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Durango Silverton Narrow Gage Railway Trip
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Mar 27, 2019 07:36:31   #
Tommy II
It’s been a while (2009), but I remember the scenery was beautiful. You’ll be stepping back in time, riding behind that old locomotive, but the smoke and cinders were not a big deal. Dress warm.

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Mar 27, 2019 08:00:59   #
If you have flexibility in your timing, take the photo train. I think they run it 2 weekends per year. We took it in October 2017. The train doesn't make it to Silverton, however, it stops 3 or 4 times. Everyone gets off the train backs up, blows its whistle to let you know it is coming and you get to photograph it. At each stop it does this twice. Also, I agree spend time in the open car.

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Mar 27, 2019 08:16:43   #
mizzee (a regular here)
Yes! We did it as part of a Jeep tour. We met in Durango and went all the way up to the abandoned mining town. In Silverton, we took the train back to Durango. It was a great day! We were there in late May and there was still snow in the mining town and it was so cold, although a bluebird day, that we bought hats with flaps in Silverton. On the way back in the train, there was this stunning Native American woman who would greet the train as we descended from Silverton. We loved the trip and our tour guide was super. The tour company was Mild2Wild Rafting. Have fun!

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Mar 27, 2019 08:20:18   #
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


Don’t wear white or light colored nice clothing as you will get soot spots on you, especially if you are in an open air car. Do the round trip so you get to see views on both sides of the train.

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Mar 27, 2019 09:12:09   #
Corsica fox
Train up , bus back, right side. Think about paying extra for the car with docent, history commentator.

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Mar 27, 2019 09:20:59   #
Morning, Sit on the right heading North, and the left heading south. This way you get the best shots. If naught all you get is mostly rock wall. Enjoy, have done the trip many times.

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Mar 27, 2019 09:24:55   #
We took the bus from Durango to Silverton and train back so we could see the train arriving in Silverton down the middle of the road. Trip is well worth while. I carried an 18-200 that seemed perfectly adequate.

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Mar 27, 2019 09:35:30   #
Do not worry about the soot spots. They are going Diesel/electric engines. The big fire last year changed things.

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Mar 27, 2019 09:38:54   #
Two tweaks to the excellent advice already offered are: 1) Even not in first class, get as far back in the train as possible; and, 2) favor the left side of the train on the northbound trip. You'll be in position to get that classic shot across the Highline chasm and you'll get the San Juan Mountains.

I first rode this train in 1957. The Denver & Rio Grande Western tracks at the time still connect Silverton to Chama.

Both this and the Cumbres trips are great experiences and would give your kids a real feeling for our history.

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Mar 27, 2019 09:39:55   #
Wishing you good weather. Take a lens that can accommodate 18-20mm. It's magical!

~ Eileen


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Mar 27, 2019 09:42:39   #
I did the trip in 2015 with 2 older grandchildren and will be doing it again this July with younger two. I liked open air car and sat on right side which was the best side on way up. We took bus back as train is 3 hours each way and grand kids wanted to get back to pool. As others have said if in outside car take hat and sun glasses for cinders plus jacket.

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Mar 27, 2019 09:44:11   #
Rich1939 (a regular here)
I have ridden both the Durango & Silverton and the Cumbres & Toltec Scenic more than just a few times. Both are fantastic trips, and both have their major “selling points”. For me, I find the C&TS’ scenery far more diverse although both lines’ views are often incredible. The C&TS ride does include a meal (not just ‘lunch’) turkey with all the trimmings or meatloaf or salad bar (which is more than just salad) plus a desert bar. The meal stop is in Osier Co. a small historically correct D&RGW stop (correct except for the dining hall building)
Both the Durango and the Chama yards are loaded with history and you can learn a lot about old time steam operations by watching the crews work.
The town of Durango is much more ‘cosmopolitan’ while Chama is still a small western railroad town.
Return trips on the D&S are an extra charge. Return trips by motor coach on the C&TS are included in the fare and your all-day parking is free.
I have stayed in both Durango and Chama but found for me that Pagosa Springs works out well. It is halfway between both railroads, about an hour’s drive either way and when I go to that area I go to visit both railroads.

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Mar 27, 2019 09:49:45   #
Rich1939 (a regular here)
jainnh wrote:
Do not worry about the soot spots. They are going Diesel/electric engines. The big fire last year changed things.

One steam engine is being converted from coal fired to oil fired but still runs on steam. The D&S continues to be a mainly steam operation.

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Mar 27, 2019 09:55:42   #
We took that trip last year and it was great. I agree with the comment about sitting in the open car. Much better for photos. ]

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Mar 27, 2019 09:59:47   #
Elevation is 9318'. It is the highest county seat in the country
blue-ultra wrote:

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.


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