Why we're at the Heritage Rail Alliance meeting learning about tourist railroads and museums

Posted by Jim Wrinn
on Thursday, November 08, 2018

SANTA FE, N.M. – We’re here in this capital of desert Southwest arts and culture for the annual Heritage Rail Alliance. It’s a meeting that brings together dozens of professionals and volunteers from the tourist railroad and railway museum industries to talk about their common challenges and successes.

I expect to see dozens of people, from car hosts to the CEOs of major tourist railroad holding companies. Everyone who cares about the future and well-being of the past is here. We’ll hear seminars on everything from the latest Federal Railroad Administration rules to rebuilding locomotives to marketing and giving customers the best experience possible. There will be non-profits, for-profits, and plenty of suppliers and vendors to the industry. Trains will be on hand in that regard with our own veteran advertising representative, Mike Yuhas, to describe our latest Web and print advertising opportunities. I’ll be visiting with venues where we can make more Trains Presents videos for our website. We’ll also look to schedule more photo charters like the one we did with Cumbres & Toltec Scenic in August or the one we have planned with Oregon Coast Scenic next March. Both video and events are great ways that we want to expand your railroading experience here at Trains.

Later this week, we’ll take a field trip to the Cumbres & Toltec Scenic, where we will ride from Chama, N.M., to Cumbres Pass, the legendary 4 percent grade on the Rio Grande narrow gauge. We’ll take in the sights and sounds of not one but two 3-foot gauge 2-8-2s showing what they can do in a land where the scenery is off the charts good. We’ll also peek in on the restoration of Rio Grande old timer, 4-6-0 No. 168. Long displayed in Colorado Springs, Colo., it is under restoration at the C&TS with plans to run it with a period train. If the C&TS’ current train takes you back to the 1920s, No. 168 and train will be a time warp back to pre-1900s railroading in the San Juan Mountains. Something to look forward to.

Be sure to watch Newswire at www.TrainsMag.com Saturday night. That’s when we’ll announce the winner of our $10,000 annual Preservation Award. It’s a highly coveted prize, and we’re happy to continue this tradition at Trains.

There’s tremendous enthusiasm in the tourist and museum industry, and as we do with our coverage of freight and passenger railroading, we’re happy to share it with you all.

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