CHAMA, N.M. and ANTONITO, Colo., Feb. 27, 2018 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- The Cumbres & Toltec Scenic Railroad will begin its 48th season on May 26, 2018 with steam trains departing daily from both Antonito, Colorado and Chama, New Mexico through October 21, 2018.

Following 64-miles of tracks that cross the borders of Colorado and New Mexico 11 times, the Cumbres & Toltec skirts along canyon walls through Toltec Gorge, burrows through two tunnels, steams over Cascade Trestle 137-feet above a roaring river, and climbs to the top of 10,015-foot Cumbres Pass, the highest point reached by any steam railroad in North America.

This year is an ideal time to experience this bucket list trip of a lifetime. The Cumbres & Toltec, which is featured in more than 40 motion pictures, has four minutes of screen time in this year’s acclaimed movie Hostiles, starring Christian Bale and Rosamund Pike. The train, a moving National Historic Landmark, was also selected in recent years by the readers of USA Today to be the No. 1 train ride in the nation and the top attraction in both New Mexico and Colorado.

Railroad Specials for 2018
While any ride on the Cumbres & Toltec promises adventure, beauty and a step back in time, there are many special departures scheduled in 2018 to consider. These include:

Opening Day, May 26 - Ceremonies at both the Antonito and Chama Depots began at 9 a.m. and include blessings from local nation spiritual leaders and local priests and ministers, Veteran color guards and Boy Scout flag raisings, speeches from local dignitaries and music.

Geology Train, June 17 - Join US Geological Survey’s Emeritus Scientist Peter Lipman for a ride through one of the most unique, varied geologic areas in the US. Stop at many outcrops and rail cuts along the right of way, to mingle, marvel and collect photographs, samples and experiences only accessible on the train route. All riders will receive a special mile-by-mile geologic rail log.

Father’s Day Train, June 17 – What a special way to celebrate Dad by sharing the thrill of riding together on the nation’s longest, highest and most authentic steam railroad. And any Dad riding with another full fare adult can ride free in coach class. Dads riding with children ages 12 years or younger will get a 50 percent discount on their fare. (Lunch fees still apply.) Make memories you will treasure on this special departure.

4th of July Dinner Train – Features sunset views, a patriotic attire contest, dinner on Cumbres Pass, entertainment and viewing from the train for a front-row sight of the fireworks display, before returning to the Chama Depot parking lot at 10 p.m.  

Wildflower Express, August 5 – Learn about the beautiful wildflowers, plant life and fauna along the Cumbres & Toltec from a botanist who will offer commentary about the varied ecosystems the train travels through. Enjoy a special guidebook and several unscheduled stops along the route to observe flora and fauna.

Sunset Dinner Trains – Each train will offer a slightly different theme but all will feature incredible views of the sunset, entertainment and a delicious dinner on Cumbres Pass. Dates  and themes for 2018:

  • May 26, 2018, Opening Day #315 Osier Dinner Train, Cumbres to Antonito, Entertainment by El Norteno – DJ
  • 4th of July Dinner Train, 5:00 P.M. – Chama to Cumbres and back by train 10:00 p.m., Entertainment by El Norteno – DJ, special 4th of July contest for patriotic attire.  See the best fireworks show from the train at the front row of the display.  Passengers are then returned by train to the parking lot at the Chama Depot.
  • July 28, 2018, Saturday Night Dinner Train, 5:00 p.m. – Chama to Cumbres and back by train 9:00 p.m., Costume Contest, Theme: 1960’s Aspen, CO and entertainment by Chris Collins, John Denver Tribute Artist.
  • August 11, 2018, During Chama Days, Saturday Night Dinner Train 5:00 p.m. – Chama to Cumbres and back by train 9:00 p.m.  Costume Contest, Theme: Northern NM fiesta attire and entertainment by Mariachis Azteca of Santa Fe, NM.
  • September 15, 2018, Saturday Night Dinner Train, 5:00 p.m. – Chama to Cumbres and back by train 9:00 p.m., Costume Contest, Theme WWII  France, Murder Mystery “Last Train from Paris,” music by El Norteno, with French “flair.”
  • October 13, 2018, Speakeasy Saturday Night Dinner Train, 5:00 p.m. – Chama to Cumbres and back by train 9:00 p.m., Costume Contest: Prohibition Wear, Entertainment by James Doyle and the Jazz Collective.

