RUE Episode 32: Tourist Trains – Train to the Clouds and More

The Train to the Clouds and other Tourist Trains take passengers to some incredible places on memorable journeys.  Tourist trains are not about “getting somewhere.”  They’re about the journey.  They’re about the experience, the ride.  In this episode, we take viewers on a journey to the clouds in Argentina and on the old Rio Grande narrow-gauge line through New Mexico and Colorado. We also play around with the English language, revealing some of the quirks with English pronunciation.



Watch the entire episode by clicking on Episode 32.

View by Segment

No time to watch a 30 minute episode?  No problem.  You can watch a segment at a time.

Segment One

View Segment 2

Segment 3

Language Objectives: 

Listening Comprehension: Given visual cues and context, retell the narrative of one of the train trips described in the video clips.

Awareness:  List examples of English words that are inconsistent in their pronunciation and meaning (ie. : words that have the have spelling, but are pronounced differently and have distinct meanings.)

Academic Content Objectives: Geography: Locate the continent of South America on a map.  Locate the country of Argentina on a map of South America.  Locate a border between Argentina and Chile. Locate the states of New Mexico and Colorado on a map of the United States.  Describe the topography of the area traversed by the Cumbres and Toltec Railroads     History:Describe the conflict between Argentina and Chile that almost resulted in war during the late 1970 and 1980s.

Video Clips Used in this Episode

Tourist Trains

We begin our rail adventure in the Provence of Salta, where we board the Tren a las Nubes to ride to the border with neighboring Chile.  Below, you can see some pictures I took from the train on that journey.  Click on a picture to make it bigger.  Use the return key to return to the page.



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The Tren a las Nubes – a tourist train in Argentine – follows this river in the province of Salta, Argentina
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LLamas and alpacas are seen here in their natural habitat.
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An isolated mining town in rural Salta Provence in Argentina.
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We passed some mighty lonely country in Salta.
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On the edge of a salt flat, livestock graze.
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The awesome Iguazo Falls in Argentina. This was not on the train route. I was here on an earlier journey.
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You have to look hard to see the trestle.
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One of the railroad trestles we crossed on our way to the border
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The back of the train, taken from one of the cars closest to the locomotive
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Nothing green visible here!
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Bridge over this wide, braided river.
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Very high trestle spanning the river. Tiny car below gives a sense of scale.
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The view looking straight down from the high trestle
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The shadow of the train appears far below.
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Beautiful children selling woolen clothing to passengers
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Burros – or donkeys struggle to graze. Donkeys are still beasts of burden here.
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Demonstrating a dance called the Tengp. Yes, it takes 2 to do it.
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Mountain people meet the train in hopes of selling something.
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Yours Truly standing on the high Trestle. By this time, we had reached some very high elevation, making it difficult to breath.
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Old Train station in capital city Buenos Aires.
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Seeing the locomotive at the head or front of the train to the clouds




















The Train to the Clouds was a great example of a tourist train.  We left the capital city of Salta and ascended to the Andes mountains on the border of Chile.  There we found ourselves on a very high trestle, looking down into a dry river below.

The air was so thin up here that the train carried oxygen bottles for passengers who weren’t getting enough oxygen.  A bitter leaf chewed and moved to the cheek had the same effect of getting more oxygen to the cells.


Bonus Video:  Check here for bonus videos that I’ll add as time goes on, even after we’ve completed the unit on Trains and Railroads.  Here are some already posted:

Sunset Coast

Train to Italy

RUE Trains Extra

Below is the language work we did.  In English, some words that appear identical change pronunciation and meaning, depending on what the writer wants to convey.

Next Episode: Visit Episode 33.

Learning Materials:

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