Sunday, March 20, 2011

Friends Bring $121K Check For Lobato Trestle

The Friends of the Cumbres & Toltec Scenic Railroad is a volunteer support organization that works to preserve the rolling stock and most of the equipment of the Cumbres & Toltec. Last year on June 24th, the trestle at Lobato burned in a spectacular nighttime blaze. No one was injured, and the investigators have ruled out arson. Even while the embers were cooling , the Friends have taken on the work of soliciting donations for the rebuild, hopefully in time to restore service from Chama this coming season, which starts May 28th.

This last Wednesday, Friends' President and CEO Tim Tennant presented a check in the amount of $121,862.70 to the Commission for the rebuild of Lobato Trestle.  The check represents $101,862.70 in contributions to the fund plus $20,000 that the Friends committed from its Another Century of Narrow Gauge Steam II campaign.

As far as the trestle itself goes, the Friends site says,
[T]he deck girders continue to be fabricated at Stinger Welding in Coolidge, Arizona and they are expected to be delivered to the railroad sometime in early April.  Reiman Corporation of Cheyenne, Wyoming was awarded the bid to reconstruct the trestle.  They will have the task of removing the old deck girders and putting the new ones in their place.  In addition, track materials and bridge timbers for the trestle have been delivered to Chama.  Everything appears to be falling into place in order to have the trestle completed by opening day.

Given the number of shops in Chama, New Mexico and the way they all depend on the railroad to "bring 'em in," I know I am in good company when I pray for the safe, timely completion of a bridge that connects much more than two stations, a railroad or even two states. It connects two communities of hopes, dreams and livelihoods.

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