TS18: Rails Over Raton
Written by: Gary Dolzall.
Santa Fe’s legendary Raton Pass route is now available for Train Simulator!
One of America’s most famous and challenging railroading experiences – hauling Santa Fe tonnage and leading Amtrak’s Southwest Chief over the rugged Sangre de Cristo Mountains of Colorado and New Mexico – now awaits you with the new Train Simulator Raton Pass route!
Developed by Milepost Simulations (creators of noted Train Simulator routes including Canadian Mountain Passes, the Peace River route, and Clear Creek Narrow Gauge), the new Raton Pass route re-creates the early 1990s when Raton Pass was host to Santa Fe warbonnet diesels totting intermodals, coal, and manifests as well as Amtrak’s stylish Superliner-equipped Southwest Chief.
In previous Dovetail Live articles “Remarkable Raton” and “Grades and Glory”, we explored the history, operations, and fascinating features of this new route.
As masterfully developed by Milepost Simulations, the new Raton Pass route extends from the Colorado high plains at Hoehne’s, then to Trinidad where the rugged climb over Raton Pass begins. With steep grades, tight curves, and a mix of single and double track, the path through the Sangre de Cristo Mountains to Raton, New Mexico promises both challenging and memorable railroading. South of Raton, the upcoming routes continues to Hebron, New Mexico, and offers a total of approximately 45 route miles as well as yard and interchange facilities.
Raton Pass was traditionally the western end of the First District of AT&SF’s New Mexico Division, which extended 104.6 miles from La Junta, Colorado to Raton, New Mexico. The pass itself, from Trinidad to Raton, encompassed 23 miles of unforgiving railroading that on its eastern slope climbed nearly 2,000 feet in the roughly 15 miles between Trinidad at its summit at the Colorado-New Mexico border. Constructed through the Sangre de Cristo Mountains and the along the path of Raton Creek in 1878-79, the railroad featured imposing grades that often exceeded 3 per cent and reached 3.7 percent on the final leg of the climb west from Gallinas to Wootton and the 2,041-foot-long Raton Pass Tunnel. From its summit of 7,588 feet (highest point on the Santa Fe), the line dropped down nearly 1,000 feet to the town of Raton in about 8 route miles, making the west slope shorter but no less tortuous.
In addition to the legendary route over the Sangre de Cristo Mountains, the now-available Train Simulator Raton Pass route features a superb selection of locomotives and rolling stock. Santa Fe motive power includes two General Electric 4,000-horsepower “Dash 8” locomotives clad in Santa Fe’s famed silver-and-red “Warbonnet” livery: the four-axle (B-B) GE B40-8W, six-axle C40-8W. To power the Amtrak Southwest Chief, Amtrak’s unique GE B32-8WH (Dash 8-32BWH), is provided. A complete Amtrak Superliner consist is also featured, highlighted by an all-new Amtrak Material Handling Car (MHC).
For tonnage duty, the new Raton Pass route also provides a superb selection of freight rolling stock, including distinctive articulated “spine car” piggyback flats and Thrall-design coal gondolas. Note: The Raton Pass route will be available worldwide. Due to licensing restrictions, Santa Fe markings will appear only on content distributed to U. S. customers.
Experience the glory and legendary challenges of Western mountain railroading – with the Train Simulator Raton Pass route now available at the Steam and Dovetail Games Stores! – Gary Dolzall
Santa Fe’s famed Raton Pass route is now available for Train Simulator! Set in the 1990s, the route hosts AT&SF’s memorable red-and-silver “Warbonnet” diesels totting intermodal, coal, and freight tonnage, as well as Amtrak’s stylish Superliner-equipped Southwest Chief. On a winter eve, Amtrak Train 4 – the eastbound Southwest Chief – pulls alongside Raton, New Mexico’s classic 1903-built station. Screenshots by Gary Dolzall.
Climbing the west slope of Raton Pass at Keota, New Mexico on the new Train Simulator Raton Pass route created by Milepost Simulations, a quartet of “Warbonnet” clad Santa Fe General Electric B40-8Ws lend their 16,000 horsepower to an eastbound AT&SF manifest freight.
At Wootton, Colorado and near the 7,588-foot summit of the rugged pass through the Sangre de Cristo Mountains, Amtrak’s westbound Southwest Chief is about to sweep past the Colorado-New Mexico state line (above), and in another nearby scene, an eastbound Santa Fe intermodal emerges from 2,041-foot-long Raton Pass Tunnel (below).
The east slope of Raton Pass climbs nearly 2,000 feet from Trinidad, Colorado to the route’s summit near the Colorado-New Mexico state line. The toughest part of the pass, which features grades of up to 3.7 percent, is between Gallinas and Wootton. A B40-8W-powered Santa Fe intermodal is dropping down the steep pass between Wootton and Gallinas, Colorado (above), while on a wintry day, Santa Fe GE C40-8Ws are dragging empty coal gondolas westward toward the York Canyon coal mines (below).
At the eastern base of Raton Pass, Trinidad, Colorado hosts an Amtrak station stop, AT&SF yard facilities, and a crossing and interchange with the Colorado & Southern (Burlington Northern). Santa Fe General Electric C40-8W 902 is on the point of a manifest freight departing Trinidad and passing the town’s 1960-built station (above), while AT&SF “Dash 8” 946 clatters across the Colorado & Southern diamonds on the east side of Trinidad (below).
The new Train Simulator Raton Pass route includes approximately 45 mainline route miles and in addition to the rugged crossing of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains, features some high plains railroading. Near Hoehne’s, Colorado, Amtrak’s westbound Southwest Chief holds on the mainline as a hot Santa Fe intermodal hurries eastward.
Train Simulator’s Raton Pass route features 4,000-horsepower GE “Dash 8” sister locomotives, the four-axle B40-8W and six-axle C40-8W, both dressed in the Santa Fe’s classic “Warbonnet” red and silver livery. As dawn breaks at Trinidad Yard, a pair of AT&SF stylish GEs await duty.
The new Raton Pass route includes an excellent variety of period-appropriate freight and passenger rolling stock, including distinctive articulated “spine” piggyback flats (above) and an Amtrak Material Handling Car (below).
Swinging through the Wootton horseshoe, a Santa Fe intermodal climbs the rugged east slope of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains. Experience the glory and legendary challenges of Western mountain railroading – with the Train Simulator Raton Pass route now available at the Dovetail Games and Steam Stores!