CHAMA, N.M — Mark Graybill has been named a commissioner of the Cumbres & Toltec Scenic Railroad (C&TSRR). Owned jointly by the states of New Mexico and Colorado, the C&TSRR is the longest, highest and most authentic steam railroad in America, running for 64 miles across the Rocky Mountains from Antonito, Colorado to Chama, New Mexico.
Graybill who operates the Georgetown Loop Historic Mining and Railroad Park, brings a wealth of relevant experience to the Cumbres & Toltec Scenic Railroad Commission. He replaces Lucy Kaye of Silverthorne who resigned.
“I am incredibly honored to be appointed by Governor Hickenlooper to serve as a Commissioner on the Cumbres & Toltec Scenic Railroad,” said Graybill. “I first rode the train when I was a child and remember how awestruck I was at the experience. It helped fuel a lifelong passion for history and historic trains in particular. I look forward to helping give back to the organization in return.”
A Colorado native raised in Arvada, Graybill graduated from the University of Colorado at Boulder with a major in history and a certificate in education in 1988.
He entered the business world shortly after graduation and in 1992 became vice president and general manager of Caboose Hobbies Inc. in Denver. In 2003 Graybill purchased his own store in Georgetown, and in 2006 he was asked to take over the contract to operate the gift stores for the Georgetown Loop Railroad.
In 2009, Graybill formed Historic Rail Adventures, LLC which assumed the entire operating contract for the Georgetown Loop Historic Mining and Railroad Park® under agreement with History Colorado. The Historic Rail Adventures team has managed three steam engine rebuilds and numerous diesel locomotive and rail car rehabilitations allowing the railroad to more than double ridership and revenue since 2009.
Graybill has served on numerous boards and commissions including the Clear Creek Economic Development Corporation, the Clear Creek County Tourism Bureau and the Georgetown Promotions Commission. He is an ardent supporter of heritage tourism and believes it very positively benefits both the historic resource and the local economy. Graybill's expertise includes financial management, project management and marketing. He also enjoys photography, rail history, antique and classic automobiles and research.
The C&TSRR was built in 1880 as part of the San Juan Extension of the Denver & Rio Grande Western Railroad. The rail line was an engineering marvel of its time, climbing over steep passes and down into deep gorges.
The decline of silver in the 1890 ended the railroad’s vital role and in 1969 the railroad filed for abandonment. However, the most scenic part of its route, along with the equipment and buildings were saved by the states of Colorado and New Mexico in 1970. The two states jointly purchased the track and line-side structures from Antonito to Chama, nine steam locomotives, more than 130 freight and work cars, and the Chama yard and maintenance facility, for $547,120.
The C&TS began hauling tourists in 1971. Today, the railroad is operated for the states by the Cumbres & Toltec Scenic Railroad Commission, an interstate agency authorized by an act of Congress in 1974. Care of the historic assets, and interpretation of the railroad is entrusted to the Friends of the Cumbres & Toltec Scenic Railroad, a non-profit, member-based organization whose mission is to preserve and interpret the railroad as a living history museum for the benefit of the public, and for the people of Colorado and New Mexico, who own it.
There are four members on the Commission. For more information on the Cumbres & Toltec Scenic Railroad, visit www.cumbrestoltec.com