Ouray Branch Facts
From: Montrose, CO
To: Ouray, CO
The Ouray Branch was built as a narrow gauge spur in 1887 in another effort to tap the mining riches of the San Juan Mountains. Ouray was a mining town just over Red Mountain Pass from the Silverton Branch termination at Silverton, CO. Despite being only a dozen or so miles apart by air, the towns were hundreds of miles apart by rail, even using the Rio Grande Southern around the west side of the San Juans. Red Mountain Pass was, for all intents and purposes, impenetrable by railroads of that era. So, the Rio Grande just built in from both sides, and eventually the Rio Grande Southern connected Ridgway on the Ouray Branch with Durango on the far end of the San Juan Extension, closing the loop.
On 29-Sep-1952, the ICC approved abandonment of both the Ridgway-Ouray segment and the western stub of the Black Canyon/Cerro Summit main, now operating as the Cedar Creek Branch out of Montrose. Both were approved. D&RGW 318 made the last run all the way through from Montrose to Ouray on 21-Mar-1953, and the Ridgway-Ouray segment was subsequently scrapped during October of 1953. The remainder of the line from Montrose to Ridgway was standard gauged in a single day - 1-Apr-1953.
The Montrose-Ridgway segment, now known as the Ridgway Branch (appropriately), lasted until the D&RGW filed for abandonment in July of 1972. Reports are that the last freight train ran on 29-Nov-1976, and the line was pulled up in 1977.
Ouray Branch Timetable
|1888-1932||Unknown Timetable History|
|1932-1934||D&RGW Alamosa Division Timetables, Subdivision 14-B|
|1934-1950||D&RGW Alamosa Division Timetables, Subdivision 14-A|
|1951-1954||D&RGW Grand Jct Division Timetables, Subdivision 16-B|