Scenic USA - Colorado

Rio Grande Scenic Railroad

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Rio Grande Scenic Railroad - Alamosa and La Veta, Colorado

Photos by Chris Muller
Chris's Rio Grande Scenic RR Gallery

     One of the newcomers to America's scenic railroad tours, with runs between La Veta, Alamosa and Antonito, is Colorado's Rio Grande Scenic Railroad. Making its inaugural tour in February, 2006, the idea was well received. This view catches the Rio Grande's #1744 pewing out a thick smoke plume as it powers its way across the San Luis Valley. The fully restored 2-6-0 Mogul engine was built at the turn of the 20th century by the Baldwin Locomotive Works.
      Today's scenic run transports passengers across the San Luis Valley and strains it way up into the San de Cristo Mountains. One of the biggest challenges on the route, the La Veta Pass, is said to be one of the highest rail passes in North America. Steam Engine No 1744 - Rio Grande Scenic Railroad At one time this railway was part of the busy Denver and Rio Grande Railroad and former San Luis and Rio Grande. Some of the first tracks were laid down during the 1870s, putting the town of Antonito on the map.
      Passengers still enjoy the vintage super dome cars, creating the perfect viewpoint for a memorable scenic experience. Side trips to the nearby Great Sand Dunes National Park are set up on Saturdays. Short run weekday trips have a two hour layover at La Veta. Here passengers enjoy two hours of shopping and dining in the quaint mountain town. Connections can also be made at Antonito, where enthusiasts continue on the Cumbres & Toltec Scenic Railroad that weaves along the borders of Colorado and New Mexico.

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