Cumbres and Toltec Scenic RR and my Experience working there... is a free online Railroad Discussion Forum and Railroad Photo Gallery for railroaders, railfans, model railroaders and anyone else who is interested in railroads. We cover a wide variety of topics, including freight trains, passenger and commuter railroads, rail news and information, tourist railroads, railway museums and railroad history.


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I want to share my experience from my time at C&TS. I resigned due to poorly experienced management as well as a generally elitest and toxic work environment. Intimidation, aggression, verbal abuse and other such behavior are used by management is what I mean when I say "Toxic". While I will try and leave as much Bias out as I can, know that experience does color ones opinion of a place.

I worked two positions during my time there. One was overall pretty friendly when working with my direct colleagues but when dealing with management it became a one sided verbal slugging fest. The other started off good but ended with my direct supervisor turning into a belligerent and verbally abusive individual. There were and still are some good people at C&TS, but the bad outweigh the good.

The place also was in dire need of people who know what they are doing. The current management is willfully inexperienced and largely there because they've been there for years now, even though several bankruptcies that the same management caused. Some that weren't even made public from what I've been told. Much of management are still there because of connections, or because they can't let go of the glory they gain even though they are dragging the place down with them.

The people who run the shops lack the experience to do their jobs and tasks, and are neglecting the locomotives well being and survivability in doing so. They do not have a legally licensed welder with industry experience, and so many of the repairs and tasks that the locomotives need to have done on them cannot be done legally. C&TS does the bare minimum to keep the place running in their locomotives, cars and their facilities. The locomotives need dire repairs of their fireboxes (many of the firefox steel places are cracked or dangerously worn down) and the passenger cars need to be repainted badly. With much of the current paint is peeling off due to weathering and poorly handled restoration.

The recently Oil Converted locomotive, K-36 489, is sitting over in Chama now because they fired one of the two guys who worked on the conversation and knew how to run it, with the other guy leaving after the termination. They have a million or so dollar converted locomotive project that they can't even use now. C&TS is a Coal Purist Railroad, and so they will likely leave the 489 sitting around for quite some time before either converting her back to Coal (speading more tax payer dollars) or try to train people on her without having proper experience to train said people with.

C&TS costs a estimated 12 million to run during the 4 months they run service. Both the state of Colorado and New Mexico have been footing that bill for years however New Mexico is wanting out of that deal pretty badly and Colorado has slowly been moving funds else where. That being schools and other educational institutions, as C&TS is considered by the the state of CO a place of education. Both states will likely do one of two things: Refuse all funding entirely, or shut the place down and declare another bankruptcy.

The worst of it all is that the C&TS, as of this year, is now on the FRA watch-list. The gentlemen I mentioned above? He's a major player in the steam rail industry and due to them firing him the FRA put the railroad on their watch-list. I've had the pleasure of meeting the FRA inspector for C&TS and he personally confirmed this to the be case.

So C&TS is in major trouble with the FRA in how their conduct and handle themselves. My biggest concern is that if something big enough goes wrong at C&TS, it will cause a national shut down of all steam and heritage railroads. Because they are all tied together in the FRA's eyes. So one screws up badly enough, everyone suffers. Even state run institutions.

I loved my time at C&TS, so don't get me wrong. Driving into the yard every morning was such a magical experience but the people running the place simply lack the knowledge, experience and respect for what the railroad means to many outside of it.

I've been told that this is all pretty common knowledge in the steam railway industry within the US, but I still felt it was the right thing to do to voice my experiences and concerns in hopes that someone else doesn't get as brown-eyed and bushy tailed as I did and try to strike up a job at C&TS RR as I did. is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to - An online railroad bookstore featuring a curated selection of new and used railroad books. Railroad pictorials, railroad history, steam locomotives, passenger trains, modern railroading. Hundreds of titles available, most at discount prices! We also have a video and children's book section. - An online model railroad bookstore featuring a curated selection of new and used books. Layout design, track plans, scenery and structure building, wiring, DCC, Tinplate, Toy Trains, Price Guides and more.

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