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The Royal Gorge Route Railroad 7/16/2008

by Chris Guenzler

As we drove into Canon City, I spotted some engines and Bob Riskie stopped the car. Chris Parker and I then went to have a look and take a few pictures.

A Royal Gorge Route B unit.

A Royal Gorge Route SD-9.

The former Canon City Rio Grande Station is now a bank. We drove to the Royal Gorge Route Station and parked. I went inside to pick up my Dome Class ticket for the trip through the World famous Royal Gorge.

Shay 9 is displayed out in front of the station.

As is this Colorado Southern Caboose. I then meet Andre Fournier, vice President of Operations for the Royal Gorge Route Railroad. He really wanted to meet me since I had ridden a Million Rail Miles and we would talk aboard the train once the train leaves Canon City. I then went to get some pictures plus the train consist.

I walked down to the grade crossing for a predeparture picture of our train.

Royal Gorge Route F-7A 402.

The train consisted of Royal Gorge Route F-7A 402, SD-9 5305, Baggage CRRX 9618, Coach CRRX 3235 William Jackson Palmer, Full Dome CRRX 50, Open Car 3214 Sangre de Cristo, Coach CRRX 5591 Zebulon Pike, Generator Car CRRX 15462, Full Dome CRRX 507 Susitna, Full Dome CRRX 553 Kashwitna, Full Dome CRRX 56, Open Car 3225 Sunshine Falls, Coach CRRX 3250, Coach CRRX 5586 Fremont, Concession CRRX 2510, Full Bar CRRX 2510 Sunshine Falls, Coach CRRX 5586 Spike Buck, Coach CRRX 5497 Phantom Canyon and F7-A 403.

Royal Gorge Route F-7A 403.

The east end of our train. It was now time for boarding with me being in the Full Dome 553 Kashwitna and assigned a table with a couple who were no shows. Bob and Chris had coach tickets and could be found the entire trip out in the open air car. I would take pictures from the Dome going west to Parkdale and shoot pictures from the open car going east.

Inside of Full Dome 553 Kashwitna.

Right on time our Royal Gorge Route Train departed the former Santa Fe Canon City Station and headed west to take me through the Royal Gorge. I had wanted to take a train through the Royal Gorge for years and now my dream will be coming true.

Two views of the Colorado Territorial Prison

Andre and I had a great talk but he had work to do and I had pictures to take. He told me about the different services that the Royal Gorge Route Railroad provides and all that can be found on their web site.

The train runs along the Arkansas River that created the Royal Gorge.

Rafters would be seen as we run through the Royal Gorge.

Our train takes the curves as we enter the Royal Gorge.

The Gorge walls get higher as we go further west.

More rafters.

The train takes another curve.

These rafters stopped to watch our train head west.

Deeper and deeper we go into the Royal Gorge.

Remains of the Canon City Water Diversion System and this is the Dilapidated Wooden Waterline.

More rafters floating down stream as I look back.

Another view back at the beauty of the Royal Gorge.

The world's highest Suspension Bridge completed in 1929 and is 1,053 feet above the tracks.

Our train took another curve.

The view looking back at the Suspension Bridge.

A water diverter bridge across the tracks.

The train takes more curves as it heads for the western exit from the Royal Gorge.

Upper part of the Canon City Water Diversion System.

The last few curves before we pass under the Highway 50 Bridge and leave the Royal Gorge behind. The good news is that we will be returning through it again in a few minutes.

Taking the curves into Parkdale and our turn around point. New passengers who had been rafting down the Arkansas River will board here in the now rear cars.

View inside of the Full Dome 56.

View inside Full Dome 507 Susitna. I next walked out into the Open Car Sunshine Falls for the trip back finding Chris and Bob there.

Click here for Part 2 of this story