All aboard?

All aboard?

OK, we’ve covered a lot of head turners in this space – from the woman who spilled chicken nuggets in her lap and almost crashed, the guy hiking who got lost twice in two days on the same trail, to all the reasons people end up in the emergency room on Thanksgiving.

So to say we’ve been desensitized to the absurdities of the world would be, to say the least, an understatement.

Yet here we are again, shocked, baffled and bewildered by a report on Yahoo.com entitled “Gas Prices Are Soaring – Here’s How Much You Can Save on Train Travel Instead of a Road Trip This Summer” with a photo of none other than the Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad charging up the San Juan Mountains.

Are we crazy here, or is Yahoo suggesting people can save money by taking the D&SNG, an expensive tourist attraction, instead of making the 48-mile drive between the towns?

“For Americans looking to plan their summer travels, that raises the question of whether road tripping is really the best way to see the country right now,” Yahoo asks. “Could train travel emerge as the alternative? It might just make financial sense.”

Oh boy, here we go.

For a typical car that averages 25 miles per gallon, the trip from Durango to Silverton and back costs about $18 (based on the average price of gas at about $4.50 per gallon, as of Wednesday).

A round-trip ticket to ride the D&SNG, however, for an adult runs $100 and $65 per child. So, for a family of four, you’re pushing nearly $350 for the excursion. Oh, and it also takes about nine hours instead of two.

So, does the D&SNG have a future in commuter travel? No, of course not. Sure, back in the day, the train was the quickest and most efficient way to get to Silverton from Durango, whether to go work in the mines, deliver supplies and yes, even for tourists to get to the 9,312-foot mountain hamlet. But then, you know, a highway was built and cars replaced trains. 

Still, the D&SNG is a beautiful ride to experience a sliver of the San Juan Mountains most people don’t get to see, and also offers access to the backcountry for hikers and rafters alike. (And to be fair, Yahoo didn’t specifically suggest using the D&SNG for commuter travel; they just used a photo for the story.)

But if you live in any of these towns, and have to get to work in the other, we don’t recommend the D&SNG if you want to clock in on time. Or, as one Twitter user commented, “At least it isn’t a Google maps shortcut.” Yeah, because we know how those situations usually go.

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