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Tracks Across New Mexico: Historic Railways

Program Number: 14715RJ
Start and End Dates:
6/4/2014 - 6/11/2014;
Duration: 7 nights
Location: Albuquerque, New Mexico
Price starting at: $1,629.00 - Price may vary based on date, departure city
Program Type: Train Treks; On the Road
Meals: 19; 7 Breakfasts, 6 Lunches, 6 Dinners    
Meal Options: Vegetarian; Gluten Free    

New Mexico played a huge part in Western expansion when railroad lines began to operate in the state in the 1800s. Journey new and old rails as you explore unique places others often miss while your railroad historian shares little-known facts.




Highlights

• Visit an authentic Harvey House, ride the Narrow-Gauge Railroad in Chama and take Amtrak to historic Las Vegas, N.M., where the railroad arrived in 1879.
• Learn how the Doodlebug Line and the historic Chili Line Railroad played important roles during the beginnings of Western expansion.
• Experience the new RailRunner train, Amtrak, Cumbres-Toltec Narrow-Gauge Railroad, and more as you follow the iron trails of cowboys, miners, merchants and immigrants.



Activity Particulars

Walking up to one mile, uneven terrain; standing up to one hour. Elevations up to 5,200 feet. Train achieves 9,000 feet elevation for short period.



Itinerary Summary

Albuquerque, N.M. 2 nights; coach to Chama, N.M. 1 night; train and coach to Trinidad, Colo. 1 night; train and coach to Santa Fe, N.M. 2 nights; train to Albuquerque, N.M. 1 night.



Coordinated by Road Scholar.




Las Vegas (New Mexico)

With the arrival of the railroad in 1880, this thriving stop on the Santa Fe Trail quickly became one of the American Southwest’s largest cities. It also became a haven for Jesse James, Billy the Kid and other notorious outlaws. Today such disreputable figures live on only in legend, and Las Vegas boasts an array of cultural and historic resources.



Trinidad

For many years the miners who sought coal in the Raton Basin made Trinidad their home. Located on the Santa Fe Trail, the town has watched an ever-evolving stream of travelers pass through, first by foot, then by wagon and then by rail. Passing through town today is Interstate 25, the busiest route between Colorado and New Mexico.



Chama

A small village in Rio Arriba County, Chama was once a railroad boomtown with an exciting cowboy history. It is located along the Cumbres & Toltec Scenic Railroad (C&TS) — a narrow-gauge railroad that runs from New Mexico to Colorado — and is a prime locale for learning about the railways of the Old West.



Santa Fe

A cosmopolitan city famous for its world-renowned opera, chamber and choral music and for its art and artists, Santa Fe is situated at the base of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains. Nearby, eight historic, continuously occupied pueblos and small Hispanic villages divulge a heritage that is impeccably preserved in this multi-cultural state capital.



Albuquerque

New Mexico's vast history, diversity, creativity, cuisine, beauty and art unite in this vibrant city, founded as a Spanish colonial outpost in 1706 and built in a traditional Spanish village configuration in which civic buildings surround a central plaza. “Old Town” is just one of New Mexico’s largest city’s many gems.



Accommodations
Comfortable hotels.
Meals and Lodgings
   MCM Elegante
  Albuquerque, NM 2 nights
   The Branding Iron Motel
  Chama, NM 1 night
   Holiday Inn Hotel and Suites Trinidad
  Trinidad, CO 1 night
   Santa Fe Sage Inn
  Las Vegas, NM
Santa Fe, NM
2 nights
   MCM Elegante
  Albuquerque, NM 1 night
 MCM Elegante
Type: Full Service Hotel
  Description: Large hotel with mid-town location and free parking
  Contact info: 2020 Menaul NW
Albuquerque, NM 87107 USA
phone: 505-884-2511
web: www.mcmelegantealbuquerque.com
  Room amenities: Data ports, irons, ironing boards, hairdryers, refrigerators upon request
  Facility amenities: Heated pool, spa and exercise room, restaurant and lounge on premises
  Smoking allowed: No
  Elevators available: Yes
  Additional nights prior: Best seasonal rate Arrange for pre and post hotel nights directly with hotel at (505) 884-2511
  Check in time: 3:00 PM
  Additional nights after: Best seasonal rate Arrange for pre and post hotel nights directly with hotel at (505) 884-2511
  Check out time: 12:00 PM