Galloping Goose #5, September 29, 30 and October 1 and more dates TBA – The Galloping Goose will make a return appearance offering passengers the opportunity to experience these unusual contraptions that were put together in the 1930s and carried mail and passengers in Colorado until the 1950s. 

Trains Magazine 50th Anniversary of the Final Freight Train, Photo Charter Train, August 24, 25 & 26 – To commemorate the 50th anniversary of the last revenue freight on the legendary Rio Grande narrow gauge, Trains Magazine is hosting a special event featuring a 20-car freight pulled by double-headed Rio Grande K-36 Mikado steam locomotives, including No. 484 from the last run in 1968, and another K-36, which will be presented as No. 483 for this once-in-a-lifetime event. Participants will enjoy multiple photo run-bys at exclusive locations, two hot lunches and a prime rib dinner with entertainment at Cumbres Pass on Saturday night, a night photo session on Friday, and the splendor of the Rio Grande narrow gauge in the San Juan Mountains. Every participant will receive a copy of our Colorado Railroads video and our forthcoming video Rio Grande Narrow Gauge Freights, a $50 value, as part of the ticketing. Seating is limited and costs $695. More info: http://cumbrestoltec.com/schedule-fares/special-events/. Also, please note that online reservations for this special event are not available and you must call the Depot at 1-888-286-2737.

Convenient Schedules Offer a Wide Variety of Choices
All season long, nine different schedules are designed to offer passengers a wide variety of selections to pick the most convenient option based on time, price and location.

Trains depart daily from both Antonito, CO and Chama, NM.  Passengers can board at either station and then ride the train the full 64-mile trip in one direction and return to their car by a scenic 40-minute ride on a deluxe motorcoach.   Or, if passengers prefer an “all train” trip, they can board at either Antonito or Chama, ride to the halfway point at Osier, enjoy lunch, and return to their car by train traveling over the same tracks they rode in the morning.

For early birds who want to ride the entire 64-mile route, it’s even possible to park your car in Antonito or Chama, ride the luxury motorcoach to the other station in the morning, and then return to your car by train in the afternoon.  Motorcoach rides and lunches are included in all full day ticket prices, which start at $99.75 for adults. 

An Authentic Adventure
Originally built in 1880, the train was traveled by Wyatt Earp, Doc Holliday and every outlaw and gunman in the Old West.  Indiana Jones grew up next to the railroad, and frequently hopped a ride on circus trains.  At least, he did that in the film, Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade.  The house in Antonito that stood in for Indiana Jones’ boyhood home is now a B&B and you can stay in Indy’s house before riding the train.

The railroad is an authentic 1880 railroad experience.  Passengers may walk through the train, ride in the open air gondola, open windows, or ride on the open air platforms between passenger cars.  The train travels at a top speed of 12 mph through deep forests of aspens and pines, across alpine meadows, on high plains, past meadows of wildflowers, and through a rocky gorge of unusual geologic formations. Deer, antelope, elk, foxes and eagles are frequently spotted, and passengers have even seen bears.  There are restrooms and a bar car.  All trains stop for a delicious hot lunch of turkey or meatloaf and a buffet salad at the midway point, which is the scenic station of Osier.

For details and pricing, go to:  www.cumbrestoltec.com or call 1-888-286-2737.

Media Contact: Joy Meadows, joy@meadowspr.com, 303-522-9045

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A photo accompanying this announcement is available at http://www.globenewswire.com/NewsRoom/AttachmentNg/890321c0-b3f5-44b8-99fb-692a481753cb