Our group, stopped at the Devil's Backbone viewpoint, Durango, Mexico.
Where are Kevin and Ruth right now? Near Mazatlan, Sinaloa, Mexico.

Where are they going next? Tepic, Nayarit, Mexico.

Wednesday, November 27, 2019

Copper Canyon Train... day 1

The Copper Canyon railway line is one of the world's most spectacular train rides. Ruth and I did it back in January of 2015 and so we knew that it was worth showing off to the group.

The train was scheduled to depart Creel Monday at 11:47am and so the group began walking over to the station at about 10:30am to give us lots of time. Better to be early than late!

There were only 12 of us going though. Garth has done the train before so he decided to stay behind and keep Ruth company. They were going to look after Bob and Denise's dog Scarlett so that Bob and Denise could enjoy the ride.

Waiting for the train at Creel.
Did I mention that there are a lot of stray dogs in Creel?

Here comes the train.
A few minutes late at 11:53am.

We took the 2nd class section at 796 pesos ($54 CAD, $41 USD) per person for the one way trip from Creel to El Fuerte. The 1st class section is double the price and the only real benefit is access to the overpriced restaurant car. Plus, we like to ride with the locals... to us, it's a lot better experience.

2nd class tickets are not sold in advance. It's a bit of a risk arriving with a group of 12 people, but I was confident that they would have space. Turned out the train was quite busy with locals and I think we got lucky because I told the porter that we were a group, and he let us on first! Then, once the train gets underway they come to collect the money and you have to pay in cash only.

The first stop is Divisadero where you get your first view of the canyon. It's only a 15 minute stop though so you have to be quick. Also, it's the place you want to get off and buy a delicious gordita or two. But again... you have to be quick. It's a hive of activity with people getting on and off and you don't want to miss the departure. The train will not wait for you!
I got off and took a quick photo of the canyon.

Most of our group did not get off, but we will be coming here with the motorhomes on Thursday or Friday.

Looking back at the train.

The Tarahumara natives sell their crafts here.

The train then begins the long winding journey down to the coast. It actually goes as far as Los Mochis, but there is no need to go there. El Fuerte is a much more attractive town.

One of the 86 tunnels along the route.

Looking down as we cross one of the 37 bridges.

How did they build a rail line here??

Beautiful scenery.

On the route towards the coast, you are best to try and get a seat on the left hand side for the best scenery. And of course on the right hand side heading back inland.

But really, the best place for the views and photography is at the end of each rail car where there is an open window!

And yet, all windows in this area are open.

Fortunately this is not enforced, and actually when the train is busy it can be difficult to get a spot here.

This young fellow stood across from me for a long time watching the world go by.

Scenery along the way.

More scenery.

One of our bridges is coming up.




Missed the focus on this one.
The train cars move around a lot!

Looking down on where we are heading.

Again, I missed the focus on this one.
I was trying to show how many people are taking photos out the windows. 

At Témoris.

Unfortunately the train was behind schedule and it was starting to get too dark to take photos at around 5:00pm. We were supposed to arrive at about 7:15pm, but it was almost 8:00pm when we pulled into the El Fuerte Station.

And, the El Fuerte station is actually located 7 kms (4.3 miles) outside of town. I had booked us rooms at the Hotel Franco and the lady there had arranged transportation for us as well. Sure enough, our drivers were waiting with a sign with my name on it. They charged 50 pesos ($3.40 CAD, $2.60 USD) per person each way and we arranged the same guys to bring us back in the morning.

We got ourselves checked into the Hotel Franco. I had arranged a group rate of 700 pesos ($47.50 CAD, $35.80 USD) per couple per room. Very basic rooms, but clean and with hot showers. Just a place to lay your head for the night. We dropped off our bags in our rooms, and headed out for dinner.

I found a place with decent reviews on Google maps. Coincidentally, they had a table for 12 all set up! You'd almost think I had called in advance, but I hadn't.

Everybody perusing the menus.

I had the garlic shrimp and two beers. My bill was 180 pesos ($12.25 CAD, $9.20 USD) and it was delicious! I think everybody enjoyed their meals.

Ruth supplied this photo of Scarlett relaxing in Sherman waiting for our return on Tuesday.
She's such a good girl.

Stay tuned... day 2 of the Copper Canyon Train report coming up later today!

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10 comments:

  1. I got to wondering if you could still take a train from Ojinaga to Los Mochis through Copper Canyon. Apparently train service between Ojinaga and Chihuahua was discontinued some time ago, but here's how it used to be in the old days, according to Lonely Planet:

    "I've taken that train, from Ojinaga to Chihuahua. The train was more like a streetcar than the typical locomotive and passenger cars. We must have hit at least 50 goats that refused to get off the railroad track. Every one made a bump. Started getting used to the routine, a loud whistle then a bump, and a few miles down the track another loud whistle then a bump, and off we went through the dark. I don't know why the bothered blowing the whistle. Not once was there a whistle without a bump. Coming back we had a private sleeper cabin. And the whole thing was absolutely dirt cheap. That was about 40 years ago."

    ReplyDelete
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    1. There is an interesting article here from May 1973... (copy and paste into your browser)

      https://www.texasmonthly.com/articles/copper-canyon-spectacular/

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  2. Replies
    1. Yes, there are stunning views almost the whole way along the trip and the price for the ride is very reasonable, no complaints about that at all. :-)

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  3. The train is a great memory for us. In El Fuerte, a quick walk around the plaza is worth it. Your caravan is on a trip of a lifetime! Wish we were there.

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    Replies
    1. Agreed, the train trip is a wonderful memory and if anyone has the chance to do it then they need to do it.

      El Fuerte is a pretty little town and walking around the plaza in the evening is a nice way to stretch the legs after the ride and see some of the buildings lite up at night. We think the group is loving the trip so far and we have only just started. :-)

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  4. How fast does the train travel?...Great views!

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    Replies
    1. Kevin said that the fastest he saw it go was 78 km/h on a couple of the flat stretches as they neared El Fuerte but through most of the canyon going up or down was about an average of 50 km/h.

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