September 2012

The Cumbres Toltec Scenic Railroad


The Cumbres & Toltec Scenic Railroad, built in 1880, is based in the villages of Chama, NM and Antonito, CO. Narrow gauge track was selected for easier maneuvering of track through mountain passes. The railroad was initially used for mining, livestock and some passenger service. It was abandoned by Denver & Rio Grande Western in the 1960s when trucking became the preferred mode of shipping. Dedicated volunteers and the States of Colorado and New Mexico rescued the Cumbres Toltec. Those states currently co-own it. Heritage Rail Management took over management in 2012. Fundraising, historical preservation and capital project are done by the nonprofit Friends of the C&TSRR.


About 40,000 tourists and “rail fans” of all ages ride the authentic, classic steam train from Memorial Day in May through the third weekend in October. It is a living museum of what life was like in the area when the railroad made it prosperous. They ride takes them through the Toltec Gorge, Cumbres Pass, alpine and high desert. Food, music and special events are sometimes scheduled part of the experience.



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