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The States in the Fall!

22. September – 5. October 2020

USA: The States in the Fall!

We are delighted to be able to offer an opportunity to photograph narrow gauge railways with autumnal colours during the fall of 2020 as we travel over to the USA to photograph the larger variety of narrow gauge steam in spectacular scenery.
Based around the 64-mile long scenic and at times spectacular Cumbres & Toltec line, we will visit Colorado and New Mexico for a trip aimed at capturing the best photographic locations available during five days of charter on the C&T. We will also visit other railway venues for photographic sessions including the Colorado Railroad Museumat Golden, the short but very spectacular Georgetown Loop Railroad and the Como Roundhouse Project.
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No. of participants Min. 12 - max. 36
Duration 14 days
Meals halfboard
Price from 2.980 €
Open for bookings Open for bookings
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22. September 2020, Tuesday:
Arrival at Denver airport.

23. September 2020, Wednesday:
We will be visiting our first venue, the Colorado Railroad Museum at Golden today. This will be a day that involves a relatively small amount of  travelling, taking account of most participants having travelled a long way the previous day to arrive in Denver. The Museum is home to many locomotives and other exhibits including the Denver & Rio Grande No.491 which is currently billed as the largest operational narrow gauge steam locomotive in the western hemisphere. No.491 is a K-37 2-8-2 Mikado. Built for Denver & Rio Grande Western Railway by the Baldwin Locomotive
Works in 1902 as a 2-8-0, it was one of thirty locos of the 190 Class subsequently rebuilt at Denver as 2-8-2s, becoming C-41 Class in 1924 and K-37 in 1928. Withdrawn in 1963 when still in full working order, it was acquired by History Colorado in 1970 and arrived at the CRRM in 1985. Ownership was transferred to CRRM in 2013 and the K-37 Class was restored to steam in 2014. Eight fromthis class survive, though only No.491 is currently operational.

We will have Nos.346 and (provisionally) 20 in steam. No.346 was built in 1881 as a Class 70 (later to become a C-19), numbered 406 and named Cumbres. In 1947, No.346 went to the Rio Grande Southern to work trains serving the Montezuma Lumber Company at the McPhee Saw Mill. The Mill burned down in 1948 and two years later, in 1950, the C-19 was purchased by the railway enthusiast Robert W. Richardson. After several years on static display at the Narrow Gauge Motel in Alamosa, the loco moved to the then Colorado Railroad Museum, first returning to steam at the Museum in 1962. It has recently returned to steam again at Golden. The Rio Grande Southern 4-6-0 No.20, built in 1899, has recently returned to the Museum for completion of its full $1.5 million overhaul, most of which was completed at the Strasburg Railroad. The engine was built by Schenectady  Locomotive Works in 1899 for the Florence & Cripple Creek Rail Road, later moving to the Rio Grande in 1916. It had not worked since its withdrawal in 1951, but recently moved for the very first time in preservation under its own power and is at present being reassembled at the Museum. Providing No.20 is ready, it will also be in steam.

We will have an early morning and an evening photo session exclusively for us with extra crews and we have also agreed that during public hours we will be able to arrange a number of cameo scenes using other locos from the collection - plus ‘cab and car’ rides during the day!

24. September 2020, Thursday:
We will run a charter at the short but steep and spectacular Georgetown Loop Railroad. The line climbs through 640 feet (195.1 metres) and was one of the first tourist attractions in the area, opened in 1884, closed in 1939 and reopened during the 1980s; it is perhaps most well-known for the Devil’s Gate High Bridge which, when it was originally opened, was considered a remarkable feat of engineering. The line runs from Silver Plume, climbing all the way to the top depot at Georgetown. We expect to have two locomotives to photograph, No.111 and either No.40 or No.12 - the latter loco is currently near the close of a major overhaul. No.111 is a Baldwin built for the Railway of Central America in El Salvador in 1926. It was
returned to the USA for use on the Sundown & Southern Railroad but was never used and was about to be scrapped when purchased by enthusiast Don Drawer. No.111 was displayed at Breckenridge in Colorado until the town voted to sell the loco to the Colorado Historical Society in 2007. The loco was overhauled at the Silver Plume Depot of the Georgetown Loop Railroad and returned to steam during August 2016.

Our intention is to switch our charter locomotive with the service train engine mid-way through the day so that we feature both locos working during that day on our charter train. No.40 has itself only recently returned to steam at Georgetown after a two-year overhaul, meaning that locos Nos.111 and 40 are in steam together!

