interest in American railroads started 1996 when a
friend convinced me that American railroads were more
interesting than Swedish. It didn't take long before my
interest focused around the Denver & Rio Grande
Western railroad. I read some articles about D&RGW
in Trains and become fascinated about the nature in
I made up my mind when I read the article "Hard road to
Alamosa" written by Steve Rasmussen, see below, about
the traffic in the San Luis Valley. Alamosa and the
traffic in the Valley is going to be the part of
D&RGW I'm going to model. Alamosa was until the end
of the 60s a busy railroad center with both narrow and
standard gauge. Steam locomotives from the beginning of
the century and modern diesels shared the same tracks.
I visited the valley together with a friend from Sweden
in March 1998 and March 1999. It was still a nice place
to spend time rail fanning. The PUAMM leave Pueblo and
arrive in Alamosa early in the morning every weekday.
They split up the road power in Alamosa and use them for
the two locals in the valley. One local heads west to
South Fork and one local goes south to Antonito.
Occasionally they run a train over the pass to La Veta
with cars left over from the day before. This train is
called "La Veta Turn". The train back to Pueblo, AMPUM,
leaves Alamosa late in the afternoon and arrives in
Pueblo at midnight.
They still used cabooses both on the train from Pueblo to
Alamosa and on the the two locals in the valley. You can
read more about the valley in the travel report from our
visit in 1999.
Steve Rasmussen has written the book "The Rio Grande's
La Veta Pass Route" it contains over 400 photos in it's
290 pages about Rio Grande in the San Luis Valley. It's
an excellent source for information about Rio Grande in
San Luis Valley. He covers both the history and the
I can recommend the DVD "Living La Veta Loco!" if you
would like to watch some live action from the valley
during the last years of Rio Grande ownership. It's the
only DVD or video I know of that focus on the modern
time standard gauge operation in the valley. There are
numerous videos about the narrow gauge operation.
"Living La Veta Loco!" is available from Tell-Tale Productions.
Rail America bought the complete branch from UP and
started the daughter company San Luis & Rio Grande
San Luis & Rio Grande Railroad is today owned by Iowa
Pacific Holdings. They operate the
branch and interchange with SLC in Sugar Junction and UP
in Walsenburg. They also operate some different tourist