Ride on the Cumbres & Toltec

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Posted by rockislandb on Friday, November 2, 2007 4:32 PM
Thanks for the pictures, Keith.  The Cumbres and Toltec is the first steam powered train ride my husband took me on soon after we were married. The scenery was fantastic, and I spent the entire trip hanging outside the car taking pictures. About halfway into the trip, my husband would get this goofy smile on his face whenever he looked at me. I thought it was because he was thinking what a great choice he made in a spouse. When we got into our car at Chama, I looked in the visor mirror and discovered what he was smiling at. My face was covered in soot with two perfect circles where my sunglasses had been.  
  • Member since
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  • From: Grand Canyon
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Posted by Augusta Station Master on Tuesday, October 30, 2007 9:23 PM

The Grand Canyon train still offers various packages which include overnight stays at the Grand Canyon. The railroad was purchased this past year by the same company, Xanterra, which operates all lodges in the Natinal Park. (I am employed at the El Tovar.) There is at least one train each day except Christmas. Sometimes there are two trains a day. Steam does stop after Labor Day but trains may be pulled by Alco PA/PB  sets any day of the year.

 Jerry Smith

Jerry Smith Augusta Station Master http://augustastationmaster.tripod.com/stationmasterjournal/
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Posted by Mr_Ash on Tuesday, October 30, 2007 4:58 PM
 garyla wrote:

Just don't let the cinders get in your eyes.  Agh!

I got one cought up on the collar of my jacket when I went when I was a kid and got a dime sized burn on the back of my neck, that sucked. Plus my dad didnt get the lunch thing so when we stopped in Osier we didnt get anything to eat. Not the best experance as a kid lol I remember the trip being long and boaring (I was more interested in the trains than the scenery back then) Though I would like to ride it again and I'm planning to do so when I go down to ride the Durango & Silverton again next year

 As for the "passenger cars" colors (cough-rebuiltfreightcars-cough) they used to be green. I just picked up a steam DVD pack from Sams Club that has one about the Cumbres & Toltec. They looked better in green, the red is just to bright for me doesnt look right Sigh [sigh]

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Posted by garyla on Tuesday, October 30, 2007 9:09 AM

The C&T is hard to beat. 

I've ridden almost every currently operating tourist line in Colorado, and if I could only take one (not that it's an easy choice), that would be it:  a 4% grade, 64 scenic miles, all in rolling museum pieces.  One advantage to starting in Antonito is that there are plenty more accomodations in nearby Alamosa, Colo.

Just don't let the cinders get in your eyes.  Agh!

If I ever met a train I didn't like, I can't remember when it happened!
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Posted by bb4884 on Tuesday, October 30, 2007 7:21 AM

 Jake1210 wrote:
Very nice! I really want to get out into the C&TSRR, and the D&SGNRR. But I thought Chama was in New Mexico and Antonito wan in Colorado. ???

 

It is, you travel in 2 states on the C&T

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Posted by Jake1210 on Monday, October 29, 2007 8:54 PM
Very nice! I really want to get out into the C&TSRR, and the D&SGNRR. But I thought Chama was in New Mexico and Antonito wan in Colorado. ???
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Posted by kschmidt on Monday, October 29, 2007 6:11 PM

Unfortunately the Grand Canyon Railroad stops running steam after Labor Day.  So with our visit at the end of September there was no steam running.  We opted instead to stay close to the rim and get some sunset and sunrise shots at the Canyon.  I would like to go back and check out the Grand Canyon Railroad though.

As far as the Cumbres & Toltec coaches I believe I heard that they had been recently repainted into the red that they currently are.  I'm not sure of there previous color.

