In 1879, Durango was founded by the Denver & Rio Grande Railroad. The railroad actually arrived in town on August 5, 1881. Construction on the leg up to Silverton began that same fall and by the next July, the train was hauling passengers and mine ores in and out of the San Juan Mountains.
From the very beginning, the rail line to Silverton was promoted as a scenic passenger route, even though the train hauled more than $300 million worth of gold and silver before it was isolated by abandonment in the late 1960's.
Since then, the Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railway has continued to provide year-round service with a historical train composed of rolling stock original to the line. The engines used to pull today's trains are still 100% coal-fired, steam-operated, maintained in original condition. The coaches used feature bathroom facilities and are heated during the winter months.
Concessions, snacks and beverages are available on every train and there are also reservations available on the gondola cars that provide panoramic views of the mountains. No smoking is allowed on board.
The station house in Durango
You can also take advantage of this unique opportunity to ride the rails in the privacy and luxury of a private rail car. Choose from a variety of historic private cars seating 18 to 25 passengers each, or charter the 1886-0500 Caboose, which seats up to 8 passengers. Catering and special arrangements can be easily coordinated.
You can also reserve a seat in the 1880-built Alamosa Parlor Car, featuring an ornate Ash wood bar and parlor seating for up to 28 passengers (as alcohol service is available in this car, passengers must be 21 years of age).
The train also offers fishermen, hikers, backpackers and white water enthusiasts an opportunity to have access to the remote wilderness of the San Juan Mountains. The train makes regularly scheduled stops at several locations along the route, providing access to the Animas River and 3 of Colorado's famous fourteeners.
For more information call 970-247-2733 or go to durangotrain.com.