We recently rode the Royal Gorge Railroad and enjoyed the train ride. Here are some tips:
You can't bring food or drinks on board, but you can bring water, so fill up before you leave the station.
We spent an extra $25 for the Vista Dome car. If the weather is cold, this might be a good choice since the views are amazing. We spent a lot of time on the open air car, so I felt like we wasted money by upgrading to the Vista Dome. If I had to do it over again, I would have just purchased coach fares.
We rode the 12:30 train; if I had to do it over again, I would have gone with the morning or late afternoon departures for better lighting and cooler temperatures. I would imagine that the twilight departures are a good choice.
The south facing windows (facing the station) have better views if you are going to stay inside the train. In the Vista Dome car, the seat next to the window was in full sun ( because of the glass roof) for our 12:30 departure, so it was a little uncomfortable.
We purchased $13 sandwiches, which included potato chips and a pickle - they were OK, but overpriced. Based on our experience, I would skip buying food.
If you want to hear the commentary in the Vista Dome car, don't get seats on the ends of the train car. They don't have overhead speakers, so we couldn't hear anything. The end two seats are by themselves, so you would have some privacy and wouldn't be sitting with strangers.
Go out on the open air car. On our trip, a conductor named Bob was out there. He was very interesting and pointed out a lot of things that you wouldn't normally notice. He made the ride more enjoyable.
Overall, it was a good experience and I would recommend.
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