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Cumbres & Toltec Scenic Railroad
[ built 1880; saved 1970 ]

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       stock photo of Cumbres & Toltec train behind D&RGW locomotive #487 [built 1925] under full steam        short C&TSRR history

route & stations

equipment roster

reading material

films & other media

image gallery

links


The narrow-gauge Cumbres & Toltec Scenic Railroad was built in 1880 and saved in 1970 for preservation as a tourist railroad
by the states of Colorado and New Mexico. The 64-mile route is the longest stretch of operating narrow-gauge trackage
in America, and the winding route crosses the Colorado-New Mexico border 11 times.


The narrow-gauge Denver & Rio Grande Railroad San Juan Extension of the Denver & Rio Grande Western Railway was constructed in 1880, thru Antonito, Colorado and over Cumbres Pass to Chama, New Mexico – and beyond. Passenger service ended in 1951; the discovery of oil and gas in northwest New Mexico revived the railroad's freight business in the early 1950s. The line was about to be scrapped in 1970 when the State of Colorado and the State of New Mexico agreed to purchase the line for preservation as a tourist attraction; the property was incorporated in 1974.

The 64-mile route is the longest stretch of operating narrow-gauge trackage in America, and the winding route crosses the Colorado-New Mexico border 11 times.

Much of the rolling stock equipment is well over a hundred years old and requires constant maintenance. The winters are severe – the entire railroad is above 7,800 feet elevation – and the operating season runs only from late May to mid-October. Both nature and man impact operations on the C&TSRR directly, such as the Hangman's Trestle fire in 1988, the fire-danger shutdown in 2002, and the Lobato Trestle fire in 2010 (repaired June 2011).

official C&TSRR website • C&TSRR entry at Wikipedia
official C&TSRR photos website • official C&TSRR equipment & shops website

Friends of the Cumbres & Toltec Railroad [est. 1981, incorp. 1988]


C&TSRR Route and Stations

Cumbres & Toltec Scenic Railroad [built 1880; incorp. 1974]
While both freight and passengers traveled in both directions on the D&RGW, most freight deliveries were westbound, and the eastbound freight traffic was lumber, refined ore, and oil from the 1950s boom in Farmington. The current tourist operation sends one train each way in the morning, meeting at the lunchstop at mid-point Osier, where the crews turn each locomotive around on a turning loop. After lunch, the passengers either return whence they started or get on the other train and continue their journey.
(Further options include overnight stays and return buses.)

The official stations or water stops are (moving westward): repair shops & depot at Antonito, Colorado [MP281, elev. 7890]; Hangman's Trestle [MP286];
Lava Tank [MP291.5]; Whiplash Curve [MP296]; Big Horn Wye [MP299.5, elev. 8800]; Sublette, New Mexico [MP306, elev. 9281]; Mud Tunnel [MP311.5];
Phantom Curve [MP312.5]; Rock Tunnel [MP315]; Toltec Gorge (600 feet above the river); and lunch stop Osier, Colorado [MP318.4, elev. 9637]; then 137-foot tall
Cascade Creek Trestle [MP320]; Los Pinos Tank [MP325.5]; Tanglefoot Curve; Cumbres Pass [MP330.6, elev. 10,015]; Windy Point [MP331]; Coxo; 1893 Cresco
Tanks [MP335], 100-foot tall 1883 Lobato Trestle [MP340]; The Narrows [MP340.5-342]; and the yards & depot at Chama, New Mexico [MP345, elev. 7871].

                 

Antonito [elev. 7890], Colorado
Eastern terminus of the Cumbres & Toltec Scenic RR, with station, gift shop, equipment repair shops, and lots of parked rolling stock;
the Rio Grande Scenic RR operates steam tourist trains from Alamosa to Antonito on Summer weekends.
Whistle Stop Guest House [built 1950s, open 5/2013], 306 W. Eighth Street in Antonito, Colorado
Antonito [CO] Merchants Assn.

