The narrow gauge lines of the D&RGW preserved today
Besides the Denver & Rio Grande Western narrow gauge lines converted to standard gauge, which are for most of them still active and now part of the Union Pacific, two sections of the former D&RGW narrow gauge system have been preserved today and have become tourist railroads:
The Cumbres & Toltec Scenic Railroad
The Cumbres & Toltec Scenic Railroad is a magnificent tourist railroad running in the mountains over about a hundred miles of the San Juan Extension of the former Denver & Rio Grande Western, between Antonito, Colorado and Chama, New Mexico, and reaching a 10,000 ft high pass (Cumbres Pass). On its western slope from Chama, the line has 4% grades to the summit of Cumbres Pass, requiring spectacular double heading of the steam trains. On the eastern side starting from Antonito, the line gradually gains elevation first through a landscape of semi-desert plateaus, then progresses in the mountain with numerous curves and reverse curves, and goes through Toltec Gorge. In addition, the Cumbres & Toltec Scenic Railroad owns the most important historical collection of narrow gauge freight cars and maintenance-of-way equipment in the USA.
This former mountain branch line of the Denver & Rio Grande Western winding across the superb scenery of the San Juan Mountains in south west Colorado is now a renowned tourist railroad. It links Durango, a former D&RGW railroad hub, to Silverton, a small town nested in the mountains that came into being to serve the many mines of the area. The line runs up the Animas River valley for 45 miles following the river, crossing from one bank to the other depending on the difficulty of the terrain and even edging its way through precipitous gorges, accessible only on foot or by train. Nowadays several daily trains sporting the famous Rio Grande gold livery run on the line, many more than when this branch line was in revenue operation.