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“Rio Grande Scenic Railroad”

Rio Grande Scenic Railroad
Ranked #1 of 12 things to do in Alamosa
Certificate of Excellence
More attraction details
Attraction details
Recommended length of visit: More than 3 hours
Owner description: The Rio Grande Scenic Railroad is Colorado's newest train offering steam engine rides through breathtaking mountain valleys and over legendary LaVeta pass on hundreds of miles of historic rail. Excursions offer riders a trip back in time on restored passenger cars that stop at the quaint mountain town of LaVeta and hear narration of Colorado history, mining stories and catch a glimpse of wildlife--including bears! Summer weekends brings the Mountain Rails Live summer concert series with nationally renowned acts to a boxcar stage at 9,400 ft only accessible by our train. This green location is run on solar and wind power. Seasonal rides are available throughout the year.
Useful Information: Activities for older children, Activities for young children, Food available for purchase
Level Contributor
9 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 7 helpful votes
“Rio Grande Scenic Railroad”
2 of 5 bubbles Reviewed July 16, 2013

I booked this a couple of months in advance. We have done the Durango train ride 4 times & the Chama once in the past. This ride does not begin to compare with either of these rides in terms of customer service & getting what you expect. You are told that Sat & Sunday trips are by steam engine so we drove 800 miles for a Sunday ride only to find that it was being pulled by a diesel engine! Apparently the steam engine hasn't run this year. When we went to pick up tickets Saturday night they were not available & had to be picked up Sunday before the trip. Not a big deal but just another example of failure on their part to live up to what they claim. Upon boarding the train the gal comes through & announces that they are short handed today so they will not be seen much. This was a 2 car train! One open car & one domed car.We rode the train to LaVeta & did the 2 hour layover. Upon returning to the train we found a LOT of people setting in the open car. Come to find out the generator in the domed car had broke down & we had an additional hour wait until they got it fixed. Ended up being the fuel filter was plugged up even though it had recently been serviced. Makes you wonder what else may have been missed! Not a good experience. Durango or Chama are better deals in my opinion. Later, Jay

Visited July 2013
2 Thank LILDUDE2153
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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198 reviews from our community

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Date | Rating
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English first
Pasadena, California
1 review
“Rails and Ales - Alamosa, CO”
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed July 15, 2013

This review is for the June 2013 event. Overall, the beer festival experience was great....lots of very good breweries were there providing more than generous sized samples of their tasty beverages. No complaints there! HOWEVER, the train ride experience is another story. My friends and I paid for "first class" seating and we would have been just as well with the much cheaper coach fare. As far as I could see, there were no advantages to being "first class". There was only 1 bartender for our entire car, and by the time she serviced all rows during her first round, they were out of everything! In addition, there were no food items to purchase...we had to wait the 2.5 hours to get to the event site. The train ride back was even worse. Not surprisingly, there was no alcohol offered (probably a good thing since most everyone had already consumed plenty at the event), but there should have been non-alcoholic beverages sold. Also, the train traveled at a painfully slow speed...made even worse when some drunk idiot decided to climb on top of one of the cars...causing the whole train to have to stop, get him off the roof, and hold him until the closest sheriff's office could come respond, arrest hiim and cart him away (we sat there for 45 minutes). While some of the scenary we passed on the train was beautiful, most of it was not...so that made the 3.5+hour ride home excrutiating. Overall, the event seemed to lack organization...which is hard to justify given I believe this was at least the 4th or 5th year of putting the event on. If I could drive to the festival, I would go again, but would definitely not take the train next time!

Visited June 2013
Thank S S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Castle Rock, Colorado
Level Contributor
10 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
“A fun way to spend the day”
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed July 10, 2013

The Rio Grande Scenic Railroad is one of those attractions that runs a bit under the radar, but it really shouldn't. They have several trains that run often, including some pulled by an old steam locomotive. They also have some of the rail cars from the Illinois Central made famous by Arlo Guthrie in Steve Goodman's song "City of New Orleans". We've ridden the trains several times, and over the 4th of July weekend we rode from LaVeta to Fir to see Suzy Bogguss. The concert venue that they've built is something that you have to see. The only way you can get there is by train, and they have some pretty good entertainers there. They have great entertainment each summer weekend, all listed on their web site. I'd go pretty much every weekend if I could. Be forewarned that they aren't the most efficiently run company when it comes to ticket sales, customer service, etc., but the people are very friendly and the trains are run very professionally; they're safe, and mostly on schedule. Enjoy the atmosphere and the scenery, ride the train, and hear some great music too! All in all, it's a weekend excursion that's really a bargain. By the way, Suzy Bogguss was great!

Visited July 2013
1 Thank rwooddvr
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Abilene, Texas
Level Contributor
44 reviews
16 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 24 helpful votes
“Not the best scenic railroad”
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed July 4, 2013

We traveled from Alamosa to LaVeta on an all day trip. The first hour is not very scenic but the next 2 were nice. LaVeta is a cute town. The LaVeta Inn is a great place for lunch and there is shopping and art galleries.

The best part about the trip was the staff. They were very nice and knowledgeable about the train and its route. They went out of their way to make us feel comfortable.

Our ticket was for the dome car but it was hot in there so we went to the club car, the Mardi Gras. What a special train car. The song, The City of New Orleans, was written in that car. It has been tastefully renovated. A special piece of history.

So if you book a trip on this train, visit all the cars that you can. And talk to the staff. They are great.

Visited July 2013
Thank MaggieMae1950
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
New York
Level Contributor
311 reviews
30 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 264 helpful votes
2 of 5 bubbles Reviewed June 30, 2013

We booked from Alamosa to La Veta and back to Alamosa to long of a day. We boarded ok and got moving pretty much on time. From the time we left until we returned a man and woman complained about being cold and wanted the air turned off,they claim they had health issues but he was wearing shorts,they came with no blanket,nothing. The people on the train did give him one of the shirts they sell to cover his legs but they were not covered most of the time. They spent most of the time telling them how sorry they were they were cold but they did not have the key for the air. It took 3 hours to La Veta where we had about 90 minutes off the train,the 3 hours back. Six hours of hearing someone complain about cold they were was just to much. The trip long and boring. The staff on the train while nice was to young they spent a lot of time talking about how much fun they had on the Sat. night over 21 train. Most of the people on this train was over 60 they did not care. They do offer free coffee and soft drinks,do not order the coffee the worst I have ever had. They have free fresh fruit and muffins which was nice. You go back to Alamosa the same way nothing to see. We did see a couple deer and a few elk. A good many people were sleeping on the train.

I would suggest they hire some old staff who would have more knowledge and know what interest older people.

We did purchase a couple drinks not good either.

While it was a nice ride,a bit to long,not much time off the train I will not do this again. It was not worth the money.

Visited June 2013
1 Thank pcc10
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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