Osier [elev. 9637], Colorado
Toltec Gorge Catering, Inc. operates the lunchroom buffet at Osier
Osier, Colorado entry at Wikipedia

Cumbres Pass [elev. 10,022 ft (3,055m], Colorado
locomotive and tender #488 was moved to Cumbres Pass in August 2010, along with 1 gondola car, 5 coaches (#16), and caboose #05365


C&TSRR Locomotive Roster

yearwhytename/numberhistorydisposition/status
1883ng T-12 4-6-0#168D&RG to 1924, D&RGW 1924 to 1933 retirement; donated to Colorado Springs in 1938; on stationary display in Antlers Park 1938-2015; moved to C&TSRR Antonito Yards for restoration  click here for photograph (in a new window)slated for restoration
1903ng K-27 2-8-2 Mikado#463D&RG 1909-24, D&RGW 1924-1955, Gene Autry 1955-94, to C&TS in 1994; restored at Chama 2009-2016returned to service May 2016
1925 ng K-36 2-8-2 Mikado#483D&RGW 1925-1970, C&TS 1970-todayon display at Chama
1925 ng K-36 2-8-2 Mikado#484D&RGW 1925-1970, C&TS 1970-todayoperating daily (in season)
1925 ng K-36 2-8-2 Mikado#487D&RGW 1925-1970, C&TS 1970-todayoperating daily (in season)
1925 ng K-36 2-8-2 Mikado#488D&RGW 1925-1970, C&TS 1970-todayon static display at Cumbres Pass (2010)
1925 ng K-36 2-8-2 Mikado#489D&RGW 1925-1962, C&TS 1970-today {rebuilt 2008}operating daily (in season)
1902/1928ng K-37 2-8-2 Mikado#492D&RG 1902-24, D&RGW 1924-70, C&TS 1970-presentin storage at Chama
1902/1928ng K-37 2-8-2 Mikado#493D&RG 1902-24, D&RGW 1924-70, D&SNG 1981-presenton display at Silverton
1902/1928ng K-37 2-8-2 Mikado#494D&RG 1902-24, D&RGW 1924-62, C&TS 1970-presentin storage at Antonito
1902/1928ng K-37 2-8-2 Mikado#495D&RG 1902-24, D&RGW 1924-62, C&TS 1970-presentin storage at Antonito
1902/1930ng K-37 2-8-2 Mikado#497D&RG 1902-24, D&RGW 1924-81, D&SNG 1981-91, C&TS 1991-presentin storage at Chama

Other Equipment

C&TSRR operates orange-painted MOW speeders #012, #013, #101, #102, #103, #104, #105, #106, #107  click here for photograph (in a new window)
and fire suppression cars #208T & #209T

orange-painted MOW inspection/crew motor car #108 - restored 1996-2001, crashed 2003  click here for photograph (in a new window)

black-painted Rogers 5-ton gas-powered C&TSRR 4-wheel yard engine 'Critter'  click here for photograph (in a new window)

black-painted G.E. 47-ton center-cab switcher #19 - acquired from Hawai'i in 1972; out of service circa 2000, in use 2010  click here for photograph (in a new window)

light gray-painted 1891 ex-D&RG MOW pile driver #OB, paired with flatcar #06008  click here for photograph (in a new window)
restored at W.M.M.I. shops in Colorado Springs, 1999-2006?

light gray-painted 1885 ex-D&RG MOW flanger car #OJ - not in service

red-painted 1885 ex-D&RG MOW flanger car #OK - restoration halted in 2002

light gray-painted 1885 ex-D&RG MOW flanger car #OL - in service from Chama

red-painted 1889 Cooke-built D&RGW MOW rotary snow plow #OM & tender; stationed at Chama;  click here for photograph (in a new window)
last service 1976; cosmetic restoration 2002; steps allow viewing of interior

light gray-painted 1911 D&RG-built derrick car MOW #OP is in service  click here for photograph (in a new window)
paired with boom tender flatcar #06063, flatcar #06051 & boxcar 04549

light gray-painted 1924 ex-D&RG Jordan Spreader MOW #OU - last service 2002

light gray-painted 1889 Cooke-built D&RGW MOW rotary snow plow #OY & tender;  click here for photograph (in a new window)
in service; steps in warm weather allow viewing of interior

Reading Material

history of steam trains over Cumbres book by Gordon S. Chappell  "Farewell To Cumbres: A Short History of Steam Trains Over Cumbres" [1967]
by Gordon S. Chappell

