Here is a show you can really enjoy as we are treated to fine action on the final 2 days of February 2022.
The Durango and Silverton decided to operate a winter photographers train, and we are treated to having 481 as the power. Due to fire hazards and insurance issues the railroad has been converting its fleet of steam engines to burn oil. As a precaution the coal burner, 481, is only allowed to operate in the winter, and preferably when there is snow on the ground. A few days prior to these trips there was a good snowfall. Down in the valley much of it had melted but in the higher elevations there is plenty of snow to enjoy. The consist is a mixed train with freight cars, coaches, and a caboose, which is similar to the way the former Denver & Rio Grande Western operated the Branch line to Silverton into the 1960's. We should also point out the lighting was spectacular with blue cloudless skies both days.
On the first day we see the engine backing to the train at Durango, and get a couple of close-ups. Then we chase the train from Durango and see it in the valley, and climbing Hermosa Hill to Rockwood. At Rockwood we board the train, and do several well-planned photo runbys in the remote and scenic Animas River Canyon.
There were two runbys on the High Bridge over the river near Tacoma, and then we enjoy scenes along the river from the train. We stop for Water at Tank Creek, and enjoy watching the proceedings there. We stop for several trackside runbys at places like the cement wall, Goblin Fire with its twin snowcapped peaks in the background, Bubbling Rock, Teft Bridge, the highline and more. The sun is nearly perfect for all these video clips as we head back to Rockwood. From Rockwood we again chase the train back to Durango, culminating in a really cool shot of a deer pacing the train then running across in front of it, and bounding over a split rail fence, all in lovely late afternoon sunshine.
After a huge day of getting great video, our day continues with a night photo shoot in Durango near the roundhouse. As we watch the engine sitting in the fading twilight, we have a history segment on the 481, and even see a few clips of it in 8mm movies during the 1960's. We discuss its move to Durango on the last train from Alamosa, and its return to service on the Durango and Silverton. We then enjoy some nice shots at night including cleaning the fire, taking coal, a spin on the turntable, and backing into the roundhouse where we see a nice line-up of motive power to close our day.
The Monday, February 28, 2022 trip has the special as the only train on the railroad. The Cascade Canyon train doesn't run on Monday, so we have the railroad to ourselves. We first make a trip around the turning loop in Durango, since the train had not been turned the day before. Then we shoot video up Hermosa Hill from the train from Hermosa to Rockwood. In between we stop at what is called the mini-highline just east of Shalona Crossing, and do 2 morning runbys. As usual 481 puts on a great show. We then do runbys near Rockwood and along the highline shelf west of Rockwood. We also do stops at the former AH Wilderness Guest Ranch, and both scenes feature Galloping Goose #5 in the shots as it was running as a special charter too.
We move north, or railroad west, and do a pair of runbys at the cribbed wall along the river, Goblins Fire, and a few repeat, as well as new locations back to Rockwood. We end along the highline horseshoe with low lighting in this famous region.
This show has something for everyone, and is being released just 2 months from when the video was captured.
481 for now is the last coal burner, and we seldom get to experience it operating. Who knows if it will remain a coal-burner or be converted to oil. The variety of locations is very good, with only a few repeat locations from day to day. This was sold as 2 separate days, but folks who did both days were treated to additional locations.
The weather was outstanding, and the scenery as beautiful as ever, and maybe even better given the rare opportunity to capture great steam action in this remote region in the middle of winter. There is nothing like low winter sunlight for photography. Shot in High Definition, so its available in Standard Definition as well as Blu-ray.