Note: I cannot possibly do the RGS history justice in the same way that Steven Haworth's great RGS site can. For those with an interest in the RGS, I strongly recommend it. What follows is a very basic summary of RGS history.
The Rio Grande Southern was founded by Otto Mears and partners in 1889 to serve the precious metal mines on the west side of the San Juan range. The line would connect with the Rio Grande's San Juan Extension at Durango, and the Ouray Branch at Ridgway, CO. In doing so, it formed the final link in the Narrow Gauge Circle?.
While the first couple years were extremely profitable due to the booming precious metal mining in the region, the rest of the route's history was one of financial turmoil and minimal survival. The line was completed only a year before the Silver Panic of 1893?, and when the mines closed, traffic plummeted and the railroad went into receivership.
As part of the restructuring, the Rio Grande acquired a controlling interest in the route and maintained its control until the end in 1951.
At the moment, I don't have any detailed rosters of the RGS prepared. Again, Steven Haworth has done a far more intensive job than I ever could. However, I do have photos of a bit of RGS equipment.
Route / Locations
Again, I don't have a detailed route summary, but there are photos...