A westbound train on Windy Point - courtesy CTSMC

Colorado/New Mexico

Experience the excitement of an old-fashioned steam train ride

With thanks to the Cumbres & Toltec
Scenic Railroad

Picture: A westbound train on Windy Point
(Courtesy CTSMC)

The locomotives are polished, and the whistles are clean and shiny as the Cumbres & Toltec Scenic Railroad is in full throttle for the 2007 season. Opening ceremonies were May 26th at both the Chama, New Mexico and Antonito, Colorado stations.

“We expect this to be a very exciting year,” said General Manager Tim Tennant. “For the first time in seven years, trains will be departing from both Antonito and Chama every day of the week. This means that more people can experience the excitement of an old-fashioned steam train ride.”

Also new this year: Four steam locomotives (built and delivered in the 1920s) are fully operational, and a track improvement project begun last year has been completed, making for a smoother and faster ride.

“This unique treasure gives New Mexicans and their visitors the opportunity to explore one of the state’s most scenic areas, and at the same time, share in a family experience sure to be remembered for years to come,” said Michael Cerletti, Secretary of the New Mexico Tourism Department, who will attend the opening day festivities in Chama. “The folks at the Cumbres & Toltec are to be commended for their efforts.”

The Cumbres & Toltec is owned by the people of Colorado and New Mexico. Its locomotives, cars, buildings, and even its 64-mile narrow-gauge route were all part of the Denver & Rio Grande Railway, making it the most authentic train in all of North America.

A ride on the train is an adventure in time. It chugs up the 10,015-foot-high Cumbres Pass, winds through tunnels and over trestles, and snakes along the 800-foot-deep Toltec Gorge, past waterfalls, mountain forests, and alpine meadows.

There are more special train rides than ever in 2007. Nine of the popular Cinder Bear Express rides for families begin June 21. The Osprey Express coincides with the osprey festival in northern New Mexico July 15 and there are Moonlight Trains July 28 and August 25. Christmas trains will be December 1 and 8.

Tickets begin at $62 for adults and $31 for children and include a hot lunch at the mining town of Osier, Colorado. Upgrades to the parlor car are a way to experience train travel the way cattle barons did. For ticket information and reservations, visit cumbrestoltec.com or call 1-888-CUMBRES.