In October 2023, we embarked on a memorable journey aboard the Cumbres & Toltec Scenic Railroad, renowned for its breathtaking landscapes and historical significance.
The photographer-focused event attracted 60 people who rode the rails eager to capture the fall colors in the Colorado and New Mexico mountains along with Rio Grande 463 and Rio Grande 168. The charter was part of Steam Charters by Dak Dillon Photography, which aims to showcase the essence of each host railroad and its unique landscape, equipment and people.
Day 1 Highlights
- The day began at Antonito with Rio Grande 463, a classic locomotive not seen with flying Rio Grande lettering for about 20 years, pulling a photo freight including various black Rio Grande stock cars.
- Our journey took us through picturesque autumn colors and mountain vistas, offering countless photo opportunities, including the Cascade Trestle and Mud Tunnel.
- An evening night photo session illuminated the engine around the Antonito yard and water tank.
Day 2 Highlights
- The focus shifted to Rio Grande 168, celebrating its 140th birthday with a mixed train setup, a first for a photo charter.
- The train, reflecting the World War I era, added a nostalgic feel to our photographs while showing a “little engine” in big country.
- Historic passenger coaches and freight cars provided a unique backdrop for our images.
A special mention to Jacob, Scott, Ed, Christian, and Bryan for their assistance throughout the event. Their help in managing photo lines and providing insights during the planning phase was invaluable.
The Cumbres & Toltec Scenic Railroad, a National Historic Landmark, stretches across the Colorado and New Mexico border. It’s a living testament to the golden era of railroading, offering a journey through steep passes, deep gorges and lush forests. This event not only allowed us to capture stunning photographs but also to experience a piece of history.