Rio Grande ran steam right through 1968 being the last class 1 railroad to operate steam in regular service. The line from Alamosa was the last stronghold and we see footage from several different photographers. We begin in Alamosa with scenes of engine servicing and switching, plus see trains arriving and departing from the yard. This segment takes us westbound along the dual gauge tracks to Antonito, and on to Chama.
In Chama we arrive aboard the San Juan and see some late 1940ís footage riding to Durango. We meet a doubleheader and pass the eastbound San Juan during this segment. There is a nice section in Durango showing engines near the roundhouse as well as switching duties. We then see a lengthy segment on the Silverton Branch with has several different mixed trains shot from the late 40ís through 1951 or so, plus some later passenger trains. We will see the older K-27 class engines, and in 1951 the 473 painted in the Grande Gold (Bumblebee) scheme.
Next we head back to Chama, and show several trains heading toward Cumbres, which includes engines with helpers, mostly on the rear as they start up the 4% grade.
The last segment features the final years, with film from three different photographers. In 1966 we see a little action with 488 around Durango and at Carbon Junction, as it gathers a freight. In 1967 we see some wonderful 16mm film shot by Fritz Klinke. One day they got 497 and 498 from Alamosa to La Jara. This was the first run of 497 for the year, which would be its final year of operation. We pace it as a light engine to La Jara, then see 498 bring the freight past the depot. A few days later we are in Chama, and see 4 engines being readied for duty on one day, then enjoy a few scenes of 493 and 497 taking a freight eastbound.
Footage of 1968 includes scenes from Durango to Farmington with engine 478 on June 3rd, some scenes of 498 headed east on June 4th, and 498 doubleheading with 478 on June 5th headed back toward Durango. You will see class K-27, K-28, K-36, and K-37 engines mostly and a surprise or two. There is a lot to like in this vintage steam show.
Color scenes with music and informative narration.