RIO GRANDE SOUTHERN - OPHIR LOOP AREA, SEPTEMBER 1999
Nov 21, 2010Public
Photo: 99-06-05:  View from edge of road down on site of upgrade abutment for Bridge 45-A.  The switch for the depot house track was located on this fill with the points at the very outer edge.  Remains of the downgrade end of 45-A can be seen across the canyon, beyond the Silver Bell mill tailings.
Photo: 99-06-06:  Closeup of the remains of the downgrade end of Bridge 45-A, the High Bridge.  Grade turns right through a cut after the bridge end.
Photo: 99-06-15:  Standing at very end of fill, on top of Bridge 45-A abutment, looking upgrade and up at our modified 4Runner 4x4, which is parked on beginning of the dirt road that goes down to the Ames power plant.  Stopp sign at upper right is for dirt road traffic to stop at main paved highway.  Notice how much highway fill covers the railroad's Ophir Loop site.  One tie remains on the grade.
Photo: 99-06-11:  Front of the abutment for Bridge 45-A.  Note the remaining galvanized metal fire protection for the abutment.
Photo: 99-06-10:  Left, or downstream side, of the Bridge 45-A abutment.
Photo: 99-06-12:  Right (or upstream) side of Bridge 45-A abutment.  Lots of cinders on the ground from all the coal burning engines that passed here over a 60 year period.  Cinders along each side of a dirt road in Colorado is a certain indication that it once was a railroad, though most model railroaders seem to never model this obvious item.
Photo: 99-06-25:  Neatly stacked timbers from the long gone Butterfly Trestle (Bridge 44-A).  This very high trestle once crossed the Lake Fork of the San Miguel River which is just behind the pile.  Somebody apparently thought they were worth saving at one time.  They seem to be cut to about the same length.
Photo: 99-06-27:  Remains of the Butterfly Trestle (Bridge 44-A) scattered up the hill where they once were part of the trestle.  This is looking east and the grade high on the side of the hill on the right is the old Butterfly Mill spur of the RGS.  The bridge on which I'm standing was pretty new at the time and crosses the Lake Fork of the San Miguel River.  It is for hiking and biking only; no 4x4s or other motor vehicles.  We turned around here and headed back upgrade to the Ophir Loop area.
Photo: 99-06-33:  We stopped on the RGS grade at this point to enjoy the view and to eat lunch in our 4x4.  The telephone pole is original RGS.  This gives a good backdrop view of the Loop area for modelers who wonder what it's like.  A couple of vehicles (one red) are on the Silver Belle mill tailings at lower middle, apparently testing them.  The next time we came by on the main highway in 2006, the tailings were gone ("mitigated").  Also, the RGS grade was off limits to all motorized vehicles and was designated the "Galloping Goose Trail".   The Bridge 45-A abutment is at the clump of bushes above the red vehicle and just to the right of the tall pine tree outlined against the side of the highway fill.
Photo: 99-06-32:  A closer view of the Ophir Loop area from theRGS grade coming up from Butterfly.  The upgrade abutment for the High Bridge no. 45-A is visible just to the right of the tree in the middle distance on the left (the one with all its lower branches missing).  The vehicle is on the main paved highway.  The large roof across the highway is that of the much renovated "Oilton Club" building.  The telephone pole is original RGS.