Cumbres and Toltec Scenic Railroad Compact

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Cumbres and Toltec Scenic Railroad Compact
Cumbres and Toltec Scenic Railroad.jpg
Formation date: 1974
Member jurisdictions: 2
Issue(s): Historic preservation
Compact website
The Cumbres and Toltec Scenic Railroad Compact is an interstate compact between Colorado and New Mexico. The compact provides for joint acquisition, ownership, and control of the interstate narrow gauge scenic railroad.


The Cumbres & Toltec Scenic Railroad is a 64-mile portion of the former Denver & Rio Grande railroad system that used to run from Santa Fe to Denver. It was originally built in 1880 and is considered today to be the best-preserved steam era railroad, having undergone relatively few changes in its 100+ year history.

In 1960, a group of citizens came together with the governments of Colorado and New Mexico to preserve the history of the railroad. Recognizing the historical significance of the steam locomotive in their region, they saw an opportunity to combine recreation and historical preservation. They converted the nineteenth century railroad into a "museum on wheels," and a little over a decade later, the compact was enacted to avoid future controversy and encourage interstate comity.[1]


The compact created the Cumbres & Toltec Scenic Railroad Commission to manage the railroad. It is comprised of four gubernatorially-appointed members; two from each state.

The commission is responsible for the preservation and development of the railroad and for promoting it as an educational tool. The commission has designated the Friends of the Cumbers & Toltec Scenic Railroad, Inc. as the official museum support group. This group is responsible for:

  • interpreting the railroad for the public
  • preserving the historic structures of the railroad
  • preserving the rolling stock of related material that is not currently used by the operator for passenger train service.[1]

Text of the compact

The legislature of each member state passes the laws with certain modifications, but the core of the legislation remains the same.

Article I

The states of New Mexico and Colorado agree jointly to acquire, own and make provision for the operation of the Cumbres and Toltec scenic railroad.

Article II

The states of New Mexico and Colorado hereby ratify and affirm the agreement of July 1, 1970, entered between the railroad authorities of the states.

Article III

The states of New Mexico and Colorado agree to make such amendments to the July 1, 1970, agreement and such other contracts, leases, franchises, concessions or other agreements as may hereafter appear to both states to be necessary and proper for the control, operation or disposition of the said railroad.

Article IV

The states of New Mexico and Colorado agree to the consideration of the enactment of such laws or constitutional amendments exempting the said railroad or its operations from various laws of both states as both states shall hereafter mutually find necessary and proper.

Article V

Nothing contained herein shall be construed so as to limit, abridge or affect the jurisdiction or authority, if any, of the interstate commerce commission over the said railroad, or the applicability, if any, of the tax laws of the United States to the said railroad or its operations.

See also

External links