From Chama, New Mexico to Antonito, Colorado - two trains meet in Osier, Colorado for lunch and will make a return trip the following day. Now on my 5th year on the railroad, I am more exited than ever to witness the season’s change firsthand. Already the snow has melted and made for historic water levels, flooding the valley. Just now, in late June, the snow has nearly finished melting with snow patches remaining on the North-East slopes. We’ve watched the sheep graze, the elk migrate, and yak be brought into a local ranch. There are more baby elk than I ever remember and the colors are on the brink of magnificent.
From left to right:
The passenger train has just arrived to the depot around 4 in the afternoon. After unloading the passengers, the train will turn around in town on the Y. Bob Ross, seen walking is President of the Friends of the Cumbres & Toltec Railroad, a volunteer organization dedicated to maintaining the historic railroad. With over 2,000 volunteers both labor and financial, they truly are the backbone of the railroad. Next is Brad, seen pulling the box step down for the arriving passengers. Brad works dispatch and parking lot patrol during the train season and Santa during the off season. Next, in the green jacket, is a passenger stepping off the train. Beside her, David. He is a new Brakeman from San Antonito, fun fact about David, he is single. In the pink standing with pride & a smile, is Roberta, as she welcomes the oncoming train. Behind her, in a hard to see shadow, is her husband, Ray Martinez. The two of them are highschool sweethearts. Ray is 4th generation railroad to the Cumbres & Toltec and has been on the railroad for the last 45 years. In the blue is a man who works in the ticket office, which is the most adjacent room in the pictured depot.
On the far right is the bus, which is used to take passengers either to Antonito or to Chama either before or after their train ride. A passenger has the option to park their car in the Chama depot, take the 8:30 a.m. bus in the morning to Anonito and the 10:00 a.m. train back to Chama. The train will arrive in the Chama depot around 4-4:30 p.m. For passengers who parked their car in Antonito and chose to take the 10:00 a.m. train ride, the bus will be waiting for them in Chama to take them back to their starting point.
The Rio de los Pinos or River of the Pines. (pictured above)
All the water seen here flows from Trujillo Meadows, an alpine lake at 10,200 feet, and into the Rio Grande. This picture, taken mid June, is a testament to to the above average snowfall by the still remaining patches of snow. The water levels are at record highs and even the veterans, the ones who have been here for decades, say they have never seen anything like it.
This is the longest and highest narrow gauge line in the country. At over 64 miles long, 10,015ft high, and steam engines built in 1925 and older. This is more than a joy ride, it is an all day affair packed with history and scenic views. US Today has rated the Cumbres & Toltec the #1 railroad in the country for 2 years in a row. Book your tickets @ https://cumbrestoltec.com/schedule/