The Prototype

Narrow gauge railroading in the Rocky Mountains is such a vast subject that one can only hope to present a small part of it in one small website. Perhaps the best illustration of contemporary narrow gauge railroading (using the original routing and equipment, as updated and repaired and restored over the years) is on the Cumbres and Toltec Narrow Gauge Railroad. This tourist line runs between Chama, New Mexico and Antonito, Colorado, carrying many passengers each summer through spectacular landscape. A recent video was made using the latest technology, and is quite impressive as it presents views of the Cumbres and Toltec never seen by the passengers. Here’s the video, courtesy of Luke Fitch via YouTube:

I wanted to personally provide a flavor of the real thing – the prototype – with a few photos made by me over the recent past of what remains of the locations, locomotives, rolling stock, and the general atmosphere surrounding narrow gauge railroads.

These only begin to scratch the surface of what still remains, but are among my favorites, and all were taken by me. I’ve added some snippets of information, and those who are familiar with narrow gauge railroading will easily recognize them.

Note that by clicking on the thumbprint photos in this website you can enlarge them and view them as a slideshow.


I’ll start out with the usual obligatory personal photos (proving I was actually there!) and go on from there.


Below are three photos of an assortment of locomotives and motive power typically used on narrow gauge railroads. The Galloping Goose deserves its own website, and there are a number of links elsewhere that can take you there. The fleet of “geese” were unique and quite unusual, and found only on the Rio Grande Southern.


Next we view some typical rolling stock of the narrow gauge era.

CABOOSES:   (Sometimes humorously called “cabeese” by model railroaders.)

And often at the end of the train came the caboose, several examples of which are shown here.


Here are some existing structures still remaining from the time when the Rio Grande Southern was still operating (last run was in 1952).


And finally here are three scenes from the general area in which the Rio Grande Southern ran.

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