Rio Grande Southern/Denver & Rio Grande

"This new video is fabulous. It was produced from 8mm film taken by pioneer narrow gauge model builders Jack Alexander and Vince Ryan in the late 1940's. The images have been digitally enhanced, and sound and narration were added.

"The tape starts by showing us the 3-foot gauge D&RGW's Monarch Branch in 1949. Jack and Vince really knew their railroads, and the film they took show details of operation on the Monarch Branch. There are may shots of locomotives 481, 486, 490, and 492, and we see double-headed trains of high-side gondolas loaded with limestone destined for the steel mill in Pueblo, Colorado. Then the empties are shown being hauled back to the quarries. Many shots were taken from caboose cupolas, but most were taken from vantage points off the train. The narrator describes what is happening, and this sequence really showed me how the Monarch Branch operated.

"The second part of this video shows a trip on the posh San Juan Express hauled by #476. We ride from Antonito, through Cumbres to Durango on this beautiful train in freshly painted passenger cars complete with gold lettering. We get to view the interior of the parlor car, and even the Westbound San Juan passing the Eastbound San Juan.

"In Durango, #453 is shown switching the yards with the famous Silver Vista observation car in the background. Then we follow a freight train hauled by #473 on its way to Silverton.

"The next part of the video shows the Rocky Mountain Railroad Club's May 28-29, 1949, excursion on the Rio Grande Southern. Many still photos showing this excursion have been published, but this is the first time I have seen it on film. The train was hauled by ex-Colorado & Southern 2-8-0 #74. Neither Vince nor Jack rode the train but chased it, filming as they went. There is a meet with Goose #5, and we see Goose #4 at the Vance Junction coal tipple. The train ran over Keystone Hill to Telluride were the excursionists stayed overnight.

"The next day, the train ran through Ophir where the tape shows an aerial tram at work. We also see #461 working upgrade on a freight, and through the Lizard Head snow shed, and an interesting series of shots taken through the front window of a Goose.

"Then the tape turns to D&RGW #340 pulling a freight, switching along the line, going through a stub switch, and being turned on a turntable [at Ouray, wm]. We also see views of C-21 #361 running through Black Canyon and K-27 #456 hauling a train of empties. The tape ends with views of the Rocky Mountain Club's second 1949 trip.

"I found this video fascinating. It was wonderful to see these almost 50-year old films showing Colorado narrow gauge railroads in operation - and in color. Don't miss it. Bob Brown, Narrow Gauge and Short Line Gazette

"...In this 60 minute film, Jack Alexander and Vince Ryan, two avid narrow gauge fans who got around Narrow Gauge country in the early 1950s, have combined their films to produce this color video. Remember, these two railroads were still in business at that time, not just hauling gawking tourists around the mountains, but transporting freight and performing passenger service more for people who needed to get somewhere rather than people just looking for entertainment.

"...With new sound added, and using Emery Gulash's narrow gauge audio collection, this tape will make any narrow gauge railfan break out in a sweat. Remember that the film used in the 1950s isn't what they use in the 1990s, but you'll still enjoy this intriguing video. Sn3 Modeler

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