Producer: Charles Smiley
Timeframe: 1954- 1969
Locations: Durango, Arboles, Salida, Antonito, Gunnison, Farmington…
Length: 1 hour 36 minutes + previews
Sources: Andy Payne, Fred Hust, Harvey Laner
A fascinating, time travel visit, into vintage Rio Grande Narrow Gauge steam. Andy Payne was a Rio Grande Engineer. He was also an independent Railfan / Cinematographer. Early on, he acquired a Bolex 16mm movie camera. Filmed mostly in 16mm. All films are full color. Only some highlights here.
Harvey S. Laner digitized Payne’s film collection in 2008. Three narrators on this show. Harvey, Andy and Charles Smiley.
The earliest films are in 8 mm. Those are very good, for their age. Durango is above. The gems are the 16mm films. Excellent quality! Nearly all freight trains.
The custom Charles Smiley maps are extremely helpful. Also, explains other lines.
Alamosa to Antonito dual guage trackage. This on the San Juan Extension. This line continues towards Laboto Trestle.
The old freight cars are bursting with character! Railfans and Model Railroaders will have a grand time, with the varied equipment.
Various class Mikado’s are reviewed. 480-489. K-36 seen here.These 2-8-2 are seen with close-ups. Maintenance functions.
Andy has detailed Hostler duties and discussion of steam locomotive fire. This is unique amount many steam shows!
Soundtrack is mixed. Authentic steam sounds, background music and narrative. All interwoven in that Charles Smiley style.
Old Arboles area is shown, before a water dam project buried this area. A highline is being installed. Navajo River.
Gunnison in 1955. The 268 was Baldwin built in 1882. Leased here for a scrap train.
Salida in 1955. Dual gauged.
The Durango Loop was Railroad built around 1967.
Andy rode freight trains on off days. Filmed from assorted viewpoints. Here, on a revenue stock train.
See how to get a Mike rerailed, without a crane.
A number of Hollywood feature films were filmed, in part at or near Durango.
Oil and the Freight business. Farmington Branchline in 1955. South of Durango. Carbon Jct. had a small switch yard.
Model Railroaders will get a kick out of seeing GRAMPS oil tank cars!
Declining traffic spelled the end of the San Juan Extension.
Andy filmed Springtime snow and slide clearing of the Silverton line. An old Caterpillar bulldozer does the job!
This is a wonderful collection of vintage Rio Grande Narrow Gauge action! Inclusion of rare locations and singular viewpoints, set it apart from the competition. Not too mention Andy Payne’s first person accounts of the action. Harvey Laner provides the bulk of a clear narrative. Many are interview style, with his friend Andy.
Starting as a Los Angeles Transit Motorman. Andy hired on as Fireman with DRGW in 1957. He loved his work and filming the trains. He passed away in 2012.
Charles Smiley organized everything, into a highly enjoyable viewing experience! As usual, it shall take multiple viewings to get it all in. The 90 minutes literally fly-by. Always the mark of a fun program.
This is a must see, for Rio Grande and Narrow Gauge steam fans.
Rating: 5 Stars