This section of the "Rio Grande" was built to serve the mining camps in the San Juan Mountains. The 36" gauge was chosen so the railroad could make tighter turns in the mountain and to reduce the overall cost of construction in this rugged region. The railroad carried passengers and it hauled mineral ore, timber and livestock as it passed through the Toltec Gorge and over the Cumbres Pass on its way to Chama.
The "Rio Grande" was facing the same economic conditions that effected most railroads in the 1950s. It discontinued passenger service in 1951 and began to scrap both track and equipment. Oil and gas exploration and the discovery of both in the region gave the San Juan Extension a boost in business and service was continues on the "Extension". This boom died out in the 1960s and the line was abandoned in 1967.
In 1970, the State of New Mexico and the State of Colorado bought a portion (Antonito to Chama) of the San Juan Extension. A bi-state commission administers the railroad and leases it to a private operator to maintain the railroad and its structures and equipment. The operator is also responsible for running scheduled tourist train rides. The operator has hired "Friends of the Cumbres & Toltec Scenic Railroad" to run the railroad and to interpret its history.
|Class||Qty.||Road Numbers||From Other RR||Year Acquired||Year Built||Builder||Notes|
|Specifications by Richard Duley|
|Length:||58'-9 5/8"||68'-0 ¾"||65'-2 15/16"|
|Drivers:||40" dia.||44" dia.||44" dia.|
|Weight on Drivers:||108,300 lbs.||143,850 lbs.||148,280 lbs.|
|Total Locomotive Weight:||140,250 lbs.||187,100 lbs.||187,250 lbs.|
|Locomotive & Tender Weight:||223,550 lbs.||286,600 lbs.||307,250 lbs.|
|Grate Area:||30.17 sq. ft.||40.0 sq. ft.||46.6 sq, ft.|
|Cylinders (dia. x stroke):||(2) 17" x 22"||(2) 20" x 24"||(2) 20" x 24"|
|Boiler Pressure:||200 psi||195 psi||200 psi|
|Tractive Effort:||27,000 lbs.||36,200 lbs.||37,100 lbs.|
|Water:||4,100 gals.||5,000 gals.||6,000 gals.|
|Coal:||8.5 tons||9.5 tons||9 tons|