Cumbres & Toltec sees ridership increase in 2017

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Cumbres & Toltec Scenic Railroad K-27 2-8-2 No. 463 transformed into Rio Grande Southern No. 455 in early September 2017 for three days of photo charters.
Don Atkinson via Friends of the Cumbres & Toltec Scenic Railroad
ANTONITO, Colo. — Ridership on the Cumbres & Toltec Scenic Railroad jumped 7 percent in 2017 versus 2016 with a total of 38,016 people riding the historic steam train that travels 64 miles through the Rocky Mountains between Antonito and Chama, N.M. An additional 3,469 people rode the Santa Train in December, which collects toys and canned food for those in need throughout Northern New Mexico and Southern Colorado.

“We’re always delighted when more people get to experience this historic part of the Old West,” said John Bush, president of the railroad. “The railroad, owned jointly by the states of Colorado and New Mexico, is preserved as a living history museum capturing what steam railroading was like from the late 1800s to the 1960s."

Bush credits the increase in ridership to the robust economy, as well as new marketing and social media, which helps potential customers find out about the railroad.

“A lot of families are looking for authentic experiences that can be enjoyed by different age groups, and that’s something that we offer,” Bush said.

Bush said the railroad will spend the winter getting ready for next season, which will run from May 26 to Oct. 21. The railroad is also busy restoring 4-6-0 No. 168, which was built in 1883 and sat for 75 years in Antlers Park, Colorado Springs, Colo. When restored, it will be the oldest locomotive operating on the Cumbres & Toltec.

More information is available online.
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