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Getting a ticket to history

Sidebar by Steve Voynick

C&TS RR – September 1999 – Colorado Central Magazine


The Cumbres & Toltec Scenic Railroad is a Registered National Historic Site and a New Mexico Registered Cultural Site. Recently, the Society of International Railway Travelers named the C&TSRR to its list of the world’s top 20 railway experiences.

C&TSRR trains depart daily from Chama, New Mexico, and Antonito, Colorado, from mid-May through mid-October. Through passage in either direction (adult fare $52) includes motorcoach return transportation.

Passengers may also choose round-trips from Chama and Antonito to the Osier Station midpoint and return (adult fare $34). The C&TSRR schedules special autumn photography runs, occasional winter weekend excursions, and spring snowplowing runs.

The 64-mile run, which crosses the Colorado-New Mexico border 11 times, takes nearly six hours, including an hour-long midpoint lunch stop at Osier Station. Because mountain temperatures can be cool even in summer and passenger coaches are unheated, passengers should dress warmly.

Visitors may tour the C&TSRR’s historic Chama yards to inspect and photograph steam locomotives, roundhouse sections, water tanks, maintenance shops, and the nation’s last operating coal tipple.

The Chama yards have North America’s largest collection of authentic, narrow-gauge rolling stock, including wooden freight and stock cars, cabooses, tank cars, rotary snowplows, and even early refrigerator cars from the 1920s.

Chama, New Mexico, is located 45 miles west of Antonito, Colorado, via Colorado (New Mexico) Highway 17. For further information, write the Cumbres & Toltec Scenic Railroad, P.O. Box 789, Chama, New Mexico 87520, or call 505-756-2151. Or visit the railroad’s web site at