Since the 1880s, people have been riding the railway between Santa Fe and Lamy. The was a point when this was the primary ... More
Santa Fe Southern Railway
Since the 1880s, people have been riding the railway between Santa Fe and Lamy. The was a point when this was the primary means of transportation between the two towns. Now, however, the daily trips have become a popular tourist attraction. As you travel the railway, you'll see some spectacular panoramic views of the high desert landscape. Special trips like the Mardi Gras Trip, the Ghost Story Trip, and the Holiday Lights Trip are planned throughout the year. You can choose to travel coach, silver or dome. Reservations are highly recommended.
The SFS is a short line that runs on track formerly of the Santa Fe RR. These days it mostly hauls passengers on the 18 mile round trip to Lamy. It used to haul freight but rarely does anymore. The staff is very friendly and helpful, the cars are vintage (1920s) and while comfortable should not be expected to offer modern amenities. The trip leaves Santa Fe traveling through the downtown area and then through the ever expanding Santa Fe suburbs. The views vary from industrial, to back yards to beautiful mountains and valleys as you travel.
They offer two trips of different lengths, one to Lamy (about 4 hours with a layover in Lamy) and a shorter trip out and back to the Galesteo Basin. The shorter trip misses some of the best views, and the chance to see the museum in Lamy, but is nice especially if you have very small kids. The open observation car is great fun for both kids and adults and offers the best views.
Departing Santa Fe you run on the newly upgraded tracks shared with the NM Rail Runner commuter trains. After about 5 or 6 miles you divert onto the old Santa Fe rails some of which have been in place for over 100 years.
In the past, there was not much to do in Lamy, but recently, the old Legal Tender Saloon has been opened as a museum and on days when the train runs they serve a nice lunch. I understand that they plan to reopen the restaurant in late 2011. On my most recent visit (I have taken the trip 4 times now) they had lunch and musical entertainment. Lamy is still served by Amtrak on the Chicago to LA, Southwest Chief route.
You should expect a nice ride, but remember this is a short line with limited resources so be flexible, and remember you are not at Disney Land. Give the staff a chance and you will find them helpful and accommodating.
If you are a real rail fan, ask about the cab ride. It is well worth the extra $50.
I made reservations on the 16th of August to ride on the the train on the 28 of August. My wife and I traveled from Dallas Fort Worth area to Santa Fe and went to pick up our tickets. The clerk said "the train is not running today" and " they cancled it a couple of days ago, didn't someone call you". They had not.
Having spent the last year travelling the world on my own, I have seen many interesting, exciting places but none as peaceful, breath taking and magical as my train ride from Santa Fe to Lamy. Weather was extremely beautiful, scenery was so rugged and wild and best of all, the staff on my train ride were so welcoming, informative and ever so helpful! This train ride is a must for anyone visiting Santa Fe!!
We've been on quite a few train rides and this one was very nice. We went to Lamy and had a barbeque lunch. The lunch was wonderful; the scenery was high desert and the group on the train was laid-back and pleasant. The cost was pretty much in line with what would be expected.
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