The Cumbres & Toltec Scenic Railroad will begin its 49th season on May 25, 2019 with authentic, coal-fired steam locomotives departing daily from both Antonito, Colorado and Chama, New Mexico. The authentic and historic steam railroad, jointly owned by the states of Colorado and New Mexico, will operate through October 20, 2019.
The train follows 64 miles of tracks first laid down in 1880 that cross the border of the two states 11 times, skirting along canyon walls through Toltec Gorge, burrowing through two tunnels, steaming over Cascade Trestle (137 feet above a roaring river), and climbing to the top of 10,015-foot Cumbres Pass, the highest point reached by any steam railroad in North America.
The Cumbres & Toltec is a National Historic Landmark that moves – a museum on wheels – and was judged by USA Today 10Best to be the No. 1 train ride in the nation.
Featured in more than 40 motion pictures, the railroad has the country’s largest collection of narrow gauge locomotives and cars. Traveling on the train provides an authentic look at steam railroading in the 1880s where passengers can move between cars, ride outdoors on a gondola car, listen to a steam whistle echo down a canyon, enjoy mile after mile of aspen and conifer forest, see wildlife such as elk, deer and even bear, or visit the bar and snack car – all at a stately top speed of 12 mph.
Full day trips include a delicious lunch stop at Osier Station, high above timberline. There are nine different ticketing options and all trains have restrooms on board.
OPENING DAY SPECIALS ON MAY 25, 2019
Opening day on May 25, 2019 will offer the added thrill of not one, but TWO special double-headed trains. Trains pulled by two steam engines are extremely rare in the 21st century. Opening day will feature double-header trains departing from both Chama, NM and Antonito, CO. Passengers will have the rare thrill of witnessing four steaming locomotives together at the scenic Osier Station lunch stop, half way between both starting points.
HISTORY OF THE RAILROAD
Originally built in 1880, the railroad is part of the Denver & Rio Grande Western, San Juan extension, designed to connect silver mining towns in the San Juan mountains with Denver. It was traveled by Wyatt Earp, Doc Holliday and almost every famous outlaw and gunman in the Old West. Indiana Jones grew up next to the railroad, and frequently hopped a ride on circus trains. At least, he did that in the film, Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade. The house in Antonito that stood in for Indiana Jones’ boyhood home is now a B&B and you can stay in Indy’s house before riding the train. The Cumbres & Toltec featured prominently in last year’s Hostiles, starring Christian Bale. Seth MacFarlane rode the train in A Million Ways to Die in the West and Jason Momoa produced two Carhartt commercials in Chama, NM and Antonito, CO. For more on the history and the importance of railroading in America, watch the short film about the Cumbres & Toltec appearing in the National Geographic Short Film Showcase: The Railroader.
Railroad Specials for 2019!
Just some of the special trains to be steaming in the Rockies in 2019:
May 25, 2019: Opening Day, double-header trains will depart from Antonito, CO and Chama, NM. 9:00 a.m. ceremonies in both Antonito, CO and Chama, NM feature dignitaries from both states and local entertainment with a southwestern flair.
June 16, 2019: The Geology Train: This special once-a-year train will depart early from both stations and include stops with geologists to examine some of the unusual formations along the route. Geology Trains are available from both Antonito CO and Chama NM.
4th of July Dinner Train: leaves Chama at 5 p.m., dinner at the Cumbres Pavilion, entertainment, red, white and blue costume contest, then back to the Chama Rodeo grounds on the train, for direct viewing of the best fireworks show in the west. The train then returns to the Chama Depot parking lot.
July 27, 2019: John Denver Tribute Saturday Night Dinner Train: leaves Chama at 5 p.m. with dinner and sunset on Cumbres Pass and back by train at 9:00 p.m. Entertainment will include a John Denver tribute concert by recording artist Chris Collins and a 1960s costume contest, in keeping with the 50th Anniversary of Woodstock.
Aug. 4, 2019: Wildflower & Botany Special: This once-a-year special ride will include stops to examine the many wildflowers that grow in Colorado and Northern New Mexico along the route. A special souvenir booklet will be available to all passengers.
August 17, 2019, Saturday Night Sunset Dinner Train with the Mariachis Azteca: Ole! This once-a-year special leaves Chama at 5 p.m. with mariachis music, dinner and sunset on Cumbres Pass, entertainment and fiesta attire costume contest.
September 14, 2019, Saturday Night Sunset & Speakeasy Special Dinner Train: Travel back to the days of prohibition on a Speakeasy Special that leaves Chama at 5 p.m., with music, dinner on Cumbres Pass, entertainment and costume contest. And no worries! Elliott Ness will NOT be on board, but the bar car will be. Ticket holders will be given the “secret word” for admission to the Speakeasy.
DON’T BE DISAPPOINTED! MAKE RESERVATIONS IN ADVANCE!
Many of our rides (especially those with fall colors in September and October) sell out well in advance. To ensure that there are seats on the dates you want to ride, the railroad advises to please make reservations in advance.
WHERE TO STAY WHILE RIDING THE CUMBRES & TOLTEC
Both Chama, NM and Antonito, CO have hotels and bed & breakfasts. The town of Alamosa, Colorado is 30 minutes by car from the Antonito, Colorado station. The resort town of Taos, New Mexico is one hour by car from the Antonito, Colorado Station. The delightful resort area of Pagosa Hot Springs, Colorado is just 45 minutes from the Chama, NM station.
ACCREDITED MEDIA RIDES
We do our best to accommodate accredited media, news stations and travel photographers who want to ride the train. For information on media visits, contact Joy Meadows, firstname.lastname@example.org, 303-522-9045.
For complete information, call us at 1-888-286-2737.