Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad Facts

Company

Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad, Inc.

Headquarters

479 Main Avenue
Durango, Colorado  81301

info@durangotrain.com
www.durangotrain.com

Toll Free: (877) 872-4607
Administration: (970) 259-0274
General Information: (970) 247-2733
Reservations: (970) 247-2733

Date Founded

1881, in Durango, Colorado.

Business Description

Established in 1881 as the Denver & Rio Grande Railway, and based in beautiful Durango, Colorado, the Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad (D&SNGRR)™ has been transporting passengers, young and old alike, through the remote, scenic wilderness and high-mountain landscape of the San Juan National Forest for 135 years. Now owned and operated by American Heritage Railways, the D&SNGRR provides distinctive year-round rail experiences via its fleet of vintage coal-fired, steam-operated locomotives and coaches which have been updated with modern conveniences to accommodate today’s discerning travelers.

The D&SNGRR offers consumers a unique, enjoyable, and affordable family-friendly travel experience which combines the state’s colorful pioneering and mining histories with the unparalleled beauty of the Colorado back country. In addition, the D&SNGRR manages two museums, one at each end of the line, that chronicle the fascinating history of railroading, transportation, and mining in the Durango/Silverton area. The company adds exhibits frequently, and admission is free.

Co-owned by Allen and Carol Harper, the D&SNGRR is part of the American Heritage Railways network and managed by members of the Harper family. The parent company also owns the Mount Rainier Railroad and Logging Museum™ in Elbe, Washington; the Great Smoky Mountains Railroad™ in Bryson City, North Carolina and Rail Events, Inc., which coordinates licensed special events, event promotions, merchandising, and related activities to railroad and museum operators throughout the United States and Canada.

Mission

To offer consumers a unique, enjoyable, and affordable family-friendly travel experience which combines the state’s colorful pioneering and mining histories with the unparalleled beauty of the Colorado back country.

Vision

“At the D&SNGRR, we are all guardians of history. And the best way to preserve that history is to make its presentation so interesting and exciting that people will pay a fair price for the experience.”

Allen C. Harper
Chairman and Chief Executive Officer (CEO)
American Heritage Railways

Strategic Positioning

The D&SNGRR allows consumers to relive and immerse themselves in history via the authentic sights and sounds of the Old West by traveling the very same tracks used by miners, cowboys, and settlers well over a century ago.

Tag Line

America’s Railroad

Brand Identity

As one of Colorado’s oldest and most respected tourism brands, the D&SNGRR brand stands for deep admiration of the region’s extensive, fascinating 135-year-old pioneering and mining history; an unwavering commitment to protect and preserve the majestic landscapes of the San Juan National Forest through which its trains travel; and a penchant for relevantly connecting the enchantment of the past with the pace of modern times via one-of-a-kind rail experiences.

At the core of the D&SNGRR’s brand identity is its signature locomotive engine, known as No. 473, which has been in service on the line since 1923.

Focus/Target Market

The D&SNGRR is history personified…a living, breathing historical experience that utilizes all-original equipment from yesteryear, maintained to perfection, and preserved and operated by highly-trained professionals using skills that have been long lost to ordinary endeavors. 

Riding the D&SNGRR, consumers of all ages are transformed into 1882 railroaders and become a part of the rich historical fabric of the Durango/Silverton area. In addition, travelers have the unique opportunity to experience Colorado at its most magnificent…native flora and fauna, cascading waterfalls, spectacular canyons, breathtaking vistas, and majestic peaks…with many of these areas accessible only by train or air.

Senior Management 

Allen C. Harper
Co-Owner and CEO

Carol Harper
Co-Owner and President

Cathy Swarts 
Chief Financial Officer

Paul Schrank
Senior Vice President

John Harper
General Manager 

Larry Beam
Chief Mechanical Engineer

Evan Buchanan
Vice President/Superintendent of Operations 

Gary Keil
Business Manager

About Allen C. Harper

With more than five decades of professional experience in the real estate sales and agency management, commercial property development, rail transportation, and tourism domains, Allen C. Harper is the co-founder, chairman, and chief executive officer of American Heritage Railways, the country’s premier tourist rail operator, the industry expert in rail-related special event management, and the parent company of the Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad (D&SNGRR).

Under his leadership, and in collaboration with his wife and co-owner Carol, American Heritage Railways also owns and operates the Mount Rainier Railroad and Logging Museum in Elbe, Washington; the Great Smoky Mountains Railroad in Bryson City, North Carolina and Rail Events, Inc., which coordinates licensed special events, event promotions, merchandising, and related activities to railroad and museum operators throughout the United States and Canada. American Heritage Railways’ latest adventure is the acquisition and renovation of Silverton’s historic Grand Imperial Hotel, originally founded in 1882 and scheduled to reopen in the spring of 2016.

A native of Missouri, Harper holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in sociology, with a minor in business administration, from Principia College in Elsah, Illinois. He also completed post-graduate studies in finance at the University of Missouri in St. Louis. He and Carol reside in Durango, Colorado.

Products

The D&SNGRR offers a broad spectrum of excursions and special events throughout the year with seating options ranging from open-air gondolas providing panoramic views of the mountains to presidential-class luxury coaches.

These offerings include a growing portfolio of highly-popular special events, including Durango Wine and Rails (wine tasting), Durango Brew Train (beer tasting), and Durango Blues Train (blues music), and poetry, photography, and heritage excursions. The railroad also offers its Peanuts™ The Easter Beagle Express, Peanuts™ The Great Pumpkin Patch Express, and THE POLAR EXPRESS™ themed holiday experiences. The latter two events are usually sold out well in advance because of their popularity with consumers.

The D&SNGRR’s event portfolio is constantly growing, and consumers may view all of the latest event information on the company’s website or social media platforms.

Contact

Toll Free: (877) 872-4607

Administration: (970) 259-0274

General Information: (970) 247-2733

Reservations: (970) 247-2733

info@durangotrain.com

www.durangotrain.com

Connect

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