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San Juan Express

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Title: San Juan Express  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: Denver and Rio Grande Western Railroad, San Juan, Chama, New Mexico, Cumbres and Toltec Scenic Railroad, Durango and Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia

San Juan Express

The San Juan Express was a narrow gauge train that ran on the 3 feet (0.91 m) Denver & Rio Grande Western Railroad route from Durango, Colorado via Chama, New Mexico, Cumbres Pass and Antonito, Colorado to Alamosa, Colorado. The train ran from February 11, 1937 until January 31, 1951 as train numbers 115 and 116.[1]

Much of the narrow gauge trackage has since been abandoned. A surviving portion of the narrow gauge track in the route is the 64 miles (103 km) long Cumbres & Toltec Scenic Railroad between Antonito and Chama, New Mexico which calls its westbound train the Colorado Limited and its eastbound train the New Mexico Express. The line from Antonito to Alamosa, Colorado is now standard gauge only and belongs to the San Luis and Rio Grande Railroad.

One of the most frequently used engines on this route was D&RGW K-36 steam locomotives. Other locomotives used on this route included the D&RGW K-27, the D&RGW K-28, the D&RGW K-37, and occasionally the D&RGW C-18 models. One K-27 and one K-37 are used on the Cumbres & Toltec railroad, with C-18 D&RGW 315 periodically visiting both the Durango and Silverton and the Cumbres & Toltec railroads.

Notable areas

A scenic highlight of the train is Cumbres Pass at an altitude of 3,046 metres (9,993 ft) above sea level. Nearby is a lunch house at Osier, Colorado where present-day Cumbres & Toltec trains stop midway at the extant of their runs.

See also


  • Illustrated book of Steam and Rail, Garrat, Colin and Matthews, Max-Wade, Barnes & Noble Books, New York (2003) ISBN 978-0-7548-1657-7

External links

  • Cumbres and Toltec Scenic Railroad
  • D&RGW K-36 class
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