Grande recreations - A Life Chasing Trains


Recreating the days of DRGW freight operations is a popular attraction for railfan photographers on both the C&TS and the D&S.  Early on most of the photo freights were relatively informal undertakings, but over time many of them evolved into ambitious undertakings designed to replicate the multi-engine and often long freights that were common on the DRGW narrow gauge.  On the C&TS this was made possible by the hard work of the Friends of the C&TS to preserve a relatively large number of the old freight cars.

Two of these photo freights are particularly notable. The very first photo freight on the C&TS was sponsored by its original tourist operator Scenic Railways and operated on October 1971.  In October 1992 John Craft and some friends organized what they called the "Ultimate Narrow Gauge Charter" which ran relatively long multi-engine trains trying to replicate DRGW operations.  That 1992 charter set a precedent the more ambitious charters that followed.

It is really amazing that over 40-years after the DRGW abandoned freight operations these recreations are still possible.  While the engines are preserved for use on the tourist service, the fact so many freight cars are still serviceable reflects many years of hard work and fund raising by the Friends of the C&TS who are responsible for the preservation of buildings and equipment that are not necessary for the tourist operation.