Located at the foot of Raton Pass in the Purgatoire River Valley, Trinidad served as an important stopover on the Santa Fe Trail between St. Joseph, Mo., and Santa Fe, N.M.
110 West Pine Street Trinidad, CO 81082
- Annual Station Revenue (2015)
- Annual Station Ridership (2015)
|Parking Lot Ownership||State of Colorado, BNSF Railway|
|Platform Ownership||BNSF Railway|
|Track Ownership||BNSF Railway|
|Accessible Platform||Dedicated Parking||Wheelchair Lift|
- Southwest Chief
For information about Amtrak fares and schedules, please call 1-800-USA-RAIL (1-800-872-7245).
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The current Amtrak stop in Trinidad is housed in a temporary modular structure that contains a small waiting room and a restroom. The previous station, a wood frame structure, was demolished in 2007 to accommodate a multi-year highway widening project that included the rebuilding of a bridge over the Purgatoire River. Former passenger stations in Trinidad had been moved and rebuilt a number of times for various reasons, including flooding and track relocation.
Over the summer of 2011, as a part of Amtrak’s Mobility First Initiative funded under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, the Trinidad stop received a new $1.2 million concrete platform with a tactile edge, fencing and lighting. Amtrak also funded a new wheelchair lift.
In the late 2000s, the South Central Council of Governments (South Central COG), which operates a local bus service, decided to pursue funding for a new multimodal transportation center to serve intercity passenger rail and local, regional, and intercity buses. Plans call for a one-story transportation center to be located at the corner of Pine and Commercial Streets near the new Interstate 25 on and off ramps. Owned by the city but operated and maintained by the South Central COG, it would contain a waiting area with seating, restrooms and ticket booths.
The total cost of the transportation center is estimated at approximately $850,000, and funding has been obtained from a variety of sources: $20,000 from BNSF Railway, which owns the tracks; $150,000 through the Colorado Department of Transportation’s 5311-f Fund, dedicated to projects in rural and small urbanized areas; $152,000 from the Federal Transit Administration’s Livability Program; and $250,000 through the Colorado Transportation Commission’s Funding Advancement for Surface Transportation and Economic Recovery (FASTER) program.
The city of Trinidad was founded in 1876 and was considered at the time as a possible capital for the state of Colorado. It is now the seat for Las Animas County. Located at the foot of Raton Pass, it was an important stopover on the Santa Fe Trail between St. Joseph, Missouri and Santa Fe, New Mexico. It sits in the Purgatoire River valley between Simpson’s Rest and Fisher’s Peak.
Early non-European inhabitants have left tipi rings and petroglyphs that can be viewed today in the Trinidad Lake State Park and nearby canyons. As early as 1594, Spanish expeditions passed through this river valley. In the 1800s, this riverside location, shaded by cottonwoods, became a favorite spot to rest for both cattle herds and travelers on the Mountain Branch of the Santa Fe Trail before crossing the Raton Pass into the New Mexico Territory.
The Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railway reached Trinidad in 1878; then cattle began to be shipped by rail instead of driven through the middle of the city. Trinidad became a central location for wide-ranging ranching operations such as the Prairie Land and Cattle Company and the Matador Cattle Company, one of the greatest in North America.
In the 1880s, Bat Masterson was the town Marshall, and other colorful characters associated with the old west passed through town as well, Doc Holliday and Wyatt Earp among them. The 1880s up through the early 1900s were a boom time for Trinidad; and El Corazon de Trinidad National Historic District downtown preserves more than 40 Victorian buildings and 6.5 miles of brick streets from this period.
The town’s principal industry shifted from cattle to coal mining in the 1900s, supported by the railroad. Trinidad’s immense coal mines were legendary, but coal mining slowly died down, and in the 1980s, natural gas replaced coal as the primary industry for the area. Since then, tourism and luxury resorts and homes have come to Trinidad, along with some medical specialties of world renown.
Amtrak does not provide ticketing or baggage services at this station, which is served by two daily trains. A caretaker opens and closes the facility.
Photo by Marc Glucksman