Polar Express rings in the holiday season, but wide-ranging themes power Colorado tourist trains year round | VailDaily.com

Polar Express rings in the holiday season, but wide-ranging themes power Colorado tourist trains year round

Sue McMillin, Colorado Sun
Passengers wait to board the Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad Polar Express train at the depot in Durango. (Jerry McBride, Special to The Colorado Sun)

Nostalgia for trains years ago launched a scenic railroad industry across North America and savvy train owners now are adding themed excursions to extend the business season and bring in new customers

Nowhere is that more apparent than in Colorado, where specialty trains have boosted revenues to maintain the rail lines that once served miners and cross-country travel. Those efforts, in turn, have added millions of dollars to local economies.

“Our mission is to preserve and save historical railroads,” said Al Harper, CEO of American Heritage Railways and owner of the Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad. “The old way of just getting a ride into the mountains and back is not sustainable.

“We’ve got to create interesting things that attract young people and families. We started that about 10 years ago and it’s paid off.”

Especially when Santa and the Polar Express trains are running.

Read more via The Colorado Sun.

The Colorado Sun is a reader-supported news organization dedicated to covering the people, places and policies that matter in Colorado. Read more, sign up for free newsletters and subscribe at coloradosun.com.