A Little Backstory:
Ever since grade school, I've played around with Google Earth and the various features it offered, such as creating KML objects that displays over satellite imagery. I hadn't ever thought about applying this to documenting abandoned railroads, until I came across Christopher Coleman's "Colorado Railroad Map", which utilizes Google's "MyMaps" service to view the file online:
After taking some closer looks at what his map had to offer and learned about routes I had been
curious about, I was inspired to make one of my own KML maps. Christopher's map showed mainlines
and branches, and occasionally yard spurs here and there, but where there should have been spurs and details shown elsewhere, didn't appear on his map, which made me really question the consistency of
detail. I had noticed how there was little to nothing in places like Durango and Silverton, and I wasn't
too happy about that considering how large unique the Durango Railyard used to be before 1968 when
the railroad went east to Chama, NM. There was also little to nothing shown north of Silverton where
the three Silverton Railroads that Otto Mears built used to run. I understood that the three Silverton
Railroads' existence was somewhat hard to come by for most, and I guess the same could be said for the D&RGW Durango Yard.
As of now (August 2020), it appears he's started to add some objects related to the Silverton Railroads
north of Silverton but a lot of objects are unnamed and are extremly approximate, etc.
So in June 2019, I created the "Silverton Railroads KML Map":
The goals of this map are to show the three Silverton Railroads, the D&RGW Silverton Branch, and
other railroad lines that went out of Durango in almost full detail, depicting yards, structures, spurs
and other significant things related to the railroads represented. I also wanted to utilize additional
features KMLs can have, such as separate layers that can have their visibility toggled, 3d objects
that can be seen in Google Earth, and a map description that contains info about the map, layers, and
other things of interest.
To get the map to its current state, I had a lot to learn even with my current knowledge at the time. In
the map description, you will find a "Sources used" category where I cite the information I used that's
seen on the map, and an NGDF thread about the map where many people gave corrections. Most
notably, the D&RG 1919 ICC maps were vital as they had detailed illustrations and survey points of
where the D&RG Silverton Branch went and documented yard facilities and spurs. "The Rainbow
Route by Robert Sloan and Carl A. Skowronski" was another essential resource, which is a very
detailed book about the three Silverton Railroads history, routes, and other info.
If you would like the offical .KMZ download for use with Google Earth, click here.
Later in July of 2020, I decided to make a separate map but in a similar format documenting the routes
of the Railroads that went into the Pagosa Springs area. This map is mostly a lost cause now because
I've had more important things to do since I last worked on it, and I lack resources to add any more to
it. I only had "Tracking Ghost Railroads in Colorado by Robert Ormes" to go off of, and there are a
few other books I would need to purchase to get a better idea. The only lines that I can confirm are
accurate is the D&RGW from Arboles to Chama, the D&RGW Pagosa Springs Branch from Pagosa Junction to Dyke and from Nutria to Pagosa Springs, and the RG&PS between the two "?" symbols.
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