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The Cumbres & Toltec Scenic Railroad
Information & Reservations

 

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The Cumbres & Toltec Scenic Railroad


Frequently asked questions
Ticket, Fares and Policies
The Train
The Trip
The Railroad
Ticket, Fares and Policies

Are seats on the train reserved?
Yes. You are assigned specific seats when you receive your tickets.

Can I ride the train from Chama to Antonito and back (or vice versa) in the same day?
No. On days when two trains are running, one train goes from Chama to Antonito at the same time as the other train goes from Antonito to Chama.

Are there discounts for senior citizens?
No.

Are discounts offered to Friends of the Cumbres & Toltec Scenic Railroad members?
No.

Can I charter a caboose?
Yes. For information, Please Call 1-800-717-0108.

Can I charter a train?
Yes. For information, Please Call 1-800-717-0108.

Can I buy tickets on the day of the train?
You can try, but it is not recommended as trains are often sold out.

What are the depot hours?
The Chama and Antonito depots are open from 7:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

Ticket, Fares and Policies
The Train
The Trip
The Railroad
The Train
Are all of the trains powered by steam locomotives?
Yes. All of our passenger trains are pulled by authentic Denver & Rio Grande steam locomotives. These locomotives have been used on this railroad for 80 years.

What is the difference between the parlor car and coach?
Parlor car guests ride in a carpeted and paneled coach featuring open seating, complimentary snacks and beverages, and attendant service. The parlor car seats face toward the windows on the most scenic side of the train, whereas the coach cars have bench seating like a school bus, with the seats facing the front of the car.

Are refreshments available on the train?
Yes, there is a concession car on each train. Snacks and beverages are complimentary on the parlor car.

Can I bring my own food and drinks on the train?
Yes.

Are the passenger cars heated?
No.

Are there restrooms on the train?
Yes. There are restrooms on the train and the motorcoaches, and also at the Antonito and Chama stations, and the Osier dining hall.

Can I smoke on the train?
No. Smoking is not permitted at any time on the train nor on any railroad property.

Can I bring alcoholic beverages on the train?
No. Alcoholic beverages are not permitted.

Can I bring my dog on the train?
Only certified service dogs accompanied by their masters can be brought aboard the train.

Is there a place I can board my pet during the train ride?
In Chama, try Chama Valley Mobile Veterinary Clinic, 1-505-756-1057. In Antonito, try Haynie Animal Clinic, 1-719-274-5752.

Is the train wheelchair accessible?
Yes, our trains and one of our motorcoaches feature wheelchair lifts. Please notify the station staff at the time of your reservation that you use a wheelchair, and reserve at least three days in advance.

Can I bring a child’s stroller on the train?
Yes.

Can I move about the train?
Yes. You are welcome to move from car to car. Please be careful when moving in between cars, as the cars can be subject to sudden jerks. All children must be accompanied by an adult when moving through the train.

Is there an open car on the train?
Yes. All trains include an open gondola, and you are welcome to spend as much time as you like in the gondola.

Is it possible to ride in the cab of a locomotive?
No. The C&TS does not offer cab rides.

What kind of crew is required to operate a train?
A train is operated by a minimum of four crewmen. The conductor is in charge of the train and moves about the passenger cars. The brakeman assists the conductor while the train is moving, and checks the brakes before the train departs. Long trains will require an additional brakeman. Two crewmen run the locomotive. The fireman is in charge of maintaining pressure in the boiler by managing the coal in the firebox, and controlling the amount of water that enters the boiler. The engineer controls the train speed, handling the throttle, brakes and other controls needed to do this job.

How much coal does the locomotive use?
On a typical roundtrip the fireman will have to shovel from five to seven tons of coal into the locomotive’s firebox. The amount depends on the fireman’s skill and the locomotive. Every locomotive fires differently and has its own idiosyncrasies. The locomotive tenders hold ten tons of coal.

