Here is your ticket to relive the days of Rio Grande narrow gauge freight service aboard the Cumbres & Toltec Scenic Railroad. In 1990, the San Juan Express, a privately sponsored freight train, ran an unusual 2-day excursion covering the entire line from Chama, New Mexico to Antonito, Colorado. Led by Baldwin-built 2-8-2 Mikado, the train with its vintage freight cars tackled the four percent grade from Chama to Cumbres Pass (elevation 10,015 feet” and then continued to Antonito. Stops were scheduled to allow photographers an opportunity to capture run-bys at the most scenic spots.
Excellent weather conditions and the wide variety of scenery along the way added to the excitement of the trip. Steep mountain curves, rolling upland meadows, and incredible Rocky Mountain vistas made fantastic settings against which the historic train performed. This 64-mile long remnant of the once-flourishing Rio Grande Narrow Gauge network is now the longest 3-foot gauge railroad in America and one of the country’s most popular train rides. It’s every bit as exciting today as it was when this program was originally released in 1990. Join Pentrex as we step back in time to savor once more the thrill of narrow gauge steam freight in the Rockies!