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  Trip Report: D&S Opening Weekend 2009 - Chapter 1
  Presidential Photo Special I
Friday, 1-May-2009, from Durango to Silverton
  From: D&S Opening Weekend 2009 Dates: May 3, 2009 Author: Nathan Holmes


Photo 1
On 1-May-2009, the Durango & Silverton ran a "Presidential Photo Special", consisting entirely of the road's premium service maroon cars.
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Photo 2
Power for the day will be K-28 #473.
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Photo 3
473 is tied onto the day's train in front of the Durango depot.
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Photo 4
This is car B-3, the Nomad, which will be my accomodations for the day. Nomad, built in 1878 by Billmeyer & Small, is claimed by the DSNG to be the oldest car in daily service in the US.
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Photo 5
Since many of you have no idea what the latest incarnation of the Nomad looks like inside, I thought I'd share a few. This is the rear compartment, looking back towards the open platform.
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Photo 6
And this is looking the other way - from the platform door towards the front of the car.
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Photo 7
Just ahead of the rear compartment is this small private room, which can be closed off from the rest of the car. On the other side of the wall on the right is the hallway to the front.
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Photo 8
The aforementioned hallway towards the front of the car - definitely not designed for those of us with fine railfan physiques...
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Photo 9
And, well, there's just no better way to experience the Silverton branch than from the back platform.
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Photo 10
After a brief stop at Rockwood to pick up a couple people, it was on towards Silverton. Here's the train crawling out onto the High Line.
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Photo 11
And another "on the go" shot just a bit up the canyon towards the High Bridge.
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Photo 12
Since part of the appeal of this train was that it would be the first revenue train to Silverton for the year, we hurried to the upper parts of the line before starting the run-bys. The first one was near milepost 483, a bit below Needleton tank.
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Photo 13
Just another angle from the first run-by.
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Photo 14
The last one from the first run-by. The skies were a bit overcast and bright, but that would turn out to be a help for some shots.
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Photo 15
Run-by #2 was at milepost 488.5, otherwise known as the Red Young Slide. This recurring snow slide was responsible for the death of engineer William "Red" Young back in 1897. (Black and white - saving the day on backlit shots since, well, photography was invented.)
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Photo 16
The next run-by, at Whitehead Gulch (milepost 492.1), also done in black and white because of the hard backlight and bright sky.
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Photo 17
This is the Twin Sisters Slide at milepost 493.6, and the site of run-by #4 for the day. According to the day's agenda, this was the deepest slide on the line this last winter, requiring some bulldozing to open up.
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Photo 18
Another shot at the Twin Sisters Slide zone.
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Photo 19
One of the best "new" run-bys on this photo trip was at Cataract Falls (milepost 494.8). These falls only show up during runoff season, and are typically dry by June.
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Photo 20
A color view of Cataract Falls.
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Photo 21
Departing Cataract Canyon and heading up the river towards Silverton, just a few miles north.
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Photo 22
And there it is - the first revenue train to reach Silverton for the 2009 season. Unlike the regular trains, though, we won't be spending much time in town. Just a few minutes while everybody grabs a few photos and the crew inspects and turns the train.
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Photo 23
Sitting at the depot with a few of the rugged San Juan mountains in the background.
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Creative Commons License This work is copyright 2009 by Nathan D. Holmes (maverick@drgw.net), but licensed under a Creative Commons License. I encourage others to consider CC or other Open Content-style licensing of their original works.

All photographs in this trip report were taken with a Canon EOS 40D using either a Canon 24-105mm F4 L IS/USM, Sigma 18-50mm, or a Canon 100-400mm f4.5-5.6L IS/USM.