The purpose of this website is to provide a single location access for D&RGW Narrow Gauge Railroad History, Resources and Photos
The Denver & Rio Grande Western Railroad (DRGW), often shortened to Rio Grande or D&RGW, formerly the Denver & Rio Grande Railroad. The railroad started as a narrow gauge line running south from Denver, Colorado in 1870. It served mainly as a transcontinental bridge line between Denver, and Salt Lake City, Utah. The Rio Grande was also a major origin of coal and mineral traffic.
In 1988, the Rio Grande’s parent corporation, Rio Grande Industries, purchased Southern Pacific Transportation Company, and as the result of a merger, the larger Southern Pacific Railroad name was chosen for identity. Today, most former D&RGW main lines are owned and operated by the Union Pacific Railroad; several branch lines are now operated as heritage railways by various companies.
The Rio Grande was the epitome of mountain railroading, with a motto of Through the Rockies, not around them and later Main line through the Rockies, both referring to the Rocky Mountains. The D&RGW operated the highest mainline rail line in the United States, over the 10,240 feet (3,120 m) Tennessee Pass in Colorado, and the famed routes through the Moffat Tunnel and the Royal Gorge. At its height, around 1890, the D&RG had the largest operating narrow gauge railroad network in North America. Known for its independence, the D&RGW operated the last private intercity passenger train in the United States, the Rio Grande Zephyr.
At the end of 1970 it operated 1903 miles of road on 3227 miles of track; that year it carried 7733 ton-miles of revenue freight and 21 million passenger-miles.
This is a personal website and to the best of my knowledge I have noted where pictures and content have come from and I make this information available to all for non commercial uses. Please contact the website guardian by Requesting a Pass on the D&RGW to comment or complain.
The Slim Gauge Circle is an informal group of over 200 UK
(plus some overseas) based modellers interested in
North American narrow gauge railroads.
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