Rio Grande Steam Freights

(2 customer reviews)

$34.95 $31.49

Imagine if you could turn the railroad clocks back to 1950 and relive the days of Rio Grande narrow gauge. Well in the fall of 1992 a series of 5 “photo” trips made it look like 1950 over Cumbres Pass.

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Imagine if you could turn the railroad clocks back to say 1950 and relive the days of Rio Grande narrow gauge freight trains storming over Cumbres Pass. Well in the fall of 1992, photographer John Craft, organized a series of 5 trips over a one-week period that was the first time such trips were operated since the last Rio Grande freights of 1968. The trips consisted of re-lettering three 2-8-2s with Rio Grande on the tenders and cab sides just like in the past. Also the freight trains were operated like the old days as well. 2 hours of Rio Grande steam!! We watch long freight trains with an engine on the front, and a rear pusher ahead of the caboose storm up the 4% grade from Chama to Cumbres (elev. 10,015), and then the helper is cut out and run light ahead.

The next day the train goes from Antonito to Chama, with a prototypical mid-train helper engine in the consist of freight cars. All this was repeated again the next weekend with slightly different freight and engine configurations using engines 484, 487, and 497. On a separate run we watch an afternoon train depart Chama with two engines up front, and a rear pusher, making an incredible sight with three engines climbing the grade to Cumbres, and along Windy Point at last light. Another attraction is the grouping of 5 steamed-up engines in Chama for all to see, then the 5 are taken to the wye and all operated together in a procession coupled together back to the Chama yard. You’ll see great action runbys in the Rocky Mountain scenery, and even ride in a freight car ahead of the mid train helper, and ahead of a rear pusher. You’ll quickly forget that it’s really 1992 and not 1952.

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2 reviews for Rio Grande Steam Freights

  1. rrvideoman, Delisle Saskatchewan

    Here is an interesting look at what narrow gauge railroading was like in Colorado and New Mexico as though it was still the great Rio Grande Railroad. The Cumbres and Toltec Scenic Railroad was recreated in the fall of 1992 into the Rio Grande for a special week of freight action as though it once was in the 1950’s. There is plenty of railroad action through some of the highest peaks in the Rocky Mountains. As many as 3 steam engines on a train work this mountain pass to the delight of the people who took it all in. There is enough narration to explain what is ongoing and descriptions of the engines and trains that are presented. The only thing that I would say was a bit disappointing was that the week of events took place in the fall of the year. Therefore, the colour of the region wsa basically a dull brown, where had the event taken place in late spring or summer, there would have been much more colour in the video. Overall, a very fine video of an interesting piece of railroading.

  2. Chase

    This is easily one of my favorite DVD’s. Lots of great footage from the John Craft charters. Very accurate looking long freights with multiple locomotives. Tons of action on each end of the railroad and even a neat shot from in a gondola just ahead of the rear helper working its heart out going up Cumbres. A definate must buy!

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