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Title: Rio Grande Southern Railroad track removal near Burns Canyon (above Dolores, Colo.)
Date/circa:  1952/1953
Subjects: Rio Grande Southern Railroad (Colo.); ; Mountain railroads--Colorado--Pictorial works; Burns Canyon (Colo.)
Notes: Near Mile Post 63. A crew apparently is working on removing the first section of track at the lowest washout of track above Dolores when the Rio Grande Southern was being abandoned and scrapped. The location apparently is Burns Canyon, a narrow rocky area just south of bridge 64-A, which both the track and the Dolores River twisted through on an S curve. According to Robert Herronen (analyst, UNCG MIS department; builder, Rio Grande Southern R.R. of N.C.; and alumnus, Fort Lewis College, 1993), who supplied this info via emails on 3/26 and 3/28/2007, "The RGS received word from the courts that it could be abandoned April 24th, 1952. The RGS began to dismantle the trackage starting in May of 1952 it appears. Scrapping was done June 17, 1953." He believes this view is "around milepost 70. Below MP. 70, there are photos of Goose 7 scrapping the tracks. So it was a section that they could not use the steam train to scrap the railroad. That would explain why they were scrapping up the side of Lizard Head pass by October. They had Rico to scrap (at MP 66.2) and by October two outfit cars had run away and were left where they ran off the tracks at Coke Ovens (at MP 60.49)." He explained, "The other sections between the washouts were removed using the Galloping Geese engines with their box bodies removed. [That way, the work crews] could truck them around the washouts and tear up the track between the washed out tracks. They used the K-27 class locomotive #461 with a winch mounted on the tender to pull the rails up onto the flat car as they went along (the winch was not installed by the time the time these photos were taken.) " Herronen cites Robert Alford with these details about the railroad's piecemeal removal of track: "A little more info on 8-21-52 engine 461 with first run of scrap train, 9-02-52 mp 63 three miles north of Rico removed, 10-11-52 rails removed at Lizard Head, 11-05-52 Ophir high bridge rails removed, 01-??-53 Goose used to remove rails from MP 21 to Placerville, 06-17-53 last rail at Hesperus removed by Goose # 6." Alford cited Robert Sloan's book stating that the dismantling began on September 2, 1952 at Coke Ovens near Milepost 62, with Engine 461 leading the way.





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