It’s almost that time — time for the 2013 True West Railfest in Durango with all things railroad for train lovers. The Durango and Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad is partnering with True West magazine to bring the True West Railfest to Durango Aug. 15-19 and to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the classic movie “Tombstone.” The festival offers five days of events, entertainment and opportunities to check out historic railorabilia (rail + memorabilia = railorabilia).
Buy your seat for the Aug. 17 Presidential Train, which will feature some of the Durango railroad’s most luxurious cars and treat passengers to a farm-to-table luncheon made with La Plata County produce and products paired with local high-altitude wine. The seven-hour, round-trip ride also includes live entertainment from Sourdough Slim, Doc Holliday and Jeff and Andy of the High Rollers.
The festival also features visiting equipment — the RGS Galloping Goose No. 5 (RGS5) and the Denver Rio Grande Western 315 steam locomotive — and the Durango and Silverton railroad will be offering passenger excursions with both. Fun fact: The “Galloping Goose” was developed as a new rail vehicle during the Great Depression. All the “geese” were built from old automobiles (Buicks and Pierce Arrows) and were used as smaller, gas-powered rail vehicles that provided a more economical way to haul less freight and fewer passengers. The RGS5 was originally built from a 1928 Pierce-Arrow limousine body and running gear and was rebuilt in 1946-47 with a World War II surplus GMC gasoline truck engine and a Wayne Corporation school bus body.
The Emma Sweeny — an 1899 Schenectady locomotive RGS 20 that was used in the 1949 movie, “A Ticket to Tomahawk” — will also be on display in Santa Rita Park throughout the festival.
Catch a free showing of “Tombstone” at 8:30 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 15, at the Gaslight Theater or catch a free Silverton Brass Band concert throughout the weekend.
There’s also free admission Saturday, Aug. 17, to check out “railroadiana” (apparently that’s what it’s really called, not “railorabilia”) at the Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad Museum and a “Railroad Pioneers” cemetery tour Sunday, Aug. 18.
So much to do! So much railroad stuff to see! So many train excursions to take!
For a complete schedule of events or for more information about ticket prices, visit the Durango and Silverton train’s True West Railfest web page. While you’re in town for all the railroading, be sure to stay with us at the Durango Quality Inn. We’re just one mile north of the downtown depot, which is easily accessible by the city’s free trolley. Book your room today!