Rio Grande Southern RR - Books, Videos, CDs, References
This section lists books, videos and other references for the RGS. Many of these items are out-of-print
or otherwise hard-to-find, so to help locate them (in case you'd like to own them yourself), I've
included links to places where they can be found. Categories include:
Narrow Gauge Calendar:
There's a couple of nice Narrow Gauge calendars out there - from Cedco and the CRRM.
Find this book at:
Chasing the NG v3: The Rio Grande Southern:
Robert Richardson, 2011, Heimburger House, Forest Park, IL, 224 pages.
12"x8.25" format, 345 photos and illustrations.
This is Bob's first-person narrative of Bob's journeys, and his efforts to collect and preserve the records
and artifacts, and the RGS headed into its final years. He covers a number of the towns, RGS equipment,
hunting season insights (along the RGS), lumber operations at McPhee, and last runs. From what I hear (don't
have this yet) this is an amazing book, and is like sitting in a room chatting w/ Bob. Bob's gone now; thank
goodness his photos, stories, wisdom and wit are not.
Find this book at:
Tin Feathers, Wooden Trestles and Iron Men: The Galloping Geese of the RGS:
Rhine, 2012, Colorado Railroad Museum, Golden, CO, 91 pages,
11"x8.25" format, softcover, 100+ images (mostly black & white).
This is a new book detailing the RGS's famous 'Galloping Geese'. It includes some of the text and photos from
the earlier 1971 article in the Colorado Rail Annual (see below), but most of the text and photos are new.
Jerry Day contributed over a 100 pages of newly discovered unpublished documents, and Stan delayed publication
while working in that new information. Great read (as I understand it), and very reasonable price.
Find this book at:
Colorado Rail Annual #9 - Galloping Geese on the Rio Grande Southern (and more):
Rhine, Davis, Ferrell & Chappell, 1971, Colorado Railroad Museum, Golden, CO, 142 pages
(Feb 2000 softcover reprint, 62 pages, covers just the Geese; Isbn 0-918654-40-8 - that's called Tin Feathers
and Gasoline Fumes). The complete story and history of the famouse Geese, including many photos.
A great read. Find this book at:
Colorado Rail Annual #14 - NG Byways in the San Juans: Private Cars - Lake City - Creede:
Gordon Chappell (editor), 1979, Colorado Railroad Museum (hardcover), Golden, CO, 232 pages.
Isbn 0918654149. Photos in b&w and some in color. Articles include wonderful pieces by Alexis McKinney,
Duane Vandenbusche and Walter R. Borneman, and Cornelius W. Hauck on Creede. One of the articles, by
Duane and Walter - The D&RG Lake City Branch and a Galloping Goose - includes some comments describing
the origins and history of the San Christobal goose. There are several pages of drawings and photos of this
goose, which was built by Mike Burke for the San Christobal Railroad in 1934. The SC goose was later rebuilt
by the RGS in late 1934, and eventually sold to the RGS in 1936 where parts of it were used to rebuild
RGS Goose #2.
Find this book at:
I Lived In The Rico Depot:
Mildred Joanne Branson Smith, 2006, Booksurge Publishing (softcover), 146 pages. Isbn 141961987X.
From the Amazon description: "My book is part family history, part memoir, and part salute to a bygone era.
My unique home was the living quarters of the Rio Grande Southern depot in Rico, Colorado. I hope that this
book will serve as a guide and allow the reader a glimpse of a wonderful lifestyle that is probably gone
Find this book at:
In Quest of Colorado Narrow Gauge 1950-51:
Robert MacDonald, Jan 2003, Gary Kohler. 124 pages (softcover spiral). 200 photos, some color.
A new NG book! A first-person account of Bob's travels from Boston,MA to Denver,
Colorado in search of the narrow gauge. The trips to the D&RGW, RGS and C&S are illustrated with black and
white and full color images, and all are previously unpublished! Includes Bob's explanation & photos of one of
the last runs of the San Juan, the D&RG's only 'varnish' passenger run on the narrow gauge. Find this book at:
Locomotive Quarterly v12, Rio Grande Southern:
1988, Metaphor, Mt. Vernon, NY, 72 pages (softcover). Isbn 0-276-6736. Find this book at:
Official Roster No. 11 of the D&RG RR System and the RGS RR Co 1923:
Colorado Railroad Museum, 1998, Johnson Printing Co, Boulder CO, 161 pages, spiral bound.
