A Westbury, NY, resident, Valerie Varnuska enjoys taking in local theatrical performances in her free time. Among Valerie Varnuska’s longstanding interests are steam locomotives and she has ridden on railroads as a way of gaining firsthand insight into how travel used to be.
One of the most fertile areas for exploring train history is Colorado, with the Cumbres & Toltec (C&T) Scenic Railroad dating back to the 1880 and registered as a National Historic Landmark. Known for its prominent cameo in Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, the coal-fired steam engine makes a trip spanning the New Mexico and Colorado border that takes in high desert and sheer mountain canyons.
Highlights of the C&T experience include the challenging 4 percent grade the locomotive pulls between Chama and Cumbres Pass. In addition, the span between Antonito and Osier provides an abundance of ancient geologic features. The 64-mile trip requires 6.5 hours to travel, with the train stopping in historic Osier for lunch.