Cumbres & Toltec to outshop first historic fleet car this summer

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C&TS coach No. 292 nears completion at the shop in Antonito, Colo. It is due to be outshopped this summer.
C&TS: Carlos Llamas
ANTONITO, Colo. — The first of four historic narrow gauge Rio Grande wood passenger cars to be restored at the Cumbres & Toltec Scenic Railroad will be outshopped early this summer, the railroad tells Trains Newswire.

Jackson & Sharp-built coach No. 292 will be the first to roll out of the shop in Antonito, Colo., and Billmeyer & Small coach No. 256 will immediately take its place.

Craftsmen saved and restored the original interior of coach No. 292 with its alternating oak and black walnut boards, which will provide riders with an unparalleled heritage experience. To compliment this, an original set of Buntin seats complete with real mohair upholstery also has been rehabilitated and is ready to install. The exterior has been rebuilt using identical wood species, and fasteners and techniques to match the original construction as closely as possible. The soldered seam tin roof has been faithfully replicated, and new windows using original style hardware have been fabricated and installed. The original Miller Hook Platforms have been replicated using original hardware, including the early Janey coupler heads grafted onto the original Miller Hook draft gear. The exterior will be finished in Denver & Rio Grande coach red, a high gloss deep wine red with gold letters.

The historic railroad that straddles the Colorado-New Mexico border in the San Juan Mountains has used converted boxcars or replica coaches for decades. Its historic car project will return to service an entire 1880s Denver & Rio Grande passenger train, complete with an 1883 4-6-0, No. 168, also under restoration. This consist is an exact match for the San Juan and New Mexico Express, the daily passenger train that ran from Alamosa to Durango, Colorado in the late 19th and early 20th century.

Fundraising continues for the other two cars in the set, Rio Grande homemade Railway Post Office car No. 65 and Billmeyer & Small Business Car F.

The completed trainset and locomotive are due to hit Cumbres & Toltec rails in four to five years. However, coach No. 292 and locomotive No. 168 are scheduled to operate together in late 2019 to provide a taste of what is to come. Contributions can be made via the Donate to 168 tab at the Cumbres & Toltec Scenic website, or by phoning Tracy Gallegos, 575-219-3306. The Cumbres & Toltec Scenic is a 170(c)(1) non-profit organization and donations are tax-deductible.

Find out more about this and other exciting Rockies railroads with Colorado Railroads, a 100-page special issue and its companion DVD, both available at

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