SO Monthly Meeting
5:50-6:20 PM: Social half hour with refreshments.
6:20-7:40 PM: Meeting and presentation.
Presentation title: Rail travel in Colombia and no scheduled passenger trains??!!
Speaker: Steve Cossey
Presentation summary: Over the past ten years I have discovered that rail travel in Colombia is possible, even without any scheduled passenger trains in the entire country. It is possible using a system of informal rail travel called loosely “moto-rodillos”. I have travelled over 500 km (311 miles) though beautiful countryside, towns and villages and seen areas where no “normal” tourist goes. At one time, the Colombian rail system was about 3500 km (2175 miles) long. I met one guy from Medellin (Carlos Mario Lopez) who has actually hiked all 3500 km of the railway right-of-way in Colombia! All types of rail transport exist, ranging from buses converted to rail travel to simple wooden platforms pushed by a pole (think gondola in Venice) and all types of home-made transportation in-between. These abandoned railways are used to transport people and goods, such as cheese, milk, seafood etc. One may travel as a single passenger or may rent the entire moto-rodillo for your group of up to 8 people. Top speed is about 25 mph and you are in contact with nature and wildlife throughout the journey. Everyone you meet on the journey is friendly and engaging, and there is always somewhere to grab a drink or some food. The presentation shows you some of the scenery, architecture, culture and people we met along the way on these numerous trips in Colombia from the Magdalena River to the savanna near Bogota. Lodging is taken in small towns can be obtained for less than $15 a night and meals are around $3 each, so what’s to stop you going?
Speaker bio: Steve Cossey is a consulting geologist and chief geoscientist at Cossey and Associates Inc. geoconsulting based in Durango. He moved here in October 2003 and shared office space with Jeff Brame for 14 years in downtown Durango. He still does some consulting projects with companies in Houston and Uruguay and other “fun” geology projects in Mexico. Until he was 21 years old, Steve lived in England where his school was right next to the London-Edinburgh railway line which was still operated by steam locomotives before August 1968. Many breaks and lunchtimes were spent leaning on the fence watching the fastest steam trains in the world speed their way to Scotland. Thus began his love of trains and the main reason for moving to Durango. Steve began taking steam train trips around the world in 2006 and regrets not starting sooner! He has restored a steam engine in Colombia and enjoys hiking, easy bike rides and exploring, especially off the beaten-track places.