After visiting with friends at Big Meadows, and hearing about their ride on the Cumbres & Toltec Railroad a few years ago, we decided to give it a try. It took a little less than two hours of driving from Big Meadows, on the East side of Wolf Creek Pass, to the small town of Chama, NM. We got a spot in a RV Park situated right beside the tracks, and with this old bridge out the back gate.
A short walk down the tracks brings you to the train yard. A working, “blast from the past” for someone from an old railroad town.
Imagine our surprise when, shorty after arriving and getting set up at the RV park, we get a knock at the door. Seems someone had seen our license plate, and they were from our neighboring town. We didn’t know each other, but had many joint friends and acquaintances. He and his wife had been volunteering Summers to the railroad for the past fourteen years. He was one of the docents for the open sightseeing cars. Quite a character.
Sunday morning was clear and bright as we made our way to the station.
Our car. At this point in life, I’ll take the best when I can.
I won’t bore with you with lots of history, or pictures of the train ride, itself. It was a very interesting journey from Chama, up, and over 10,015’ Cumbres pass, and down to the old station of Osier. Some wildlife along the way. Apparently didn’t like that monster coming around the curve.
There is actually two trains each day, one departing from Chama, NM and one from Antonito, CO. They meet at Osier and lunch is served in the railroad cafeteria. A full meal of turkey and dressing, or meatloaf; with all the trimmings, along with many other side dish’s and desserts.
The train from Antonito beat us there as we had a small mechanical problem on the way up.
Running out of water just before a station can lead to some embarrassing moments. We sat for about thirty minutes while the engine went for water and returned. You can see the station just a few hundred yards up the track. Poor engineer.
We had picked the ride from Chama to Osier, and back to Chama, so we got to change trains for our return. As I mentioned earlier, I took about two hundred pictures, but here’s just a couple from the trip up and back.
I think we enjoyed it better than the Durango and Silverton from a few years ago…..jc