The railroad takes passengers on four historic railroad cars through the Royal Gorge canyon along the Arkansas River. This year, the train starts its season March 17 with a St. Patrick’s Day spread, including Gaelic tunes and Irish eats.
It’s a little early. Usually, the train only runs weekend rides in April and May. The Royal Gorge Route will run daily at 12:30 p.m. until May 26, when its schedule expands to additional daily departures.
“Last year was our best year ever,” said Steve Kaverman, Royal Gorge Route’s general manager. “We saw there was a demand for weekday departures – this is an experiment for us.”
Last year, more than 100,000 passengers – up 15 percent over 2010 – rode on the train, which is typically a 90-minute ride through the 1,000-foot-deep Royal Gorge. And, the railroad’s Santa Express tours hit record numbers, Kaverman said. The railroad, he said, pumps in an estimated $6.5 million to the region each year in tax revenue.
Kaverman said the added daily routes should help with walk-up business. Last year, the railroad saw a big increase in its walk-up business, which the railroad attributes to a more aggressive marketing campaign.
“We’ve been able to grow this business every, and I don’t see why we wouldn’t this year,” Kaverman said. “All the bleak news about gas might work in our favor; people might be inclined to stay at home for stay-cations. We’ve got lots of potential guests right here in the Front Range.”
To learn more and book tickets to ride Colorado’s Royal Gorge Route, visit royalgorgeroute.com