25. September 2020, Friday:
Today sees us have an early start as we arrive at Como Depot in time for sunrise over the Roundhouse. The morning light falls better on the Roundhouse early in the day and better on the depot later in the day, so we have agreed to run two sessions, both morning and evening, to make the best possible use of the opportunities available. We will continue after dark with lighting set up to allow us to capture some atmospheric shots around the depot. In the middle of the day we plan a visit to Fairplay to see the amazingly-restored ghost town of South Park City. This is only circa
twenty minutes´ drive from Como and will give us a chance to experience a little more American history. It recreates a boom town of the 1860s
to 1900 (gold was first discovered in the area in 1859) and portrays a typical town when the gold rush was at its peak before escalating decline
saw mining towns dwindle and then in time become ghost towns. South Park is also home to a preserved steam loco in form of a 2-6-0 Porter Mogul of 1914, Works No.5518.

The Como Roundhouse Project is an ongoing preservation effort to restore the Denver, South Park&Pacific Railway rail complex. The three main structures on site - station (built in 1879), the hotel (built 1897) and roundhouse (built 1881) - form the bedrock of the project, plus the original bunk houses and car sheds. A working steam locomotive, the 1912-built 2-6-2 Baldwin No.4, is now resident on site. The locomotive was built for the Klondike Mines Railroad and worked there for two years until closure saw it move to the White Pass&Yukon Railroad, being transferred by steamboat and working there until 1952; it steamed at Como in 2017 and is in full working order.

26. September 2020, Saturday:
We hope to include a short visit to the two foot gauge Cripple Creek Railroad which is home to an attractive Orenstein & Koppel 0-4-4-0T black Mallet of 1902 and where the railroad is working to restore a Bagnall 0-4-4-0T of 1947. This has yet to be confirmed, but will be worth the visit in order to see a couple of unusual locos that are based at Cripple Creek.

27. September 2020, Sunday:
Our charters will see us use the newly-restored Baldwin 4-6-0 No.168 on two days in addition to featuring the smaller, equally photogenic 2-8-0 No.315, both in its post-1924 identity and, later in the week, renumbered as No.425 courtesy of the loco’s owners, running both singly and with  No.168 double-heading. For those new to the line, we will include a day with a larger K-36 Class 2-8-2 locomotive No.487 on a lengthy goods train and there is the outside possibility of using one other loco, though it will be an additional bonus should that occur and is certainly not be relied upon.
We will include two evening sessions with lighting at two different locations and provide a variety of goods, passenger and mixed trains during the event.

Today we will start early morning with double-headed K-36 arrivals at Chama prior to the day’s service trains. We will then have a morning chasing passenger services by road as far as Cumbres Pass before we return to Chama. After lunch, we will head out onto the line with a goods train hauled by a K-36 Class loco to do the shots en route to Cumbres Pass before returning to Chama for an evening shoot under lights.

28. September 2020, Monday:
We will take our goods train from Chama to Antonito doubleheaded by Nos.315 and 463. We will chase the train by road initially as this is the easiest way of getting the most from the first stretch of the line. We will then board the train at Cumbres Pass and use the locomotives either singly or
double-headed in various combinations at a number of good photo locations en route from Cumbres Pass to Antonito.

29. September 2020, Tuesday:
We will start out of Antonito running a full round trip to Osier using No.168 and three vintage carriages. Expect a very early start on this day. While we
are out on the line, the opportunity will be taken by the owning group of 315 to back-date the locomotive to its pre-1924 appearance as 425 in preparation for Wednesday’s charter.

30. September 2020, Wednesday:
Our plans are to double-head a goods working with Nos.168 and the reliveried 425 between Antonito and Osier and return. After the day’s  photography, we will set up a night session at Antonito using Nos.425 and 168 together.

1. October 2020, Thursday:
For our charter today we expect to use K-27 Class No.463 at the head of a lengthy freight train, working from Antonito to Cumbres Pass, taking in the great locations at Cascade Trestle, Los Pinos and Tanglefoot amongst others, then arriving back in Chama.

This is a truly spectacular route and we will be visiting at the optimum time for Autumn colours along the length of the 64-mile line. We will utilise several locomotive classes and travel over the whole line during the five days we are there. We aim to be at the best photo locations at the optimum time to make use of available light. Wherever possible, we will attempt to ensure authenticity by changing the lettering and numbers on locomotives as necessary so that they match either the other locos with which they are working or the stock which we are using.

