• Santa Fe Southern Railroad - A GREAT STORY!

  • General discussion related to all railroad clubs, museums, tourist and scenic lines. Generally this covers museums with static displays, museums that operate excursions, scenic lines that have museums, and so on. Check out the Tourist Railway Association (TRAIN) for more information.
General discussion related to all railroad clubs, museums, tourist and scenic lines. Generally this covers museums with static displays, museums that operate excursions, scenic lines that have museums, and so on. Check out the Tourist Railway Association (TRAIN) for more information.

Moderators: Miketherailfan, rob216

  by Jeff Smith
 
Here's a great story!

Wow, how awesome of these public figures!: SantaFeNewMexican.com[/b]
The Santa Fe Southern Railroad now has three new engineers.

Violet Crown cinema owner Bill Banowsky, novelist and screenwriter George R.R. Martin and NDI New Mexico co-founder Catherine Oppenheimer have bought the decades-old railway and trains along the 18-mile spur line from Santa Fe to Lamy.

“We want to breathe new life into this old train,” Banowsky said Monday.
...
Oppenheimer added the trio plan to ultimately provide “a super-fun train experience that builds in the history and culture and natural beauty of New Mexico.”

Plans not only include repairing the track and bridges between Santa Fe and Lamy, where a small depot still awaits passengers on the Amtrak line that travels from Chicago to Los Angeles and back, but to provide an array of entertaining arts and cultural events on train excursions to Lamy and at nearby stops.

If all goes well, they hope to renew a deal with Amtrak that would keep the Southwest Chief line stopping at Lamy and perhaps restore a now-vacant position for a ticket agent at the site.

Banowsky and Oppenheimer said the Amtrak lease expires at the end of June. They said they feel confident they can renew the lease and allow a brewpub that opened in the Lamy depot to operate as well.
...
  by mtuandrew
 
You know the best way to become a millionaire by buying a railroad? Start as a multi-millionaire :wink:

This is pretty cool news. Wonder whether they are interested in being a freight common carrier (if there even is potential freight to run), or if this is just planned to be an excursion line.
  by Tadman
 
I rode in 1994, only a few years after ATSF sold the line to Michael Keaton. The consist on the outbound run to Lamy was GP7, green heavyweight (ex CNJ?) and caboose. We rode int the cupola. Everybody broke for lunch in Lamy at the one restaurant there, the Legal Tender Saloon. I quickly wandered off and was given a cab ride while they switched the ATSF interchanged. On the way back we had a few boxcars, a true mixed. The crew let me ride in the cab the whole way.

If I may opine on the future - they can sink or swim. For every continuing sink, it makes the next attempt to swim that much harder. In 1994 it was just a shortline. In 2020, there is a bustling shopping district and commuter agency, so there is less room and time to play railfans-run-the-railroad. As to the route, it's a 30 minute drive or 3-4 hour train ride on 10-20mph track. The new owners should take a very practical approach. Interlining with the Chief is a terrible awful idea that just makes no sense. The Chief can be very late. So are we going to hold the SFSR for four hours at the depot to wait for four connecting passengers? Because the 40 tourists aboard will be mighty P-O'ed and never come back. Are passengers that have rode overnight from KC or Chicago interested in waiting at Lamy (nowhere) for a single heavyweight with schoolbus seats and no HEP to come 'round the mountain, then ride another 3-4 hours into Santa Fe?

Frankly, if they want to run tourist trains, I think it's a great idea, but the commuter agency has built a beautiful and under-used main. Why spend all the money to revive and maintain the Lamy line when it goes nowhere?

Also, there's not likely to be much freight. The town was a very upscale place 25 years ago and has only become more so. The brewery in town probably is gone or using trucks. There isn't much industry around, and little possibility for transload in the downtown of a hot vacation spot.

The new owners have to ask themselves if they want to be railfans, track workers, or railroad owners. We've all seen what happens when they play railfans - Ed Ellis has pissed everybody and their brother off lately, and the Venango River boys did the same 20 years ago. It did real damage.
  by mtuandrew
 
Tad: yeah, I don’t see any freight possibility in Santa Fe proper. What industry there is seems to be truckload-based; I’m not sure that any of them could even use a full railcar of anything. An industrial park in Lamy or somewhere between the two points would be a worthwhile venture, though the three folks noted have been staunch advocates of reduced development around Santa Fe (no judgment to them on my part.) I fear they don’t know how much of a money pit SFSR will be without a strong passenger and freight anchor at Lamy.

