2009-08-28

October 2009 Trains Magazine Special Issue

If you did not receive your October issue of Trains magazine in the mail today, beg, borrow, or steal an issue! "NARROW GAUGE FEVER" headlines the issue and it delivers! Forty years to the month after the magazine's last major look at Colorado's narrow gauge, they come through again.

Map of the Month alone will pay for the issue. Had anyone figured how extensively narrow gauge was used? I would caution you that it's not to scale. Chama is not nearly as close to Durango as it appears on the map. Also, bear in mind that the Narrow Gauge Circle does not appear very well because much of it was abandoned and not converted to standard gauge.

The foldout for Midnight in Durango is beautiful! Summer nights in Durango are laden with coal smoke and the vivid dreams of 4- and 5 year-old boys whose love of trains have just begun.

Don't miss the photo essay, Return to the Land of the Narrow Gauge by John Gruber. Here's the link to the PDF offer of the 1969 photo essay. Back Issue articles also included in the PDF (Colorado narrow gauge articles in bold):
  • “East Broad Top” By William Moedinger Jr., Pages 4-16, August 1941
  • “Narrow Gauge to Santa Fe” By Forest Crossen, Pages 4-13, September 1941, a long, lingering look (for a magazine) at the Chili Line.
  • “Florence & Cripple Creek” By L.C. McClure, Pages 4-5, December 1941, about the already abandoned Phantom Canyon line.
  • “Down in Maine — Two-Footers” By Linwood W. Moody, Pages 28-29, February 1943
  • “Main Line of the Narrow Gauge” By Harold M. Mayer, Pages 18-25, September 1944, details the Alamosa to Durango portion of the San Juan Extension, with a fine-toothed comb aimed at the passenger train named simply San Juan.
  • “Southern Pacific Narrow Gauge” By Lucius Beebe, Pages 14-21, March 1947
  • “Tweetsie’s Last Trip” By Jack Alexander, Pages 24-26, January 1951
  • “Gateway to the Yukon” By F. L. Jaques, Pages 36-43, January 1951
  • “What’s Right in Colorado” By Cornelius Hauck, Page 59, March 1955, a letter from Hauck on Richardson and Helfin's Alamosa efforts at the Narrow Gauge Motel, which would eventually become the Colorado Railroad Museum out in Golden
  • “White Pass Meets Its Match” By Rosemary Entringer, Pages 36-37, February 1956
  • “Into the Freezing Darkness” By Philip R. Hastings, Pages 48-56, April 1956, Hastings sleeps at the Narrow Gauge Motel before bucking the winter snows with now-cold D&RGW engine 499 on Cumbres Pass in 1955.
  • “The Wide, Wide World of Narrow Gauge” By David P. Morgan, Cover, Pages 18-19, October 1969, a single-photo essay of the narrow gauge published on the eve of the abandonment of the narrow gauge from Antonito to Durango
  • “God Made Snow for Farmers and Artists” By John Norwood, Pages 20-28, October 1969, long-time resident of the area, Norwood looks at the Chama turn over Cumbres clearing snow via rotary plow
  • “Extra 498 and 493 West” By John Gruber, Pages 29-37, October 1969 (referenced offer), an effort to look at the Rio Grande's narrow gauge operation from the crew's vantage point
  • “When All Roads Led to Durango” By William Moedinger, Pages 38-47, October 1969,
  • “Out of a Misbegotten Idea, a Not Coincidental Charm” By David P. Morgan, Pages 48-49, October 1969, a single-photo essay on the RGS
  • “The Nation’s Newest Narrow Gauge” By William H. McKenzie, Pages 22-25, April 1971, on the humble birth of the Cumbres & Toltec Scenic
At a mere 104 pages, 13.8 MB, it seems a bit skimpy for those whose love of Colorado Narrow Gauge knows no bounds, but at $5.95, can anyone complain? I had practically no money and I still bought this! The profile of the Rio Grande narrow gauge grades from Alamosa to Pagosa Springs on page 33 is amazing! My only complaint is the ink is too light and requires some contrast work.

Forty years is a long time to wait, but it's beautiful, nonetheless.