Greg Picard & Andrea Seid
A ride on the Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad is spectacular in itself, but a visit to the museum is the perfect way to complete your experience. The 12,000 square foot museum houses an impressive variety of exhibits including an 800-square foot scale model railroad depicting the Denver & Rio Grande Railroad as it would operate in the 1950’s; a large library selection of railroad history books; exhibit cases with a large selection of railroad tool displays, photographs; paintings; lanterns, locks and keys; two steam locomotives, and a 1916 American La France fire engine.
Adults and kids alike will enjoy the chance to explore the cab of a locomotive, see the view from the fireman and engineer’s seats, and handle the levers and gauges they have only seen from afar. A converted luggage car is now a movie theatre showing videos on the railroad’s history and also on the maintenance and reconstruction of a steam locomotive.
The museum was created in 1998 by utilizing a portion of an engine storage facility, which had been built after the roundhouse fire in 1989 as an eight-stall addition to the roundhouse. When current railroad owners Allen and Carol Harper bought the railroad, the museum was set up with exhibits and staffed to allow a real museum experience.
In addition to the D&SNG museum, a small satellite museum operates in the Silverton freight yard building with its exhibits focused on the mining industry in Silverton and the Denver & Rio Grande’s and Otto Mear’s three railroads out of Silverton serving those mines.
Admission to both museums is included with the price of a train ticket, so be sure to visit! The Silverton museum is open May – October and the Durango museum is open year-round with the exception of early November. Please check with the ticket office for exact dates and times. We look forward to sharing our history with you.