Cumbres & Toltec Scenic Railroad, three hours north of Albuquerque

This steam-operated railroad was built in 1880. You can begin it at Chama, NM, and go halfway to a buffet restaurant and then return, or you can start at Chama and end at Antonito, CO, returning by bus. There are also trips originating at Antonito, going halfway, or all the way to Chama. The trek to Antonito is a little flatter than the area around Chama.

The train is photogenic from within and also from looking at it go by. There are photographers who drive from one outlook to another to catch many photos, and there are some who use drones.

The train is closed in winter. It is wonderful any time of year, but we are partial to autumn because of the spectacular fall colors. The ride up to Chama from Albuquerque is also charming. The train would be a wonderful thing to do during Balloon Fiesta, or after; however, because Chama is a tiny village, you would need to make reservations for the trip as soon as possible.

The train leaving Chama. We parked on the highway along with other photographers. There was a train employee who monitored the photographers, letting them stand right on the tracks for great photos.
We began inside the train, but we soon spent most of our time with other passengers in the open car because of our desire for photos.
We enjoyed visiting with other passengers in the open car. These clergy members from South Africa came to New Mexico to visit a nearby monastery.
Another photographer’s hands–so much character in one small frame!

From the open car, as the train turns a corner, you can capture the locomotive.

The aspen leaves were quaking, which is such a delight for the eyes. Here the train has blown some leaves into the air.
A unique photo! It is the train exiting a tunnel with the smoke showing up as specks.

At points where the tracks intersect the highway, you will find photographers waiting.

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At one point we passed a train going in the other direction, and it was possible to see the entire length of the train as well as the open car.
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Come again!

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