Isbn 0-918654-56-4. Find this book at:
Narrow Gauge Land:
James Eakin (editor), 1983, 136 pages (softcover). Isbn 0-9-1211303-0. B&w photos.
This is a reproduction of many of the photographs from Richard's Lind's Narrow Gauge Country, published
in 1963. Covers Rio Grande Southern as well as D&RG, from the 1940s thru early 1960s. It has a number of
Bob Richardson photos. Find this book at:
Narrow Gauge Pictorial Vol 1: Rio Grande Southern and D&RGW Motive Power:
Robert Grandt (editor), 1981, R. Robb Limited. Oakland, CA, 176 pages (softcover, album format). B&W photos.
Containing a large number of photos from the later years of the D&RG and RGS, this book attempts to show the
variations in detail, lettering and condition of many of the roads' locos. Find this book at:
Narrow Gauge Pictorial Vol 9: Rio Grande Southern Right-Of-Way and Structures Rico
Robert Grandt (editor), 1992, R. Robb Limited. Oakland, CA, 160 pages (softcover, album format). B&W photos.
Structures, photos, scale drawings and maps of the RGS structures from Rico to Durango. Find this book at:
Narrow Gauge Railroading in the San Juan Triangle: The Rio Grande Southern, the Ouray Branch of the D&RG
and Otto Mears' Silverson RR:
Thomas Hillhouse, Rodney Holloway, Bonnie Koch, Keith Koch, Don Paulson, Jim Pettengill, Karl Schaffer. 2010,
Mt. Sneffels Press, Ridgway, CO.
110 pages, 8-1/2 x 11 inch softcover, numerous black and white historical photographs.
Another new NG book! This was compiled by the Ridgway museum (and friends), and chronicles stories from the
three railroads described in the title. It features the three narrow gauge lines that operated in Ouray
County, and consists primarily of several dozen essays on various aspects of these historic railroads. The
book provides a brief history of each railroad and profiles each piece of narrow gauge equipment that resides
on the Museum's display track along with detailed information on the re-creation of RGS Motor 1.
Find this book at:
Mt Sneffels PressRidgway MuseumAbeBooksAlibriseBay
Railfanning the Rio Grande Southern Railroad:
Richard Hunter, 19--, ???. R. Robb Limited. Aurora, CO, -- pages. Haven't actually seen
this, but it's supposed to be a mile-by-mile driving guide, for exploring the old RGS grade.
The last address I have for the author is 832 Geneva Street, Aurora, CO. 80010. Find this book at:
[Crum]The Rio Grande Southern:
2nd edition. Josie Moore Crum, 1961, Hamilton Press, Ouray, CO, 431 pages (hardcover).
(the smaller 1st edition was published in 1957). A wonderful book filled with history, stories, and many
other happenings on the RGS. The author's husband worked on the RGS for years, so many of these stories
are firsthand, either from Conductor Crum or other employees. Long out of print, but not too hard to
find. Find this book at:
Rio Grande Southern, An Ultimate Pictorial Study:
Richard L Dorman, 1990, RD Publications, Sante Fe, NM, 279 pages (hardcover). Isbn 0-9616656-4-5.
Color photos. I understand that this may be a supplemental volume to
The Southern: A Narrow Gauge Odyssey? Out of print, and rather difficult to
Find this book at:
[Ult v2]Rio Grande Southern II, An Ultimate Pictorial Study:
Richard L Dorman, 1994, RD Publications, Sante Fe, NM, 345 pages (hardcover). Isbn 0-9616656-4-5.
500 b&w photos, drawings and maps. Several color paintings also. Composed primarily of large, high-quality
b&w photos, this book is divided into three 20-year periods on the RGS. It includes numerous photos, a
number of maps and track plans, and a smattering of history. The photos alone are well worth the price of
admission. I believe this is still in print; it's quite easy to find. Find this book at:
Rio Grande Southern Album:
Philip Ronfor, 1989, Highland Mills, New York, NY, 40 pages (softcover). Isbn 1-878343-01-7.
