Simultaneous festive ceremonies at both the Chama and the Antonito depots
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The Cumbres & Toltec Scenic Railroad kicks off its 44th season with simultaneous festive ceremonies at both the Chama and the Antonito depots on Saturday, May 24, at 8 a.m. The celebrations are free and open to the public. Refreshments will be served, and there will be music at both depots. Both ceremonies will last until 9:30 a.m., at which time dignitaries will board the trains for a 10 a.m. departure. The public can also ride the train and is encourage to make advanced reservations as there will be a big crowd.
“Saturday, May 24, is sure to be a beautiful and festive day that will officially start the Cumbres & Toltec Scenic Railroad’s 2014 season,” says John Bush, President of the Cumbres & Toltec Scenic Railroad. “We have a strong lineup of speakers, blessings, dedications, music, refreshments, and lots of fun at both depots for our railfans. I’m also pleased to announce that we’ll have a doubleheader in Antonito, with engines No. 315, built in 1895, and No. 463, built in 1903. I’d like to invite everyone to join us for this very special day.”
John Bush, President of the Cumbres & Toltec Scenic Railroad, will welcome the group of dignitaries and the public in Antonito, Colo. The raising of the U.S. and Colorado flags will be led by VFW Commander Joe Chavez, of Antonito. Father Sergio Robles, of Our Lady of Guadalupe Parish, will bless the railroad. Speakers include Senator Larry Crowder; Aaron Abeyta, Mayor of Antonito; Dan Love, Cumbres & Toltec Commissioner; Christina Gallegos, Executive Director of the Sangre de Cristo National Heritage Area; and Craig McMullen, Chairman of the Board of the Friends of the Cumbres & Toltec Scenic Railroad (C&TSRR). There will also be the First Annual Steam Train Fest & Car Show, in the C&TSRR parking lot. The Bishops 10 Band will perform the National Anthem, and play music before and after the ceremony. The celebration will conclude with a San Luis Valley Southwest–style dance by the Semillas de la Tierra, a folklórico troupe that performs traditional dances of Mexico in traditional costume.
Ed Beaudette, Manager of Engineering & Operational Planning for the Cumbres & Toltec Scenic Railroad, will welcome the group of dignitaries and the public to the Opening Day Ceremony in Chama. Father Scott McKee, of St. Patrick’s Catholic Church in Chama, will bless the railroad. Raymond Tafoya, a Medicine Man of the Jicarilla Apache Nation, Dulce, N.M., will perform a sacred blessing of the railroad, and there will be drumming and dancing by the Butterfly Dancers from Dulce. The Master of Ceremonies will be Clyde Vicente, Director of the Jicarilla Apache Cultural Center. The Chama Color Guard, headed by Paul Edwards, will raise the U.S. and New Mexico flags. Jewell Maestas and Jessica Casados will sing the National Anthem, and the famed DJ El Norteño from the Chama Valley who will be playing a mixture of all sorts of regional music. Speakers will include Jennifer Gallegos, Mayor of Chama; Representative Debbie Rodella; Cumbres & Toltec Scenic Railroad Commissioners Billy Elbrock and Randy Randall; and Tim Tennant, President and CEO of the Friends of the Cumbres & Toltec Scenic Railroad.
The Cumbres & Toltec Scenic Railroad is loved by historians, railfans, and riders as an important part of the history of the American West, and for the authentic experience it provides. Built in 1880 and little changed since then, the C&TSRR is the finest, most spectacular example of steam-era mountain railroading in North America.
The Cumbres & Toltec Scenic Railroad is the highest narrow-gauge steam railroad in the U.S. In its 64-mile route between Chama and Antonito, the train crosses the New Mexico–Colorado state line 11 times, traversing some of the most beautiful and remote areas in the southern Rocky Mountains, including the 10,015-foot Cumbres Pass and the 800-foot-deep Toltec Gorge, from both of which the railroad takes its name.
The train winds through tunnels and over trestles, and snakes along the Toltec Gorge past waterfalls, mountain forests, and alpine meadows. All trains stop at the historic ghost town of Osier for a hot homemade lunch that includes freshly made desserts. Professional, friendly, well-informed railroaders run all Cumbres & Toltec Scenic Railroad excursions. They are enthusiastic and available to answer questions about the historic train.
The historic narrow-gauge railroad is used by many hikers, bikers, and fly fishermen to access some of the most beautiful parts of Colorado and New Mexico. A season pass allows them to hop on and off the trains to enjoy hiking, camping, and fishing.
CUMBRES & TOLTEC 2014 SCHEDULE AND SEASON PASS INFO
Trains depart daily at 10 a.m. from both Chama, N.M., and Antonito, Colo., May 24 through October 19. The round trip is completed by a scenic one-hour drive by deluxe motor coach before or after the rail excursion. Shorter trips are also available.
Adult Pass: $170. Child Pass: $90, ages 2–12.
AND KIDS RIDE FREE = FAMILY FUN
Children between the ages of 2 and 12 years old will ride for free with the purchase of one full price adult ticket on the daily excursion trains.
Daily Excursion Prices
Coach Car: Adult $95, Child $49; Tourist Car: Adult $139, Child $69; Parlor Car $179, Child N/A
The Cumbres & Toltec Scenic Railroad is the highest and longest authentic steam-powered, narrow-gauge railroad in the United States. The passenger railroad travels over its historic road grade between Chama, N.M., and Antonito, Colo., and is jointly owned and operated by New Mexico and Colorado. The railroad was recently designated a National Historic Landmark by the National Park Service.