The Rio Grande Southern Railroad twisted and turned its way over 162 miles of three
foot gauge track between Ridgway and Durango in the south west of Colorado's San Juan
It was constructed by Otto Mears to reach the rich mining districts of Telluride
and Rico. To achieve this task it had to travel over two mountain passes using four
percent grades. The line first opened for business in 1890
More detailed interactive RGS map
The RGS always struggled for it's existence. If mother nature was not trying to wipe
out her road-bed, then her owners were trying to abandon her.
But she fought on with the assistance of people such as Victor A Miller, an appointed
receiver, Jack Odenbaugh, the master mechanic who built the Galloping Geese, and all the
staff and crew who kept her running.
Finally though she could take no more, back taxes were catching up, the mail contract
was lost, and her customers were turning to the automobile / truck.
The RGS though has not yet died. The RGS lives on in the hearts and minds of all
those who hold a fascination for this little line which cannot be explained.
Items of rolling stock have been restored, and many model railroaders (myself included)
construct our own versions of the Rio Grande Southern Railroad.
Image of the local RGS scenery (30K)
Narrow Gauge in the Rockies (Lucius Beebe & Charles Clegg) Howel North Books 1958
The RGS Story Vol 1 to ? (Russ Collman, Dell McCoy, William Graves) Sundance Publications 1990
Rio Grande Southern II (Richard Dorman) R.D. Publications 1994
Silver San Juan (Mallory Hope Ferrell) Pruett Publishing Co 1973)