Royal Gorge Route Railroad expecting a strong season

New Loco Cropped 500XColorado’s Royal Gorge Route Railroad is anticipating a strong year, because tourists are already booking trips for this season which opens March 9.

“This year, our bookings are up by more than 50 percent already – and many of our reservations are focused on our first-class dining experience,” General Manager Steve Kaverman said.

He said organizers are also excited about unveiling a new locomotive, a turbo-charged C20 diesel engine.

The railroad  takes passengers through the Royal Gorge canyon along the Arkansas River. The railroad pumps in an estimated $6.5 million to the region each year in tax revenue. In 2011, more than 100,000 passengers rode the train, that was up 15 percent over 2010.  That number dipped in 2012, but Kaverman expects passenger numbers to hit the 100,000 mark this year.

Prices for cab rides range from $150 to $250 for one or two passengers, respectively, for a 90-minute ride through the 1,000-foot-deep Royal Gorge.

“Cab rides are one of the most coveted and memorable experiences for train lovers of all ages,” said Kaverman.  “This also offers an incredible experience to those who appreciate the scenic beauty of the Royal Gorge – there is no other vantage point in the train like the cab.”