Sunday, November 19, 2017

Cumbres and Toltec Steam Train: Comin' Round the Mountain

"Cumbres and Toltec Steam Train: Comin' Round the Mountain"
19" x 14" Watercolor
Bob is a train buff and I enjoy them, too. So when I planned my Colorado ranch workshop with fellow artist Jeanne, we decided to spend the week before riding two famous steam trains that are remnants of the narrow guage railroads operated by the Denver and Rio Grande Western Railway. The railroad was built for mining operations with narrow guage because it was easier to make tight turns.
First we flew to Durango, CO, and then I drove us 2.5 hours to Chama, NM, where we would board the famous Cumbres Toltec train. It travels over 60 miles at a slow pace over Cumbres Pass (10, 015 feet elevation to Antonito, CO, crossing the boarder between NM and CO eleven times in the process. Passengers board before 10 and arrive in Antonito about 3:30. I just completed this painting based on various snapshots taken when rounding Windy Pass. Here is one of several photos.

Rounding Windy Pass
I wanted to capture the steam coming from the train, the long vista, and the colorful trees using knowledge gained at Steven Quiller's workshop.

We rode in the beautiful parlor car with a hostess to take care of our needs. Midway we stopped in Osier for lunch in a large dining hall, toured old buildings, left some passengers behind who boarded another train to return to Cumbres Pass or Chama. We continued on to Antonito where we spent the night in the Steam Train Hotel. Antonito is a old, high dessert town, now known for the surrounding agriculture. I was amazed that they produce a large quantity of crops. The town itself had a couple restaurants, three liquor stores, a nice supermarket, a marijuana dispensary, and a Dollar store. Like many towns, it is in a slow recovery from the mines closing.

The Parlor Car is luxurious complete with hostss

The Steam Train Hotel occupies a 100+ year old hotel 
The following morning we made the return trip to Chama where we spend another night at the Chama Station Inn, a sweet, local property lovingly run by a family.

The Station Inn in Chama, NM

1 comment:

Candy said...

Lovely painting. Shapes and colors very nicely done, Mary! Riding the train sounds like a blast.