Rio Grande Southern

By Brent Burger; posted July 9, 2004

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The RGS was built starting in 1890 to connect Durango and the Silverton mining districts with the outside world at Grand Junction. While only a few miles separated Silverton and Ouray, Red Mountain Pass proved insurmountable by traction railroad, and over 100 miles of rail were laid for the RGS go around the mountain range to connect the two points. The Rio Grande Southern spent most of its life in dereliction, making it a favorite amongst rail fans. Their equipment was old, used up, and held together with baling wire. The end came in 1953 and the rails were pulled up. Many of the old pieces of motive power were saved, but sadly 455 was not.