Kevin Standlee (kevin_standlee) wrote,
Kevin Standlee

Aboard the Santa Fe Southern -- in 2001

Back in 2001 (or possibly in late 2000; we've lost track), Lisa and I went to Albuquerque: I flew; Lisa drove and collected me from the airport. She drove us up to Santa Fe, where we rode the Santa Fe Southern Railroad. (The Rail Runner commuter train between Albuquerque and Santa Fe had not yet been built. Also, she wanted to show me around the area, where she had lived for many years.) This is the former Santa Fe branch line from Lamy to Santa Fe that allowed the Atchison, Topeka, & Santa Fe to actually reach all of the cities in its name. (The topography of the area meant that it was impractical to route the main line through Santa Fe.) The branch was spun off to a short line that ran honest-to-goodness "mixed" trains (passenger and freight) between Santa Fe and Lamy. Here's a photo from the panoramic camera we had at the time.

Santa Fe Southern 2001

The SFSR had a coach plus this flatcar equipped with railings for a wonderful view. It was cold enough to need our coats, but I once again forgot that the sun can still hurt you even if it's cold, and without sunscreen, I got a bad sunburn.

The train took us down to Lamy, where there was a catered lunch that we ate while the crew switched out cars for exchange to the then-still-ATSF and collected an insulated car of beer for the Coors distributorship. On the way back to Santa Fe, the crew switched the beer car into the distributorship using a "flying switch," a move that I'm really surprised they did, particularly with passengers aboard. It's not actually prohibited by Federal Railroad Administration rules, but most railroads no longer permit it because it can go disastrously wrong. OTOH, I'm glad I got to witness it.

The SFSR ceased operations in 2014, but it has come back to life as a partnership including George R.R. Martin has purchased it and is working with a group of others to get it running again.
Tags: santa fe, trains

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