DRGW History and Information  

  Trip Report: Riding the C&TS - Chapter 1
  The C&TS Part I
The Morning from Chama to Osier
  From: Riding the C&TS Dates: Jun 21, 2003 Author: Nathan Holmes


Photo 1
A quick map and guide to the Cumbres & Toltec Scenic - by no means complete, but better than anything else I know of on the web.
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Photo 2
Despite the fact we were riding from Chama to Antonito, we actually took Trip #1, where we boarded a bus in Antonito at 0830h and headed for Chama. That saved a few miles on the way back to Colorado Springs that evening.
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Photo 3
The most visible thing in Antonito in the morning was C&TS 19 with three ballast cars sitting on the balloon track.
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Photo 4
Also, K-27 463 is sitting outside the Antonito shops, presumably being stored until time and money are available to make her FRA Part 230 compliant and operational again.
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Photo 5
An hour later, in Chama, another old warrior sits outside the engine house awaiting restoration work.
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Photo 6
But not all is quiet in Chama - 487, the first of the fleet to be rebuilt, takes on a little sand before the day's trip.
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Photo 7
487 was the first through the shop, and 484 will be next. 488 sits outside just north of the Chama shops on shop trucks while her running gear has been removed for rebuilding. I think the tender is still in Antonito receiving work.
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Photo 8
To get 487 out of the shops, the crew needs to move the crane/derrick that's been parked on the engine house lead. Here, they're pushing it to a siding just beyond the coaling tower.
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Photo 9
Only half an hour late, we've finally got power on the train! Apparently some minor issues with 487 that morning delayed preparations for departure, and from the many visits to the C&TS, I've just come to expect such things. It's a sold-out train with 5 coaches, the snack car, and the parlor car at the end.
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Photo 10
There's only so much you can do photographically as a passenger on a train - I apologize for all the "train on a curve" shots, but it gives those who've never seen it in person an idea of what we're passing through. Here we rounding a curve just below Lobato.
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Photo 11
Here we are with Jeremy (the engineer) laying on the whistle for the second crossing of Highway 17 near Coxo. We'd just stopped for water at Cresco, and while we had a bit of a problem getting started again, it wasn't nearly as bad as the slipping on some of the first trips of the year. It just shows the rails are getting polished and the weeds cut down!
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Photo 12
Nearing the summit at Cumbres, the train is just about to round Windy Point.
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Photo 13
For those that haven't ever seen the view from up here, this is what it looks like when you look back south towards Chama. Note Hwy 17 and the grade crossing from Photo #11 below us.
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Photo 14
Since 487 was doing all it could to drag our train up the four percent grade from Chama, the open-air observations were left at Cumbres summit for us to pick up once we'd crested the hill. Here, 487 is cut off and retrieving the two flats and two coaches.
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Photo 15
Here's our fire protection crew, riding in speeder 012 and wondering what the heck is taking us so long to pick up four cars at Cumbres.
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Photo 16
The train's almost back together and ready for the trip down the hill.
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Photo 17
This is the view rounding the lower part of Tanglefoot curve on the descent from the summit. Note the track coming from East Cumbres about 30 feet above the track we're currently on...
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Photo 18
The eastbound 487 and train is cruising across the relatively flat plain at Los Pinos.
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Photo 19
East of the Los Pinos valley lies the approach to the Toltec Gorge, marked by the river steadily dropping away from the railway into an ever-deepening canyon below. As such, the railway crosses two large side drainages created by streams headed for the river. The first of these (eastbound) is Long Creek, crossed by a culvert and fill on this curve.
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Photo 20
The second crossing is by far the more interesting - Cascade Creek Trestle is one of two of these magnificent steel structures on the line (the other being Lobato).
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Photo 21
Definitely a long way down - 137 feet, to be exact. Cascade Creek Trestle, built in 1889 to replace the original timber trestle, is 408 feet long and was built by the Keystone Bridge Company.
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All the images here are Copyright 2003 Nathan D. Holmes (maverick@drgw.net)
Note this doesn't mean you can't use them - In fact, I encourage people to use and enjoy them.
I'm placing them under the same license as RailARC images. Please feel free to copy, use, and distribute anything you find here, as long as I'm given credit for its creation.
All shots in this trip report were taken with a Canon EOS 10D with a Canon 28-105mm USM or a Canon 75-300mm f4-5.3 IS/USM.