I finally booked a seat on the Cumbres & Toltec Scenic RR, an historic 1880s era coal fired steam engine narrow gauge train. Arriving early, I walked around the depot and railyard taking photos. They say it doesn’t look much different than when it was built to transport coal, timber, and sheep out of the mountains.
The depot, water tower, and restored cars are all originals. Inside one of the old freight cars was an exhibit about the history of the railroad. There were also ticket windows, a gift shop, and a large platform for awaiting the arrival of trains.
I chose to ride in the Victorian era Parlor Car mainly because it was adults only. It was also the last car of the train, so the furthest from the engine belching black smoke. Seating for each passenger faced the windows for a great view. One could stand on the outside platform at the rear to see the tracks fade away.
A complementary fruit plate, croissant, and beverage were provided; and a cash bar was available. Also, a mug, pin, and satchel with the RR logo were gifted to riders. Soon, three long whistle blasts from the engine, and a hearty “all aboard” signalled the beginning of the ride into the mountains.
Camp: Heron Lake SP-W Brushy Point drycamp
Scene: Train, depot