Tuesday Oct 15 Train Day. An entertaining train ride through wonder scenery on a narrow gauge railroad track. The web site for the railroad is www.cumbrestoltec.com. Tuesday night in Chama.
Notes on the Cumbres and Toltec Scenic Railroad: The Cumbres & Toltec Scenic Railroad (C&TS) is a narrow gauge heritage railroad running between Chama, New Mexico and Antonito, Colorado. It runs over the 10,015 ft (3,053 m) Cumbres Pass.
As Denver & Rio Grande Railroad San Juan Extension, the railway was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1973. The boundaries of the NRHP listed area were increased in 2007.
Historic and railfan interest: Chama today is a small village, but considered hallowed ground by many railfans. Chama houses one of the most physically complete railroad yards from the steam era in the US. Although portions of the roundhouse, warehouses, and parking lots have been changed, the railroad yard has the ambience of 1960 and earlier. The yard tracks contain authentic rolling stock of the Denver and Rio Grande indigenous to the railroad line.
All the locomotives of the railroad were built for the C&TS's precursor, all 2-8-2 Mikados. These range from the K-27 "Mudhen", #463, once owned by Gene Autry, to the K-37s, originally built as standard gauge locomotives by Baldwin in 1903 and re-built as narrow gauge locomotives by the D&RGW in 1928-30 in the railroad's Burnham Shops in Denver. The mainstays are the venerable K-36 fleet, produced by Baldwin Locomotive Works in 1925. The flagship of the line is K-36, #487, which has seen the most service.
The railroad was featured extensively in the 1969 film The Good Guys and the Bad Guys.
Operational information: The C&TS is 64 miles (103 km) of former Denver and Rio Grande Western trackage. While officially headquartered in Chama, the railroad splits most of its functions between the terminuses of the railroad. The Cumbres and Toltec Commission offices are at Antonito, along with the railroad's main car shop, where repairs to rolling stock are performed. The main center of actual operation for the railroad is Chama, the site of the locomotive repair shop.
Past modern-day schedules called for trains operating seven days a week, from late May through mid-October. Each day trains will depart both Chama and Antonito, with trains meeting at Osier before returning to either Chama or Antonito. This will allow either a one-way trip across the entire line (with charter bus return) or a round trip to Osier and back to either end.
Chama: Our host motel is the Elkhorn Lodge, www.elkhornlodge.net (800) 532-8874 or (575) 756-2105. We have reserved 22 motel rooms and 11 cabins for the nights of October 14 and 15. Cabins are of various sizes, some accommodating as many as ten people, ideal for groups of tourers traveling together. When reserving rooms or cabins, mention Early Ford V8 Club. Rooms or cabins not reserved by September 1, 2013, will be released to the public.
Chama: For tourers not electing to stay at the host motel, a list of
accommodations in the Chama area (including motels, hotels, RV parks,
B&Bs and cabins) can be viewed on the Chama Valley Chamber of
Commerce website, http://www.chamavalley.com/lodging.html or obtained by calling (575)756-2306.