A lot has happened this year and particularly this summer for Colorado's heritage railroads. Nowhere more than the San Luis Valley.
American Heritage Railways, the company that owns and operates the Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad had it's first season operating the Cumbres & Toltec Scenic Railroad. This marked the first time since the Denver & Rio Grande Western Railroad abandoned its San Juan Extension in 1970 that the two remnants have been operated by the same company. Since the contract was announced in October last year, AHR's management of the railroad has not been an ideal fit with it's government-owners. As a result, AHR has largely bowed out of the contract, choosing to allow one AHR management employee, Ken Matzick, to report directly to the railroad's commission. It's hoped that this will simplify the situation and save the Commission money. Whatever happens, the impact of the change is likely not going to show very clearly for the riding public, especially if the Harper's statements about the commission and the C&TS culture are accurate.
If the C&TS commission attempts to bring back capitalism to the San Luis and Rio Chama valleys, it's going to have to sell to an enterprising young man who can grow, live, and possibly die with the narrow gauge. In valleys like these, no one is willing to risk that for an ideology, at least not so long as the government funds continue to flow. I really hope someone is willing to prove me wrong.