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Cumbres and Toltec Scenic Railroad Chama to Antonito 9/28/2022

by Chris Guenzler

The two travellers arose at the Sage Inn in Santa Fe and after doing our Internet duties, we went to the International House of Pancakes but they were closed. So we went across the street to McDonald's as time was of the essence. But for Elizabeth they had no fruit and maple oatmeal so she did not have a large breakfast, but I had my usual hot cakes and sausage. I then drove us to Chama and Elizabeth went inside to pick up our tickets while I parked.

This train that would take us to Antonio this morning.

Cumbres and Toltec K36 2-8-2 484 built by Baldwin in 1925 as Denver & Rio Grande Western Railroad 484. The engine was featured in "Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade". I boarded the train and had to have a lady moved because she was sitting in our seats. Elizabeth returned and it was not too long until we departed. Our docents Rex and Billy introduced themselves to the passengers and Billy passed out route guides. The train departured Chama and we sat in our seats until the conductor punched our tickets, after which Elizabeth and I moved two cars back into the open air car.

Denver and Rio Grande Western Chama station built in 1899. We sat in our seats until the conductor had punched our tickets and then Elizabeth and I moved two cars back into the open air car. The train crossed the Chama River as we arrived in the open car.

The Jukes Tree made famous by Fred Jukes. The train went through the Narrows as we climbed the four percent grade.

Making its way to Weed City.

The old water tower stand and water plug which was used by River Phoenix's escape from the bad guys in "Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade".

Our train crossed the Lobato Trestle across Wolf Creek 100 feet below.

Wolf Creek beneath the Lobato Trestle.

Climbing away from the Lobato Trestle.

Autumn colors were in their early stages. We had now reached Dalton on a beautiful morning.

Climbing on the way to the second crossing of New Mexico Highway 17.

Our train ran to second crossing of New Mexico Highway 17.

Acscending the grade towards Cresco.

The fire speeder was following our train.

Climbing the grade and going through the curves to Cresco.

Cresco siding was passed.

The train reached Cresco with the water tower built in 1893.

Our train is climbing the grade towards Coxo.

A look back down the grade.

Continuing the ascent to Coxo.

Fall colors are out and abound in some areas.

Two views toward Windy Point after which we passed the small siding at Coxo.

The train climbed the grade to Windy Point.

Views from Windy Point.

Our train crossed the old highway 17 trestle into Cumbres Pass.

The train stopped for eight minutes for water at Cumbres Pass with the old section house in the picture.

The section house at Cumbres Pass.

The old Cumbres Pass wye snowshed before I walked to my seat for Tanglefoot Curve.

Two views of Tanglefoot Curve.

Our train ran around Tanglefoot Curve.

We headed towards Los Pinos Valley.

We have not entered the Los Pinos Valley.

A small mountain pond is located here.

Passing the Los Pinos water tower.

Our train took the curve to reverse its direction to head south down the Los Pinos Valley.

Heading south down the Los Pinos Valley.

Autumn colors across the valley.

The train took a curve at the south end of the valley.

Clouds are billowing above the fall colors.

Denver and Rio Grande Western telephone booth.

Across the Rio de Los Pinos, fall colors were showing their beauty.

On our way to the Cascade Trestle.

The train crossing the Cascade Trestle, the highest bridge on this railroad, at 137 feet above Cascade Creek.

Heading towards our lunch stop at Osier.

Looking down the valley and fall colors.

Osier came into view.

Curving into Osier across Osier Creek.

The Osier station built in 1880.

The section house built in 1881. We detrained and everyone went to get their lunch. I had chicken, corn bread and lemonade and Elizabeth had chicken, pulled pork, salad, potatoes and a lemonade and we both had chocolate cake. After lunch we heard the train from Antonito whistle so we set up for it.

Our train would take us all the way through to Antonito, unlike last year.

The Antonito train arrived in Osier and passed Galloping Gooose 5, which we will be riding westbound tomorrow.

Cunbres and Toltec K36 2-8-2 489, originally Denver & Rio Grande Western Railroad 489, built by Baldwin in 1925. It was converted to burn oil rather than coal and was returned to operation in early June 2021.

Two engines passing in Osier.

The rear of the Antonito train with drumhead.

A look east at the ballooon track at Osier.

Our train departed Osier for Antonito.

The train heading to the Rock Tunnel.

The views ahead of the train.

Heading down the grade.

The beautiful fall colors of the aspen trees.

The Garfield Monument was erected by railroad ticket agents dedicated to the memory of Presdent James Abram Garfield after his assassination in 1881.

The Rio de Los Pinos is 600 feet below and the gorge is 800 feet across.

We then ran through the 360 foot Rock Tunnel.

The view ahead of our train.

The train is heading towards the Phantom Curve.

Fall colors abound in these trees.

Coming into Phantom Curve.

Phantom Curve is named for the ghostly shapes and shadows seen by the locomotive headlights at night.

Mud Tunnel is 342 feet long and requires wooden supports over its length.

A look back at Toltec Gorge.

The train has reached Toltec siding.

Fall colors across the Rio de Los Pinos River.

On the way to Sublette.

Sublette was home to section gangs, the men who maintained the right-of-way ties, ballast and rails.

On the way down the grade to Big Horn.

Mt. San Antonio, a shield volcano, a free-standing volcanic peak in Rio Arriba County, New Mexico. With an elevation of 10,908 feet, San Antonio Mountain is the highest peak within the Taos Plateau volcanic field, the largest volcanic field within the Rio Grande Rift valley. The mountain is a dacite dome, built up of lava high in silica and mildly elevated in alkali metal oxides that erupted between 3.36 and 2.9 million years ago. The mountain lies just outside a northwest boundary of the Rio Grande del Norte National Monument. It lies within the Carson National Forest and is administered by the U.S. Forest Service rather than the Bureau of Land Management. It is called "Bear Mountain" by Tewa-speaking peoples in the Rio Grande valley, and is known as the mountain of the north in their cosmology.

Our train is heading to Big Horn.

Petroglyphs along the Cumbres and Toltec Scenic Railroad.

Heading to Whiplash Curve.

Another view of Mt. San Antonio.

The top of Whiplash Curve.

The bottom of Whiplash Curve. Becuase the steel wheels on steel rails slip on steep hills, the railroad must loop back on itself to gain altitude.

Will we get rain today? No!

On the way to Lava Tank.

The Lava water tank. Next we would run down the Lava Loop.

Our train handles the Lava Loop.

The train then took to the curves as it dropped down the grade.

Continuing to drop down the grade.

Dropping into the San Luis Valley, which is greater than the size of Rhode Island.

Our engine is still working hard pulling our train.

The train crossed the Hangman's/Ferguson's Trestle, named for Mr. Ferguson who was convicted for an unknown crime and was hanged from this bridge by a local posse. We then ran the rest of the way into Antonito.

We passed Galloping Goose 5 on our way to the station then Elizabeth and I detrained and went to the bus on which were all of the Galloping Goose riders from today's trip. We left, leaving about thirty people to wait for the next bus. Our bus driver engaged in a commentary during most of the hour-and-a-quarter trip back to Chama. Before we returned to the car, we visited the gift shop and Elizabeth bought a replacment T-shirt for the one that she had somehow lost last year, as well as a new magnet. We then checked into the Branding Iron Motel for the night.