Mo & Terry Smedley


horizontal rule

Part VI - The Royal Gorge

Today, we tour the Royal Gorge of the Arkansas river by train, by funicular (inclined railway), and on foot.  We first ride about 12 miles up the canyon on the Royal Gorge Route Railway, and enjoy lunch in our full-length dome car.  Then we explore the Royal Gorge Park, with its suspension bridge and inclined railway.


Our train trip up the Gorge begins at the old Santa Fe station in Canon City.  The Santa Fe and the Rio Grande railways fought a bitter battle to control rail traffic through the Royal Gorge.  A negotiated settlement allowed the Rio Grande to purchase the Sante Fe's partially-completed track through the Gorge. A beautifully restored F7 A-B locomotive pair head up our lunch train. Mo and Terry in the full-length dome car.  This is one of several full-length domes acquired from the Princess Lines Mt. McKinley service in Alaska. Looking straight up from the dome car, you can see the suspension bridge above us.
After reaching the end of the Gorge (and finishing my lunch), I headed out onto the open air car for our return trip. Heading back into the Royal Gorge.   Rafters in the Gorge.
From the open-air car, we get an unobstructed view of the suspension bridge above us. The open air car is very crowded.... it's difficult to get photographs without assorted heads and arms. Here, the train stops at the famous railway bridge that is suspended below the two steel girders wedged between the walls of the very narrow canyon.  We'll have another view of this later.  
After returning to Canon City, we head to the inclined railway for a ride down to the Gorge. Here's that alternative view of the suspended railway bridge, taken from the bottom of the inclined railway. Mo at the "end of the line" for the inclined railway. The inclined cars are a tight fit - you're pretty much wedged in place.  That's Paul & Dottie Waltz from our tour group at the front of the car.
Here's the view out the front of the inclined railway car as we pass the halfway point on our way back up. The inclined railway. The suspension bridge from the top. Mo walked across the bridge.  I did not.
Each of the states is commemorated with a sign on the bridge railing. Our bus driver, Juan, and tour co-leader Denny Thompson on the bridge. Mo took this picture looking down into the Gorge and the rail line from the suspension bridge.  
It's a steep drop down into the Gorge! Terry with the mini-rail at the park.

Canon City has two main industries -  tourism and correctional facilities.  There are nine state prisons and four federal institutions (including a SuperMax) in the city or its immediate surroundings!  This is one of the Colorado State prisons.