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Our Honeymoon Cumbres & Toltec Scenic Railroad 7/9/2020

by Chris Guenzler

We woke up in Alamosa at the Best Western Alamosa Inn. We went first to McDonald's and brought breakfast back to the room. After we packed we drove down to Antonito and parked the car. The first picture was of the engine that was going to pull our train today.

Cumbres and Toltec K36 488.

Cumbres and Toltec K36 484.

Recently restored Cumbres and Toltec 168. We checked in and had our temperatures taken and were asked if we had any of the virus symptoms. We said no. They did this with every person getting on the train. Then we were given our lunch choices which they would take on the train once we were on board. Due to New Mexico being closed to visitors, we could not do the entire trip that we would have normally taken from Antonito to Chama. But Elizabeth and I were very happy just to have a train ride today together.

This morning we got to witness the watering of our engine for the day.

Backing from the water tower to the train.

Picture of the train before boarding.

The engine that would pull our train today.

Elizabeth and our locomotive.

Car F "Rio Arriba" was our assigned coach for the trip. We had seats 21 and 22 and social distancing was the main theme of the day.

The open car 6205 that we would spend our time in for the trip from Antonito to Osier. At 9:30 AM we were allowed to board the train.

My beautiful wife Elizabeth ready to enjoy her second time on the Cumbres and Toltec Scenic Railroad.

At 10:00 AM, the train departed Antonito for Osier.

The train crossed US 285 and headed out of Antonito.

The train taking the first curve of the trip.

Elizabeth in the open car.

The train about to cross the Hangman's/Ferguson's Trestle. Ferguson was a very bad guy in Antonito. Convicted for an unknown crime, he was hanged from this bridge by the local posse.

Curving to gain elevation.

A view of most of the train.

The train heads southwest towards Mount San Antonio, a shield-type volcano.

Our train heads towards the Lava Loop. The Loop is used for turning snowplows in the winter.

Looking back down into the San Luis Valley.

Crossing the state line into New Mexico for the first time.

Climbing the Lava Loop to the Lava Tank.

The Lava Tank.

Climbing the grade towards Whiplash Curve.

Crossing back into Colorado.

The Whiplash Curve. Because steel wheels on steel rails slip on steep hills, the railroad must loop back on itself to gain elevation.

Curving on the way to the Big Horn Wye.

Big Horn siding.

The train took many curves on its way towards Sublette.

The train is nearing Sublette.

Interesting geology on the way to Sublette.

The train is almost to Sublette.

Sublette. This was the home for section ganges, the men who maintained the right-of-way, ties, ballast and rails. Bunk house for other workers, coal storage, water spout and speeder shed. Our engine took on water here.

Leaving Sublette.

More interesting geology along our route.

The train took another curve.

The Valley of the Rio de Los Pinos.

On the way to Toltec Siding.

The first of the Phantoms.

Still on our way to Toltec Siding.

My beautiful wife enjoying the trip.

Toltec Siding.

The train entering and exiting Mud Tunnel. It requires wooden supports over its entire 342 foot length.

The Phantoms of Phantom Curve. It is named for the ghostly shapes and shadows seen in the locomotive headlight at night.

The train exiting Phantom Curve.

More phantoms were seen after the curve.

On the way to Rock Tunnel.

Looking down into the Rio de Los Pinos Valley before Toltec Gorge.

The train entering Rock Tunnel, a tunnel bored through 360 feet of solid rock.

Looking down into Toltec Gorge.

The rest of the train exiting Rock Tunnel.

The Garfield Monument.

Looking down into Toltec Gorge.

Heading to Osier.

Looking back at Toltec Gorge.

On the way to Osier.

Yard Limit sign for Osier.

Closing in on Osier.

Passing the connections for the Osier Loop.

Arriving into the siding at Osier.

The train and the water tower at Osier. We detrained for lunch here and Elizabeth and I enjoyed a very good turkey meal with chocolate cake.

During lunch, our train backed down to the Osier Loop to turn so our engine would be on the east end. For the return trip, we wrote this story before Sublette and we enjoyed the rest of the trip back to Antonito. It has been a great day aboard the Cumbres and Toltec Scenic and everyone followed the guidelines of the railroad and the CDC.

On display at Antonito is Cumbres and Toltec K37 495.

Also here is Cumbres and Toltec K37 494 on display. The train arrived into Antonito and we detrained. After the trip, I had to replace my hat which blew off my head at the Lava Loop going west. From here we set the car's navigation to San Luis. On the way there though, as we passed through San Acacio, I spotted a building that had something written on it so we turned around and had a look.

The San Acacio San Luis Southern station.

A switch stand proved to me that the railroad ran through this town. We then drove to San Luis but had no luck finding a train station. From here, I drove us to Walsenburg where we had KFC for dinner after we checked into the Best Western Rambler Inn. There we uploaded the story and had an enjoyable evening together.