Westbound Stockers. Roughly 8 miles out of Antonito, westbound stock train 315 has begun the slow, steady ascent to Cumbres Pass. The climb to the pass from the east is very unlike the run out of Chama. The grade, although steady, is not nearly as steep as the vaunted 4% on the Chama side. The terrain and climate are also very different. For the first 20 miles or so, the landscape is treeless desert, dominated by sand and sagebrush. The crew of the 315 has a long ride ahead of them. It is just over 40 miles to Cumbres Pass and that run will take them several hours. They have brief respite in just a few minutes however, as they will be stopping for water at Lava Tank, just 2.5 miles ahead.
The Cumbres & Toltec Scenic Railroad and the Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad are all that remains of the legendary Denver & Rio Grande Western narrow gauge system. Here you'll find some of my favorites from these two beautiful railways.