Leadville Train Opens Tracks for 2019 Season
All Aboard! Specials and Packages on the Rails
While the surrounding high mountain passes like Indy, Weston and Mosquito might be a bit late in opening up to summertime traffic, the Leadville, Colorado & Southern Railroad crew has been laying some solid tracks along with some cool drone videos to prove it! Considering all of the avalanches Highway 91 saw on the valley floor below, track crews were curious about what they would find along their 9 miles of track leading up to the historic water tower and beyond to the end of the line. Along the track itself, crews reported seeing an epic 2 -3-foot snow drifts at the Birdseye Gulch curve, a favorite for photo taking as you can see the caboose and the engine of the train at the same time. And no doubt, they will be shoveling out the 20 inches of snow located at the water tower stop.
“Snow depth varied from a few inches to over 12′ depending on location,” stated Track Crew Boss and LCSR owner Derek Olsen. “In the video, the wheels slipped, we backed up and punched forward.” The inset photo (above) was shared by Olsen and attests to the HUGE snow banks on each side.
In this video catch some great drone shots provided by the Leadville Railroad track crews as they clear some big snow off the tracks with their diesel engine. The good news is that by last Friday the rails were cleared past the water tower and just about to the end-of-the-line! It’s been encouraging to hear that train whistle blow, because after this winter, Just about everybody living in Leadville Today is ready for summertime, whether Mother Nature is or not!
Train Opens for Summer on Saturday
Over the past decade, every summer at the Leadville Train has marked a new and improved part of the experience. Two years ago it was the upgrades at the water tower stop, a favorite picture-taking spot, as well as new gazebo at the historic depot. And last year brought an expanded concession car and the addition of the potty caboose, putting all of the modern bathroom facilities on one rail car.
So what’s new in 2019 you ask? It’s the Caboose Clubhouse experience. While the engine and caboose rides have long been popular add-ons among train buffs, the exclusive experience has now been expanded to provide a special private ride for a bigger group in comfortable club-style surroundings. The new VIP ride offers seating and tables for up to 16 passengers and has an added private bar area to suit your needs for that special adult occasion. According to the Leadville Railroad website, riders will experience the train ride from their recently refurbished caboose! You can ride with the brakeman and learn more about the operation of the train. The caboose’s lifted cupola seats offer a more expansive view of the Rocky Mountains. By purchasing this ticket, you get the opportunity to ride one way with one of their friendly brakemen and the opposite direction in general seating. The total price for a caboose ride, one direction (with general seating the other direction) is $76 per adult and $57 per children. Space is limited so please call ahead – 1-866-386-3936 to make a reservation or for more information.
Special Rides and Combo Packages
The Leadville, Colorado & Southern Railroad‘s (LCSR) will blow the whistle on its 31st year in business on Saturday, May 25. As they start out their season, the train offers a daily ride, leaving at 1 p.m. until June 15, when things kick into high gear with two-a-days, departures at 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. This year, all of the popular combo packages and special rides are back. But the news this year might be not to wait until the last minute to get your tickets, as some of the Fall Photo trips are already SOLD OUT! Plan ahead for your trip or visiting friends and family.
If you and your family/group are looking for some Rocky Mountain adventure, take your pick from the “Raft and Rail” or the “Rails and Zip Line Tour” package deals. On the zip line combo, guests will enjoy a scenic train ride up through the San Isabel National Forest. Then once at the end of the line, your group is taken up for Zip Line fun, traveling all the way down to base camp at Top of The Rockies Zip Line. This five-hour tour is perfect for adults and children, giving them an opportunity to see untouched wilderness. This package deal is available throughout the train season, for more information and to book your Zip/Train tour visit the Top of the Rockies website: HERE.
Or maybe you’re up for some white water adventure, with a half-day with Noah’s Ark Colorado Rafting; afterward, kick back on a 2 ½ hour scenic train ride in the afternoon. The “Raft and Rail” packages run daily between May 26 and August 16.
If you’re looking to add some lip-smackin’ flavor to your train experience, choose from one of these special rides. The Devil’s Tail BBQ Train features an evening train ride, on July 5 departing the depot at 6 p.m., and on August 30 and September 13, the train will be departing the depot at 4:30 p.m. All Aboard for a 2 1/2 hour evening ride, enjoying some award-winning BBQ along the way. Last year, these trips sold out, so make reservations now.
Of course, the 2019 season will also see the return of the train’s popular Wildflower and Fall Photo Special rides. Join their experienced wildflower tour guides for a 20-minute hike through pine forests, aspen groves and open meadows. View a multitude of varieties of wildflowers at the water tower. Some flowers sighted include Indian Paintbrush, Lupine and wild strawberries. You may find anything from the “local” deer to a mushroom in a wet marsh. Remember hiking shoes, a water bottle and camera. The train ride will depart at 10 a.m. and arrive back at the depot at 1 p.m. This hike is for people of all capabilities and interests. Wildflower Specials will be July 20, July 27 and August 3.
The Fall Photo Specials are offered three different weekends in September when the aspens are putting on a show all their own. Get that special shot framed by Colorado’s autumn beauty! This tour goes all the way, an additional mile and a half allowing you to see the full beauty of the Arkansas River Valley and will take 3 hours. Bring your camera and your jacket!
So plan ahead for your next vacation or summer visitors. or more information on any of these special packages check out the LCSR website.