HIGH fire danger in the San Luis Valley and northern New Mexico has pushed the opening day of the Cumbres & Toltec Scenic Railroad (C&TSRR) to July 1 from Saturday, June 11.

The decision was made out of an abundance of caution and in the highest regard for the railroad’s stewardship of the land where it operates, operators of the scenic railroad said in the announcement.

“In 50-plus years of operation, the Cumbres & Toltec Scenic Railroad has maintained an excellent safety record and established a hard-earned reputation for a proactive and vigorous approach to fire safety,” said Scott Gibbs, president/CEO of the C&TSRR. “It was a difficult – but vital – decision to proactively postpone our start date. Our mission is to preserve an important part of our nation’s history, while ensuring the safety of our passengers, employees, local communities and the environment through which we travel.” 

Passengers with reservations for June departures are being contacted directly by the C&TSRR. People who choose to rebook their June reservations for a later date in 2022 will receive a gift card for 10 percent off in the Gift Shop. Passengers can also opt for a full refund. 

C&TSRR employees can begin seasonal work as originally scheduled with duties that will vary until the railroad is back in service. 

The C&TSRR is in communication with the National Forest Service, fire departments in Northern New Mexico and Southern Colorado, New Mexico and Colorado State Forestry Departments, the Tourism Offices for both states and other partners.  

“We are deeply disappointed that the whistle won’t blow to open our season in June as originally planned,” said Gibbs. “The C&TSRR is vital to the Southern Colorado and Northern New Mexico economies. We thank our passengers for their understanding as we all work through extreme conditions this year and we are very hopeful they will continue to support the wonderful towns where we operate and plan to visit us later in the year when we return to normal operations.”

The C&TSRR season is scheduled to open on Friday, July 1, with daily departures from both Chama and Antonito. Due to the unprecedented conditions, the railroad encourages all passengers to check the website for updates the day prior to a scheduled departure: www.cumbrestoltec.com.