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Historic Narration Coach

Historic Narration Coach

Historic Narration Coach is not available for the 2020 Cascade Canyon Winter Excursion.  The San Juan Coach offers similar amenities and is available for the winter season.

Climb aboard and learn about the area and the railroad! Be enlightened through historic narrative and tales of what it took to build the railroad and what it takes to keep it going. Also learn interesting facts about the scenery and the historical significance of the area we travel through!

If you ride round trip on the train you will hear from two of these characters from history:

ThoNarrator Tom Gradenmas C. Graden was born in Ohio in 1846 and came west to Colorado in 1874. In 1879 he won a contract to supply ties and timber to the Denver & Rio Grande Railroad for construction of the new San Juan extension from Alamosa to Durango and on to Silverton! An entrepreneur all his life, he also incorporated the first electric company in Durango, operated the Graden Flour Mill, Graden Mercantile Company and numberous sawmills.  Hear the story on why he remained a single man.

Historic narrators

Cora Mears Pitcher was the daughter of Otto Mears and the last president of the Silverton Northern Railroad! She grew up as her father built roads and railroads to support the lucrative mining in southwestern Colorado. She will share her father's "rags to riches" story and talk about the many railroads that once ran in the San Juan Mountains.

Victoria Day was the wife of noted, (or notorious, depending on which side of the pencil you fell on) newspaper editor, David Day. She was a business woman in her own right, an early woman entrepreneur, something quite unusual for a 19th century lady. 

Otto MearsOtto Mears was a famous Colorado railroad builder and entrepreneur who played a major role in the early development of southwestern Colorado. Mears was known as the "Pathfinder of the San Juans" because of his road and railroad building projects through Colorado's San Juan Mountains in the late 19th Century. He built hundreds of miles of toll roads in the rough terrain of the young state of Colorado, notably the Million Dollar Highway over Red Mountain Pass, connecting Silverton to Ouray.

AnMrs. Pinkertonn Eliza Pinkerton, with her husband and children, homesteaded in the Animas Valley in 1875. They sold beef, potatoes, butter and other food supplies to the miners up in Silverton. Learn about ranch life in the area and some of the cowboy stories that really happened in the early days of "wild" Durango!

Narrator Sheriff DwyerRobert Dwyer (1847 ~ 1920) An Animas Valley pioneer, miner, rancher, La Plata County Sheriff and first Marshall of Durango. He left an indelible mark on the community he helped develop.  Born in County Cork, Ireland, Dwyer eventually made his way via Bakers Park to establish an Animas Valley homestead in 1873.  It was through “Bob” Dwyer’s leadership that brought together a diverse community of railroad developers, miners, ranchers and Ute Indians residing in the valley.

Narrator Caroline RomneyCaroline Romney was a pretty, 40-year old, New York-born widow when she decided to haul her printing press across the mountains from Leadville, CO to start Durango’s first newspaper The Durango Record in December 1880.  The outspoken Romney championed Durango as “the new wonder of the Southwest” and rallied for women’s right to vote. Caroline was known to dash about the streets gathering news then rushing back to the office to write news, advertisements and editorials in prose that reflected her brains and wit.  Besides the normal news and social events Caroline Romney confronted such issues as social justice, Indian affairs, women’s rights and law and order, even taking on the infamous Stockton-Eskridge gang in print.  One of her reoccurring themes was encouraging girls to come to Durango to “civilize their pioneer brothers”. Mrs. Romney was the embodiment of the successful frontier woman . . . she had a nose for news, a head for business and a witty tongue.  She continued her career as a newsperson in many areas of the country seeming to always return to Colorado. She also became a successful inventor of such items as foot warmers for railroad cars. She died in Denver in 1916.

Schedule & Fare:

May 11 - October 8, 2020

Train Round Trip (May 11-Oct.8) 
Adult (age 12+): Off-Peak  $119.00*  Child (age 4-11): $79.00*
Adult (age 12+): Peak Fare  $124.00*  Child (age 4-11): $84.00*
Depart Durango 8:00am  ~   Arrive Silverton 1:00pm
Depart Silverton 1:45pm  ~  Arrive Durango 5:15pm

June 8-August 6 (Mon-Fri 6/8-8/21; Daily 6/22-8/6)

Train Round Trip (June 8-August 6)
Depart Durango 9:30am  ~   Arrive Silverton 11:30pm
Depart Silverton 3:00pm  ~  Arrive Durango 6:30pm