 The Branding Iron Motel
Type: Full Service Hotel
  Description: Moteloffers unrivaled combination of highest quality standards, friendly staff, spacious rooms, and a central location close to the Cumbres & Tolted Scenic Railroad station, Heron and El Vado lakes, and everything you'll want to experience on your southwestern vacation.
  Contact info: 1511 Hwy 17
Chama, NM 87511 USA
phone: 180-044-6265 x0
web: www.brandingironmotel.com
  Room amenities: In-room coffee, telephones with wake-up calls available, alarm clocks, handicap-accessible rooms available, cable TV and HBO
  Facility amenities: Branding Iron Restaurant, air conditioning, high speed wireless Internet, playground and horse facilities
  Smoking allowed: Yes

 Holiday Inn Hotel and Suites Trinidad
Type: Hotel
  Description: New hotel
  Contact info: 3130 Santa Fe Trail Drive
Trinidad, CO 81082 USA
phone: 719-845-8400
  Room amenities: cable/satellite TV, air conditioning, irons, ironing boards, in-room movies, room service
  Facility amenities: dataports, free parking, tennis court, pool, wheelchair accessible, interior corridors, business center, air-conditioning, gym, laundry/valet services, restaurant
  Smoking allowed: No
  Elevators available: Yes

 Santa Fe Sage Inn
Type: Hotel
  Description: The Santa Fe Sage Inn is located in the downtown area at the entrance to the historic Plaza, Museum Hill and the Guadalupe, Railyard District, and Canyon Road shopping areas. The hotel is in one of the most exciting parts of Santa Fe.
  Contact info: 725 Cerrillos Road
Santa Fe, NM 87501 USA
phone: 866-433-0335
web: www.santafesageinn.com
  Room amenities: Complimentary local calls, wireless Internet access, electronic room key access, in-room coffee, iron and ironing board, hairdryer, remote color TV, AM/FM radio/alarm clock, individual climate control, Southwestern decor
  Facility amenities: Business center with complimentary wireless Internet access, free parking for cars and RVs, recently redecorated guest rooms, outdoor heated swimming pool, laundry/dry cleaning service available, safe-deposit box at front desk area, 24-hour front desk, newly renovated exercise room, breakfast and meeting rooms.
  Smoking allowed: No


Travel Details
  Start of Program:
Check into the hotel between 3:00-5:30 PM. Register with group leader in the designated area at the hotel between 4:00 and 5:30 PM. You will be staying at MCM Elegante that night.
  End of Program:
Program ends after breakfast, served 7:00-9:00 AM at hotel. Hotel check-out time is 12:00 noon. You will be staying at MCM Elegante the night before.
  Required documents:
The Road Scholar Health & Safety Form is required.
  Parking availability:
Parking is free at hotel. If you drive to the program, you can leave your car at the hotel during the parts of the program that take place away from Albuquerque
Transportation
To Start of Program
  Location:  Albuquerque, NM
  Nearest highway: I-25 and I-40
  Nearest airport:  Albuquerque International Sunport
  From End of Program
  Location: Albuquerque, NM
    (Additional transportation information same as above)
Travel Details
 

Albuquerque

 

To Train Station

 
 

Service:

 

Hotel Shuttle
MCM Elegante Hotel Shuttle
phone: 505-884-2511

 

Per Person/One Way:

 

Hotel shuttle is free
Prices are subject to change.

 

Travel Time:

 

15 minutes 

 

Distance:

 

5 miles

   

It is a good idea to let the hotel's front desk staff know the evening before your departure that you'll need a shuttle to the Amtrak train station. They can let you know what time the shuttle will depart in order for you to catch your train.

 

Albuquerque

 

To Airport

 
 

Service:

 

Hotel Shuttle
MCM Elegante Hotel Shuttle
phone: 505-884-2511

 

Per Person/One Way:

 

Hotel shuttle is free
Prices are subject to change.

 

Travel Time:

 

15 minutes 

 

Distance:

 

5 miles

   

It is a good idea to let the hotel's front desk staff know the evening before your departure that you'll need a shuttle to the airport. They can let you know what time the shuttle will depart in order for you to catch your flight.

 

Albuquerque

 

From Train Station

 
 

Service:

 

Hotel Shuttle
MCM Elegante Hotel Shuttle
phone: 505-884-2511

 

Per Person/One Way:

 

Hotel shuttle is free
Prices are subject to change.

 

Travel Time:

 

15 minutes 

 

Distance:

 

5 miles

   

Call the hotel upon your arrival at the Amtrak Station and they'll send a shuttle to pick you up. You may also take a taxi to the hotel if you wish. Taxi fares may be shared.

