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The Cumbres & Toltec Scenic Railroad kicked off its 43rd season with simultaneous festive ceremonies at both the Chama and the Antonito, Colo., depots on May 24. KZRM Radio and 96.1 FM broadcasted live from the Chama depot. The celebrations were free and open to the public.
Dignitaries boarded the trains for a 10 a.m. departure.
The railroad was recently designated a National Historic Landmark by the National Park Service.
Ed Beaudette, Manager of Engineering and Operational Planning for the Cumbres & Toltec Scenic Railroad, welcomed the group of dignitaries and the public to the Opening Day Ceremony in Chama. Father Scott McKee, of St. Patrick’s Catholic Church in Chama, blessed the railroad. Raymond Tafoya, a Medicine Man of the Jicarilla Apache Nation, Dulce, performed a sacred blessing of the railroad, and there was drumming and dancing by the Butterfly Dancers from Dulce. The Master of Ceremonies was Clyde Vicente, Director of the Jicarilla Apache Cultural Center. The Chama Color Guard, headed by Paul Edwards, raised the U.S. and New Mexico flags. Jewell Maestas and Jessica Casados sang the National Anthem, and the famed DJ El Norteño from the Chama Valley played a mixture of all sorts of regional music.
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