Color photos from fan trips in 1947, 1949 and 1951. Includes a cool painting of Ronfor and other railfans
trying to take a photograph w/some guy poking around a locomotive and ruining the picture. Find this book at:
[Rgs v1]The RGS Story Vol 1, Over the Bridges...Ridgway to Telluride
: Russ Collman, 1990, Dell McCoy/Sundance Books, Denver, CO, 496 pages (hardcover), 80 color photos,
416 b&w photos. Isbn 0-913582-48-4.
The RGS story series is a breathtakingly detailed study of the RGS, milepost by milepost. Each volume
includes hundreds of photos (of the railroad, and also of those same areas today), track plans, town layouts,
bridge and structure drawings and maps. Each also includes the history of this part of the railroad, and the
nearby towns. Recently reprinted, this volume focuses on the Ridgway facilties, the early history of the
railroad, and a survey of the grade as it appears today. Since it's been reprinted, this volume is easy to
find. Find this book at:
[Rgs v2]The RGS Story Vol 2, Telluride, Pandora and the Mines Above:
Russ Collman, Dell McCoy, William Graves, 1991, Sundance Books, Denver, CO, 493 pages (hardcover).
Hundreds of b&w photos, many color photos also, of both then and now. Continuing the breathtakingly detailed
study of the RGS, milepost by milepost, this volume details the history of Telluride and the mines nearby, and
of all the various railroad facilities, both in town and at the mines. At one time highly sought and
out-of-print, this is now back in print and once again easy to find. Find this book at:
[Rgs v3]The RGS Story Vol 3, Over The Bridges... Vance Junction to Ophir:
Russ Collman, Dell McCoy, William Graves, 1993, Sundance Books, Denver, CO, 496 pages (hardcover).
Isbn 0-913582-50-6. 32 maps, 77 color photos (both old and current), 354 b&w photos.
Continuing the milepost-by-milepost examination of the RGS and its history, this volume covers the line from
Vance Junction to the lower track of the Ophir Loop, and into the town of Ophir. Fold-out valuation maps show
the line to Ophir, and a huge fold-out William H. Jackson panaroamic photo from 1892 shows the entire loop.
Not too hard to find. Find this book at:
[Rgs v4]The RGS Story Vol 4, Over The Bridges... Ophir Loop to Rico:
Russ Collman, Dell McCoy, William Graves, 1994, Sundance Books, Denver, CO, 496 pages (hardcover).
Isbn 0-913582-58-1. 33 maps and drawings, 97 color photos (both old and current), 365 b&w photos.
Moving above Ophir, the milepost by milepost coverage continues through the many trestles on the high line
above Ophir, over the pass at Lizard Head, then down into Rico (although this volume does not cover Rico
proper). Presents a number of articles and newspaper reports of the snow battles at Lizard Head, as well
as full documentation of all the bridges over this part of the line, the snowsheds at Lizard Head, and
detailed maps of every point along the line. Not too hard to find. Find this book at:
[Rgs v5]The RGS Story Vol 5, Rico and the Mines:
Russ Collman, Dell McCoy, William Graves, 1996, Sundance Books, Denver, CO, 496 pages (hardcover). 350 photos.
The RGS story continues - this time detailing the history of Rico and the mines above it, and all of the
various rail facilities in and around the town. Maps, town and mine structures, and lots of details. Not too
hard to find. Find this book at:
[Rgs v6]The RGS Story Vol 6, Rico to Dolores:
Russ Collman, Dell McCoy, 1997, Sundance Books, Denver, CO, 480 pages (hardcover). 354 b&w photos.
This breathtakingly detailed study of the RGS continues beyond Rico in this volume, proceeding down the line
to the edge of Dolores, detailing every town along the way, as well as sidings, spurs, industries, etc and
the stories associated with all of these places. Not hard to find. Find this book at:
[Rgs v7]The RGS Story Vol 7, Dolores and McPhee:
Russ Collman, W. George Cook, Dell McCoy, 1998, Sundance Books, Denver, CO, 496 pages (hardcover).
