CRIPPLE CREEK — The Cripple Creek and Victor Narrow Gauge Railroad reopened this weekend after being closed for months due to COVID-19.
The Cripple Creek casinos opened last week, bringing dozens of people from near and far to enjoy slot machines. Visitors will only be able to play the slot machines while gaming tables are expected to be reviewed in the coming weeks.
Jim Birmingham, the owner of Cripple Creek and Victor Narrow Gauge Railroad, said it's been a challenge being closed.
"You know week to week, we never knew what was going to happen or when the state would allow the railroads to open," Birmingham said.
The historic railroad opened Saturday to visitors and with strict guidelines recommended by the CDC and state of Colorado. Trains can only be filled to 50% capacity and customers must wear a mask when boarding and departing the train. Once seated, the customers can remove their masks.
There are sanitation stations around the railroad and poly-carbonate sheeting between the seats for social distancing.
"They're more impact resistant. Since we're moving, if someone was to fall, it wouldn't break it. It's really tough," said Birmingham.
He said the schedule has also been reduced down to one train every hour and 10 minutes. It's normally every 40 minutes.
"We run three cars on a train. We have one glassed-in car that we couldn't prepare for separation of the customers," said Birmingham.
Birmingham said the railroad was one of the first businesses granted approval from the county to reopen.
"We sent in our letter to the county, we got our approval over a week ago before the casinos got their approval," said Birmingham.
With the casinos open, he's noticed a lot more business and expects more to come.
"Families will come back up because the families can't go inside the casino and there is a few gift shops to do and they like the train rides," said Birmingham.
Robert Miller spent Father's Day at the historic site. He says he appreciates the precautions the railroad is taking to protect him and his family.
"They're doing great with their precautions and everything," said Miller. "They let you take off your mask off but if you're going into the gift shop, you need to put your mask on."
One message Birmingham has for his customers: "I'd like my customers to know we're doing everything to keep them safe."
For more information on the Cripple Creek and Victor Narrow Gauge Railroad, visit their website.