Photographers and videographers boarded a special Cumbres & Toltec Scenic Railroad photographer’s excursion train in Antonito, Colo., on Aug. 3. The train with 56 participants made the 64-mile trip to Chama, N.M., in a vintage consist led by Denver & Rio Grande Western 2-8-0 No. 315. The consist was made up of D&RG boxcars Nos. 3244 and 3537, D&RGW gondola No. 1357, D&RG passenger car No. 292, and D&RGW caboose No. 05635. This train is typical of what was run on this railroad when it operated daily service in the 1870s and 1880s.
The train departed Antonito at 8:30 a.m. The trip to Chama normally takes about 6.5 hours, but the photo train made six stops at scenic locations to allow the photographers to disembark and photograph the train as it made run-bys through these areas. The group stopped at Osier, Colo., to enjoy a complimentary turkey dinner, a feature on all regular C&TS trains. The train arrived in Chama at 6 p.m. Several patrons said that the $250 fare was an incredible value for the photography opportunities, free food, and the railroad’s great care.
The locomotive owner, the Durango Historical Society completed No. 315’s restoration in 2007. “The 315 is a guest locomotive on the property,” says Stathi Pappas, C&TS director of special projects. “We have an agreement in place until 2022 with [the Durango Historical Society] to make sure their locomotive is taken care of and has lots of opportunities to run. Those older C-class locomotives are graceful little jackrabbits, running through the Rocky Mountains, doing absolutely incredible things.”
Although C&TS’s regular season ends Oct. 20, 2019, Pappas says, “This will be the last revenue run for 315 this season.”