Mexico's Chepe Regional/Express: Chihuahua to Los Mochis, Via Copper Canyon

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rrdude

Conductor
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Aug 10, 2009
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The Chepe Regional and Chepe Express trains are real. This is a bucket list trip. NO JOKE. It is. These areas of Mexico are super-safe. The fares, even premium fares, are "cheap" in comparison to the US dollar. I suggest at least a one night, if not three night, stay over in the Copper Canyon. Several good hotel choices available. History, operating trains, Dutch-doors, Dome Cars, great food in the dome, (this dome that used to run on my railroad, the EnterTRAINment Line!) Hopefully, I'll add more content later, but this is truly a railfans dream!

We flew American Airlines into Chihuahua, spent the night at a boutique hotel, and boarded the Chepe Regional at right before 6:00am for an on-time departure the next morning.

The trip west from Chihuahua toward the Copper Canyon is beautiful, but cannot compare to the Canyon itself. However, you don't know that, until you get to the Canyon...We missed our first call for breakfast, as I was planted in the Dutch doors of the Regional. My wife was ensconced in the very comfortable first class seats, and slept until the second call for breakfast about 10:00am.

Breakfast itself was of local flavor, and absolutely delicious. Total for two was less than US $15.00. after lunch we enjoyed the beautiful agricultural and apple-growing center of Mexico. It's like watching a National Geographic documentary, expect you are living it, sensing it, smelling it, tasting it. We made stops at several small towns along the way, and then picked up well over 150 passengers in Creel, kind of the "gateway" to the Copper Canyon. (Just a 'lil touristy for my likes) A little after 1:00pm, we rolled into Divisadero. The train stops here for 10-15 minutes, as the ROW is just yards from the cliff of the Copper Canyon. I must admit I had the best meal of my entire ten days in Mexico, at a vendor, just feet from the train, the Chile Renello, was just off-the-charts good, and less than US $2.00.

We reboarded the train for the less-than-five-minute trip to our hotel's station stop, at Posada Barrancas. We were met by the hotel shuttle, for the 2-3 minute trip up the driveway to the Hotel Mirador, where every room has a balcony overlooking the canyon. Even thou the first leg of the train journey was "first class" on the Chepe Regional, it was nothing like what we were in store for on the Chepe Express - Premium Class, in three days hence. For the first time ever, I think even my wife was a little sad to have the train ride end. (A "little" sad...)

After three days of zip lining, touring the local area, and just being "wowed" at every turn, (and BTW, meeting some GREAT people, and my wife and I speak absolutely zero, nada, Spanish....) We were excited for the next and last leg of our trip, on the Chepe Express - Premium class, from the Canyon, down the mountains to the port town of Los Michos. Many, many, passengers get off in El Fuerte, about 2 hours East of Los Mochis, a charming colonial town I'm told. But, being the rail fan that I am, I just had to go "all the way" from Chihuahua to Los Michos, the entirety of passenger rail service in all of Mexico. (except for commuter and tourist railroads) I must admit, as a kid in my twenties, while living in Austin, TX, I did take the Aztec Eagle from Nuevo Laredo, to Mexico City. Never did I think that virtually all of the passenger trains in Mexico would die-off in the late 90's

It was the ride of a lifetime. I've been on every Amtrak train that is currently running, and some that are discontinued. I've ridden some Via Rail, (not the new Canadian) and a 'lil in Europe. This was the finest train trip I have ever been on, bar none. The renovated equipment, the service, the staff, the scenery, and the food and drink, have us planning an entire family reunion around the Chepe Express and the Copper Canyon. We were told that a new highway is in the planning between Creel and the Canyon. If true, I suggest you make your reservations NOW. We used a travel planning agency, specializing in travel to the Copper Canyon, and were not disappointed. Unless you are fluent in Spanish, making travel, lodging, and tour reservations might be a 'lil daunting, but Copper Canyon Adventures secured us all of that, and more.

One bonus, a film crew from the UK was on board, doing a documentary on special rail trips, we talked with the director for over two hours. Supposedly it will come out sometime this fall, and may be on the Travel Channel, Discovery, or whomever they can sell the piece to....

I'll add more content and pix later, in the mean time, enjoy the videos.

Chepe Regional in Creel, headed East to Chihuahua

Chepe Express in Creel, headed to Los Mochis

Chepe Express arriving in Divisadero, we boarded this train to Los Mochis

Chepe Express Interior of the bar car, just before leaving Divisadero for Los Mochis

Chepe Express Departing Divisadero

Chepe Express, after Departing Divisadero, bar car

Chepe Express, shots from rear of bar car, open window (open WALL)

Chepe Express, crossing bridge, one of 39 bridges on route, and into tunnel, one of 89 tunnels

Chepe Express, EXPERIENCE a tunnel from the rear of the train. Very little smoke, as we are descending

Chepe Express, scenes along the way, families lived VERY close to the tracks, no electric, or running water...

Chepe Express, little rough, as I tried to steady the cam on the wall of the train, actually made it worse.

Chepe Express, looking down to the valley below, where train will soon be
 

Seaboard92

Conductor
Joined
Dec 31, 2014
Messages
3,404
If you think that’s amazing wait till you try the Royal Canadian Pacific now that’s a an experience. They truly make you feel like royalty. I need to ride the Copper Canyon.

EnterTrainment as in the tourist railroad on the Maryland Midland?
 

Bob Dylan

Conductor
Joined
May 31, 2009
Messages
19,007
Great stuff, thanks for sharing your dream trip on El Chepe. It's one of the Worlds Best and as you said, a Real Bargain.:cool::)

Catch it while you still can!!!
 

rrdude

Conductor
AU Supporter
Joined
Aug 10, 2009
Messages
3,686
If you think that’s amazing wait till you try the Royal Canadian Pacific now that’s a an experience. They truly make you feel like royalty. I need to ride the Copper Canyon.

EnterTrainment as in the tourist railroad on the Maryland Midland?
“Yes” EnterTRAINment Line on Maryland Midland.
 
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