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Dak Dillon's Cumbres and Toltec Scenic Railroad Photo Charter Day Two 10/20/2023

by Chris Guenzler

Elizabeth and I arose at 5:30 AM and after our morning preparations and a quick check of my e-mail, we left the Narrow Gauge Motel and I drove us over to the railroad's parking lot. Today we only had to give our names then boarded the coach but with no leg space for me in the available row with two seats, Elizabeth stayed there and went to the box car and chose a bench seat.

I detrained for a picture of our train.

Join us for a one-day charter on the Cumbres & Toltec Scenic Railroad featuring Rio Grande 168 – hosted by Dak Dillon Photography. Friday, October 20 – Rio Grande 168

Rio Grande 168 will pull a mixed consist for the first time on the Cumbres & Toltec. You won't want to miss this unique opportunity!

The train will be dated to the World War I era on the DRG&W (approximately 1919-1926).

The charter will depart Antonito pre-dawn with photo opportunities from sunrise to late-afternoon. The train will operate from Antonito and begin with sunrise at Ferguson's Trestle before making our way to Osier with runbys planned for numerous locations. 168 will pull approximately 5-7 cars including historic passenger coaches, boxcar, tank car or flat car and a caboose.

The train will have a bathroom available and one is available at Osier. A box lunch is included in the ticket price.

The Trip

We departed at 6:30 AM and I enjoyed my doughnuts and lemonade, while Elizabeth had a danish and orange juice, as we made our way to Ferguson's Trestle.

On the way, a pre-sunrise picture. We arrived and had to walk quite a way to the trestle at milepost 285.87.

Reverse move one.

Photo runby one.

Reverse move two.

Waiting for photo runby two.

Ferguson's Trestle.

Photo runby two.

Posed pictures one.

False start photo runby three.

Reverse move two.

Photo runby four. We made our way to the trestle at the bottom of Whiplash Curve, milepost 296.1.

The engine rounding a curve along the route.

The scene of the next photo runbys.

Reverse move three. The consist of today's train was Rio Grande 4-6-0 168, Union Tank Car tank car 11036, side dump hopper 1351, Denver and Rio Grande Western box car 3244, Denver and Rio Grande box car 3537, Denver and Rio Grande coach 293 and Denver and Rio Grande caboose 0570.

Photo runby five.

Reverse move four.

Photo runby six. We next proceeded to the grade crossing near the top of Whiplash Curve at Milepost 296.8.

Reverse move five.

Photo runby seven. Our next stop was at Big Horn, milepost 299.41.

Photo runby eight.

The engine took on water here.

On the move again, I walked to the back door of the caboose for a picture looking back to where we had just travelled as we made our way to the "S" curve at Milepost 303.5.

Reverse move six would take place in a few minutes.

Photo runby nine.

Reverse move seven.

Photo runby ten.

The photo runby scene. Next we went to the big cut at milepost 304.0.

A caboose scene.

Reverse move eight.

Photo runby eleven. After everyone re-boarded, the train continued on to Sublette, milepost 306.6.

Here the engine took on water.

Next speeder 105 reversed into the siding before our train did the same thing.

Reverse move nine.

Posed pictures two.

The regular train with engine 488 went by our train in the siding at Sublette, photo runby twelve.

My loving wife and the Sublette sign.

A rear view of our engine.

Our new crew as our old crew changed to take the train to Chama.

The regular train stopped us as they headed to Osier for lunch. We then ran to Phantom Curve, milepost 312.30.

Photo runby thirteen.

The photo line that I was in, looking down on them.

Photo runby fourteen. We continued on our way to Toltec Creek at milepost 313.5.

Reverse move ten.

Photo runby fifteen.

Posed pictures three. Our next stop was at Rock Tunnel, milepost 315.3.

Reverse move eleven.

Photo runby sixteen.

Reverse move twelve.

The final photo runby of the trip at Rock Tunnel, photo runby seventeen. We proceeded to Osier but went around the balloon track before arriving at the station. Elizabeth picked up my lunch, as well as hers, but it had cheese on it so I gave it another passenger. I told Dak about it and he took me to a lady who went downstairs to the kitchen and brought me a sandwich which was plain but had lettuce on it. I removed the lettuce and then enjoyed my sandwich, after which I walked down to the engine to take a few pictures.

The builder's plate of the 168.

Two pictures of this great engine.

Taking on water.

Our fire protection speeder.

Elizabeth's and my shadows.

We came to a cone on the tracks which meant stop. Steam engine 488 had started a fire along the tracks which delayed our passage.

What was left of the fire as we passed. We returned to Antonio and I thanked Dak for organizing this charter before detraining.

After a great photo charter, we returned to the motel before I drove us to Subway in La Jara where we had dinner then Elizabeth drove us back to the motel for the night.