Keith

 

Keith Schmidt KC9LHK You don’t bring nothin with you here and you can’t nothin back, I ain’t never seen a hearse with a luggage rack. George Strait Check out Flickr Train Photo Page 

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Posted by Mr_Ash on Sunday, October 28, 2007 2:31 PM
Didnt there coaches used to be a diffrnt color? Confused [%-)]
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Posted by gbrewer on Monday, October 15, 2007 11:12 AM
You really can't beat the C&TS or the D&S for scenery or authenticity, but did you ride a steam train to the Grand Canyon (overnight stay at the canyon is still possible)?
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Posted by kschmidt on Thursday, October 11, 2007 5:37 PM

Thanks,

I guess the highlights include rail-wise riding the Durango & Silverton the next day. The weather was awesome and the scenery spectactular.  I hope to post some of those photos soon. 

Non-rail highlights include sunset and sunrise at the Grand Canyon and driving the Monument Valley and trying to figure out where on the road Forrest Gump stopped running. 

Keith Schmidt

Keith Schmidt KC9LHK You don’t bring nothin with you here and you can’t nothin back, I ain’t never seen a hearse with a luggage rack. George Strait Check out Flickr Train Photo Page 

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Posted by spokyone on Thursday, October 11, 2007 12:22 AM
Great pics Keith & description was even better. Did you return to Chama by bus? What were the other highlights of your trip? Not just RR either.
  How perfect to travel with your dad.
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Ride on the Cumbres & Toltec
Posted by kschmidt on Monday, October 8, 2007 2:55 PM

Last week I took a trip out west with my Dad to check out some of the sights of the Southwestern part of the USA.  One of our stops was the Cumbres & Toltec railroad.  The trip begins in Chama, New Mexico.  If you are thinking about riding the C&T I would suggest riding it from Chama to Antonito.  This part of the trip is uphill most of the way, including some 4% grades.  Our train was full and required a doubleheader out of Chama up to Cumbres.  What a sight to see a narrow gauge steam doubleheader working hard. 

Also the Cumbres & Toltec allows people to walk around the yard and servicing area and take pictures as the train and locomotives are prepared for the trip. 

As far as accomodations in Chama, there are a couple of motels, we stayed at the Branding Iron Motel, nice accomodations, I would suggest reservations in advance. There are some Bed & Breakfasts also.  There aren't many places to eat but we a nice supper at the only place open at 7pm on Friday night.  The name escapes me at the moment.  We had to wait about 1/2 for a table but the food was very good. 

Here are some shots from our ride from Chama to Antonito on Saturday Sept 29, 2007

#487 steams in the cool morning at Chama, NM

#487 recieves coal for the trip to Antonito, CO

#484 loads coal to be the helper on the train to Antonito, CO

Our doubleheader for the trip from Chama to Cumbres 

At the Lobato Bridge the doubleheader must be separated. The bridge can't handle the weight of both locomotives.  So the lead cuts off and crosses the bridge.  Then the second loco pulls the train across and the two recouple to continue the trip.

Pulling uphill the pair of narrow guage steamers work hard

#484 after being cut-off sits on the wye at Cumbres and will return to Chama for a possible work train assignment

#487 is now in charge of the train and will complete the trip to Antonito

Above two photos are from Osier. This is the lunch stop for the train. The dining hall was built just for that purpose. Lunch is included in the ticket price. Riders choose from Turkey and all the fixings, or Meatloaf early on during the trip.  The food was very good and is All-u-care-to eat.  Dessert is also included.  Their is also a gift shop at Osier.

Second photo is our train waiting to head to Antonito.

Here is a cattle drive in the valley.  The cattle here are free range, but must be rounded up before the snow flies.  Snow can be start as early as late September, early October. 

Some of the scenery from the train in the area of the Toltec Gorge.  Unfortunately the weather wasn't the best. We had rain, sleet, thunder and lightning at times during the trip.  All in all I would say the Cumbres & Toltec is a great railroad to ride and experience what narrow guage railroading out west was like. 

Keith Schmidt

Keith Schmidt KC9LHK You don’t bring nothin with you here and you can’t nothin back, I ain’t never seen a hearse with a luggage rack. George Strait Check out Flickr Train Photo Page 

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