2017-11-09

Cumbres & Toltec Scenic To Run Special Christmas Trains In Toy & Food Drive

If there weren't ads out there telling us "the season" is coming, the weather itself is reminding us: Christmas is on the way! Retailers depend on Christmas to make their annual margin and use ads to drive the sales up. While there's always a family we seem to know that spends itself silly in a celebration of excess, there's a very different reason for the season, and that is driving why I am supporting the following.

Christmas can be stressful for parents. Some plan and spend, other parents worry and wish. They know their family isn't going to get much of a Christmas, no matter what they do. They need help just to keep food on the table and heat in their home, let alone toys or clothes for the kids. Many families in the San Luis Valley know especially the problems of scarcity. What's more, this year, many charities have been stretched thin by the hurricanes and floods. That's why I was excited to read about the Cumbres & Toltec Scenic Railroad's Toy & Food Drive. Here's what's happening:

Celebrate the Season on the Cumbres & Toltec Scenic Railroad’s Santa Train

Cumbres & Toltec Scenic Railroad Collecting Toys or Food Items to Benefit Toys for Tots & Food Bank
Antonito Departures on Dec. 9 & 10; Chama Departures on Dec. 16 & 17

ANTONITO, CO & CHAMA, NM -- To help make the holiday season a little brighter for those in need, the Cumbres & Toltec Scenic Railroad (C&TS RR) will again be running holiday trains to collect food and toys to distribute in Southern Colorado and Northern New Mexico.  The one-hour rides are free for children (11 and under) and only $5 for adults (ages 12+). A donation of either
  • a non-perishable food item, or...
  • a new boxed toy
per person is requested.

Last year, the railroad collected more than 5,500 pounds of food and 1,000 toys, which were all distributed in the San Luis Valley of Colorado and in Northern New Mexico.
Last year in Chama
Photos: Roger Hogan
The highest and longest narrow-gauge steam railroad in America is owned jointly by the states of Colorado and New Mexico with stations in both Antonito, Colorado and Chama, New Mexico. This is a wonderful opportunity for families to experience the thrill of a steam locomotive in winter, while also helping those in need in the community.

There will be two different opportunities to experience the C&TSRR Christmas Trains, either

  • departing from Antonito, Colorado on December 9 or 10, or...
  • departing from Chama, New Mexico on December 16 or 17
The Antonito departures will climb the foothills of the San Juan Mountains to the Ferguson Trestle and back, while the Chama departures will run to the Lobato Trestle and back. Santa and Mrs. Claus will visit with children onboard and Santa’s elves will serve complimentary hot chocolate and cookies during the ride.

All food and toy donations are distributed to the Marine Toys for Tots Foundation from Antonito and the Antonito Food Bank to recipients in the local area. Food and toy donations in Chama are distributed locally by the Chama Fire Department Toy Collection and the local Chama Valley Pantry operated by the Rio Arriba County Echo Food Bank.

To make your reservation on the C&TS RR Christmas Trains, go to http://cumbrestoltec.com/schedule-fares/special-events/ and click on the Christmas Train link or call the train depot at 888-286-2737. Train rides start at 10 a.m., with the last train departing at 4 p.m.

Wouldn't it be great to take your children shopping for a toy they would like to give? It's great to hear the insights they have as they pick out the right one. Then, let them bring it to the station as part of your Christmas celebration. Sometimes the biggest reward is seeing the warmth in your child's heart. ⚒