It is all over the narrow gauge world out there this morning that Lobato Trestle on the Cumbres & Toltec Scenic is finally back in service! While there were photos and videos of the trestle with the C&TS diesel switcher and a MOW car with ballast for the abutments, there was no official word when the trestle will be ready for daily service with the two regular trains ...until suddenly yesterday morning when a train loaded up and quietly left Chama, full of passengers.
It was a year ago, almost to the day, when the trestle burned. It's closure cut the line in two. C&TS began busing passengers from Chama to board a train at Cumbres Pass, where they continued on to Osier. Damage to the trestle far exceeded its insurance coverage. Fund-raising began, but only took C&TS so far in repairs. To do the work necessary, the State of New Mexico stepped forward with a grant to complete construction. Then the pressure was on. Could the repairs be completed in time for opening day?
C&TS blew communications, to be sure. So it's no surprise that they've been a little cautious about having a big ceremony. They're letting their YouTube channel speak for them. Speaking loud and clear, we have:
- First train over Lobato Trestle since the fire
- Last train to unload at Cumbres Pass
- First passenger train (empty) over the trestle
- First passenger departure from Chama for Osier and beyond (CR is not responsible for the soundtrack, although it's almost suited to the drama)
It's a terrific relief to know Chama is back on the railroad map and that passengers are getting the full ride experience once again. It's been a long year, but it's also been amazing to see everyone pulling together for the Cumbres & Toltec Scenic Railroad. Let's pray they have a great season with no interruptions!
Highball to Cumbres!