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Durango Silverton Narrow Gage Railway Trip
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Mar 26, 2019 12:17:35   #
mpawl
 
We are just about ready to book a trip at the begining of June on the Durango Silverton Railway. Has anyone taken this trip and how did you like it? It has been years since we were last in Colorado and looking forward to taking the camera. Just wanted to get some thoughts from others on this trip.

Thank you very much

Mike

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Mar 26, 2019 12:31:01   #
genesampson
 
I took it about a year ago. It was fun. We spent the whole trip in the open car. Might want to consider what to wear as it's a bit breezy, but best for photos.

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Mar 26, 2019 12:31:44   #
tommystrat (a regular here)
 
Be sure to take a lens wide enough to get some wonderful wide-angle shots as the train moves through the mountains. Series photos for panorama stitching might be difficult to capture as the train will be moving! This is a beautiful trip and I hope you enjoy it! Bring a jacket or coat if you will be out in the afternoon / evening as the weather turns cold pretty quickly there!

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Mar 26, 2019 12:34:29   #
blue-ultra
 
Mike,

While I have not taken the train to Silverton, I have driven the road that follows the river and the train takes the same route. Awesome views. I think the train has the better route, be prepared for the wow factor. The base height on Main St Silverton is around 11,000 ft above sea level, and the mountains go up from there. There was another Hog member that posted photos from Main St.


Bob

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Mar 26, 2019 12:40:00   #
BlueMorel (a regular here)
 
We went in 2008. It was a memory trip for me from a trip in 1959. We sat in the open car for best views. You do get cinders in your eyes so wear wraparound sunglasses. But the ride is fantastic! Lots of great shots of the train hugging the curves as it follows the rushing Animas River below. We took the bus for the way back. Sit on the right side for best views.

Silverton is a great little tourist town for kids and adults alike. On Friday and Saturday there are staged gunfights that I still remember 60 years later, and the town jail with cells you can go into and get pics of the family behind bars. The town has not grown much since 1959 and still has mostly gravel roads.

BTW there are photographer trips in September where the train stops along the way.

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Mar 26, 2019 12:49:48   #
mpawl
 
Thank you very much everyone for the great feedback. We are really looking forward to this. With the kids getting older, one off to college and the other a Senior next year, we are trying to do as much as possible with them before they move out on us. :)

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Mar 26, 2019 13:01:20   #
Jay Pat
 
Beautiful ride!
Cold in the morning, warmer in afternoon.
Afternoon shower can really lower temps for a while (sometimes).
Recommend long pants and at least a lighter jacket (just in case).
Restaurants are right there where the train stops in Silverton.
It is a long day to do the round trip by rail.
Some may suggest ride the train up and take the bus back (I have not done this, yet).
If you want to explore, bring a lunch for a faster meal.
Back in Durango,allow time to visit the wonderful museum.
You can step up and into the the cab of a locomotive.
A lot of interesting stuff. Ask how to get there and it is free.
If you want to see a locomotive drive on, turn and get off the turntable then, stay for the first train to return. once in the museum, you can go outside to watch. I don't know for sure how long you will have to wait. After first train, the museum closes at some point.
I had to wait about 45 minutes.
If you want, there is a yard/shop tour in the afternoon for a fee (a different day).
There is parking (for a fee) on the west side of McDonalds (you can get breakfast there).
To get to the railroad, the gates on the other side of McDonalds should be open.
Speaking of Silverton, there is a wonderful indoor museum that has a lot of mining stuff, A gold mine tour in the area and a gold mill for processing the minerals. Just outside of town a little ways (one day trip).
Send me a postcard!!!
Pat

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Mar 26, 2019 13:54:29   #
rehess (a regular here)
 
mpawl wrote:
We are just about ready to book a trip at the begining of June on the Durango Silverton Railway. Has anyone taken this trip and how did you like it? It has been years since we were last in Colorado and looking forward to taking the camera. Just wanted to get some thoughts from others on this trip.

Thank you very much

Mike

If you have the time, you might also consider the Cumbres and Toltec, which is south of there, but originally part of the same line. I believe that trip is much greener, so a different experience.

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Mar 26, 2019 15:29:31   #
Retired CPO (a regular here)
 
BlueMorel is right. You WILL get coal cinders if you ride the open cars. No big deal but the wife and kiddies might not like it. My kids thought it was cool. It's a beautiful ride. You might see deer and elk so a long lens might be a good idea if you swing that way. Wide angle for most of it is a good plan.

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Mar 26, 2019 23:38:28   #
tjw47
 
I have done both the Durango and also the Cumbres and Toltec. I prefer the Cumbres and Toltec. I liked the Deluxe Tourist Car ( second from the back ) as the car in front was Open-Air Gondolar ( NO Windows ). I spent most of my time in the Open-Air Gondola car... It is like standing up in a Convertible watching the world go by. Would suggest watching the many online videos before making your decision.

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Mar 27, 2019 05:52:56   #
roxiemarty (a regular here)
 
rehess wrote:
If you have the time, you might also consider the Cumbres and Toltec, which is south of there, but originally part of the same line. I believe that trip is much greener, so a different experience.


We did the Cumbres Toltec from Chama, N.M. to Colorado and back, stayed in a lovely cabin in Chama, and loved it. Chama has a historic railyard, and lunch is included at a halfway place that is a buffet. My friend and her husband did the one you mentioned. Both are a great day! Enjoy your trip. (The railyard museum at that time in Chama was free.

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Mar 27, 2019 05:54:00   #
John N (a regular here)
 
Magic trip, but if I'd had more time I might have researched something better! Get the $2 cinder specs (still using mine 8 years later). And the official DVD. You'll be pushed to do better - but it can be done.

Depending when you are there you might get some good firing up shots if it was cold the night before, Check out Silverton before you go or you might just spend a couple of hours doing not very much at all.

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Mar 27, 2019 06:15:36   #
sb (a regular here)
 
There are times when the train goes around a curve with the river far below. At that time you want to have a wide enough lens to get a photo of the whole train in front of you with the canyon below.

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Mar 27, 2019 06:20:02   #
billnikon (a regular here)
 
mpawl wrote:
We are just about ready to book a trip at the begining of June on the Durango Silverton Railway. Has anyone taken this trip and how did you like it? It has been years since we were last in Colorado and looking forward to taking the camera. Just wanted to get some thoughts from others on this trip.

Thank you very much

Mike


Loved my wide angle lenses on this trip. I believe you can still go in an open car. Enjoy.

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Mar 27, 2019 06:40:38   #
ka5ysy
 
Mike all the above suggestions are correct. It is a great trip we have made multiple times at different times of the year. Fall is amazing with the colors blazing.

Take the widest lens you have and a polar filter.

The one suggestion I would make is to book the first class car at the rear of the train. Accommodations are outstanding and you have access to the rear platform for photos. You will also have a more comfortable ride when the temperature is cold and no coal ash in the face.

It also makes the best location for great shots of the entire train during several curves which are also over bridges. At one point there is a bridge where they do a boiler blow down letting a lot of steam out. Great shot of the engine at that point.

I would also suggest doing the two way train ride because the light changes during the day and is totally different from early morning northbound trips.

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