Letter to the Editor: Save The Trail Train

Inez Ross hops aboard Southwest Chief. Courtesy photo
Los Alamos

There is a threat, that unless the states of Colorado, Kansas and New Mexico share funding to repair the rails, the route of the Southwest Chief Amtrak train, will be re-routed south, eliminating passenger access for towns between Newton, Kan. and Albuquerque.

Whoa New Mexico! Lamy is the gateway to Santa Fe, and Raton is the Boy and Girl Scouts’ access to the National Scout Camp at Philmont, plus the terminal for the Amtrak bus connecting passengers to Denver and the California Zephyr.

The route of the Chief has the most scenic part of the Chicago/Los Angeles trip. Have you seen the narrow Apache Canyon, the flag and monument for the Civil War Battlefield of Glorieta Pass? Have you seen the views and wildlife at Raton Pass which is the highest point on the entire route, or the herds of antelope near Wagon Mound and the old Casteneda Harvey House at Las Vegas, N.M.?

Perhaps most important, the present train route parallels the Santa Fe Trail, the historic covered wagon route that for almost 60 years was a road of commerce linking the Midwest to the foreign territory of Mexico. During summer weekends, volunteers from the Park Service board at La Junta, Color., and give a narrative from the observation car of the Chief, explaining trail sites along the way as far as Albuquerque.

Have you seen the sunset from the dining car while enjoying a steak and wine dinner? We can’t afford to lose this necessary, beautiful, and historic rail line. We could start with bake sales, but funding depends on action from the State and National Congress. Contact them ASAP and forward this news to anyone whom we need to inform.