Colorado Railroad Historical Foundation pb [1967] out of print/used
Colorado Railroad Museum pb reprint [1975] out of print/used
Narrow Gauge To Cumbres Pictorial History book by Doris B. Osterwald  "Narrow Gauge To Cumbres: A Pictorial History of The Cumbres & Toltec Scenic Railroad" [1972] by Doris B. Osterwald
Western Guideways pb [1972] out of print/scarce
Scenic Trips to the Geologic Past Cumbres and Toltec Scenic Railroad book by H.L. James  "Scenic Trips To The Geologic Past, No. 11: Cumbres and Toltec Scenic Railroad"
[1972] by H.L. James

New Mexico State Bureau of Mines & Mineral Resources pb [1974] out of print/scarce
Ticket To Toltec  "Ticket To Toltec: A Mile By Mile Guide For The Cumbres & Toltec Scenic Railroad" [1976] by Doris B. Osterwald
Western Guideways 10¾x8¼ pb [6/92] out of print/used
Western Guideways pb [12/76] out of print/used
Cumbres & Toltec Scenic Railroad book by Spencer Wilson & Vernon J. Glover  "The Cumbres & Toltec Scenic Railroad: The Historic Preservation Study" [1980]
by Spencer Wilson & Vernon J. Glover

Univ New Mexico Press pb [6/84] out of print/many used
Univ New Mexico Press pb [1980] out of print/used
Riding the Cumbres & Toltec Scenic Railroad book by Spencer Crump  "Riding The Cumbres & Toltec Scenic Railroad: Historical Text, Pictures & Maps"
[1992] by Spencer Crump

Zeta Publrs pb [1992] out of print/used
Story of The Cumbres & Toltec Scenic Railroad book by Antoinette Gibbons  "The Story of The Cumbres & Toltec Scenic Railroad: The Toltec Gorge Route"
[1995] by Antoinette Gibbons

R.A.B. Enterprises pb [1995] out of print/used
Rotary Snowplows on the Cumbres & Toltec Scenic Railroad book by Joseph P. Hereford   "Rotary Snowplows On The Cumbres & Toltec Scenic Railroad" [1998]
by Joseph P. Hereford

Univ New Mexico Press pb [7/98] out of print/used
Thunder of Their Passing / Denver & Rio Grande / Cumbres & Toltec Scenic book by Robert D. Turner  "The Thunder of Their Passing: A Tribute To The Denver & Rio Grande's Narrow Gauge and The Cumbres & Toltec Scenic Railroad" [2003]
by Robert D. Turner
with nearly 500 outstanding color and black & white photographs, illustrations, and reproductions
Sono Nis Press 9x11 pb [2/2011] for $44.95
Sono Nis Press 9¼x11 hardcover [6/2003] for $54.95

Little Train That Could Not Die book by Toni Gibbons  "The Little Train That Would Not Die: The Stories of The Cumbres & Toltec Scenic Railroad and Engine 463" [2005] by Antoinette 'Toni' Gibbons
CreateSpace 9¾x6¾ pb [8/2010] for $12.99
AuthorHouse 8¾x6 pb [9/2005] for $15.50
AuthorHouse 9x6¼ hardcover [9/2005] for $27.95
Cumbres & Toltec Photographic Tribute  "Cumbres & Toltec: A Photographic Tribute To America's Most Spectacular Scenic Railway" [2007] by Sam Furukawa featuring 237 dramatic photos
N.G.P.F. 9x12 hardcover [1/2007] rare copies on Amazon
available directly from publisher/printer for $54.45
published by Narrow Gauge Preservation Foundation [est. 2000]
Saving the Cumbres & Toltec Scenic Railroad book by Spencer Wilson & Wes Pfarner  
"Saving The Cumbres & Toltec Scenic Railroad" [2012]
by Spencer Wilson & Wes Pfarner

