Chama to Cumbres - A Life Chasing Trains

Chama to Cumbres was a tough 4 per cent climb.  Eastbound trains would be taken up the hill in cuts, and reassembled at Cumbres into long trains for the downhill run to Alamosa.  Westbound crews used all their skills with air brake to bring the long trains safely down the hill.

Crews from Alamosa and Durango turned at Chama, after spending the night.  The morning after arriving an Alamosa crew would typically be called for two Cumbres turns, taking a 15-20 car cut up the hill in the morning, and then returning to Chama to repeat the process a second time.  Each cut would have two engines, the road engine on the point and a helper cut in ahead of the caboose.   They would then spend a second away from home night at Chama.  The next day they would haul a third cut up the hill, put everything together at Cumbres into one big train, the helper would run light to Alamosa, and the road engine take a 60-70 car train down the hill to Alamosa.  NEXT