Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Durango to Silverton Rio Grande Steam Train Ride

What a joy it was to take our youngest grandson and this train ride. Our friends also took their granddaughter. The kids had a blast.

This train ride took us from Durango, CO to Silverton. When we made our reservations we chose the Gondola car, which is covered but has open sides. There are advantages and disadvantages.
The advantage is being in the fresh air, larger seats on benches that let our group of 6 sit next to each other rather than 2 in a row. Since we were 2 sets of Grandparents, each with a grandchild, seats of 2 would not have worked very well.

I actually think the disadvantage is an advantage. Because we were outside some of the smoke and coal ash flew back and we had cinders and soot in our hair. Our hands and faces were tinged with black. It is all part of the experience and we were none the worse for the ‘dirt’.

There is a new car they have added recently. It is called the Silver Vista. It is covered but with a clear roof so you can look up and see the sky and the tops of the mountains.

The train follows the Animas River. At times there were river runners (folks in rafts and kayaks). Since we took the trip in July the water level was down. The river runs harder and faster in spring when the snow is melting.

At times the track through a mountain is very narrow and the clearance betweenthe rocks, on both sides, is just inches.

There are bridges and trestles over the river. At certain times the engineer would release steam that shot out the side of the locomotive. Usually the steam creates a rainbow.

The train had many cars so as it went around turns we could see the front and the back.

The trip to Silverton, which is over 9000 feet above sea level, takes 3 ½ hours. Passengers have the choice to either take a bus back to Durango or the train back. The scenery in both directions is awesome, so we have always taken the train, both ways.

The layover in Silverton is 2 ¼ hours – just time to eat lunch and do alittle shopping and have some fun – like ride in a stagecoach around the few dirt streets of the town. And then it was another 3 ½ hours or so back to Durango.

This is one of those trips that is a must for everyone, at least one time. We ALL found it very relaxing with the swaying of the rail car and the sound of the engine.


papel1 said...

Is that 3 1/2 hours one way? Looks like a fun trip and very scenic. I enjoyed the pictures.

Louise Sanchez HerbsCraftsGifts said...

Yes Judy, 3 1/2 hours. We left at 9:45 and got back at 7:00 ish. Long day but it was so relaxing and so much to see the time went by quickly.