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Thursday, July 14, 2011
July 2011 Entry #14 The Little Train that Could not Die
Author: Toni Gibbons
Trailer Creator: Timothy Gibbons
Great legends, like great men, are defined by their ability to endure. One of the greatest stories of triumph over adversity in railroading history is that of the Cumbres and Toltec Scenic Railroad. For hers is not a story of wealth and power, carried on the coat tails of society's upper class, but of sweat and blood, of tears in the eyes of the men who saw the west for what it really was: a place to dream.
What began as the vision of General William J. Palmer to give life to the narrow gauge rails of the Denver and Rio Grande Railroad in Colorado, would become an ideal that spanned 100 years of history, culminating in the birth of the Cumbres and Toltec Scenic Railroad and the return of the little narrow gauge engine numbered 463.
It is a story packed with action, adventure and passion that interweaves with the lives of men like Gene Autry, Bat Masterson and Lucien B. Maxwell. But most of all it is an honest tale of the lives of men who dared to dream big and found success even when the deck was stacked against them. They were train buffs, steam fans, senators and family men. They were men who saw a piece of Americana slipping away and were damned if they were going to let it disappear.
Like my dad said, "They were the most over enthusiastic, unbusiness-like fools that ever set foot in shoe leather," but they got the job done and 40 years later, the Cumbres and Toltec Scenic Railroad is their living monument of hope to future generations.