After WWII, narrow gauge lines in general and the Silverton line in particular were in great danger of being abandoned. According to the D&SNGRR web site, it was at this time that some of the railroad's staff began to promote tourism in the hope of keeping the lines alive. One of the first fruits of this effort was the construction of the glass-topped, open-sided observation car Silver Vista in 1947. The car would be destroyed in an Alamosa shop fire in 1953, but by that time Hollywood had taken notice of this picturesque throwback to the days of yesteryear; several movies would be filmed along the Silverton line during the 1950s and early 1960s and with this free publicity tourism would begin to take off in earnest.

From the pages of the Official Guide, August, 1950

Denver & Rio Grande Western herald

The Silverton

Denver & Rio Grande Western RR
April 2, 1950

461 Train Number 462
SuWeFr Miles (Narrow Gauge Lines) Services Elevation SuWeFr
9 15A Dp 0.0 Durango, CO (MT) C 6520 Ar 5 00P
F 9 50A 9.2 Trimble, CO 6578 F 4 26P
9 57A 11.0 Hermosa, CO 6645 4 19P
10 26A 17.6 Rockwood, CO 7367 3 53P
F11 40A 30.8 Needleton, CO 8141 F 2 35P
F12 14P 39.0 Elk Park, CO 8883 F 2 05P
12 40P Ar 45.2 Silverton, CO (MT) C 9300 Dp 1 40P

Train 461: 5 stops, 3:25, 13.2 MPHTrain 462: 5 stops, 3:20, 13.6 MPH

Trains 461 and 462 are mixed passenger and freight trains.



Silver vista (Glass Top) Observation Car; Coach,
Durango to Silverton (Sunday, Wednesday and Friday).


Silver Vista (Glass Top) Observation Car; Coach,
Silverton to Durango (Sunday, Wednesday and Friday).

Comparing this timetable with that of 1941, you can see that the return time has been pushed back to give a full hour's layover in Silverton, permitting a bit more time for touring and taking pictures or grabbing a somewhat hurried bite of lunch.