32 color photos (both old and current), 470 b&w photos. The RGS story series chugs into Dolores in this
volume, and provides a very thorough history of both Dolores and nearby McPhee, including a number of
firsthand accounts. This volume also chronicles the history of the New Mexico Lumber Company and its
vast logging operations headquartered at McPhee. W. George Cook provides rich details and maps of the
company's extensive logging railroad as well. Easy to find. Find this book at:
[Rgs v8]The RGS Story Vol 8, Dolores to Mancos:
Russ Collman, W. George Cook, Dell McCoy, 2000, Sundance Books, Denver, CO, 416 pages (hardcover).
280 b&w photos, 55 color. Moving southeast from Dolores, we travel to Lost Canyon, the lumber operations
at Glencoe, and then into the town of Mancos. Although the title of this work implies that it covers only
through Mancos, it actually to the town of Grady. As usual, this volume is packed with photos, histories,
maps and stories for all the places along the line between Dolores and Grady. Each to find. Find this book at:
[Rgs v9]The RGS Story Vol 9, Grady to Durango:
Russ Collman, W. George Cook, Dell McCoy, July 2001, Sundance Books, Denver, CO, 416 pages (hardcover).
350 b&w photos, 54 color. Leaving the town of Grady, we proceed (with the usual huge amount of photos
and detail) over Cima Summit and down into gold- and coal-country areas of May Day, Ute Junction, Porter and
Hesperus. Includes the story of the Ute Treaty signing and each of the mining areas. Moving toward
Durango, this volume also covers the Victor Miller's temporary engine facilities at what he called 'West
Durango'. This volume contains 34 maps, bridge and structure drawings, and lots of previously-unpublished
photos. Brand new, in print, and easy to find. Find this book at:
[Rgs v10]The RGS Story Vol 10, Over the Bridges, Ridgway to Durango,
162 Miles of Railroad:
Russ Collman, Dell McCoy. June 2003, Sundance Books, Denver, CO, 416 pages (hardcover).
374 b&w photos, 31 color. One might expect that after 9 huge volumes of RGS information, the photos and info
would start to run dry. Actually, the opposite is happening, and this volume contains many photos and stories
discovered after publication of the earlier volumes. This is sort of a catch-up volume, featuring new
information from places all along the railroad. And - there's still stories that wouldn't fit here, so an
11th volume is already in the works. Brand new, and should be available May/June 2003. Find this book at:
[Rgs v11]The RGS Story Vol 11, Over the Bridges, Durango and the Perins Peak
Russ Collman, Dell McCoy, Robert McLeod, et al. April 2005, Sundance Books, Denver, CO, 376 pages (hardcover).
26 maps, 321 b&w photos, 17 color. Lots of Durango history (including it's trolley), the story of the nearby
coal fields and the fight for access to them, a related story about the Boston Coal & Fuel Co' branch to
Perins Peak, railfans coming to Durango for the RGS, a timetable of passenger trains (mixed) to Perins Peak,
and many other rare things. Find this book at:
[Rgs v12]The RGS Story Vol 12, Locomotives and Rolling Stock:
Russ Collman, Dell McCoy, James Ehernberger, Gabriel Bradford, et al. Available Jan 2006, Sundance Books,
Denver, CO, 416 pages (hardcover).
Includes 47 equipment drawings, 490 b&w photos, 17 color. For the first time in this series, this book has
roster charts listing RGS engines, motors, Geese, business & passenger cars, freight cars, snow-fighting
equipment, and extensive information on the C&S cars purchased by Victor Miller in 1938. There's also a
listing of identified employees, plowflanger info, and improved picture indexes for the entire series.
Find this book at:
The Rio Grande Southern: An Index of Published Photographs:
Donald Bergman, version 9.0, 2006. This is a database of
over 13,000 records in 12 fields that catalogues published photographs on the Rio Grande Southern from books,
and the internet. 10,500 entries are photographs before 12-31-53. There are also 1500 records of other items
such as published timetables, rosters, RGS & D&RG paper, maps, and profiles. There are 2500 URLs for
photographs on the internet. Each photo is indexed under book, page, size, focus, date, location, engine,
car/goose, structure, special, and photographer, making it possible to search for photos of the right side of
an engine in a certain year, or the back side of depots or color photos. Currently $100 from the author.
