Cumbres and Toltec Scenic Railroad

The Governor finally allowed the train to run out of Chama. We got tickets for the second day out, Sept 22, 2020. The train hadn’t been running due to Covid 19 restrictions.

Here we are ready to board looking more like banditos than train riders.

Right out of the station is the RV park where we are staying this summer.

We were seated in the first row of the first car behind the engine. I haven’t been on a train since commuting to Chicago for work, have to say this is much more fun than Metra!


Here are some scenery shots.

Cumbres & Toltec Scenic Railroad is America’s longest and highest narrow gauge railroad. We only went from Chama NM to Osier CO which is 25.7 miles one way then turned around and came back. The entire trip from Chama NM to Antonito CO is 65 miles one way but again due to Covid restrictions the train cannot go the entire trip.

Along the way we stopped at Cumbres Pass to add 2,000 gallons of water.

The Cumbres station is no longer used. The schedule says the last train to run west to Durango was January 31, 1951. The train actually used to run all the way to Denver which is 330 miles from this station, elevation here is 10,015.

Onward and upward we went to Tanglefoot Curve. The tracks were laid in wide loops to gain 39 feet of elevation. Trainmen would jump off the trains on the upper track and run to the lower track to check for “hotspots”. Legend has it that many years ago a trainman tangled his foot in a briar and slid down the bank almost into the path of his own train, hence the name Tanglefoot Curve.

The fall colors have begun here in the higher elevations.

So the scariest part of this trip was when I stuck my head out the window to video this segment of the trip. I didn’t know how close my head was to the rocks. My head was inches away from the rocks.

When we arrived in Osier we were treated to an awesome Turkey dinner with all the fixin’s. While we ate lunch they turned the train around for our return trip.

We saw a falling down cabin, sure in a beautiful setting though.

On the return trip we saw some different things being on the other side of the tracks. Cascade Trestle is the highest bridge on the trip, 137 feet above Cascade Creek.

Some different scenery on the way back to Chama.

We walked through the cars to the last one which was an open car. Got a little cold and smelly from the coal smoke so we went back to our seats.

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