 

Albuquerque

 

From Airport

 
 

Service:

 

Hotel Shuttle
MCM Elegante Hotel Shuttle
phone: 505-884-2511

 

Per Person/One Way:

 

hotel shuttle is free
Prices are subject to change.

 

Travel Time:

 

15 minutes 

 

Distance:

 

5 miles

   

After picking up your luggage, call the hotel at 884-2511 from the courtesy phones in the baggage claim area.

 
Driving Directions
  From Albuquerque International Sunport The airport is located on the south end of Albuquerque. Exit the airport west onto Sunport Boulevard, which will take you to Interstate 25. Take the entry ramp onto Interstate 25 and travel north to Exit 225 (Lomas). Continue driving north on the frontage road to Menaul Blvd. where you'll make a right turn. You'll see the hotel on the right-hand side of Menaul, just past the first intersection (at University.)
  From Interstate 40 Interstate 40 runs east and west through the middle of Albuquerque. Near the center of town, it crosses Interstate 25. From the east, take Exit 159-D (University Blvd.) to the first light, which is Menaul. Turn right on Menaul and you'll see the hotel on the right, just past the intersection. From the west, take Exit 159-A (University Blvd.). Continue east along the frontage road until you reach University; turn left on University. Take a right at the second light, on Menaul, and you'll see the hotel on the right, just past the intersection.
Elevation Note: Elevations during the program range from 5500' to 10,000' (briefly) during the Chama train ride

The prices listed for commercial services and facilities that are not included in the program cost, such as airport shuttles or extra nights lodging, are subject to change without notice. Since Road Scholar cannot guarantee the accuracy of these prices, we strongly suggest contacting the companies directly for the most up-to-date information.


Daily Schedule

Day 1: Check-In/Orientation/Introductions
(Wednesday, June 4)
   
 Arrive To: Check in at hotel anytime after 3:00 PM.

Register between 4:00 and 5:30 PM with the program's group leader in designated area at hotel.

 Dinner: Dinner at the hotel from 6:00 to 7:00 PM
 Evening: Program orientation and introductions in hotel meeting room from 7:00 to 8:30 PM
   
Accommodations: MCM Elegante
Meals Included: Dinner

Day 2: Railroad Historic Society Locomotive Restoration Site Visit/Belen Harvey House/Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railyard
(Thursday, June 5)

Note: Walking and standing at site visits



   
 Breakfast: Breakfast at the hotel from 7:00 to 8:00 AM
 Morning: PRESENTATION: From 8:00-9:00 AM hear about the history of railroading in New Mexico.

Mergers changed the names of the players, but most rail lines remain today in the original road beds.

The exact number of railroads that were built in NM isn't known for sure, but there were about 107 that actually operated, and another group that were proposed but never laid down rails. They were firmly established by 1891.

Bus departs at 9:15 AM to visit the New Mexico Steam Locomotive & Historical Society locomotive restoration facility in Albuquerque.

Depart at noon for Belen, NM.

 Lunch: Lunch at Pete's Cafe in Belen
 Afternoon: Following lunch, you'll visit the Harvey House Museum near the railroad yard in Belen. Belen was a major stop on the Atchison, Topeka, and Santa Fe Railway, which was one of the largest railroads in the US. The company was first chartered in 1859.

Belen still sees about 100 trains a day pass through the railyard there, hauling freight in all directions.

The bus will depart for Albuquerque at about 3:45 PM.

 Dinner: Dinner at the hotel from 6:00-7:00 PM
 Evening: CLASS: Continue learning about the history of railroading in New Mexico from 7:00 to 8:00 PM.
   
Accommodations: MCM Elegante
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 3: Mining Museum/Turquoise Museum/Cerrillos/Madrid/Abiquiu/Chama
(Friday, June 6)

Note: Bus trip from Albuquerque to Chama includes many stops along the Turquose Trail to explore railroad stations and sites, concluding with Chama Railyard - walking short distances and standing for up to 30 minutes



   
 Breakfast: Breakfast at the hotel from 7:00 to 8:00 AM and hotel check-out
 Morning: At 9:00 AM, bus departs for trip to Chama, NM.

Traveling along the historic Turquoise Trail, a designated National Scenic Byway, there will be stops in the towns of Cerrillos and Madrid, all featuring interesting railroad history.

Madrid has a fascinating coal-mining history, and much coal from the local mines traveled by train to other areas of the country.

Today, Madrid is a charming little town, with a population made up of artists and musicians. Many of the old homes inhabited by the coal miners and their families have been restored and are fun to see.