What do the whistle signals mean?
The locomotive engineer uses whistle signals to communicate with the conductor and brakeman. There are several signals that are made with a combination of short and long whistle blasts. However, the most common signals that you will hear are these: One short blast means that the train has come to a complete stop. Two short blasts means that the train is about to move forward. Three short blasts means that the train is about to move backward. And of course there is the familiar long-long-short-long signal at every grade crossing.
Ticket, Fares and Policies
The Train
The Trip
The Railroad
The Trip
How long does the trip take?
It takes about six and one half hours to traverse the entire 64-mile line, including the lunch stop at Osier. Depending on the itinerary, your trip will last from four and a half hours to approximately eight hours.

How much time do we have for lunch?
The train stops at the Osier dining hall for one hour.

Can I bring my own lunch?
Lunch is provided as part of the fare price. However, you are welcome to bring your own meals and eat them in the dining hall.

What if I have special dietary requirements?
A full salad bar is available for vegetarians. If you have other special dietary requirements, you should plan on bringing your own meal.

What wildlife might I see on the train?
You may see eagles and hawks, mule deer, antelope, coyotes, mountain lions, foxes, and even a bear. You will almost certainly see range cattle—and the engineer may have to blow the whistle several times to get them off the tracks!—as well as a real live cowboy or two.
Ticket, Fares and Policies
The Train
The Trip
The Railroad
The Railroad

Who owns the C&TS?
The C&TS is jointly owned by the states of Colorado and New Mexico.

When was the C&TS built?
The C&TS was originally built in 1880 by the Denver & Rio Grande Railway. Construction began from Antonito early that year. The tracks reached Cumbres Pass (then called Alta) on December 15, and the first train arrived in Chama on December 31, 1880.

What does “narrow gauge” mean?
“Narrow gauge” refers to the distance between the rails. The C&TS was built with the rails 3 feet apart, which is closer together—or narrower—than the 4 feet, 8-1/2 inches that became standard in the United States. The Denver & Rio Grande originally built its railroads narrow gauge because the construction and equipment costs were less than standard gauge, and it allowed for sharper curves in the mountainous terrain. This proved to be shortsighted, and a decade later the D&RG began converting parts of its system to standard gauge. However, the portion of track which is now the C&TS has survived as narrow gauge to this day.

How steep is the C&TS?
Much of the grade on the west slope of Cumbres Pass is four percent. That means that the railroad rises (or descends) four feet for every one hundred feet of travel. Other than logging or cog railroads, it is very rare to build a railroad at such a steep grade, and this is one of the defining characteristics of the C&TS. The east slope is about 1-1/2 percent.

Does the C&TS have a museum?
The C&TS is a living museum of railroad engineering. It is a functioning, operating railway and an invaluable 64-mile-long museum of railroad history and technology; it is not a static display of relics of railroad engines, cars and trackside structures. We do provide walking tour brochures of the historic Chama yard, Cumbres Pass, and the Antonito yard displays.

Is the railroad yard open to the public?
Yes, you are welcome to walk about the Chama and Antonito yards. Walking tour brochures are available at the depots. For your safety, please follow these guidelines.

- Always look for moving trains before crossing any tracks. Locomotives can be very quiet when they are moving.
- Never step on the rails themselves, as they can be slippery.
- Visitors are not allowed inside the shops and engine houses, or on any railroad equipment without permission.

Is the railroad open during the off-season?
During the off-season you are welcome to walk about the Chama and Antonito yards. Walking tour brochures are available at the depots.

What movies have featured the C&TS?

Brotherhood of the Gun (TV movie) 1991
Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade 1988
Where the Hell’s That Gold (TV movie) 1988
Ballad of Gregorio Cortez 1980
Legend of the Lone Ranger 1980
Butch and Sundance: The Early Years    1978
Missouri Breaks 1975
Bite the Bullet 1974
The Fortune 1974
Showdown 1972
Shootout 1970
The Good Guys and the Bad Guys 1968
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Information & Reservations


1-800-717-0108 or 503-292-5055
Rail News & Updates
 
The Cumbres & Toltec Scenic Railroad

Constructed 135 years ago and little changed since, the Cumbres & Toltec Scenic Railroad remains a 64-mile, fully operational steam railroad jointly owned by the states of Colorado and New Mexico.

 

The railroad operates passenger trains seven days a week between May 27 and October 22, 2017.


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