Susan Spess Shay

Still playing make believe.

The Silver Line


If you talk to anyone who’s been to Durango, they’ll almost always ask if you took the train to Silverton. We took the train, but they made us give it back. *That’s a joke.*

And I’m so glad we did. 😀

little-engine-that-couldThe day before our train ride, we went through the museum. (G-Man and I are big museum visitors. Just ask our kids!)

005This is where the engineer hangs out during a train trip.

006The guy who shovels the coal puts it in here. I forget how much coal they use on one run to Silverton and back (I think it’s six tons) but one man with a shovel puts it all in that spot right there.

He uses most of it going to Silverton, because it’s all up hill. Very UP

007That’s Gary standing in for the engineer. Does a great job, doesn’t he?

008There are a lot of cars on the train, and the one you’re in decides how much you pay. Some are open cars that can’t be closed. (Brrr!)

Some are close to the refreshment car.

We went in a car that had windows that could be opened or closed and wasn’t too far from the food/drink/party car. (We didn’t do the party thing, but some people do.)

027We left early in the morning. This is a shot as we went through town. The entire way to Silverton, the train followed the Animas River.

I don’t know if you heard about it or not, but there was a spill into that river a few weeks before we headed to Colorado.

When we got there, the main part of the river had cleared up, but all along the edges on the rocks and shore was a yellow stripe. Kind of like a bathtub ring.

051You can kind of see the stripe in this one. They told us it would clear up the next time they have a heavy rain or snowfall.

065One of the cool things about this train is that it was used in lots of movies. “How the West was Won,” “310 to Yuma,” and “Around the World in Eighty Days” are a few I remember.

Does the little house above look familiar? It’s where Etta Place lived in “Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid.”

I had hopes, but Robert Redford wasn’t hanging around. 😦

067This is that same area.

062We stopped several times on the way up to pick up campers and hikers and zip liners. I think this was a private home out in that area. Even though it’s a National Forest, private individuals owns pieces of it.

054I might have hinted that I have a problem with heights. This was a shot of one of those high places before we got there.

049Ahem. Not the highest place, but getting close.

037 This is our engine pulling us around a curve.

042Farther around.

061Along the way we saw several waterfalls.

063A bridged not used anymore.

The railway was built–blasted out of the rock of the mountain–to carry silver and gold to the smelter in Durango. Those mines are closed now and very few people live in Silverton all winter long.

But in the summer, it’s a good sized town. They have lots of restaurants and places to shop–because of the train.

We had narrators going and coming. The first was in the character of the man who built the railroad. The second was one of the first lawmen of Durango.

Very interesting and educational.

I’m not sure if little kids would enjoy the time on the train, but I did!

Have you taken the Durango/Silverton train? Which part did you like best?

Author: Susan Shay

For as long as I can remember, I've loved two things--reading and people--and that led me to become a writer. Many of my stories are set in Small Town Worlds. I'm a wife, mother, sibling and an aunt. I have a deep faith in God, and an exciting life in Christ. Maybe I shouldn't be (after all, he's God!) but I'm constantly amazed at the things He's up to. :)

4 thoughts on “The Silver Line

  1. Wow! Susan, I’ve always wanted to take that train ride but have never gotten to for one reason or another. I love Colorado, the breathtaking scenery and the history. So much history there. This will a must-do the next time I go!! No excuses and no putting it off. I’ve just gotta do it. Thanks for sharing. The pictures are gorgeous and the post interesting.

  2. I loved Colorado so much as a child, I used to “lie/fib/enhance stories about being born in Oklahoma and say I was born in Colorado. Imagine that? Do not need an answer. 🙂

    Then when I got questioned about it, I decided the truth was easier to remember.
    But I do enjoy the diversity of Colorado.
    Glad “ewe” didn’t have any connections with the spillage. Enjoying your blog again

    • Hey, Larry!
      Colorado is AMAZING, isn’t it? I’ve always thought my cousins who live there were so lucky! I never did tell stories about it (imagine Mr. Larry fibbing? No!) but I made up a few in my head.
      I have another picture I’ll share tomorrow. Made me laugh out loud!

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