ERIC BRACE / PETER COOPER / THOMM JUTZ
Saturday and Sunday, Aug. 19-20
The Rio Grande Scenic Railroad
"Mountain Rails Live"
We have been yearning to play on this train for years, and it's finally happening! The Brace-Cooper-Jutz trio will be opening for folk legend Peter Yarrow on this fine summer weekend, and here's the deal:
This is a mining train that began in 1878, and goes from Alamosa's train station to Fir Summit then back again each day. It leaves Alamosa at 10:30 in the morning, and heads up the mountain. We play songs on the train cars (including -- no kidding -- the "club car" from The City of New Orleans, the passenger train that will forever live on in Steve Goodman's classic tune), and when we get to Fir Summit in the afternoon, there is an outdoor concert stage where we (and then Peter Yarrow) will perform. After that and a meal at the summit, everyone gets back on the train and rolls back down the mountain, watching the sunset, and we serenade the riders again, walking up and down the train singing our songs.
That whole dealio gets repeated on Sunday. Pretty great, ain't it?
If you're anywhere out west that weekend, you should consider getting on that train!
Here's some more info about the train, from the website:
The Rio Grande Scenic Railroad begins in Alamosa, CO and travels on historic tracks over La Veta Pass that were completed on June 22, 1878. Alamosa was quickly put on the map by this narrow gauge rail supplying ore, lumber, cattle, sheep and farm products to the developing valley and in turn, shipping out agricultural and mining products. From 1890 to 1950, Alamosa hummed day and night with the activity of both passenger and freight trains from Denver, Durango, Santa Fe, Salida and Creede. After the 1950s, the track was used exclusively for freight until becoming part of Premier Rail Collection in 2006.
Passengers can again experience excursion trains on rails that curve and wind through steep rocky grade and mountain meadows with elk, eagles and bears cohabiting the land. Weekends in the summer are home to Mountain Rails Live, a concert series like no other. Musicians and passengers alike are transported to Fir Summit, the concert venue only accessible by rail. Special events hosted aboard the train are a must-see, including the popular Rails and Ales event each June.
Rio Grande Scenic Railroad is now home to passenger cars and locomotives that span the country and the decades. The heavyweight open window cars from the Southern Railroad come from as far back as the roaring 20’s. They include the iconic “Lookout Mountain,” an open-air car giving passengers an unparalleled view of the passing scenery. On the contrast, the “C-1” cars are enclosed and air conditioned and were built for the Long Island Railroad in New York state. The “Cambridge Inn” car is a converted sleeping car from 1949 from the mighty Pennsylvania Railroad and the “Sunset View” built in 1954 is a full-length Vista dome car from Atchison Topeka and Santa Fe Railway. The legendary “Mardi Gras” was originally built as a coach but was re-built by after World War II into a luxury round end observation club car, bar included. It is believed that Steve Goodman wrote the much-beloved song “City of New Orleans” while aboard this car riding on its namesake train.