Cumbres And Toltec Scenic Railroad

Yesterday we took a ride on the Cumbres & Toltec Scenic Railroad, something I would definitely recommend doing if you are ever in Antonito, Colorado, or Chama, New Mexico. This scenic railroad “takes you on a journey through the spectacular mountains and valleys of southern Colorado and northern New Mexico on a historic narrow gauge railroad line that was built in the late 1800s.

It was not only a beautiful, fun, ride, but it was very educational as well. I will share some of what we learned over our 6 1/2 hour trip.

“The Cumbres & Toltec Scenic railroad is America’s longest and highest narrow gauge (3 feet between the rails) railroad. It is also one of our country’s best preserved railroad museums, designated both a National and State Registered Historic Site and National Civil Engineering Landmark.”


This is a steam engine locomotive. Coal is used to heat water that produces the steam to run the train.

Almost every car on the train was completely full, although once we were on our way, we were free to move about from car to car, and go out to the observation car.

“The Cumbres & Toltec Scenic Railroad is 64 miles of what once was the Denver & Rio Grande Western Railway. It is the finest example of narrow gauge, mountain steam railroading in the country.”


We saw trees of every kind along the trip.

We had a volunteer on the train who was well versed in the history of the railroad, and everything we were seeing along the way. He told us that trees with yellowish marks on them, like this one, were most likely hit by lighting.

I just loved being in the middle of the train, and watching the front of the train round the bends. I was hanging out of the window to capture this picture.

And everyone was hanging out of windows to try and get a picture of the train entering the first of two tunnels.

This was the view immediately when we came out of the first tunnel. I wasn’t about to hang out the window to get this picture, but I did get a pretty good shot while standing in front of an open window.

Because the train runs on steam, and you need water to produce the steam, halfway through the trip we had to stop at a water tower to fill up the water tank.

This house is where the family of the man who was responsible for maintaining the water tower lived. There were 12 children in that family living with their parents in this little house. The windows look like they have lace curtains, but those curtains are actually painted on the windows.

About halfway through our trip, we passed another train full of people that were just as interested in taking pictures of us, as we were interested in taking pictures of them. Ha!

There was no shortage of beautiful scenery to see.


This is a picture of the Historic 1880 Depot located in Osier, where we stopped for lunch.

Someone actually lived in this tiny depot.

Our volunteer guide told us that they couldn’t get anyone to donate a historic safe for the depot, so they hired someone to make a replica of the original safe out of wood.

We learned all about the whistle blowing of the train as well. Here is what we learned,

It’s called Whistlespeak:

One short blow = Apply brakes. Stop

One long and one short blows = Warning whistle

Two long blows = Release brakes. Proceed

Four long blows = 5 minute departure warning

Two long, one short, and one long blows = Approaching highway crossing

Two long and one short blows = Approaching station

Three short blows = When stopped, back up. When running, stop at next station

It was another beautiful, fun-filled, educational day.

Stay Tuned!


4 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Bill
    Jun 18, 2018 @ 19:37:46

    We sure did have a good time on the train, the scenery was something we would have never seen unless we were on the train.


  2. gotham girl
    Jun 18, 2018 @ 23:52:31

    Like my Bro said, you’d never see that kind of scenery unless you were on the train. So beautiful. All that green and lusciousness! So glad you had a wonderful time! More adventures! Love!


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