2010-11-02

New Mexico Antes Up For Lobato Repairs, Could Complete By Opening Day 2011

The Lobato Trestle on the Cumbres & Toltec Scenic Railroad, which burned in a fire in late June, could possibly be back in service by next season's opening day! Long time New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson directed the state's Department of Transportation to direct $1.2 Million in federal funds toward the trestle reconstruction.
According to the C&TS press release (PDF),
The new funding will be used to cover the actual construction repair on the trestle. Already available funding was fully committed in the cost of the design engineering for the repair, and the purchase of steel girders and wood for the deck of the trestle. Securing the funding makes feasible the targeted plan that the trestle can be back in service by next season’s opening day of May 28.
One other figure of note is the impact of the fire on the railroad. The railroad has just completed its 40th anniversary season, and they report a 28% operating loss due to the reduced ridership triggered by the trestle fire. If a person lost a quarter of their income and yet increased their living expenses out of necessity, they would need a bit of help too.

Colorado, as usual, is spectacularly absent in its support for the railroad it co-owns with New Mexico.

Speaking of Lobato, since the line between Chama and Cumbres Pass was inaccessible to passenger trains for most of the year, photos of any train making the climb up the 4% grade north from Chama this year are fairly rare. However, #487, in it's 40th anniversary paint scheme (unique, to be sure), made some trips from Chama to Lobato early in October for the Engineer School. The aspens were just past their peak in this video by YouTube's CumbresToltec.



Click here for the PDF of the 2011 C&TS Fireman & Engineer School announcement. Visit the Event page to see this and all events currently known to Colorado Railroads.