El Paso, Texas-based Tracks to Adventure has modified its popular railroad tours into Mexico’s Copper Canyon after the government there decided to prohibit the practice of allowing RVers to stay in their units that were affixed to flat cars while traversing the canyon in the northern state of Chihuahua.
The Mexican government said the practice was not safe, although Tracks President Larry Olsen said there had been no serious mishaps during the 33 years that he arranged trips for some 8,000 RVers.
“It’s over,” Olsen said. “We fought it a little bit, but the Mexican government just reached the point that they said they weren’t going to allow it anymore.”
The ban went into effect Sept. 1. Such a practice already was prohibited in the U.S., Olsen pointed out.
Tracks still offers the Copper Canyon tour but now RVs are parked and visitors take the 172-mile-long canyon rail in passenger cars. “They are away from their rigs for one day and then stay overnight in a luxury hotel,” Olsen said. “Going by passenger car has all kinds of advantages. One is that everybody doesn’t have to wait a day to load and another day to unload the train cars.”
Track’s canyon journey on the privately owned Mexican railroad was part of three Mexican excursions Tracks offers at a cost of between $6,000 and $8,000. Tours, with an average of about 20 rigs, leave El Paso about once a week in October, January, February and March, Olsen said.
Texas-based Fantasy RV Tours and Adventure Caravans also offered “piggyback” trips through the canyon that have been discontinued.