Find this listing at:
Donald Bergman (direct)
Rocky Mountain Railroads - The Rio Grande Southern I:
Richard L Dorman, 1999, RD Publications, Sante Fe, NM, 92 pages (softcover). Nearly all color photos,
with a few b&w and a couple paintings.
This is a wonderful book, with photos of places and things I haven't seen much in other RGS books (like
West Durango facilities, the coach-body depot at Hesperus, RGS Goose #1, the Porter mining facilities in
Wildcat canyon, etc). It's really suprising how different the scenery looks in color - you get a much
better sense of what the terrain really looked than you do w/the black & white photos. This is an album
format book, and contains primarily full-size color photos and captions. There are a number of interesting
newspaper quotes included with the photos (although a few of the newspaper/date references for them are
mixed up), but there's very little text. It's a great book, pretty new, and easy to find. Find this book at:
[Ssj]Silver San Juan:
Mallory Hope Ferrell, 1973, Pruett Publishing Co, Boulder, CO, 643 pages (hardcover). Isbn 0-87108-057-5.
Hundreds of b&w photos.
A standard reference on the RGS, this book is a thorough examination of the entire RGS, over its entire
history. It covers history, equipment, related logging branches, etc in great detail. If you find a good
copy, it'll include a large map and timetable in a pocket on the rear cover. Long out of print, but still
fairly easy to find. Find this book at:
The Southern - A Narrow Gauge Odyssey:
2nd edition. Richard L Dorman, 1986, RD Publications, Sante Fe, NM, 153 pages (hardcover). Isbn 0-9616656-3-7.
One Dorman's early photo-essays of the RGS, this is highly sought, out-of-print, and quite hard-to-find.
Find this book at:
[Sun v1]Sunset on the Rio Grande Southern, Vol 1:
James Ehernberger, 1996, Challenger Press, Cheyenne, WY, 176 pages (hardcover). 200 b&w photos.
An interesting and unique book focusing on the final years on the RGS, especially from a business point of
view. Many documents and statistics which lead to the final abandonment are presented, including a thorough
financial picture of the railroad in its last years. The photos are also interesting, as they document the
final disposition of much of the equipment (being scrapped, or sent off to various buyers). Still in print
I believe, and pretty easy to find. Find this book at:
[Sun v2]Sunset on the Rio Grande Southern, Vol 2:
James Ehernberger, 1998, Challenger Press, Cheyenne, WY, 192 pages (hardcover). Late history, B&W photos.
A continuation of the last volume, with more bits of history, equipment listings, accident reports, final
employee roster, timetable reprint, etc and many more photos of the final days of the railroad. It also
includes a complete index to both volumes. I believe it's still in print, and it's pretty easy to find. Find this book at:
There are a number of magazines which frequently include RGS articles, but there's also the very complete on-line
Model Train Magazine Index of nearly all train-related print
magazines. It's being revamped and should re-appear in 2011. It'll only be available only to registered users
at Trains.com, but I believe that registration is free. Another effort by NMRA to create their own index is
There are more RGS videos, related to modeling, over here.
RGS videos on YouTube:
There are a suprising - and growing - number of videos on YouTube featuring the RGS. I'm trying to maintain
a personal playlist with these videos here, as I find them:
Ghost Train - RGS #455 Returns from the Past:
Green Frog Productions, 1997. 60 minutes. Color, with stereo sound.
C&TS K-27 #463 is re-lettered to represent the pre-wreck RGS #455, and staged in shots evoking the RGS. A
long freight train of D&RGW cars and a caboose (also relettered, for RGS 0404) is featured at locations
simulating Lower Gallagher, Keystone Hill, Lizard Head, Vance Junction, the Ute Coal Pocket, Upper
Gallagher, Bridge 45A and Brown/Meadow Creek. Also includes interviews w/old-timers who rode the real
RGS, discussions w/Mallory Hope Ferrell, and real shots of the RGS in the 1940s. In print and easy to
find. Find this video at:
Green Frog: mainGreenFrog
Over Lizard Head Pass:
Sunday River Productions, 1988, 40 minutes. Color.