Skyway Tour (Bus/Train)
Adult (age 12+): Off-Peak   $144.00*   Child (age 4-11): $104.00*
Adult (age 12+): Peak Fare   $149.00*   Child (age 4-11): $109.00*
Depart on any available morning bus
Depart on Silverton train 2:30pm  ~  Arrive Durango 6:00pm

Skyway Tour (Train/Bus)
Adult (age 12+): Off-Peak   $144.00*   Child (age 4-11): $104.00*
Adult (age 12+): Peak Fare   $149.00*   Child (age 4-11): $109.00*
Depart on Durango train 8:45am  ~   Arrive Silverton 12:15pm
Depart on any available afternoon bus

2020 Off Peak Fares (May 2-June 21; August 7-September 3; September 28-October 31)
2020 Peak Fares (June 24- August 8; September 9- September 29)

*Fares subject to 8% historic preservation fee.

NOTE: The Historical Narration Journey is designed as a round trip experience on board the train. Please be aware that if you choose to go one way or utilize the one-way bus option, you will be missing one portion of the historic narration and no refund will be given.
Since the Historical Narration Journey involves narrative, we encourage our passengers to be willing and able to give attention to the speaker in order that all passengers may enjoy the full experience! Thank you!

Seating Details

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Greeting guests on platform

The narrators will relate their tales to you in first-person storytelling, dressed in period clothing to match their character. They will take on the persona of an actual person involved in the settling of the West and portray through their eyes what life was like in the old days in the Durango and Silverton area. They will enlighten you through narrative and tales of what it took to build the railroad and what it takes to keep it going as well as facts about the scenery and the historical significance of the area we travel through!

This will NOT be non-stop commentary but will allow for interaction and passengers are encouraged to ask questions! On the return trip, you will have a new character in your car to provide another angle of the history of the old west.

Comments from passengers on the Historic Narration Coach:
"Had a great ride today! The narrated carriage is definite
ly a must! You'll learn so much about the area and really get a better understanding of what you're seeing! Highly recommended!"
"I loved the ride in general, but I would not have known as much or appreciated as much without the history that was explained thanks to the narrators."

“A train trip not to be missed”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed October 31, 2015 NEW

We had a relaxing ride to and from Durango to Silverton. We went in the narrated coach car and it was certainly worth it to hear the history etc. it was a long day but certainly worth it. We would have liked to spend more time in Silverton. We had lunch at Eureka: it was clean, staff very pleasant, and the food very good. Make sure the train ride is on your list of things to do. Visited October 2015

“Ride the Rails Into Scenery and History”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed October 31, 2015 NEW

This is one of the best steam train rides I have done. It is a forty-five mile, three and a half hour ride climbing nearly 2,800 feet in elevation from Durango to Silverton. You have a choice of open air coach, vintage coach, narration vintage coach, or a private specialty coach each priced accordingly. I recommend taking the narration coach as you get detailed information/history about Durango, Silverton, the railroad, and the small communities the train passes through as well as the beautiful scenery. Seats are assigned but perhaps you can ask to be on the right side as this will give you great views down into the river canyon. Returning it will be on your left side. A live person in period costume using a public address system is on the narration coach to provide a wealth of history and information and answer any questions. ...Even here in the East I have heard much praise about this spectacular train ride. In my opinion it certainly lives up to all its expectations. Visited September 2015

“Back to the 1880's!”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed October 27, 2015 NEW

Having suggested this trip, my daughter booked our tickets for one of the few days that we spent in Durango - it was a most enjoyable experience. The journey to Silverton was both interesting and amusing - we had a guide who played the role of a one-time marshal from the 1880's; it added an interesting twist to the journey which took around three hours. Visited September 2015

“Best train trip taken”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed October 24, 2015

We ride trains every where we travel and this was by far the very best trip. It was the longest ride...3-1/2 hrs each way and had the very best scenery! We rode it for our wedding anniversary. I booked us in the narration car. Our host on the way to Silverton was Thomas Graden...he had a lot to share with us about how the railroad was started and all about the towns of Durango and Silverton. On the way back Victoria Day entertained us with not only stories from her life in the 1800's but stories of her real life and how she was getting visits from a particular redheaded bear!!! They both were FANTASTIC! We thoroughly enjoyed our day. Don't miss the museum either. They have a lot of items in there and it's really interesting too! Nice little gift shop and coffee shop too! EXCELLENT TRIP!!! Visited October 2015



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