Rio Grande Scenic Railroad
|Rio Grande Scenic Railroad|
|No. 18, a 2-8-0, leads an excursion through Blanca, Colorado in 2008.|
|Name||Denver and Rio Grande Western Railroad|
|Built by||Denver and Rio Grande Western Railroad|
|Original gauge||4 ft 8 1⁄2 in (1,435 mm)|
|Owned by||Rio Grande Scenic Railroad|
|Operated by||Rio Grande Scenic Railroad|
|Preserved gauge||4 ft 8 1⁄2 in (1,435 mm)|
|Closed to passengers||(?)|
The Rio Grande Scenic Railroad of Colorado, a heritage railway, began operations in 2006, operating both steam and diesel locomotives in and around the San Luis Valley, on trackage of the San Luis and Rio Grande Railroad. Located 200 miles (320 km) south of Denver, Colorado, the Rio Grande Scenic Railroad operates out of Alamosa, Monte Vista and La Veta. The original La Veta line of the Denver and Rio Grande Western Railroad was completed on June 22, 1878; with standard gauge track over La Veta Pass.
Historically called the Scenic Line of the World, the train’s connections between Alamosa and La Veta with views of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains and several of Colorado’s 14,000-foot (4,300 m) peaks.
The predecessor of the railroad is credited for opening the San Luis Valley to the rest of the world by laying tracks across its borders. The town of Alamosa was literally built in one day with buildings transported by the Denver and Rio Grande Western Railroad in 1878. By 1890, and during the following half-century, Alamosa was the hub for 3 ft (914 mm) narrow gauge railroading in North America. The railroad departs from the original depot in the heart of downtown Alamosa, where freight trains once delivered ore, lumber, sheep, cattle and farming products, and shipped out agricultural and mining products. Trains from Denver, Durango, Creede, Salida and Santa Fe, New Mexico arrived and departed daily with passengers.
 Locomotives and passenger service
The Rio Grande Scenic Railroad collection includes vintage steam locomotives, including the addition of the LS&I-18, built by the American Locomotive Company at its Pittsburgh works in 1910. This locomotive previously operated on the Grand Canyon Railroad and the Mount Hood Railroad. The LS&I joins the SP-1744, a fully restored 2-6-0 Mogul that began service in 1901 for the Southern Pacific Railroad.
- Five remodeled dome cars for railroad sightseeing, with a glass roof on top of the car where passengers can ride and see in all directions around the train;
- 1930s-era “open-air” cars with bench-style seating for passengers and the option of opening windows;
- 1950s-era restored Pullman Coaches with new windows, heating, air conditioning, and concessions; and
- Parlor Car restored for first-class style with floor-to-ceiling observation window.
 Special events
A few events include Mother’s Day Brunch in the dome cars, Rails & Ales Brewfest, Jazz on the Tracks mountain concerts; fall foliage and pumpkin patch rides; and the North Pole Express.
 See also
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