That is what we listened to Thursday when we rode on the 2010 Steam Photographers Heavyweight Special train of the San Luis and Rio Grande Railroad. We have ridden this trip from Alamosa to LaVeta and back twice before, but this time we had the opportunity to get off several times to take photographs.
The train of vintage passenger cars—ours was built in 1928—was pulled by Alco Locomotive #18, a 2-8-0 steam engine that is 100 years old this year. Photography opportunities allowed us to film the train on a neat S-curve and coming around numerous bends.
If you enjoy the sight and sound of a steam locomotive, watch this short video from the trip.
This gives you a good view of the steam engine.
Steve Goodman was riding in this car, the Calumet Club, when he wrote the song, "The City of New Orleans." It has been recorded numerous times by folks like Arlo Guthrie, Willie Nelson and John Denver. Click here to read the words as sung by Arlo and here to hear Willie sing the song.
We saw cattle grazing early in the day and elk running from the train near days' end.
Sometimes we were on a hill looking down on the train.
Nan and Norm, two other volunteers at Lathrop, rode the train with us. This shot was taken early in the day.
Later in the day, I stayed in the train during the photo ops. John took this picture of me sitting in the open car as the train passed his position.
The standard gauge tracks we were riding over La Veta Pass we laid in 1899 by the Denver and Rio Grande Railroad. We were able to see some of the structures built to service that route years ago, including this old-style snow fence.
Nearby we passed these shoots and corral for loading sheep on the train.
Since we didn't return to Alamosa until 9 pm, I was able to get some good shots as the sun set. Here is the engineer on top of the tender, checking to see how much water he had for the steam boiler.
We were ready to say goodnight as I took this shot of the skyline.