Historic Celebrations & Special Trains to Mark the Cumbres & Toltec Scenic RR’s 2020 Season
- 140 Years Since Tracks First Laid
- 50 Years of Ownership by the States of Colorado & New Mexico
- Engine #168, an 1880s Locomotive, to Run Again after Years of Idleness in a City Park
- Round-Up of Victorian Iron Horses; a Galloping Goose Reunion; a Dark Sky Dinner Train; Wildflower & Geology Trains & More
CHAMA, NM and ANTONITO, CO, March 10, 2020… The Cumbres & Toltec Scenic Railroad (C&TSRR) will begin its 50th season on May 23, 2020 with authentic, coal-fired steam locomotives departing daily from both Antonito, Colorado and Chama, New Mexico through Oct. 18, 2020.
This year is especially significant for the nation’s highest and longest and best preserved steam railroading operation. The tracks of the railroad were originally laid 140 years ago, in 1880, as part of the San Juan Extension of the Denver & Rio Grande Railway. And 50 years ago, the railroad was saved from abandonment when the states of Colorado and New Mexico stepped in and purchased the tracks and equipment with the mission to preserve and interpret the railroad as a living history museum for the benefit of the public, and for the people of Colorado and New Mexico, who own it.
In honor of these landmark anniversaries, the Cumbres & Toltec Scenic Railroad has celebrations and special trains planned throughout the season, starting with Opening Day on May 23, 2020.
OPENING DAY TO FEATURE THE RETURN OF HISTORIC ENGINE #168
On May 23rd, the Cumbres & Toltec will launch its 2020 season with the official first appearance of historic engine No. 168, which will steam up and pull a ceremonial train from Antonito, Colo. To train buffs around the world, this is an unprecedented historic moment. For the first time ever, a steam locomotive from the 1880s has been completely restored and will run regular excursions on the exact same tracks across the Rocky Mountains that it originally did from 1883-1938.
What is truly remarkable is that No. 168 sat outside in Antlers Park in downtown Colorado Springs for 75 years where the engine was exposed to the elements of snow, hail and rain, and even at one point had homeless people sleeping in the cab. It has been completely restored to its accurate 1915 beautiful appearance and is one of only two locomotives of its class left in the world.
In addition, the railroad will roll-out the Historic Train set consisting of two coach cars and an RPO car (Railway Post Office) that will be making their inaugural run. These cars were originally built before 1890.
50 YEARS OF RAILROADING IN THE ROCKIES
Today, the Cumbres & Toltec Scenic Railroad is the nation’s highest, longest and most authentic steam railroad. It was judged in 2017 and 2019 by the readers of USA Today to be the best train ride in North America.
The train follows 64-miles of the same tracks first laid down in 1880 that cross the border of Colorado and New Mexico 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 -- a museum on wheels -- and has been featured in more than 40 motion pictures, including Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, Bite the Bullet, A Million Ways to Die in the West, Hostiles, as well as Where the Hell’s That Gold. The railroad has the country’s largest collection of narrow gauge locomotives and cars.
Traveling on the train provides the most authentic look at steam railroading in the 1880s, where passengers can move between cars, ride outdoors on an open air 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, with spectacular views. There are nine different ticketing options and all trains have rest rooms on board.
SPECIAL TRAINS & ANNIVERSARY CELEBRATIONS
All season long, there will be special trains and anniversary celebrations to commemorate this important year. They include:
OTHER RAIL SPECIALS SCHEDULED FOR 2020
In addition to special 50th anniversary trains, the C&TSRR will also offer a number of special trains including:
June 21, 2020: 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 on Cumbres Pass, and a fireworks show, before returning to Chama at 10 p.m. There will be entertainment and a Fourth of July costume contest.
August 1, 2020: 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.
August 2, 2020: 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 15, 2020: Dark Sky Dinner Train with Flamenco Guitar by Luis Campos. This once-a-year special leaves Chama at 5 p.m. with flamenco music, dinner, sunset on Cumbres Pass, entertainment and costume contest all under the bright stars illuminated in the dark sky.
September 19, 2020: 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.
Please check the website for other special trains including the half-day Cumbres Express and the special kid-themed Cinder Bear Experience, www.cumbrestoltec.com or call 1-888-286-2737.
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