about about search support browse contact

Denver & Rio Grande Steam Train at Toltec Tunnel (editor's title)

Toltec Tunnel on the Denver & Rio Grande
Denver & Rio Grande Western workers posing with a steam locomotive at the entrance to Toltec tunnel near the Colorado-New Mexico border. The photograph captures the extremely difficult construction challenges of building a railroad through the Rocky Mountains. Many railroad companies opted for narrow gauge, which was smaller than standard gauge and therefore offered cheaper and faster construction, at the expense of capacity. In 1883, the Denver & Rio Grande Railway completed a 772-mile narrow route through the Rocky Mountains between Denver, Colorado and Salt Lake City, Utah. The narrow gauge route was later supplanted by a standard gauge line that carried all through traffic, but enough local business remained that some sections of the narrow gauge operated through most of the 20th century. Today, steam locomotives still pull passenger trains of the Cumbres & Toltec Scenic Railroad through Toltec Tunnel. This photo appears on p. 267 of More Classic Trains by Arthur Dubin (Kalmbach, 1974).
Source Lake Forest College Library Special Collections
Coverage Spatial, Toltec, New Mexico; Temporal, circa 1880s
Rights Lake Forest College
Date Created c1880
Extent Not available
Depicted Railroad
Location Toltec Tunnel
Equipment, Locomotive 2-8-0 #45 Mojanda
Builder, locomotive Baldwin
Creator Description William Henry Jackson was a painter, photographer, and explorer of the American West. He was born in New York in 1843 and developed a passion for painting at a young age under the tutelage of his mother, an accomplished water color artist. Following service for the Union in the Civil War and a broken marriage engagement, Jackson took a Union Pacific passenger train to the end of the line in 1866, at the time about 100 miles west of Omaha. After working on an Oregon Trail wagon train, he and his brother Ed established a photography business in Omaha, where Jackson made many famous portraits of Native American tribes. During the 1870s, he traveled with U.S. survey teams led by Ferdinand Hayden, where his photos of the Yellowstone region helped in its establishment as the country's first national park. In the 1880s he made his dramatic images of narrow gauge railroads in the Rocky Mountains. He later worked as the plant manager of the Detroit Publishing Company, and lived to the age of 99. Jackson made his photographs using the collodion process with glass plate negatives, ranging in size from 8x10 in. to 18x22 in. The shear size and weight of the equipment limited what he and his team of assistants and mules could pack into the mountains on a single expedition. Despite such challenges, Jackson managed to create some of the most important photographs of the American West during the last third of the 19th century.
Collection Arthur Dubin
Image ID Dubin.I.10.2
Or, go to the Search Page
You can search the photos and collections using the links at the top, or log in to use the Forums and other features of the site.
Create a Login
Forget your password?


Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers
and Trainmen

Brotherhood's Relief and Compensation Fund
California State Railroad Museum
Center for Railroad Photography & Art
Cleveland Memory Project (CSU)
Kalmbach Publishing Co.
Lake Forest College Special Collections
McLean County Museum of History
Museum of the Rockies Photo Archive
Norfolk Southern Corporation
North American Railway Foundation
New York Transit Museum
Oakland Museum of California
Southern Museum of Civil War and Locomotive History

  About Copyright © 2013 Center for Railroad Photography & Art
Major support provided by the North American Railway Foundation