Freight cars key to Durango’s identity |

Freight cars key to Durango’s identity

Allen Best

DURANGO – Durango is known as one of those beautiful places in the West. Its history, though, is of ugly industrialization.

“The town emerged from the smoke of smelters, the dirt of the farms, and the danger and dust of the mines,” writes Jonathan Thompson in the Silverton Standard.

Not much of all this remains, and the town’s railroad legacy is also threatening to disappear, he says, despite continued operation of a tourist steam locomotive. But it would be a mistake to let this smudged past be covered entirely, he argues.

“What is sad is that so many vestiges of these older times have been erased so thoroughly. Having a sense of what a place is requires knowing from whence that place came,” Thompson writes. “And such knowledge is boosted by physical reminders – symbols of what life once was. The freight cars that straddle the business district of Durango are some of the few such symbols remaining in that town.”

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Car-sharing program initiated in Whistler

WHISTLER, B.C. – Two cars have arrived in Whistler in a rather elaborate experiment of car-sharing that originated in Vancouver.

The goal is to gain the occasional freedom of a car without straddling owners with the full-time expenses – or the community with the unsavory environmental and aesthetic baggage of too many cars.

Normally, it takes 16 people signing up at $500 each to get a car into a community. And they must pay per-mile charges and other costs when using the cars.

In Whistler’s case, there were too few people, so the local housing authority, the town and a local environmental group subsidized the leasing costs.

One of the two vehicles is a Honda Civic hybrid, the other a Ford Focus station wagon, also a fuel-efficient vehicle.

Sponsors estimate the average cost of driving a car in the Vancouver area at $8,500 when depreciation, insurance, and all the rest is added up. Leasing vehicles costs $400 a month when all costs are calculated.

The share-a-car concept is an attempt to make car use possible for even less. For more information, see:

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