Here’s a few of the pictures I got.
This lovely couple had a jewelry booth across from us at the Arts & Crafts show. We were able to trade some pictures for some rings, a good trade, and new friends.
Leon runs the car wash in town with his sister Becky, the two of them pick up all the odds and end of the railroad. Leon with the train, Becky with the depot. He has personally saved my day several days in this last year and in years past. He is the one with the tools and the know-how to use em’. There would literally be hundreds of people without pictures without him.
Evan, the brakeman, walks the length of the train starting from the caboose to inspect the wheels and brakes. Here, Evan just finished talking with the Engineer and Fireman up in the engine, before the train goes down the hill.
He is Fifth generation railroad on and for the Cumbres & Toltec railroad, son to Ray Martinez. He is currently studying business at UNM and don’t take my word for it, but I believe he’s single.
This Picture was taken at Cumbres Pass, 10015 ft in elevation, it makes the Cumbres & Toltec the highest narrow gauge line in the country. The blizzard was caused by Hurricane Michael in Florida.
October 2018 Cumbres Pass
Picture: Ray Martinez standing alongside passengers just before Laboto Trestle just behind the water tower prop where Harrison Ford swung from in 1989.
Ray Martinez has been with the Cumbres & Toltec Railroad for 44 years, he is 4th generation railroad. He's a proud and simple man, get's the job everyday, get's the job done right, and goes home to his wife, his high-school-sweetheart. His youngest son graduated high-school last year and also works for the railroad. I would like to say that I heard he even got a column in Train Magazine this year.
On this particular day I was riding a special train and had made my way to the caboose once I got news we were 'picking up' the regular train. I reserved the spot and eagerly waited until we arrived to this. Something tells me that all those people weren't sitting there that exited the whole time. They had experienced a problem with the break pressure and had already sent, 487, their engine back to Chama knowing we were behind them. When we arrived everybody was up in arms and our engine, 463, 115 years old this year, pulled onto the side track, switched back and coupled with the sitting train.
It has been an absolute pleasure to work alongside Ray on the C&TSRR; witnessing his consistent ability to handle every situation with grace and maintain a strong character that keeps the whole train smiling. People come on the train, full grown that remember him from their first train ride. He started sweeping the cars when he was 13 years old, his father a gandy-dancer and his son a brakeman.
Frank likes to show this picture off, says it's his good side.
Frank here is a dying breed. He's a ol' miner, was born in a depot, and his father laid track. He bought a season pass, which they sell in March, for $150 bucks and rode 48 times last year, this year he got to tell everybody that he rides for about 3 bucks plus lunch. This year he had to of rode it at least 50 times and with all stop and go excitement of the train, in Franks case alone, rocks on the tracks, a derailment (rare), and slipping and sliding in the rain. He's a widower, a story teller, and an always reminder of the days of old. I like to imagine he spends his winters in an old saloon somewhere in western Arizona, sitting in on shootout reenactments; just another live-hearty place for old men.
He loves telling people about the time the rock fell on the track, and I got a picture of him (that he doesn't know about yet) with the conductor helping people off the train. We all had to hop off our train, walk around the rock, and hop onto the other train. I was so exited to be on a train going backwards I took pictures of that too. And realized, it didn't matter if the train was going forward or backward to how the picture turns out. Another time I had hopped off the train at Cumbres Pass and ran down the highway to meet the train at the next crossing. Since the train only goes around 10 miles an hour, he likes to joke and say "he was in a hurry, so he walked" and that's when I got the next set of pictures.
He's a good man, and he's single.
When the rest of the world around you is dark, and people are gloomy trying to piece together day to day life and just before the vacuum of the mundane takes you whole; Josh comes steps back in, he rides the wave and does what he can to make things good around him. I'm glad to have him in my life here and there.
Chris. I am going to miss all of the late night conversations, smoking cigarettes, and sharing a room with you. It was nice to have a "Just do it" kind of guy around. I have to admit, I was skeptical at fist; after all, you are from California. We learned to accept each other's differences and grow any way we could. I'm going to miss you, friend.
Probably the baddest mother-fucker I know. Between late nights in Alexis and smoking cigarettes, we are always working on something new, something old, and something borrowed.