While in Madrid, you'll visit the Old Coal Town Museum.

 Lunch: Lunch at the Mine Shaft Tavern in Madrid from 11:30-12:30 PM. This building is on the site one of the mine shafts in the town; it has been "somewhat restored" and has a funky, old-West feel to it - fans of A & E's "Longmire" television series may recognize it as the set for the show's Red Pony bar - and great food!
 Afternoon: Bus departs at 12:30 PM. Following lunch, you'll visit the Turquoise Museum in Cerrillos, NM, then continue on to Chama. You'll go through Espanola, and your guide will discuss the old Chili Line railway. There will be stops along the way, including Echo Amphitheater.

Arrive in Chama and view the railyard area there where the Cumbres Toltec Narrow Gauge Railroad runs.

Check into your hotel in Chama about 5:00 PM.

 Dinner: Dinner from 6:00-7:30 PM at the High Country Restaurant in Chama. Bus will return to hotel after dinner.
   
Accommodations: The Branding Iron Motel
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 4: Ride Cumbres and Toltec Narrow Gauge Train to Antonito, CO/Trinidad, CO
(Saturday, June 7)

Note: Riding for several hours on narrow-guage railroad; there are opportunities to walk on board the train and during the lunch stop.



   
 Breakfast: Hotel checkout by 7:00 AM. Board bus at 7:15 AM for breakfast at the High Country Restaurant (from 7:30-8:30 AM).
 Morning: You'll arrive at the rail yard about 9:00 AM. You'll begin to board the train at 9:30 AM for your trip on the Cumbres & Toltec Narrow Gauge Railroad, departing at 10:00 AM.

This train uses a steam engine on a narrow gauge railroad. You'll travel through gorgeous mountain areas, covered with wild flowers.

 Lunch: Lunch in Osier, CO (about 9,000 feet in altitude! They'll take your lunch order on the train), then resume train ride at 1:00 PM.
 Afternoon: Train continues on to Antonito, CO, arriving about 4:40 PM. This town was founded in 1880. It was common for the expanding railroad to create these railroad towns. During the days of full operations on the Denver and Rio Grande Railroad, Antonito was the connection between the narrow gauge tracks west to Chama and the standard gauge tracks east to Alamosa, CO. The original depot, built in 1882, is still standing east of Main Street. This is a remarkable cut lava stone structure with fine wood detailing. The old depot is still used by the railroad to house radio equipment.

The new depot was constructed in 1978. It houses the restrooms, ticket office, and waiting area for the current passenger operations of the Cumbres & Toltec Railroad. There is a two-bedroom apartment on the second floor for the night watch person.

Board the bus, which will be waiting for you, and depart for Alamosa, CO.

 Dinner: Dinner in Alamosa from 6:00 to 7:00 PM. Bus departs for Trinidad, CO after dinner.
 Evening: Arrive in Trinidad about 9:00 PM for hotel check-in
   
Accommodations: Holiday Inn Hotel and Suites Trinidad
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 5: Amtrak to Las Vegas, NM/Las Vegas Excursion
(Sunday, June 8)

Note: You'll ride the Amtrak train from Trinidad, CO to Las Vegas, NM



   
 Breakfast: Breakfast at the hotel in Trinidad from 7:00-7:45 AM.
 Morning: Check out of the hotel and have your luggage to the bus for loading by 7:45 AM.

Bus departs at 8:00 AM for driving excursion around Trinidad, an old railroad and mining town, with some interesting sites we want you to see.

You'll arrive at the Trinidad Amtrak Station at 9:15 AM, and board a train for a 9:50 AM departure to Las Vegas, NM. The train arrives in Las Vegas at 12:50 PM.

 Lunch: Bus will pick you up at train station, and take you to lunch at a local restaurant from 1:15-2:30 PM.
 Afternoon: At 2:30 PM, with a local guide, bus will depart to see some of Las Vegas' historic buildings, including the Casteneda Harvey House and the Las Vegas Roundhouse (time permitting).

Las Vegas has many sites on the National Register of Historic Places. The pivotal moment in the history of Las Vegas was the arrival of the railroad on July 4, 1879, changing forever the destiny of Las Vegas. With its arrival came legitimate businesses; but it also brought a large number of frontier riffraff including murderers, robbers, thieves, gamblers, swindlers, gunmen, vagrants, and just plain tramps.

Continue on to Santa Fe.