The infusion of cash here is great for developing Lamy. However, it’s getting harder to see a future for Santa Fe Southern that doesn’t include a bike trail. That was the case for the Minnesota Zephyr, and even though it stings to have seen it go, it’s the best and highest use of the route. Lamy would be better for it as a tourist destination and bedroom community.
  by Tadman
 
mtuandrew wrote: Fri May 22, 2020 4:10 pm I fear they don’t know how much of a money pit SFSR will be without a strong passenger and freight anchor at Lamy.
I agree, which is why I asked if they want to be trackwork guys or run a railroad. I'd suggest, if the NMRX will agree, to run the trains in between Railrunner on the NMRX main. The tourists have no idea if they're on original ATSF rails or NMRX rails. They don't care. They just want an "old timey train ride" and then move on to the next activity. A ride 30 minutes down the NMRX main to a pull-off where some food trucks are located would be perfect.
  by Backshophoss
 
Some of the people involved are part of group that rebuilt the former Harvey Hotel in Las Vegas NM, with a possibility of service between Santa Fe and Las Vegas.
While the track from east Lamy to Los Vegas is under DS-18 at Fort Worth (BNSF)
The "Lamy sub" could be brought up to 40 mph if Herzog did the trackwork,the Gloriita CTC section could be transfered to NMRX in ABQ.
Current NMDOT Bus commuter runs on I-25 could be replaced with a pair of NMRX 3 car sets.
Both SFSR and NMRX wil need I=ETMS PTC gear installed .
  by Ken W2KB
 
George R. R. Martin, whom I first met in September, 1962 when we were in all the same classes in freshman year of Marist High School in Bayonne, NJ, is one of the three new owners, and stated this on his Not a Blog:

"It is going to take a lot of work, more than a few bucks, and a fair amount of time to get the railroad running again. There are tracks and trestles to inspect and repair, old historic coaches to restore to their former splendor, a dead locomotive to bring back to life. And the coronavirus has slowed the process way down. But sooner or later, we do hope to have the old Lamy Line chuffing and puffing once again, and we have all sorts of fun ideas for the future, live music and murder mysteries and train robberies and escape rooms and… well, we shall see."

George is aware that several of the passenger cars are from the Central Railroad of New Jersey and routinely passed through his home of town of Bayonne; the West 8th Street Station was just over half a mile north of his home. One of the ex-CRRNJ cars is a former Blue Comet combine. George has always been interested in history, indeed much of his SF and fantasy literature is based, at least loosely, on historical events.

Some years back he purchased and restored the Jean Cocteau theater, at the corner on the same city block as the passenger station in Santa Fe. George was also instrumental in establishing the Meow Wolf art center in Santa Fe, described as "create immersive, multimedia experiences that transport audiences of all ages into fantastic realms of storytelling. Our work is a combination of jungle gym, haunted house, children’s museum and immersive art exhibit." Likely his vision for the railroad is offer similar experiences, to relive the past on the rails, and perhaps looking to the future.

If anyone can make a success of this railroading venture, I am confident George can.
  by Backshophoss
 
After the "X-train" nitemare, SFSR was operated "on Demand" type service
Remaining Team track and Beer Whse is the last freight service location
The last visible section of the NM Central in Santa Fe had it's switch torn out By ATSF,near the "Railyard"
  by Ken W2KB
 
mtuandrew wrote: Sat May 23, 2020 4:20 pm So, it doesn’t sound like he has considered freight traffic at all. That’s unfortunate - reminds me of how he doesn’t seem to have considered how to wrap up A Song of Ice and Fire :wink:
Ha! ;-) I suspect that the partners would be happy to accommodate freight, if for no other reason than to offset costs, but don't want freight to be a requirement to make the economics, whatever they have in mind, work.
  by RRspatch
 
Ken W2KB wrote: Sat May 23, 2020 5:40 pm
mtuandrew wrote: Sat May 23, 2020 4:20 pm So, it doesn’t sound like he has considered freight traffic at all. That’s unfortunate - reminds me of how he doesn’t seem to have considered how to wrap up A Song of Ice and Fire :wink:
Ha! ;-) I suspect that the partners would be happy to accommodate freight, if for no other reason than to offset costs, but don't want freight to be a requirement to make the economics, whatever they have in mind, work.
The last three years I worked the BNSF Raton DS18 desk I don't think the Albuquerque night switcher ever ventured east of Bernalillo. In order for them to interchange cars at Lamy I would have had to give them a signal at West Lamy. In the five years I worked that job prior to my retirement that might have happened maybe two or three times during the first two years. There is no freight to be had as Santa Fe has only two industries, they being government and tourism. Neither generate mush of anything needing rail freight.
  by Jeff Smith
 
mtuandrew wrote: Sat May 23, 2020 4:20 pm So, it doesn’t sound like he has considered freight traffic at all. That’s unfortunate - reminds me of how he doesn’t seem to have considered how to wrap up A Song of Ice and Fire :wink:
Oh you did NOT go there! I'd blame the unsatisfying ending of GoT on the showrunners...

I'm thrilled that a celebrity has taken an interest in this, especially one that "gets" railroad history.
  by Backshophoss
 
This is a partnership with the developer of the former Harvey House Hotel in Las Vegas NM.
IF GoT had been produced in NM at ABQ studio complex,he would have been involved,not the goons in Ca.
The Beer Whse in SF is an operations base for the Bud distribution Whse in ABQ