The Lonely Trek. The clouds are hanging right on the mountain tops and the on and off rain is making for a pretty miserable day as the Cumbres & Toltec Scenic Railroad's Train 215 makes its lonely trek north through the Los Pinos Valley, en route to Cumbres Pass and eventually, its home base in Chama, NM.
In order to keep the grade manageable, the old Denver & Rio Grande Western line took a lot of detours along the route from Antonito, CO to Chama, NM. Here in the Los Pinos Valley, the line hooks north for just over 2 miles, only to take a 180 degree turn, and go south again for another two plus miles. That 180 degree horseshoe curve is just out of view to the left here. You can see the track that the train will traverse on its southbound run in the foreground. Also visible on the right side is the Los Pinos Tank. The line is a pretty interesting piece of engineering....but alas, today that is all lost on 215's passengers. They are huddled in their coaches, feeling sleepy after a long trip and a big lunch in Osier. Note that the open gondola, which is typically the most popular car on the train, is completely empty today.
The Cumbres & Toltec Scenic Railroad and the Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad are all that remains of the legendary Denver & Rio Grande Western narrow gauge system. Here you'll find some of my favorites from these two beautiful railways.