The Cumbres & Toltec Scenic Railroad, along with the Commissioners and the Friends of the C&TSRR, announced the designation of the railroad as a National Historic Landmark (NHL) by Secretary of the Interior and San Luis Valley native Ken Salazar on October 17.
The NHL program was established in 1935 and is administered by the National Park Service on behalf of the Secretary of the Interior. Currently there are only 2,527 designated national historic landmarks across the country.
“Each of these landmarks represents a thread in the great tapestry that tells the story of our beautiful land, our diverse culture and our nation’s rich heritage,” said Salazar.
Historically known as the Denver & Rio Grande Railroad’s San Juan Extension, the railroad was built in 1880 and is today known and operated as the Cumbres & Toltec Scenic Railroad (C&TSRR). It is the most outstanding and best-known example of its kind in North America.
Peter R. Foster, chairman of the Cumbres & Toltec Scenic Railroad Commission stated, “This is a fine day for the railroad indeed. This prestigious award by the National Park Service recognizes all the hard work by good people to keep the railroad up and running with exemplary stewardship and preservation of the historic asset.”
Attracting over 40,000 passengers annually, the Cumbres & Toltec Scenic Railroad operates as a 64-mile scenic railroad between the towns of Antonito, Colorado and Chama, New Mexico. It is the longest and most complete example of late nineteenth-early twentieth century railroading in the nation, complete with track, buildings, structures, freight and passenger equipment, and steam locomotives from that era. The Cumbres & Toltec is an outstanding representation of the original 1,000-mile Denver & Rio Grande narrow gauge railroad network that opened the Central Rocky Mountain region for development.
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