Color views of the Rocky Mountain RR Club steam excursions in 1947 and 1949. On Memorial Day 1947, the
first ran from Ridgway to Dolores over Lizard Head Pass and returned the following day. The second, in
1949, ran from Ridgway to Telluride where it tied up for the night. On the following day it went from
Telluride to Lizard Head, reversed direction, and returned to Ridgway. Photographed on board and from
trackside at Ridgway, Placerville, Vance Junction, Telluride, Ophir, Lizard Head and Dolores - a
wonderful memory of mountain railroading with ancient passenger cars, the world of the real Colorado
Narrow Gauge. In print and easy to find. Find this video at:
Otto Perry's Rio Grande Southern:
Sunday River Productions, 1988, 90 or 120 minutes (2 versions). Mostly color.
Otto tracked the RGS for more than ten years with his camera. Across three of America's highest railroad
passes, double- and triple-heading on four percent grades: Cima Summit, Dallas Divide, and Lizard Head, to
the fabled cities of Gold and Silver: Ophir, Telluride and Rico. He traced the cattle rush through the
golden Aspens of Autumn, the ore and lumber specials through the mountain meadows of Spring. Narrated by
the men and women who worked for, rode on, and whose families were a part of the Rio Grand Southern. More
than 400 scenes, most of them run-bys. New - a 90-min DVD release is being planned. Find this video at:
Excursion to the Thirties:
WB Video, 19--, ? mins.
Includes narrow gauge C&S, D&RGW and RGS. Shown in steam are RGS locomotives #40, #41,
#42, #455 (wearing the sunrise herald), and #25 (pulling the 1938 Barringer Special).
Find this video at:
The Rio Grande Southern / The Denver & Rio Grande Western: (revised)
Green Frog Productions, 1996(?). 90 minutes. B&w, some color. Shows
both the RGS and D&RGW from the late 1940s, including both passenger and freight operations, with views from
beside and onboard the trains. Scenes on the D&RG include the Monarch branch, Ouray branch, Black Canyon of
the Gunnison, Durango, and Cerro Summit. Scenes on the RGS include Lizard Head, Ophir, and Vance Jct.
In print and easy to find.
Here's some reviews of the tape.
Find this video at:
Ticket to Tomahawk:
20th Century Fox, 1949. -- minutes. b&w. Isbn: 0-7939-1923-1.
A feature film which used the 2nd RGS #20 and the D&RG's Silverton branch to tell the
fictional story of the Tomahawk & Western in 1875, as the narrow gauge railroad
struggled to get the first train through to Tomahawk to fulfil their charter. The
20 stood in as the T&W's #1 - the 'Emma Sweeney'. A wood mock-up of the locomotive
was also used, after the film company realized they couldn't drag the real thing thru
the dirt in one part of the film where the train must transgress an area where track
hasn't been built yet (it's Hollywood, remember...). There's quite a few photos in the
RGS books of the 20 still painted from the film. I haven't seen this video anywhere
for sale or rental, so I surmise it's quite hard to find today. Supposedly FoxVideo released a VHS version
in 1993, but I haven't been able to find that either.
Find this video at:
CD - Narrow Gauge Color CD:
Light Iron Digest, 91 color photos, scanned from slides taken between 1940-1943.
Includes EBT, RGS, D&RGW, East TN and Western NC, Mt Wash Cog, Denver & Inter Mtn.
Find this cd at:
Light Iron Digest
Did you know C. W. McCall (famous for his 'Convoy', 'Wolf Creek Pass' songs, among others)
wrote lots of music about the San Juan area, including at least one song ("Galloping Goose",
which is on the "Best Of" CD below) specifically about the RGS? Other topics include
the Silverton Branch, Black Bear Road, rafting on the Green river, and truckin' songs,
and lots more.
Although music is stretch in terms of RGS 'reference' material, I include it here mostly
because I really like this guy's music and I enjoy the many Colorado references in what
he writes. There's lots more CW McCall info on his
and more links to his lyrics and other info on my links page.
I know of only two of his albums on CD and available for purchase, and both are linked below
at Amazon. You might find old albums on eBay from time-to-time, so I linked there as well.
Best Of C. W. McCall Find this album at:
C. W. McCall - Greatest Hits Find this album at:
RGS books are hard to find, and often out-of-print. To help you find them, I've put together search boxes for
most of the sites that deal w/used books, as well as links to other bookstores with good RGS / narrow gauge selections.
If you discover additional sites, let me know and I'll add them. Happy hunting!