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Colorado steam railroads

Discussion in 'International Heritage Railways/Tramways' started by pete12000, Jul 9, 2017.

  1. pete12000

    pete12000 Active Member

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    I'm thinking of visiting Colorado in the next couple of years, probably arranging our own fly / drive.

    Can anyone advise on the best way to visit the Durango & Silverton and Cumbres and Toltec railroads and experience a variety of different locos.
    I'm thinking of something like a 3 or 5 day ticket as offered by the Harz railway?? The Cumbres and Toltec offer a Season Pass, which looks good.

    Any advice or information would be appreciated. TIA
     
  2. odc

    odc Active Member

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    Talk to Ffestiniog Travel
     
  3. marshall5

    marshall5 Active Member

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    I've been to both many times but the C&T is less commercialised and the nearest thing to 'real' U.S. narrow gauge railroading. Coming from the U.K. Denver is the obvious 'gateway' airport but it a 6-8 hr drive from there. I don't know where you are in the U.K. but rather than go to London we fly from MAN (or GLA or BHX) via Iceland with Icelandair who offer good fares (particularly if you book well ahead) and have much better customer service than the big airlines. I strongly suggest you stay near Denver airport the 1st night and don't drive far. Yes the C&T's season ticket is good value and costs less than 2 round trips. My advice would be to drive to Alamosa from Denver, overnight there (plenty of reasonable priced motels/eating places) before riding the C&T from Antonito (10.00) to Osier & back (c.17.00) then drive to Chama (1hr) and have at least 2 nights there - one day to ride, one to chase. The problem with Chama is that, IMO, there are only a few places to stay, even less to eat at and are overpriced for the quality. The Hotel opposite the station is enthusiast owned and is comfortable by all accounts. Don't miss out on a nocturnal visit to the yards and another just after sun-up - you won't be disappointed and won't be thrown out.
    The D&S is 100 miles of easy driving west but Durango is over-run with tourists and can charge accordingly. consider staying just out of town. It's a spectacular train ride but v. regimented "do this, don't do that". Bear in mind there aren't any linesiding opportunities between Rockwood and Silverton. You can walk down the track from Rockwood to the "Hi-line" but be very careful and aware that speeders follow and precede trains.
    From Silverton I like going over the "Million $ Highway" via Ouray and Ridgway R.R. museum to Montrose and then go via Grand Junc. on I20 east or via Gunnison and Leadville (more R.R. stuff that way) to Georgetown. Have 2 nights there if poss. and visit the Georgetown Loop (now has 3 steam locos). On your way back to Denver turn off I20 onto highway 6? which follows the old Colorado & Southern trackbed to Golden and the CRRM (opposite Coors brewery)
    As suggested above F.R. travel may be able to arrange a package but it's easy enough to arrange your own on-line. What time of year are you thing of? There can be snow until the end of May/beginning of June - remember you're at 10,000'+. I like the end of Sept - 1st w/e in Oct for the Fall colours. Let me know if I can help further and here's one to be going on with.
    Cheers,
    Ray. C&TS 488 at Cumbres Summit.jpg
     
  4. pete12000

    pete12000 Active Member

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    Hello Ray, many thanks for your comprehensive reply, you may remember you offered similar advice on the German railways a year or two ago.
    We're visiting the Baltic Coast lines, then down to Dresden for our next fly drive, at the end of July.
    Nothing firm yet for Colorado, just an idea... which is where we started with Germany.

    If you don't mind I'll be back in touch as our ideas progress? Cheers, Pete
     
  5. marshall5

    marshall5 Active Member

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    Hope you have a great time at the Molli and on Rugen. I haven't been there since July '08 - unlike the Harz we found linesiding opportunities a bit limited without a car. On Rugen the coastal section to Gohren was very busy with families going to the beaches most of which are, BTW, "clothing optional" - those of nervous disposition should look the other way! Conversely the line inland to Putbus was very quiet and much more scenic but only half the train frequency. On the Molli the highlight for me was the street running in Bad Doberan where the train passes so close to the pavement cafes that one could pinch the beers from the tables - if one felt so inclined that is.
    The following year we did the lines around Dresden which we found a bit disappointing but had a day trip by train to Zittau which was brilliant. We also had a few days in Annaberg Bucholz close to the Cranzhal - Oberweissental and Johstadt lines. At the latter we found that it was their enthusiast's w/e and they had 'all the toys out of the box'. Definitely the best of the 5 lines IMO.
    Anyway, we're heading home tomorrow having spent a very enjoyable week on the JHMD narrow gauge in S.Bohemia, steam 7 days /week in summer.
    Cheers,
    Ray.
     

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