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My Ride On The Historic Cumbres-Toltec Railroad [PHOTOS]

The Cumbres-Toltec as it winds around a curve (Photo By Randy Jones)

On June 28th, my wife and I took a ride on the historic Cumbres and Toltec Railroad, which runs from Chama, New Mexico up to Antonito, Colorado. The scenery is stunningly beautiful as the antique steam locomotive winds back and forth along the New Mexico/Colorado border. It’s a full day of Rocky Mountain splendor rolling long at about 15 miles per hour.

The locomotive itself was built at around 1925 and has been in continuous service on this narrow gauge line ever since. It’s quality machinery built when America really built things. The engine is coal fired and steam driven with an expert crew. As they say, it literally is living history.

A view from a trestle along the route (Photo By Randy Jones)

Plus there’s a lot of romance involved in riding a train like this one. The passenger cars are of three different types. There’s a coach class with bench seats along both sides, a tourist class with heavy wooden chairs and a bit more luxury, and a deluxe class with antique parlor cars decked out with hardwoods and plush chairs. Any of them will afford you a once-in-a-lifetime experience.

Highlights of the trip include two tunnels that were dug straight through the sides of mountains. One is a mud tunnel that is reinforced with concrete lining. Back in the early days of the railroad, it was prone to frequent collapse. The other tunnel is through solid rock.

The most spectacular view is Toltec gorge dropping hundreds of feet below the rails. It’s a dizzying view but one not to miss. There’s also a Garfield presidential monument along the way, and the aspens, firs, and pines of New Mexico and Colorado are photographic musts.

Toltec gorge (Photo By Randy Jones)

Check out my gallery of photos below, and if you want to book a trip, I guaranteed a wonderful vacation experience.   I highly recommend it.  Book the full day version and the train stops in Osier, Colorado where they feed you a free lunch.  You can go to the Cumbres-Toltec website here at CumbresToltec.com.


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