As the ticket says, this journey is "a trip to yesterday". We are about to have a trip on the Durango to Silverton Narrow Gauge Railway, established in 1881 to carry silver from the silver mines down into Durango. It is the year 2000 and the mines are long gone. Silverton is just a tourist attraction with dirt roads and the ghosts of old silver miners.
To Silverton and back from Durango is a round trip of ninety miles during which the engine needs six tons of coal. We are only going one way - to Silverton and the journey will take three and a half hours of steady climbing.
As we stand on the platform at the station at half past eight on a sunny morning, the sturdy little engine chuggs importantly into town. We find our reserved seats, there are two hoots on the whistle and we are away. There is a holiday atmosphere with people waving from the platform.
This is a bit like playing at trains except that this is seriously hilly country as we climb through miles of pine forests on either side of the track. We are never far away from the Animas river - we are labouring up the side of it and it is cascading theatrically down to Durango. Suddenly we cross it and the river appears disconcertingly on the other side of the coach.
When we arrive at Silverton we find we are high in the Rockies and surrounded by snow-capped mountains.
We return by road, over the Molas Pass (10,899 feet asl) - these a real mountains and we are suitably impressed.
Meanwhile, engine 482 cuffs off down to Durango, blowing its whistle - to start the journey all over again. I am sure the journey back will be a "freewheel" after all that puffing and blowing.
# Apologies for the photographs - as they are stuck in a journal I made I have no option to to photograph them again rather than scan.
## If anyone reading this knows Durango, I would love to know if EO's is still open - in all the trips we have made to the US EO's restaurant stands out in a class of its own.
I have been "killing two birds with one stone" this week. Our Writers' Group are producing a booklet for our local little railway and we have all been asked to write on railways - so I have put them on my blog as I am very short of time (builders!) Tomorrow will be the last on and it will be written for children.