Cumbres and Toltec Railroad

 The Cumbres and Toltec Scenic Railroad is a narrow gauge railroad that runs between Chama New Mexico and Antonito Colorado.  It is one of the last remnants of the Denver and Rio Grande Western narrow gauge spur.  The line is jointly owned by Colorado and New Mexico, and is operated by the Cumbres & Toltec Scenic Rail Road Commission.  The railroad was designated a National Historic Landmark in 2012.

We first road a section of the trip in July 2020, boarding in Antonito riding to Osier and returning to Antonito.  The trips were limited then to Covid shutdowns.  We took the opportunity to complete the trip this year.  Riding from Chama, New Mexico we boarded a tour bus for an hour ride to Antonito, where we met our train for a day long ride back to Chama.

We were fortunate to ride the train during one of the best years for fall colors in the west.  The season has seemed to go on for weeks, given a wet spring and a mild fall.  Come along with us as we ride this pretty little train.

 After leaving Antonito the train travels through open brush and sage.  One of the first sights are the remains of a “shield” volcano.  You continue to see the geology of volcanic activity for the remainder of the trip.

Our accommodations in the Parlor car were very nice.  Comfortable seating, with large windows for the views.  These cars are fully restored in a Victorian motif.  And a guide talks about the sights, and serves refreshments throughout the trip.  We also had full access to the accompanying gondola car.  The weather was perfect and we had wonderful views all day long.

The Brakeman stands ready to help drive the train.  Doing so is an art rather than a science.

As we approached the Sublette Section House, we passed a “Special” that was carrying a group of photographers.  This train would stop at certain areas allowing the riders to set up and film the train as it moved past the golden Aspen that lined the track.  This train would travel to Osier before returning to Antonito.

Our train stops in Osier for lunch.  Osier is about halfway through the 64 mile trip.  The Osier depot has been restored to what it would have looked like in the 1800’s.

Our Parlor Car

The train stops from time to time to take on water from these tanks along the tracks.

After going over Combres Pass at 10,022 feet, the train descends into the valley and the Chama depot.  The views here are stunning, and we saw Aspen everywhere we looked.

The train passes just past the campground before arriving at the station.  We looked and saw AIROSMITH waiting in our grove of golden Cottonwood.




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