 Dinner: Dinner at a selected location
 Evening: Evening at leisure after dinner
   
Accommodations: Santa Fe Sage Inn
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 6: Lamy Railroad and History Museum/Walking Exploration of Santa Fe/La Fonda Hotel (Old Harvey House)
(Monday, June 9)

Note: Standing at site visits and walking up to several blocks during Santa Fe field trip



   
 Breakfast: Breakfast at the hotel from 7:00-8:00 AM
 Morning: CLASS: From 8:30 until 10:00 AM, you'll have a class with a Las Vegas historian, who will tell you about the history of railroading in New Mexico, especially in the Las Vegas area.

At 10:30, bus departs for Lamy, NM, another stop on Amtrak's train route through New Mexico. Visit the Lamy Railroad and History Museum from 11:30 AM-12:30 PM.

 Lunch: Lunch at selected restaurant
 Afternoon: Following lunch, you'll have a guided walking exploration of Santa Fe's historic Plaza area downtown, including a stop at La Fonda Hotel, which was a Harvey House many years ago. You will have some free time on the Plaza.

The bus departs for return to the hotel at 5:00 PM.

 Dinner: Dinner is on your own tonight. Your group leader will provide you with a list of restaurants near the hotel (only a few blocks from the downtown area).

There are a lot of great places to dine, both downtown and near the hotel.

 Evening: Evening at leisure. You might wish to try a bit of Santa Fe night life!
   
Accommodations: Santa Fe Sage Inn
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch

Day 7: State Capitol and State Museums/RailRunner Train Trip to Albuquerque
(Tuesday, June 10)

Note: Standing and walking during site visits. Boarding Railrunner train.



   
 Breakfast: Breakfast at the hotel from 7:00-8:00 AM and hotel check-out
 Morning: DISCUSSION from 8:30-9:30 AM in hotel meeting room and question-and-answer time with your instructor about New Mexico's railroads, past and present day.

Take luggage to the bus for loading.

Bus departs at 9:45 AM for a visit to the Capitol in downtown Santa Fe (from 10:00-11:00 AM), then continues on to Museum Hill for visits to the Museum of Indian Arts & Culture (11:15-12:30 PM) and the Museum of International Folk Art (after lunch).

 Lunch: Lunch at the Museum Hill Cafe
 Afternoon: Visit the Museum of International Folk Art from 1:30-3:00 PM.

At 3:00, bus departs for the Santa Fe Railyard Park, where you'll have a brief walking exploration of the area.

Board the Railrunner at 4:00 PM for the 4:10 PM departure for Albuquerque. The bus will take your luggage, so you won't have to deal with that!

The Railrunner Train System is fairly new in New Mexico; it currently runs between Belen and Santa Fe, and there are plans for further expansion in the future.

You'll arrive in downtown Albuquerque at the Alvarado Station about 5:30 PM. This train station is very interesting, and you'll have a little time to look around after your arrival there.

At 6:00 PM, our bus will depart for the hotel, arriving about 6:30 PM for check-in.

 Dinner: Dinner and closing comments at the hotel from 7:15-8:45 PM
   
Accommodations: MCM Elegante
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 8: Departure Day
(Wednesday, June 11)
   
 Depart From: DEPARTURE. Check-out no later than 12:00 noon.
 Breakfast: Buffet breakfast at the hotel from 7:00-9:00 AM
   
Meals Included: Breakfast
Important information about your itinerary: Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy and completeness of the information featured on this website. Itineraries are based on our best information at this time. Circumstances beyond our control may require us to adjust itineraries or other details. We regret any inconvenience this may cause and appreciate your understanding. Information will be sent to you from your Program Provider approximately three weeks prior to the program start date. The prices listed for commercial services and facilities that are not included in the program cost, such as airport shuttles or extra nights lodging, are subject to change without notice. Since Road Scholar cannot guarantee the accuracy of these prices, we strongly suggest contacting the companies directly for the most up-to-date information.

Suggested Reading List


New Mexico's Railroads: A Historical Survey


Author: Myrick, David F.


Santa Fe Railway


Author: Glischinski, Steve


The Train Stops Here: New Mexico's Railway Legacy


Author: Riskin, Marci, L


Jews in New Mexico Since World War II


Author: Tobias, Henry


Pueblos of the Rio Grande: A Visitor's Guide


Author: Daniel Gibson


Description: One of the best and most definitive books on the Pueblos along the Rio Grande in New Mexico. Information about pueblo events including feast days and special dances included, as well as a page or two of information about the origination and history of each pueblo. An excellent book for anyone interested in New Mexico's pueblos and the people who keep the traditions alive.



Writing the Southwest


Author: Dunaway, David




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