2020 marks the 50th Anniversary of the Cumbres and Toltec Scenic Railroad. This special Rotary event kicked off the season in spectacular fashion. We have footage from on the ground with a main camera, plus some additional ground shots, as well as special shots in the air from 2 drone cameras. In addition there are a few scenes onboard the train.
Our coverage begins on February 27th, as the Rotary is being prepared for a test run to the Chama River bridge. First we see the side panels open to reveal the motion with the driving rods that help propel the big rotary blade. We will learn a bit about the history and how the plow works. K-36 2-8-2 powers the rotary to the water tank, before they head out of the yard to do some test plowing.
On Saturday February 29th, the real show begins as they plow eastward, and we see this from in the air as well as on the ground. We see passing Jukes Tree, the first highway crossing, entering the narrows, in the narrows, Lake Lobato leaving the narrows, Lobato siding, Lobato Trestle, and more before the day ends near the New Mexico and Colorado state line. K-36 2-8-2 number 484 joins 487 to power the Rotary on both days. Patrons were transported by buses and scenes were made from the highway at selected locations to maximize their viewing pleasure. There were several highlights from this day, as we have melded some drone scenes with ground scenes at locations like The Narrows, Dalton, and the S-curve overlook near the state line.
On Sunday March 1st, the Rotary special departed early and began plowing where it left off the day before. Patrons could not access this region so the plan was to meet the rotary train near Coxo. Special drone coverage in this remote area is used in our program and set to music as we enjoy scenes plowing to Cresco, and Hamilton's point all in superb morning sunshine. Roughly 5 or 6 pieces of music was used for drone scenes although in some instances we used sounds from the runbys where they existed. Music is composed cuts that we made for our "America By Rail" series in the 90's, and the music scenes are just as enjoyable as the rest of the show.
At Perry's pond we get the first runby of the day, and we see the view from onboard the 487, on the ground, and in the air for portions of the scene. From here we see plowing to the crossing at Coxo, where the engines took water from fire trucks. Then its onward heading toward Coxo curve, and some drone coverage in the remote areas between Coxo and Windy Point. Some ground scenes are viewed of Windy point, then a neat drone shot rounding the point and heading to Cumbres. This is a neat sequence with our last piece of music. Then we cap off the show as the Rotary train plows by the Cumbres Section house and ends at the Highway 17 crossing. This was the first time the Rotary had operated since 1997, and first time in decades that it operated during the winter months. The sights and sounds are something to behold. Two locomotive stacks barking away, the Rotary engine going fast, and exhausting snow from the plow make this an extreme steam show to enjoy. Get yours today!