rio grande zephyr

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Rio Grande Zephyr in Glenwood Springs - 1975 by Steve Brown
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From May 1, 1971 (the opening day of Amtrak operation of most American intercity passenger trains) until April 24, 1983, the Denver & Rio Grande Railroad operated the Rio Grande Zephyr on their own between Denver and Ogden, Utah. In 1983, the R&RGW allowed Amtrak to take over the service for their Chicago - San Francisco California Zephyr, which continues operation today. My mom and I took a vacation in the Colorado Rockies in 1975 and rode the Zephyr from Denver to Glenwood Springs, a distance on 185 miles through the heart of the Colorado Rockies. I took this photo of the train on our arrival in Glenwood Springs. View my collections on flickr here: Collections Press “L” for a larger image on black.

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6 More of Roger Puta’s Rio Grande Zephyr Photos by Marty Bernard
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Westbound at west end of Clay siding, at the upper end of Big and Little Ten Curves west of Denver, CO in July 1981.

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Rio Grande Zephyr in Hideaway Park, Colorado - 1971 by Steve Brown
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When Amtrak took over American passenger service on May 1, 1971, the Rio Grande Railroad chose not to join the Amtrak system. They were thus mandated to continue operating their own passenger service between Denver and Salt Lake City, Utah. Their little vista-dome train (sometimes, as here, as few as four cars) was given the nickname “pocket domeliner”, though in later years, as the service became more popular with tourists, the train was sometimes quite long. I rode the train in 1975 and again in 1981. I worked on a nearby guest ranch for the summer (which actually bordered the railroad here) and would often walk to trackside to watch the train action. Here the westbound train is at Hideaway Park, Colorado, approx. sixty miles west from its origin point of Denver on June 14, 1971. This was the standard “short consist”: one baggage-coach, one dome coach, dining car and vista-dome observation lounge with two of the F-7 locomotives for power. The continental divide rises across the horizon behind the train and a bit of the Winter Park ski slopes is seen at the right. The Rio Grande Railroad did join Amtrak, in April, 1983 and the Amtrak California Zephyr now plies this route daily on its run between Chicago and San Francisco. View my collections on flickr here: Collections Press “L” for a larger image on black.

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DRGW Dome Obs “Silver Sky”, Rio Grande Zephyr, February 1980 by Marty Bernard
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A Roger Puta Photograph

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Rio Grande Zephyr (six images)

On July 30th 1979, I had the pleasure of riding the Rio Grande Zephyr from Denver to Salt Lake City.

Here above, we see the train prior to departure from Denver. The Rio Grande would discontinue the Zephyr in 1983.

Photographs by Richard Koenig.

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