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A Day in Colorado Featuring Royal Gorge Scenic Railroad 5/22/2021

by Chris Guenzler

My wife and I woke up at the Quality Inn in Canon City and after our morning preparations, we checked out and drove the short distance to the Waffle Wagon Restaurant where I had a waffle and sausage patties and Elizabeth had peach French Toast. After breakfast, I drove us to the only depot in town I had not photographed before.

Denver and Rio Grande Western station built in 1878. It is now the Bank of the San Juans.

The plaque on the station building. We drove over to the parking area of the Royal Gorge Scenic.

The Happy Endings Caboose Cafe is really Great Western Railway 1006 built in 1924.

Royal Gorge Scenic Railroad Information

Royal Gorge History reaches the modern-day with The Royal Gorge Route Railroad being re-established in the fall of 1998 and has become a premier destination attraction carrying over 150,000 guests through the Royal Gorge each year. Our vision is to provide a quality experience, combining the spectacular scenery of the Royal Gorge, the nostalgia of 1950's train travel, with unique dining options and exceptional service. The Royal Gorge Route has been instrumental in preserving this breathtaking canyon and ensuring a vital part of Colorado history will be passed along to the next generation.

The train that we are taking this morning.

West Side Lumber 3 truck shay 8 built in 1922. In 1977, it was leased to the Colorado Central Narrow Gauge Railroad in Silver Plume, Colorado and operated on the Georgetown Loop. In 2004, it moved to Georgetown for display and four years later, was relocated to the Royal Gorge Route Railroad.

The Santa Fe Canon City station built in 1914. We went inside and picked up our tickets then bought some souvenirs.

Our tickets for today's trip. We sat on a bench and waited until about five minutes before boarding time and became the first two people to board the train. Each group or person had their picture taken before they boarded and could purchase them on board.

My special, loving and incredible Elizabeth making her second trip aboard the Royal Gorge Scenic Railroad. This was my third time. The train departed a few minutes late due to last minute arrivals and Elizabeth and I were in the open car for the trip through the Royal Gorge. Now sit back and enjoy a trip aboard this scenic and colorful railroad.

I hope you have enjoyed the trip to Parkdale on the Royal Gorge Scenic Railroad. I would just ride in the coach the entire way back and Elizabeth spent most of the trip in the open car, enjoying the scenery and fresh air.

This time, being now a married couple, we decided to buy the picture that was taken of us before we boarded. This portfolio with a slot for your tickets is a keepsake.

My loving, devoted and sensational wife on the trip back in the open car. We returned to Canon City, two very happy railfans. This trip is fantastic and I would highly recommend to everyone who loves trains to come to Colorado to ride it. The journey through the Royal Gorge with the Arkansas River where you also see rafters and kayakers and ocassionally bald eagles, Rocky Mountain goats and a variety of birds, makes this trip so special to both of us.

On The Road To Trinidad

The first stop of this journey would be in Florence, a town I had never visited on my other two trips here.

The Santa Fe Florence station. From here we went to the second station in town.

The Santa Fe/Denver and Rio Grande Western Florence station built in 1918. We then drove into Pueblo and had lunch at Arby's. Afterwards, we made our way to Devine.

The Santa Fe/Missouri Pacific station from Avondale, built in 1912, now in Devine, 8.2 miles away. I drove us to Fowler.

BNSF 6233 East with BNSF 9278 and 8589 as DPUs. This was Elizabeth's first train along this section of track.

The Santa Fe Fowler station built in 1913. The journey continued to Manzanola, Spanish for red apple.

The Santa Fe Manzanola station built in 1913.

Timeline of the Manzanola station. We proceeded east to Rocky Ford.

The Santa Fe Rocky Ford station built in 1907 now the Chamber of Commerce. The trip east continued into La Junta, Spanish for the junction.

Plymouth switcher 7573 and two box cars, as well as a semaphore signal, on display at the Otero Museum.

Santa Fe 2-6-2 1024 built in 1921 along with two semaphore signals.

Santa Fe caboose 999602 at State Bank opposite the Amtrak station in La Junta.

The La Junta Santa Fe station built in 1955 and a stop on the Southwest Chief. From here we went and found depots that are now residences in La Junta.

The Santa Fe station from Fort Lyon, 26 miles away.

The Santa Fe station from Cheraw, 10 miles away.

The Santa Fe station from McClave, 42.7 miles away.

A picture of both stations which are side-by-side in La Junta. We departed and drove US Highway 350 toward Trinidad. We had good weather until Model where we encountered thunderstorms. One such storm was so bad I could barely see in front of me but it quickly passed. We made our way into Trinidad and stopped at the Sub Shop for dinner since there was not much else available in this town. It hailed while we were eating but stopped just before we left. A short drive was made to the Days Inn where we checked in, wrote a story during the extremely heavy downpours that flooded the parking lot then called it a night.