The History Press pb [6/2012] for $16.99

Films & TV, Other Media

Cumbres & Toltec Scenic Freight Train on DVD  "Cumbres & Toltec Scenic Freight Train" video [1990]
A two-day special 'San Juan Express' excursion was set up in September 1990 for railfan photographers on the Cumbres & Toltec, with coal-fired Baldwin-built 2-8-2 Mikado locomotive #488 at the head, and frequent stops for full-steam run-bys
Pentrex 1-hour color DVD [2007] out of prodn/used
Cumbres & Toltec Scenic Passenger Train on DVD  "Cumbres & Toltec Scenic Passenger Train" video [1991]
includes cab-ride and full-steam run-by footage
Pentrex 75-minute color DVD [2008] for $28.75
Cumbres & Toltec Scenic Narrow Gauge Railroad video from Railway Prodns  "America's Steam Trains: The Cumbres & Toltec Scenic Railroad" video [1999]
"Ride One of America's Most Beautiful & Historic Railroads" • 60-minute video directed by Les Jarrett covering all 64 route miles in Summer, Fall & Winter; DVD also has 25 minutes of bonus footage
85-minute Railway Prodns color DVD [3/2003] for $24.95
60-minute Railway Prodns color VHS [10/99] - OVERPRICED!
Cumbres & Toltec Scenic Narrow Gauge Railroad video from Shiloh  "Cumbres & Toltec Scenic Narrow Gauge Railroad: Like You've Never Seen Before!" video [2003]
two hours of color footage from the 1990s
Shiloh Sales color DVD [4/2003] out of prodn/SOLD OUT!
C&TSRR K-36 Over Cumbres Pass on DVD  "K-36 Over Cumbres Pass" [2007]
110-minute Highball Prodns widescreen color DVD [2007] for $29.95
Rolling Thunder over Cumbres Pass audio recording  "Rolling Thunder Over Cumbres Pass" [2008] by Ken J. Johnson
Trak Works audio CD [5/2008] 28 tracks for $17.65

Image Gallery

double-header steam with D&RGW/C&TSRR locomotives #484 & #487 [both K-36 class, built in 1925], circa 2009

fall colors near Toltec in the Rockies (October 2007)
click to enlarge

D&RGW loco 487 [built 1925] in the yards at Chama, NM (October 2007)
click to enlarge
       D&RGW loco 487 [built 1925] and the engine driver at Chama, NM (October 2007)
click to enlarge

D&RGW loco 488 [built 1925] in the C&TSRR yards at Chama, NM (October 2007)
click to enlarge
       C&TSRR station at Chama, NM - north side (October 2007)
click to enlarge

C&TSRR station at Chama, NM - east side at night (October 2007)
click to enlarge
       pulling into Osier on the C&TSRR (October 2007)
click to enlarge

C&TSRR steam passenger train climbing toward Cumbres Pass, Colorado          poster for C&TSRR Fortieth Anniversary          C&TSRR steam freight train thru fall foliage aspens north of Chama, New Mexico

C&TSRR steam passenger train crossing Tefft Bridge on the Animas River          R.G.S. goose #7 crossing Cascade Creek Trestle on the C&TSRR          C&TSRR steam passenger train crossing Cascade Creek Trestle

Railroad Links

official C&TSRR website • C&TSRR entry at Wikipedia
official C&TSRR photos website • official C&TSRR equipment & shops website

Friends of the Cumbres & Toltec Railroad [est. 1981, incorp. 1988]

C&TSRR article at the Antonito Whistle Stop Guest House website

American Railroads Pages at Spirit of America Bookstore
Railroad Film Festival Pages at Spirit of America Bookstore
'Railroads in Fiction' Pages at Spirit of America Bookstore
'Non-Fiction Books About Railroads' Pages at Spirit of America Bookstore


here on the Cumbres & Toltec Scenic Railroad Page

top of page   •   short C&TSRR history   •   route & stations   •   equipment roster   •

reading material   •   films & other media   •   image gallery   •   links

Carson & Colorado / Nevada & California / Southern Pacific Narrow-Gauge Railroads [1880-1960] Page
Denver & Rio Grande Western Railroad [1870-1988] Page
Florida East Coast Railway [est. 1885] Page
Nevada County Narrow Guage Railroad [1876-1942] in California Page
Sierra Railway [est. 1897] in California Page
Virginia & Truckee Railroad [1869-1950, rebuilt 1972 & 2006] in Nevada Page

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