Scenic USA - Colorado

Durango Train Depot

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Durango Train Depot - Durango-Silverton Narrow Gauge Railway, Colorado

Photos by Bob Goldman

     Counting on a brisk business from local mines and passenger service, the Denver and Rio Grande Railway moved into the Durango area in 1879. The construction of the Silverton-Durango rail line proceeded at a remarkable pace and is especially noteworthy considering the rugged San Juan Mountain terrain. Initially conceived as a passenger train for what was called the Around the Circle Tour, the railway's purpose shifted to include freight, moving precious metal ore from high altitude San Juan Mountain mines. Durango, the railway's southern hub, became an industrial park setting, housing the freight yard and ore smelters. It wasn't long before Durango acquired the nickname Number 481 - Durango and Silverton Railroad, Colorado of Smelter City. The Durango area's total production of gold and silver has been estimated at 300 million dollars, with over half coming from the Gold King Mine.
     Despite a major fire in 1889, which destroyed a large portion of Durango's downtown, many original historic buildings are still standing on Main Street and Third Avenues. The Durango Railroad Depot, standing at the end of Main Street, still whisks away hundreds of passengers every day, tracing the century old narrow-gauge route into the majestic San Juan Mountains.
     Two of southern Colorado's main attractions, Mesa Verde National Park and the Durango-Silverton Narrow Gauge Railway, continue to draw visitors from around the world.

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