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We want to get on the round trip on May 8th. Can we just walk in and get tickets? Is it a slow time of year? Can we get tickets a day or two in advance? If we have to make a reservation how do we know where we want to sit? What type of car? If we don't make it can we get another date or money back? And help here would be appreciated?

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For May 8 I'd recommend getting an inside car or you will be freezing. This is definitely not a busy time.  Friends that have taken it (we haven't) state it's best to take the train up and the bus on the return otherwise it's a long, cold day, especially if it's raining (or snowing up there). Silverton is a unique little mining town in a very picturesque setting. We've done a lot of Jeeping up there. However, we've been there toward the end of June into August when the trails are clear of snow.

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Go 1st class and make reservations for the parlor  car, it is even heated if needed, the car has its own tour guide. If you want the bus you must do that when you buy tickets. Caution ithe will be warmer in Durango  than in Silverton dress appropriate, shorts and flip flops in sleet and snow  not a good idea, saw that when we went up Labor  Day weekend . 

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I got the "cheap" seats on an indoor car and it was heated. I would still take a coat as you will want to walk around in Silverton.  I did train up and back in the fall but I like the idea of the train/bus as you will get 2 different views. That is likely included as an option at no additional charge I am guessing as that is the way it is done on the Cumbres and Toltec RR between Chama, NM and Atonito, CO. If you have the chance that is a great ride. In fact if I could only ride one I would choose Chama.  If you go out of Chama at the right time in the spring your train might get held up by a catapillar.  OK, thousands of them crossing the track.  When the train squihes them the wheels can lose traction.  This is true as I experienced one spring.
Who would have thunk it.

 

Edited by bigjim
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We were there mid April last year. (13th - 19th). Couldn't get tickets for the 5 days were staying in Durango! Also check when the trains makes the through run to Silverton. It only goes halfway there and back in the off season. (May also be affected by snow depth etc).

If it were me I would go there and back on the train. So much to see and if you are on the 'wrong' side going you may miss the best of the scenery.

My advice is to book and book early.

regards

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I agree, buy tickets for the enclosed cars. Some folks bought tickets for the flatcars and nearly froze enroute to Silverton, They were crowding into the enclosed cars attempting to warm up; they must have upgraded their tickets at Silverton, because the flatcars were empty on the return to Durango. That was in July '05

Almost forgot; if DW like jewelry, stop in the Astorite store. It's the only place in the world it's mined. Named after the famous Astor family.

9fb293bc_447651a.jpg

Edited by Ray,IN
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  • 4 weeks later...

Also, the closer to the engine you are, the more soot you will get through the windows or walking between cars.  The Durango Silverton trains burn coal, which means a lot of smoke and also cinders, which you can get in your eyes.  (Ever try getting a screaming 8-year-old to hold still while you try to flush out the cinders from his eyes because he had his head stuck out the window?) 

So, the "best" cars are as far to the rear as you can get.  Also, even if you decide to take the train only one-way, it is worth it to watch the trains come in and how they turn them around in the "roundhouse" and put them away for the night, so stick around for a while. 

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 We did the train in early August and really enjoyed it. We opted for a open car and took it up and back and sure it was a long day but didn't bother us. As mentioned, if you do a outside car it would be wise to wear some sort of eye protection, sunglasses or if you already wear glasses as I do you are set. At least 3 people in our car got some of that soot in there eye but the workers sre used to it because there were Johnny on the spot with eye wash.

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On 4/13/2017 at 7:35 AM, homelesshartshorns said:

Ok so they turn the engine around do the cars run up and down the mountain in the same direction? What side of the car is the valley side and is that the same case up and down the pass?

The engine is pulling(in front) going to Silverton, in back of the train going to Durango. The valley side is on either side at some point, the river view is on the right enroute to Silverton. I attempted to upload a picture but file size is limited to 102.4kb here.

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We have done the Durango-Silverton 3 times -- twice in October, & once just after Christmas.  We opted for the open car, & took the train both ways.  My husband is an amateur photographer -- I just like to take pretty pictures of mountains & scenery -- & the open car is a necessity to get any photos.  Can't lean out to get shots in the closed cars. All depends on your interest &/or capabilities -- my recollection is that you pretty much sit in the closed cars & look out the windows. Standing is the norm in the open cars, although I believe they do have bench seating running lengthwise. Don't remember because I stood up taking photos...

Renee

 

Edited by strawdog
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