Skip to comments.Railroad Gets New Management (C&TS to be managed for profit)
Posted on 10/14/2011 11:42:17 AM PDT by CedarDave
New management at the Cumbres & Toltec Scenic Railroad could mean a more kid-friendly train. American Heritage Railways, which will begin running operations next year, owns the rights to both The Polar Express and The Little Engine That Could.
Events are very important to them, said Randy Randall, Cumbres & Toltecs commission chairman. I think theyre going to be more creative in their approach to the railroad, but theyre also deeply committed to its historic components.
The switch was announced by train officials Thursday. For the past six years, the more-than-a-century-old railroad running between Chama and Antonito, Colo., has been operated by the nonprofit Cumbres & Toltec Scenic Management Corp.
American Heritage won out during a bidding process against five other applicants, Randall said, although he declined to give the amount of the contract until its completed next month.
The Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad in southwestern Colorado and the Great Smoky Mountains Railroad in North Carolina are also run by American Heritage Railways.
The company is expected to create more options for riders, Randall said. American Heritage has theme events like Polar Express, in which it creates a North Pole stop with Santas toy shop, and a pumpkin patch ride with a labyrinth of hay bales and characters from the classic comic strip Peanuts, Randall said.
(Excerpt) Read more at abqjournal.com ...
Many have seen advertisements for the D&S in tourist brochures and national magazines. The CATS will now be able to take advantage of that exposure together with economies in the reservation system and website design.
After the contract is finalized, the remaining segments of the once vast Denver and Rio Grande narrow gauge system once again will be united under one operator.
In case you missed the colorful pictures and story posted last weekend, here is a link to the thread:
Hidden away in a little-known corner of the southern Rocky Mountains is a precious historic artifact of the American West. Built in 1880 and essentially unchanged since, the C&TSRR is the most outstanding and best known example of steam-era mountain railroading in North America. The Cumbres & Toltec Scenic Railroad is known around the world for its spectacular scenery, unique machinery, and historic structures.
I rode the Durango & Silverton train when I was a kid. I should take my 11 yr old to ride the Chama train.
DRG&W remnant along with Durango-Silverton. Apparently there was originally narrow gauge all the way to Denver.
Both RR’s are spectacular but different in their territory. The D&S climbs onto a rocky ledge then descends and follows the Animas River to Silverton with the snow-capped mountain peaks high above. From Chama NM the C&TS climbs to the 10,000+ foot pass and then follows the Los Pinos River east to Osier and then through tunnels and on the edge of a 600 to 800 foot canyon as it descends to Antonito CO.
Most people have heard of Durango and the railroad to Silverton, but the last time I rode it, nobody had heard of the CATS which is both longer and higher than the D&S. That will change starting next month.
When the D&RG abandoned the line in 1968, all the freight cars were brought to the Chama yards. These are now being restored and used on special photo charters which bring income to the area.
Chama is economically depressed with no national hotel chains or restaurants there. Many are on the government dole. The history buffs would like it to remain that way but the state governments of NM and CO can no longer foot the bill just to please historians. That is why the new operator is going to change the focus. In Durango, a four-season tourist town, you have a McDonald’s next to the RR station. In spite of that change in focus, don’t expect to see that here.
There was. The line to Alamosa was standard gauged, probably before 1900. The narrow gauge remained until the RR was abandoned in 1968.
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****DRG&W remnant along with Durango-Silverton. Apparently there was originally narrow gauge all the way to Denver.***
I remember when the DRG&W ran to Farmington, NM and the tracks were on the north side of the San Juan Hospital, back in 1956.
“In Durango, a four-season tourist town, you have a McDonalds next to the RR station. In spite of that change in focus, dont expect to see that here.”
I recently drove up to Navajo Lake to see how the road would be for towing my boat. I was dismayed at the absence of any tourist industry and the horrible road. The situation in Chama makes me shake my head in disbelief. Only in New Mexico...
I think this is great news. I’ve ridden both the Cumbres & Toltec and the Durango & Silverton trains. Chama wins for the scenery, but Durango wins for having a professionally run operation, right down to the conductor uniforms.
If you ever ride the Durango train in late September (like we did), bring warm clothes. It was snowing in Silverton when we got there. Some of the passengers were still wearing shorts and flip-flops (whoops).
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