Rio Grande Zephyr Ride
March 1976

photos by Mike Condren

Frind David McDonald and I drove to Denver during my Spring Break at The College of the Ozarks to ride the Rio Grande Zephyr from Denver to Salt Lake City and back. This web page will cover some of that trip. Most of the time we rode in the dome cars except when eating our meals. Here we see the Zephyr sitting in Denver Union Station before our ride began. The snow you see came after our arrival in Denver and continued throughout the night before our ride, making for a beautiful ride.

Our train is then seen leaving Denver.

This view is of the "Big 10s" curve which has a string of hopper parked on an adjacent track to prevent trains from being blown over and down the mountain.

This was the first tunnel on the climb up the Frontal Range, followed by several others.
Some very nice slopping rocks.

Our next scene is our approach to Moffet Tunnel.
We then ducked into the tunnel under the Continental Divide.

Skiers are enjoying the snow at Winter Park as we exit Moffet Tunnel.

Next came Fraser, CO.

This tunnel was near Granby, CO.

Next came Byer's Canyon.

The train is then seen entering Gore Canyon.
Gore Canyon was formed by the Colorado River.

The next location is Orestod, CO where the line splits with the left leg going to Salt Lake City, UT and the right leg going to Steamboat Springs, CO.

As we arrive at Bond, CO, we see a water tower in the distance.
Bond is a crew change for the engineer.

This view is out the rear window of the dome obs.

This view is of Glenwood Canyon with the Colorado River and highway to the right of the tracks.

As we exit Glenwood Canyon, we can see Gelnwood Springs, our next stop. Jan and I stayed in a hotel across the street from the railroad station in 1980.

At Silt, CO we met a freight as seen in this view out of rear of our dome.

The Chamber of Commerce was headquartered in a former Rio Grande coach.

The tracks and Colorado River pass through the Palisaides, CO.

This dam across the Colorado River is just east of Grand Junction, CO.

The train is then stopped at the station at Grand Junction where it changes crews.

This oil refinery is seen at Shale, CO.

We then started through Ruby Canyon.

This is roughly the state line between Colorado and Utah.

This is the last shot before sundown.

This is photo of the station that we used in Salt Lake City is not mine. It was too late for photos when we arrived. We walked to a nearby hotel for the night. The next morning it was too early the next morning.
From Wikipedia

This is the first photo on March 30, 1976, taken near Mesa, UT.

We passed the steel mill at Pipe Mill, UT.

The Wassatch Mountains are freshly covered with snow from overnight.

When we get to the Narrows, UT, we find the train wreck that we saw the previous night is still being cleaned up.
A train was spotted on the next level of tracks above our location.
Next we look back at the wreck site from the other side of the valley.
We next meet the freight seen from across the valley.
A few minutes later we were on another level of the track looking down on the coal train we just met and the wreck site on the other side of the valley.
Still higher we look back at the valley where we had been.

At Kyune, UT we met a westbound piggy-back train.

Next we see our train entering a tunnel with the other line entering a tunnel.

The next landmark was Castle Gate.

This is Utah Jct and the Utah Railway facilities.

A engine is visible inside this shed at this coal yard at Wash, UT.

East of Helper we are at Cliff, UT again.

Next came Ruby Canyon.

Next was this plant at Shale.

Next is this plant at Clifton, CO.

We then overtook this freight.

This facility was at Rifle, CO.

This resort is across the Colorado River from the Glenwood Springs station.

These views are inside Glenwood Canyon.

This is the site of the former monument to dome cars which were invented for rides through these mountains.

More views in Glenwood Canyon.

This is the water diversion dam on Colorado River at Shoshone, CO.

These cliffs are just east of the Shoshone dam.

Our train is then seen at Dotzero where the Moffet Tunnel, left, and Royal Gorge, right, route diverge.

We then see our train at Range, CO.

We then arrive at Bond, CO for a crew change.

When we got to Gore Canyon, I spotted these deer.

These were in Gore Canyon.

It got dark before we got to Moffet Tunnel. However, the lights were spectacular when we got to where we could see Denver down below us.


This page was designed and is maintained by Mike Condren