November 08, 2012

Railroad A Historic Landmark Published on October 18th, 2012 Written by: Journal Staff

The Cumbres & Toltec Scenic Railroad, long considered a northern New Mexico jewel, is now a national historic landmark.

On Wednesday, federal Interior Secretary Ken Salazar announced that the narrow gauge train that runs between Chama and Antonito, Colo., is among 26 newly designated historic landmarks.

“We’re excited,” said Randy Randall of Santa Fe, a member of the bi-state Cumbres & Toltec commission.

“We hope it really gives the train the authentication, if you will, that it deserves, and it’s going to make it, we think, easier to market to our customers,” said Randall. “And it will help, we’re hoping, to provide new sources of funding as we try to improve our equipment and facilities.”

The train is owned by New Mexico and Colorado.

Randall said persuading the federal government to give the train the historic landmark designation was “a six year or longer journey,” with the Friends of the Cumbres & Toltec Scenic Railroad group leading the effort.

Also making the list this year was the San José de los Jémez Mission and Gíusewa Pueblo site, part of Jémez State Monument near Jémez Springs.

Randall said it has become much more difficult to achieve historic landmark status in recent years. “You really have to be able to document why your proposed asset is different than anything similar to it in the country,” he said.

The Interior Department, in a news release, said: “In terms of length, scale of operations, completeness, extensiveness of its steam operations, and state of preservation, the Cumbres & Toltec Scenic Railroad is one of the country’s best surviving examples of a narrow gauge system from the peak of American railroading, roughly 1870 to 1930.”

The Cumbres & Toltec formerly was known as the San Juan Extension of the old Denver & Rio Grande Railroad. The Interior Department said it is “one of only two functioning segments of the original 1,000-mile Denver & Rio Grande Railroad network, which was America’s largest, most ambitious, and most successful narrow gauge railroad.”

The train’s locomotives, cars, buildings, and its 64-mile narrow-gauge route all date from the Denver & Rio Grande days. The train chugs over the 10,015-foot-high Cumbres Pass, winds through tunnels and over trestles and snakes along the 800-foot-deep Toltec Gorge, past waterfalls, mountain forests and alpine meadows.

Of the San José de los Jémez Mission and Gíusewa Pueblo site, the Interior Department noted that it is “associated with the spread of Spanish control northward in New Spain into the present-day American Southwest from 1598 to about 1639, and is an early representation of the intersection of European and native cultures.”

The Interior Department’s announcement said that while there are 2,527 designated national historic landmarks across the country, it’s a “select” network — fewer than 3 percent of the properties listed on the National Register of Historic Places are also designated as historic landmarks.

Salazar said: “Each of these landmarks represents a thread in the great tapestry that tells the story of our beautiful land, our diverse culture and our nation’s rich heritage. The designation is the highest recognition bestowed by the executive branch of the federal government and reflects the national importance of the site to the American people.”

The program is administered by the National Park Service.

Categories: Journal North, Journal North News
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November 07, 2012

Monterey Bay Sanctuary Scenic Trail Network

Have you been waiting for the “rail trail” or “coastal trail” project? Planning for a new multi-use bicycle and pedestrian trail network is in full swing.
Project Scope
The Regional Transportation Commission (RTC) is currently planning for the Monterey Bay Sanctuary Scenic Trail Network (Trail Network). This project merges plans for a bicycle/pedestrian trail along the rail line – including coastal alignments and neighborhood spurs – into a connected network that will overlap and converge to provide safe and convenient route choices. The trail will serve transportation, recreation and interpretive uses for walkers, joggers, bicyclists, families, locals, and visitors.

Santa Cruz And Monterey Bay Railway

This project is an excellent example of what could be possible for the Rail/Trail corridor in Sacramento/El Dorado County.

