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The San Luis and Rio Grande Trip Part 3 10/28/2006

by Chris Guenzler

Our train returned to take us back to Alamosa and then south to Antonito. We all reboarded and proceeded westbound.

Deer running away from our train as we ran by.

A look out the back of our train.

Independent Locomotive Services GP39-2 1390 was on the siding at La Veta.

The train ran by Goemmers Butte and I went back inside the 4060, sat on a bench after getting a 7 UP and socialized with the other passengers as the train climbed back up to Fir/La Veta Pass.

Later we arrived at Fir/La Veta Pass.

I photographed a former boxcar which serves as a storage unit at Fir.

Our train then crested the grade at Fir.

A few minutes later, it took the loop below Fir. I returned to conversations as we dropped down the west slope of the pass.

Later back in the San Luis Valley, I photographed the Sangre de Cristo Mountains in the better light of the late afternoon.

Another look south down that range of mountains.

On this clear late October afternoon, we saw a hill to the south that was all the way down by Antonito.

A pair of views looking back.

Next we came to a junction where the old rails of the line that ran from Alamosa to Saluda could be seen.

The train next crossed the Rio Grande River.

Crossing the Rio Grande River.

I saw the former Denver and Rio Grande Railroad stock cars of both standard and narrow gauge varieties in a fenced-in area.

Back in Alamosa, we stopped to drop off those local officials from the Alamosa Chamber of Commerce before we headed to Antonito.

We passed the historic St Mary's Railroad F10 1100.

There was other motive power in the yard at Alamosa.

The view looking back at Alamosa.

Curving south heading to Antonito.

Cars were flying by us on the paralleling highway.

Unlike what we had experienced earlier, these tracks run straight as an arrow!

A former agricultural building.

Once again to the east, we saw the Sangre de Cristo Mountains and Blanca Peak to the northeast.

The train continued south through Estrella.

Inside of SL&RG Coach 2948.

Inside of SL&RG Coach 5060.

Chris Parker was really enjoying the trip to Antonito.

The train took a rare curve on the line.

The view back on the curve.

We passed the former La Jara station.

La Jara.

That hill to the east.

Sunset was about to happen as we close in on Antonito.

The train arrived in Antonito and quickly detrained in the last light of the day.

I switched to the digital camera for the rest of the day and took a picture of our train at the Antonito station.

The Antonito sign.

The sign and the Antonito Station.

There had been a discussion about which side the third rail was when these tracks were dual gauge. The third rail was on the west side in Antonito which meant that the narrow gauge cars would be along the platform. We all got back on the train so it could be wyed, then back south as far as we could toward the Harborlite Plant.

Former Rio Grande, now Cumbres and Toltec Scenic Railroad, 2-8-2 494 is on display near their station in Antonito.

Next we came to the eastern end of the Cumbres and Toltec Scenic Railroad.

Then our train passed the west switch of this wye and we would now back down the track as far as we could.

At the south switch, we had to stop to line the track for our movement.

Our train then slowly backed down the track.

The train kept rolling south on the old line to Santa Fe.

We had to stop to have a derail thrown before we continued to back slowly down the line during the last light of this fantastic day.

We reached the Harborlite Plant, which was as far south as we could go on this trip. The train now proceeded north back up past the Antonito station and continued north to Alamosa. It became dark really quickly so our trip was in completed in darkness. I sat in the 5060 for awhile watching the cars fly by on the highway. Later I went to the back door and was greeted by a sky full of stars. When it is this clear, the stars are three dimensional across the sky. It is truly magical. We returned to Alamosa, detrained and walked back to the car. Chris Parker and I drove to Chili's for dinner where I enjoyed a steak. Halloween came early when one couple came in with a girl who had spiked hair. It was really weird and you should have seen the other diners' faces when they saw these people. After dinner we fueled up the car before returning to the Best Western Alamosa Inn. It had been a fantastic day of train riding on the San Luis & Rio Grande Railroad.

If you would like to ride on the Rio Grande Scenic Railroad click here or call 1-877-7CO-RAIL