Sunday, August 16, 2009

RAIL RUNNER Commuter Train - Belen, NM to Santa Fe, NM

We moved away from NM 8 years ago and this train wasn’t even started. The track is there and actually runs from Cheyenne, WY all through Colorado south to El Paso, TX.

For right now the Rail Runner only goes between Belen (about 30 miles south of Albuquerque and Santa Fe (about 60 miles north of Albuquerque).
It is strange to watch this train go by because going south the engine leads all the cars. I guess they are not able to turn it around so when it goes north the back end goes first with the engine in the back.
On our recent visit to NM we rode from our RV campground at Isleta Lakes to Santa Fe and enjoyed the whole trip. Gene grew up riding trains since his father worked for the Santa Fe Railroad out of Belen. This was the 1st time I was on a full sized train for so long a trip. We went upstairs and were able to really enjoy the views.

Just north of Albuquerque we passed a rock outcropping standing all by itself. When my kids were small they would call it “The Thumb” and wave their thumb pointing up as we came up to it and then wave with their thumb pointing down as we went past it. To this day I can’t pass The Thumb without thinking about that and smiling.

Some new rail had to be built and for a short distance, just south of Santa Fe, they put it right down the middle of I-25. It is very strange driving down the highway and having a train coming toward you in the middle of the road.

Even the new station on the south side of Santa Fe straddles both north and south lanes of the Interstate.

When we arrived in Santa Fe (and at all stops) there are FREE shuttles to take you to different locations in the area. We took ours to the Plaza (see follow up blog for our few hours in Santa Fe.)

Finally New Mexico got something right. The trip took about 90 minutes and with a senior discount the round trip cost $12.00 for the 2 of us!!! There are so many categories NM ranks in the lower 10 but they have to be really congratulated on this shuttle.

It seems to be successful too. The conductor said the 4:30 train from Santa Fe south has 600 –700 people every day.

Good job New Mexico!!! If you are visiting the area, take a few hours to ride the Rail Runner, sit back and enjoy the incredible scenery of the Land of Enchantment!!

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