CHAMA, NM and ANTONITO, CO, May 1, 2018
With bells clanging, whistles blowing, and surrounded by clouds of steam, the Cumbres & Toltec Scenic Railroad, the highest, longest and most authentic steam railroad in America, will begin its 48th season in spectacular fashion on May 26, 2018. The 64-mile railroad, which is owned by the people of Colorado and New Mexico, will have rare double-headed trains (trains pulled by two steam locomotives) departing from both Antonito, Colorado and Chama, New Mexico for the gala opening day. Regularly scheduled trains will continue to depart from both stations daily through October 21, 2018.

The Cumbres & Toltec is a National Historic Landmark on wheels that re-creates the thrill of steam railroading in the 1880s, while chugging through some of the most spectacular scenery in the Rocky Mountains. The train follows 64-miles of tracks that cross the borders of Colorado and New Mexico 11 times, skirting along canyon walls through Toltec Gorge, burrowing through two tunnels, climbing to 10,015-foot high Cumbres Pass and steaming over Cascade Trestle 137-feet above a roaring river. Full day trips include a delicious hot lunch at scenic Osier Station.

Both rail buffs and first-time riders will thrill to the rare sight of seeing two steam locomotives working together in tandem to pull the passenger cars on opening day.

Festivities at Antonito, CO, where engines No. 315 and No. 463 will pull the train on May 26 at 9:00 a.m. will include:

  • A Navajo Nation blessing by Spiritual Leader Harry Sandoval Jr., from the Albuquerque Indian Pueblo Cultural Center
  • Festive Los Vecinos Balidores Folklorico Dancers
  • Famed singer Chris Collins doing a tribute of John Denver songs
  • A color guard from the Conejos County Veteran’s Affairs Office
  • Free coffee and donuts

In Chama, NM, two K-36 engines will send clouds of steam billowing into the sky with festivities that include:

  • A Jicarilla Apache Nation blessing by Spiritual Leader Clyde Vicenti
  • Native drumming
  • A color guard composed of local Veteran’s and Boy Scout Troop #807
  • And free coffee and donuts

In 2016, the readers of USA Today 10 Best selected the Cumbres & Toltec as the No. 1 railroad ride in America.

Originally built in 1880 as part of the Denver & Rio Grande Western, the railroad was saved from extinction in 1969 when the states of Colorado and New Mexico stepped in and purchased it from bankruptcy to be operated as an historic landmark.   Wyatt Earp, Doc Holliday and every famous figure of the Old West rode the train.  Indiana Jones grew up next to the railroad, and frequently hopped on passing circus trains.  At least, he did that in the movie Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, which was one of dozens of movies filmed at the railroad.

Trains depart from two stations daily and there are nine different ticket options. Special trains include sunset dinner rides, Fourth of July firework trains, a geology train, a Wildflower Express, and others.