Karen sits on the bench while her husband Jack takes their ticket numbers to the window. They have waited three years for their numbers to rise on the waiting list and now here they are, just minutes from boarding the train she first heard about when she was 12.
Her cousin Sara, then 15, had just returned from a family trip to Durango. She described a breathtaking ride in an authentic old train that climbed into enormously high mountains. Mountains!
Logan, Nebraska was flat. She looked to her mother with a “Can we go?” on her lips. But her mother was listening to her aunt describe breathing coal smoke the whole way. With Karen’s asthma, her mother would say “no.”
Ten years later, Sara gave Karen two tickets for the Durango train as a wedding present! When Sara and her husband went to Durango for their honeymoon, they found the same train powered solely by solar and wind energy.
No more coal smoke! Now Karen could go!
But the overwhelming enthusiasm for the new train had made a waiting list necessary. Crystal-clear mountain air. Lushly regrown burn areas. The same “woo-woo” and “chuga-chuga.” The word spread far and wide.
The three-year wait was worth it. They flew directly from Omaha to the expanded Durango airport. They could stay in a new boutique hotel in historic Silverton before taking the return ride. And here was Jack, flashing the two boarding passes and a huge grin.