Crossing Chama


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The Cumbres & Toltec train, pulled by the mighty engine #488 pulled out of the station, right on time. After all, it wouldn’t do a bit if the train was late, and the conductor and crew made sure that wouldn’t happen. 488 was running well, despite its age, and it easily moved the train forward and down the rails.

It chugged through the outskirts of the small town of Chama, New Mexico, ever so slowly picking up steam. Thick, black smoke belched from the smokestack, then trailed off behind the train.

Down by the Chama River, the day was peaceful and quiet, but of course that was about to change. Long before you could hear or see the train, you could feel it, its power evident as felt by your feet. It wasn’t so much as a vibration, but rather, just a deep knowing. Suddenly, the train was visible as it rounded the bend and steamed over the Chama River Trestle. With a “Toot! Toot!” it was gone as quickly as it appeared.

What is even more amazing is that this very vignette has been playing out in this very location for about eighty years. Thanks for the efforts of those who love this train, it looks to keep going for another eighty years, and hopefully more.

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