In addition to the beautiful views from the train, the camaraderie among passengers was one of the most enjoyable aspects of our trip on the Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad.
We located our reserved seats on the right for the 8:00 a.m. train. When nearly all of the two-person bench seats were filled, an older Japanese lady and her thirty-something daughter came aboard. The older lady spoke only in Japanese.
Her daughter paused to put her belongings on the seat in front of ours. Then she led her mother to her seat, which was farther forward on the left. Obviously, they had not been able to get seats together.
An American lady in her 70s, traveling alone, already sat on that forward bench. After a brief discussion the American nodded and rose. The young woman showed her to the seat in front of ours. In halting English she thanked the 70-year-old profusely.
The American settled and introduced herself to her new seat mate. A moment later the Japanese daughter returned with a small gift to thank the 70-year-old for her kindness.
“Thank you,” she said as she bobbed her head in a polite bow. She handed the American a unique ballpoint pen still in its packaging and another tiny gift-wrapped present. “For you. To thank. Your kindness allow me to sit with mother,” she said and bowed again.
As the sweet young woman walked away the American lady teared up. She pulled out a tissue and dabbed her eyes. Turning to her new seat mate (another older American lady), she said, “Our television news makes people in other countries think we’re all shooting at each other with spears or something.” She wiped away her tears. “I wish people all around the world, as well as here at home, could have seen that.”
Different seating classes are available: Presidential Class, First Class, Deluxe Class, and Standard Class (all Standard Seating coaches have bench seats). You can call 877-872-4607 for reservations or book online:
- Scroll through the web page to view all the classes. Click for more information on your choice.
- Standard Class, hover your cursor over the small railroad car floor plan at the bottom of the website page to select your seat.
- Select a seat a few rows behind the middle seats in the coach.
If you sit too far forward, the front wall of the car may block your view.
- Round-trip passengers will see the scenery on both sides of the train.
- Some passengers choose to ride the train one-way and the bus via the highway for their return to Durango.
The opposite method is also utilized: bus to Silverton and train to Durango. See website for options:
- An Open-Air Gondola is available May through October (dress appropriately for the weather). Scroll to the bottom of the web page:
- One of the best photo opportunities is in the morning during the first half of the trip after you leave Durango.
The dramatic moment occurs when the train rounds a sharp curve and hugs the rocky cliff-edge of the mountain. As the engine turns that sharp curve it is possible to photograph a large portion of the train chugging around the mountain. In the morning the best shot is from the right side of the train.
- The same photo opportunity occurs in the afternoon for the left side of the train.
(See last week’s featured photo)
- We traveled in late September. Sunlight glared through the window morning and afternoon on the right.
If you travel the same time of year and choose the right side, I suggest you wear a visor or cap to keep the sun out of your eyes.
- Be sure to purchase your Parking Lot ticket when you book your train ride!
Parking is in a lot near McDonald’s. You can walk to the train station from there.
The gracious interchange between the young Japanese woman and the older American was a delight to witness. When have you seen kindness expressed on your travels? When have you extended kindness to others? Tell me about it in the comments below.
Until next time . . . Travel Light,
© 2018 SuZan Klassen