Sidebar by Ed Quillen
Transportation – August 2001 – Colorado Central Magazine
Want to ride a train?
It’s hard to find a freight to hop, and besides, that’s dangerous and illegal.
Fortunately, there are some legal rides available. All you have to do is buy a ticket and show up at the depot:
The Leadville, Colorado & Southern offers diesel-powered standard-gauge excursions from Leadville to timberline near the summit of 11,314-foot Frémont Pass.
Until Labor Day, the two daily trains depart at 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. The trip up and back takes about 2 ½ hours, with a stop at the old wooden water tank on French Gulch.
The scenery is spectacular, but bring a coat or sweater — a warm day can turn chilly in an instant at those elevations.
For more information, call 719-486-3936, or go to www.leadville-train.com.
The Cañon City & Royal Gorge likewise offers diesel-powered standard-gauge passenger trips — through the famous Royal Gorge, of course, with a stop at the Hanging Bridge.
Through the summer, there are three daily trains: 9 a.m., noon, and 3 p.m. There’s an open observation car so you can stare up at the bridge 1,000 feet overhead, or you can stay comfortable in the air-conditioned cars. Options include a cab ride, or a combined rail-raft trip through the Gorge.
For more information: 303-569-2403, 888-724-5748, or www.royalgorgeroute.com.
The Cumbres & Toltec Scenic Railroad offers two daily steam-powered narrow-gauge trains in the summer. One departs from Antonito, Colo; the other from Chama, N.M. They meet at Osier, Colo., where passengers can either trade trains to return to their starting point, or go through to the other end, and ride a bus back.
For more information: 888-286-2737, or www.cumbrestoltec.com.
— Ed Quillen