Cumbres and Toltec Railroad

Fall 2022 Travels
Cumbres and Toltec Railroad
Northern New Mexico
Fall in Southwest Colorado

How does the expression go – it’s better to be lucky than good? That sums up my chance encounter with the Cumbres and Toltec Scenic Railroad. This narrow-gauge railroad is part of the same network that also comprises the Durango and Silverton narrow-gauge railroad, the only other section still in service.

We were taking a detour on our way home from New Mexico to check out fall colors and locations for future trips when we briefly pulled over at a viewpoint and heard a train horn in the near distance. I didn’t even think the train was still running this late into the season.

I raced to grab the camera and wait, wondering if it was actually coming our way. A minute later when it appeared around the bend, I shot several photos and thought I was lucky to get even one view of it. Then, I realized how slow it was moving and that we could easily keep up with it while it headed down the valley. We turned around and stopped three more times taking photos from different viewpoints.

I’ve planned shots like these before, researching possible locations via Google Earth, looking up train schedules, and figuring out the roads on how to get there. Then I’d wait for the train that turned out to be delayed, while I stood in rain and snow, to get only one shot. But this day, we just happened to show up at the right place at the right time. I couldn’t have planned it better had I tried.

My first view of the Cumbres and Toltec RR.
Cumbres and Toltec winding through a sea of color.
Cumbres and Toltec Scenic RR. Apparently, they knew what they were doing when they named it.
Cumbres and Toltec Scenic RR.
Cumbres and Toltec Scenic RR.

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