Cumbres & Toltec Scenic Opening Day 2004

Thanks to the tireless efforts of a great many people, from the Bi-State Commission down to the hard working shop crews, the 2004 season is looking much better already for the Cumbres & Toltec Scenic. As you’ll recall, in 2002 they were shut down for over a month by FRA concerns and by the US Forest Service due the high fire danger. In 2003, thanks to the new FRA Part 230 Steam Locomotive regulations, the C&TS had but only a single operable steamer and thus ran east and westbound trains on alternating days. So, it’s a very good sign that the 2004 season both started on time on 29-May-2004, had two freshly-rebuilt locomotives ready (D&RGW K36 class numbers 484 and 487) and had well-patronized trains from both ends of the line. In addition, a third locomotive should be ready sometime mid-season, allowing for a little rest and maintenance for the fleet. There’s not much more to say – what follows is a collection of photos from the first revenue runs of the season on the C&TS. Enjoy!

A Few Videos

Note from 2020: My video capabilties in this era were pretty limited – an old VHS camcorder that was a hand-me-down from my father in law, along with a ATI Radeon video capture card. Then to deal with the storage and bandwidth limits of the time, they got the crap compressed out of them. The original tape is long lost to time, so I can’t even go back and redigitize them with modern technology. Still, they’re a window into that era, so I decided to save them when I converted this trip report over.


All shots in this trip report were taken with a Canon EOS 10D with a Canon 28-105mm USM or a Canon 75-300mm f4-5.3 IS/USM.

Creative Commons License

This work is copyright 2020 by Nathan D. Holmes, but all text and images are licensed and reusable under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike license. Basically you’re welcome to use any of this as long as it’s not for commercial purposes, you credit me as the source, and you share any derivative works under the same license. I’d encourage others to consider similar licenses for their works.