2. October 2020, Friday:
As we are not able to charter the Durango & Silverton Railroad without rendering the trip uneconomic, we will set aside two days after the Cumbres&Toltec for those who would like to chase the Durango & Silverton passenger services. More details of this will be available nearer the time, though there are trains in the morning and late afternoon which we can follow and photograph - there is the option of travelling on the trains instead during the day should that appeal more than photography (train tickets not included in the tour price).

On the evening we have rranged a night shoot at the roundhouse and turntable of the Durango and Silverton, and this should be an excellent and atmospheric shoot. We will have as many locos as possible posed up on shed and around the turntable. It will cost 90 € per person and will be offered a a separate night shoot as some not travelling with the main party may not want to attend this event.

3. October 2020, Saturday:
Ride or photograph the regular D&S passenger serives (train tickets not included in the tour price).

4. October 2020, Saturday:
We stop at Leadville which has a scenic diese lhauled service. If time allows, we will try to arrange a visit to "Caboose", one of the largest model, hobbies, collectibles and book shops around, which is based at Lakewood, Denver.

5. October 2020, Sunday:
Fly home, arrival in Europe the same day late afternoon.

We are also planning to set up an group bus option for all participants. The costs vary greatly depending on the size of the group. Since we don't want to make the trip too expensive, we want to wait and see how big the group will be before we publish a bus price. This price will also include the overnight stays!


Tour price, per person:

2.980 Euro
to participate in the steam charter itinerary from(22. September to 5. Oktober 2020 only (no transfer, no meals, no accommodation)
      90 Euro Night photo shooting at the D&S

Prices for transportation and accommodation will follow.

The tour price includes:

  • All charter trains and visits according to the itinerary;
  • Tanago-tour brochure;
  • Tanago-tour manager (German/English speaking).

Not included in the tour price are fkights to/from the USA, possible visa fees, as well as transfers and accommodation, meals, and all expenses of a personal nature (minibar, telephone, cleaning, etc.) and tips.

This tour will be conducted with at least 40 participants, please book by March 31, 2020 at the latest!

Entry into the USA:
You will need a valid passport that must be good at least for the duration of the trip. Entering the USA with a temporary passport is only possible with a visa. Thanks to the Visa Waiver Program, most European citizens can enter the USA without a visa. An electronic entry permit (ESTA) must be applied for before entering the USA. Already at check-in at the airport, travellers are subjected to a security survey. The border official decides on their entry into the USA on the spot. A new questioning, for example on the purpose and duration of the trip, is normal.

With this trip, we have tried to find a balance between an interesting photo chater itinerary and an affordable tour price. At the same time, we don't want our number of participants to rise to 80 or 90 photographers/filmmakers, because then reasonable work in our sense is no longer possible!

We endeavour to run the advertised programme as published. However, weather conditions, locomotive failure or damage, or other unforeseen events can force us, even at very short notice, to have to offer alternatives. We will work out the best solution in cooperation with the railways on site and ask for your understanding that in such a case also unpleasant decisions have to be made. The breakdown of a particular steam locomotive or the closure of a particular line does not entitle the customer to any reimbursement or compensation.

This trip is organized in cooperation with P. Lerro and D. Williams.

We will offer a "package option" for all participants as soon as we can reasonably estimate the group size correctly. This option will include a group bus and all accommodation during the trip. Those who only book the pure rail program and move around the country on their own must ensure that they arrive punctually at the respective departure point of the special trains. The special trains do not wait for late "individual travellers"!

Please also read our remarks on the subject of "International travel health insurance". On our trip to China in February 2013, one participant fell ill. Without insurance he would have stayed at the Chinese hospital in Fuxin - and would not have been able to fly home. Four days before the beginning of our India-Tour 2016 one participant had to cancel due to illness - the cancellation fee was 75%! Don't save on the wrong end, that's what travel health insurance and travel cancellation insurance are for.

We expect autumn weather in the Rocky Mountains. Depending on the weather it can be 20°C, but also snow with temperatures below zero can occur in the higher mountains. It can be very windy, and the weather in the mountains can change at any time within a few minutes! Be sure to bring a headgear against wind and sun! You should also wear sturdy shoes (we will be out all day long) and be prepared for "outdoors". Please leave your jackets or trousers in bright colours in your wardrobe at home.