Cumbres and Toltec, which way is best?

pastoolio Jul 31, 2008

  1. pastoolio

    pastoolio TrainBoard Member

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    Hey everyone, I'm gonna be riding the Cumbres and Toltec the beginning of Sept. and was wanting to know which way was the best way to go?
    Ride from Chama to Antonito or from Antonito to Chama? Or would the Osier roundtrip be more of a recommendation? and if so, which town would be the better one to leave/return to?
    I did a search of the forums here and wow, lots of good pictures and what to look for and where, but wasn't sure which way would be the best/more photogenic.
    Thanks!

    -Mike
     
  2. Ironhorseman

    Ironhorseman Staff Member In Memoriam

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    Hi Mike,

    My wife and I are making that trip in mid-September too. We are going to do the Chama to Osier round trip. I tried to get a trip from Chama to Antonio and back, but I guess you have to do part of it via bus. Don't like that :(

    We'll be doing the Durango & Silverton before that one, and then on the way back home we'll take in the Grand Canyon RR.

    Hope you enjoy your trip. :thumbs_up:
     
  3. MP333

    MP333 TrainBoard Supporter

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    Hey Mike,
    We rode a single-headed Chama to Antonito. I loved it, and my wife did too, but she got tired at the end. The round trip might be the ticket, because you will stay in the pines. The last part before Antonito is in arid country, and kind of anti-climatic. We rode the bus back and it was fast and comfortable. Wish they had run a double-header, but we hit it on the wrong day. IMHO! :)

    Enjoy the ride, it's a good one. Lots of photo ops and they let you wander all over the yard.
     
  4. Ed M

    Ed M Passed away May 2012 In Memoriam

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    We did the ride Chama to Antonito. We stayed in a hotel in Antonito (right next to the station) and took the bus ride to Chama in the morning, then rode from Chama to Antonito. Worked out well.

    I liked going Chama to Antonito because the grade is steeper, so I think you get the locomotive (or locomotives if you're lucky, we had a single loco) working harder.

    When we get a chance to do it again we'll probably stay in Chama because the yard there is great, and they let you wander around freely.

    We also did the Durango & Silverton a week later on the same vacation trip. I think the D&S scenery is probably a bit more dramatic, but the C&T atmosphere is friendlier and less commercial. They're both great experiences.

    Enjoy your trip.

    Regards

    Ed
    .
     
  5. MP333

    MP333 TrainBoard Supporter

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    Hmmm, interesting. We're probably taking the D&SNG week after next.
     
  6. Ed M

    Ed M Passed away May 2012 In Memoriam

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    I'm jealous. Can I carry your bags?

    We'll be expecting photos and a trip report, of course.

    Enjoy.
    .
     
  7. BoxcabE50

    BoxcabE50 HOn30 & N Scales Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

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    Yeah. Same here!

    :D

    Boxcab E50
     
  8. fitz

    fitz Staff Member

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    I'm surprised no one has included the Rio Grande Scenic, from Alamosa to LaVeta, in their plans. Currently former Grand Canyon 18 is operating there, with SP 1744 laid up but probably visible for pix, etc. This is the newest tourist operation in Colorado and is very close to the Antonito end of C&TS.
    :tb-confused:
     
  9. MP333

    MP333 TrainBoard Supporter

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    Thanks Fitz, I didn't know that, and I'm a GC fan of course. I'm going to have to do some map work!

    Not to hijack the thread, but my wife is a bit afraid of heights; Not having been on the D&S, do you guys think she might have *some* problem with the steep hillsides during the ride? Personally, I could hang off the side of a skyscraper and not give it a thought, but she is sometimes a little anxious.
     
  10. Stourbridge Lion

    Stourbridge Lion TrainBoard Supporter

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  11. MP333

    MP333 TrainBoard Supporter

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    Where is Gandy Dancer?
     
  12. Stourbridge Lion

    Stourbridge Lion TrainBoard Supporter

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    It was a great little B&B just a couple of blocks from the Chama Depot that we stayed at that was just wonderful.

    :thumbs_up: :thumbs_up: :thumbs_up: :thumbs_up:​
     
  13. Ed M

    Ed M Passed away May 2012 In Memoriam

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    Depends a lot on just how scared she is or whether being enclosed in a car helps the situation, which it usually does. Much of the route you're actually in a valley, as opposed to being on a cliffside. I think that in the worst (or best, depending on your point of view) sections she could help herself by moving to the side of the car away from the dropoff, and looking straight out the windows (instead of hanging out the window and pointing the camera straight down, which is what you'll be doing). That way she will minimize the feeling of being on the side of a cliff.

    Regards

    Ed
     
  14. Mr. SP

    Mr. SP Passed away August 5, 2016 In Memoriam

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    Been thinking about doing both the Cumbres and the Durango trains. Is it possible to go Chama-Antinito and spend the night in Antinito and ride the train back to Chama the next day?
     
  15. Ed M

    Ed M Passed away May 2012 In Memoriam

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    Yes it is. Trains leave both Chama and Antonito each day to make the trip one way to the other end of the line. They overnight there and come back the next day.

    By the way, we stayed at the "Narrow Gauge Railroad Inn" in Antonito, which is a nice place, and just a few steps away from the yard/station at Antonito.

    http://www.narrowgaugerailroadinn.info/

    Antonito is much smaller than Chama. But it's fine for an overnight between trains.

    Regards

    Ed
    .
     
  16. pastoolio

    pastoolio TrainBoard Member

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    Guys, thanks for the info, and by all means, keep talking back and fourth, I don't mind at all!
    =)

    -Mike
     
  17. coloradorailroads

    coloradorailroads TrainBoard Member

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    My Favorite Ride

    Well, in that case, Mike, I'll jump in.

    I guess I'm the only one who has ridden from Antonito to Chama! Yes, starting out on the wind-swept sage foothills in Antonito is a little boring, but if you've watched Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, you can still imagine the chase young Indiana gave to a "circus" train that looks suspiciously like Rio Grande narrow gauge equipment.

    It's still a beautiful ride and the scenery only improves until you crest Cumbres Pass. I will say that the ride down to Chama gets a little tedious because the engineer has to control his speed coming down the 4%. My next trip will be from Chama, because I really want to hear the engines work up the same 4% grade.

    I really do prefer the C&TS for the length of the ride, the easy bus trip back and the laid back atmosphere. It's hard not to make a friend on that train! I do recommend the Birch Bark Beer (similar to Root Beer) that might still be available in the concession car. While any train ride might be tempting for me, the C&TS is completely irresistable! I have had nothing but good experiences with them.
     

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