2016 Durango Railfest

Durango train Locomotive 315 highline

Photo: durangotrain.com

The love of the locomotive is so pervasive in American culture, it even has its own term: railfan. Or train buff, rail buff, railway enthusiast, trainspotter or any combination of the terms. And for those railfans, Durango brings you Railfest.

The Durango and Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad puts on Railfest Aug. 18-20 with a slew of special railroading events, including a photo train, a murder mystery train, and the Durango train’s Presidential Special. Railfest will also feature Railroadiana in the Grange building in Durango with as many as 40 booths of railroad and western memorabilia for collectors and enthusiasts to buy, sell and trade.

As part of Railfest activities, the Durango train will be offering train rides powered by Locomotive 315, an 1895 engine that was used for 50 years, retired, saved, displayed and eventually restored to ride the rails again. From the Durango train website:

“Locomotive 315 is a Class C-18 locomotive built in July 1895 by Baldwin Locomotive Works of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. It was built for the Florence & Cripple Creek Railroad at the cost of $8001.30. It admirably served on many Colorado rails through the 1940s and remained in service in Durango until 1949. Saved from the scrapheap, #315 was put on display in the railroad town of Durango in 1950. After 58 years of sitting idle, and a 7-year all-volunteer restoration program, #315 was again steamed up and under her own power she arrived in Silverton in September 2007. Now owned by the Durango Railroad Historical Society, #315 is housed in the historic Silverton Northern engine house in Silverton, CO. Be sure to take a trip behind this grand iron horse which has been resurrected from history and graces the rails of the D&SNG only every few years!”

Here’s a full schedule of events for the 2016 Railfest:

Thursday, Aug. 18

  • 8 a.m.-5:15 p.m. — Regular roundtrip steam train excursion from Durango to Silverton and back again.
  • 8:45 a.m.-6 p.m. — Today is a double header with two roundtrip passenger trains.
  • 8:45 a.m.-6 p.m. — Murder Mystery Train. Passengers on the second train have the option to book seats in one of two Murder Mystery coaches (dinner ends at 8 p.m.).
  • 3-7 p.m. — Photo train. Depart from Silverton on a Locomotive 315-powered train and ride roundtrip from Silverton to Cascade Canyon Wye for a special photo train.
  • After 7 p.m. — FREE Night Photo Shoot. Don’t miss your chance to photograph Locomotive 315, which will be posed at the Silverton Depot for a rare chance to capture the beauty.

Friday, Aug. 19

  • 8 a.m.-5:15 p.m. — Regular roundtrip steam-train excursion from Durango to Silverton as well as an option for the Skyway Tour, which takes passenger to Silverton on the Durango train and buses them back to Durango.
  • 8:45 a.m.-6 p.m. — Regular roundtrip steam-train excursion from Durango to Silverton as well as an option for the Skyway Tour
  • 10:15 a.m.-12:30 p.m. — Locomotive 315. Ride round trip from Silverton to Elk Park.

Saturday, Aug. 20

  • 8 a.m.-5:15 p.m. — Regular roundtrip steam-train excursion from Durango to Silverton as well as an option for the Skyway Tour.
  • 8:45 a.m.-6 p.m. — Regular roundtrip steam-train excursion from Durango to Silverton as well as an option for the Skyway Tour
  • 9 a.m.-7 p.m. — Railroadiana at the Durango Grange building will feature up to 40 booths with railroad and western memorabilia to buy, sell and trade.
  • 9:30 a.m.-6:45 p.m. — Departing from Durango, the Presidential Train roundtrip includes an onboard continental breakfast and lunch at The Grand Restaurant and Saloon in Silverton. Passengers can also opt for the Skyway Tour or an overnight hotel package.
  • 9:30 a.m.-11 a.m. —  Locomotive 315. Ride round trip from Silverton to Elk Park. This short train excursion features photo opportunities on the 30-minute ride each way.
  • 4-5:30 p.m. —  Locomotive 315. Ride round trip from Silverton to Elk Park. This short train excursion features photo opportunities on the 30-minute ride each way.

If you’re looking for Durango hotels while you’re in town for Railfest, look no further. The Durango Quality Inn is a mere two miles north of downtown Durango and the Durango train depot — a quick trip in your car or on the city’s free trolley. We hope you’ll choo-choo-choose the Quality Inn Durango  (sorry, blatant Simpsons reference) and book your room today!

 

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