are a Weaver of Stories!! It must be a wonderful journey! Thanks for taking us with you!

willow said...

I always love to hear about your travels, Weaver. Your album snaps have a vintage feel to them. ;^)

Derrick said...

Hello Weaver,

You didn't manage to find any silver scrapings then?! There must be a story about the train and a ghost silver miner in here somewhere. Good luck with the brochure. Are you each contributing or just seeing who will get the job?

Jane Moxey said...

Thanks for the interesting posts on your fantastic train travels! What wonderful memories and how nice of you to share them with us!

Heather said...

Another marvellous journey which you bring to life for us all. Thankyou for sharing your holidays with us. Just think, if you had chosen a different path through life you could have been a female Bill Bryson!

Totalfeckineejit said...

Wow,Weaver, you've been to so many great places,train travel is the best, thanks for sharing.Ps Durango-what a great name.

Teresa said...

Sounds like you're having lots of fun out West! I enjoy the old trains too... rode a coal burning train in Utah a few years back and it was such an enjoyable trip.

The Weaver of Grass said...

Thanks for the comments. Yes train travel is marvellous - if it is good. If it is bad then it is very very bad!
Sadly nobody has told me whether EO's restaurant is still open in Durango - if anyone goes there and it is still open - go in - you will not be disappointed.

Lisa Sarsfield said...

My kids are older now but I think they would have enjoyed this story. I can hear them all copying the diddle-dee-dot!