A community event to commemorate public ownership and demonstrate potential use of the rail corridor
Saturday, November 17, 2012
Join your family, friends, and neighbors for ribbon cutting whistle stops throughout the community commemorating this newly acquired transportation asset. The 32-mile rail corridor now belongs to the people of Santa Cruz County and offers a huge range of mobility options and opportunities.
Event will be held rain or shine!
Ribbon Cuttings/Whistle Stops
Come to one or to all five! Each event will have its own local flavor and feature history, music, and refreshments and a ticket give-away.
9 to 10 am – WATSONVILLE
At the old depot at Beach and Walker Streets.
Co-hosts: Graniterock, Pajaro Valley Chamber of Commerce, City of Watsonville
10 to 11 am – APTOS
Near Bayview Hotel
Co-host: County of Santa Cruz.
11 to Noon – CAPITOLA
Next to the Old Train Depot at Monterey and Park Avenues.
Co-host: City of Capitola
Noon to 1 pm – LIVE OAK
Behind Simpkins Family Swim Center.
Co-host: County of Santa Cruz
Off Ingalls Street, between Swift and Fair.
Co-hosts: Swift Street Courtyard, Swift Street Commons, Friends of the Rail & Trail, Ecology Action
Free Train Rides
The RTC and Santa Cruz & Monterey Bay Railway will offer free preview train rides for a short jaunt up the coast and back available from the Westside Santa Cruz Whistle Stop every hour between 2 and 6 pm. Reserved seat tickets will be available in the following locations:
Tickets available here starting at noon on November 8th. Limited to 4 tickets per household. Reserved tickets will be held at “Will Call” at the Westside Santa Cruz Stop until 15 minutes before the train leaves.
Ticket giveaways at each of the Whistle Stops.
Standby seats will be available on hourly train runs as excess capacity is determined. First come, first served.
Related Events organized by others
Friday, November 16, 7pm, Room 450, Cabrillo College, Aptos, FREE
Lecture and slide show by award-winning local historian Sandy Lydon titled “Wrestling the Octopus: How Santa Cruz Railroad fought the mighty Southern Pacific and forever changed Santa Cruz County.“ Doors open one hour early, seating limited to 250.
Saturday, November 17, 11am – 12pm, Depot Inn, Capitola, FREE
Guided tours historic former train station originally built in 1901! The depot was converted to an inn in 1990.
Saturday, November 17, 8am to 5pm, at all whistle stops, fee
Bus tour shadowing the train to all five whistle stops including history commentary by Sandy Lydon
Sunday, November 18, 8:30am – 6pm, various locations, fee
Rail Walk – Hop-Off/Hop-On Railwalk Adventure – Walking and bus tour with Sandy Lydon, estimated 5 aggregate mile walk in parts. Participants must be able to walk on uneven ground at a reasonable pace.
Sunday, November 18 –January 6, fee
Train to Christmas Town – The Santa Cruz & Monterey Bay Railway unveils its newest holiday train ride called “The Train to Christmas Town.” Along the hour-long ride departing from Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk, passengers are served hot cocoa and gingerbread cookies, talk with characters from the just-published holiday book, visit Christmas Town, and listen to a new musical score created specifically for the event by four-time Grammy nominated band Trout Fishing in America.
Send your rail related event listing ideas to:
New event information will be added as it becomes available. Check back often!
Event Sponsors:
Santa Cruz County Regional Transportation Commission (RTC)
Santa Cruz & Monterey Bay Railway
C&N Tractors
Ecology Action
Friends of the Rail & Trail
Miller & Owen law firm
Event Co-hosts:
Aptos History Museum
Aptos Vallage Merchants
Carolyn Swift, local historian
City of Capitola
City of Watsonville
Live Oak Family Resource Center
Monte Vista School
Norm Poitevin, local historian
Pajaro Valley Chamber of Commerce
Sandy Lydon, local historian
Seacliff Homeowners Association
Swift Street Courtyard
Swift Street Commons
Santa Cruz Boys & Girls Club
Santa Cruz Cycling Club
Soquel High School
Talmage Construction
Find out more about acquisition of the rail corridor.
RTC Contact
Karena Pushnik
Senior Transportation Planner
(831) 460-3200