Lobato is the site of a 1,160 foot siding, stock pens, and the famous steel Lobato Trestle on the San Juan Extension. The site is located about five miles north of Chama at MP ~340.
The siding site is also occasionally called "Weed City", referring to the fictional town name on a fake depot and water tank set up at the site for the 1971 movie Shoot Out. The depot is long gone, but the tank survived until 2006, when a combination of age, light construction, and high winds blew the top off. The base continues to stand today.
The stock pens should not be confused with the movie set structures - the pens are authentic structures from the Rio Grande era.
Lobato Trestle is one of two steel trestles of this unique design used on the San Juan Extension - the other being the Cascade Trestle?. Both bridges were designed by Charles Shaler Smith (1836-1886). Lobato Trestle was manufactured by the Keystone Bridge Company and erected on the site in 1883. It replaced a three year old temporary wooden trestle that had been part of the route's original construction.
The trestle itself is 340 feet long and 100 feet off the canyon floor at the highest point. It consists of five steel deck girder spans supported by four steel bents, and is unusual in that there is no cross-bracing between the bents. The footings for the bents, as well as the abutments, are constructed of cut stone.
The walkway, located on the east side, was added in 1945 per valuation maps. Dave Dye found a note at Lobato that read, "Walk & Hand Rail On Side, AFE T-16092 1945," and pictures from both sides of that era confirm the change.
The bridge is too light to safely handle multiple K-36 or K-37 locomotives. Thus, any trains that would have multiple locomotives on the bridge at the same time must stop, decouple, and let each locomotive cross independently.
Lobato Trestle Fire
At approximately 2300h on Wednesday, 23-Jun-2010, the Chama Fire Department and railroad employees responded to reports that Lobato was on fire. The deck was fully engulfed by the time they arrived, and little could be done except preventing the spread of flames to surrounding vegetation. The initial engineering reports suggest full replacement to be the most prudent option, but no decision has yet been made as to how to repair the damage.
Maps and Photos
Photos of Lobato and Lobato Trestle