New Mexico Train Rides And Excursions

Along with Arizona, New Mexico offers some of the most spectacular scenery of the southwest with its combination of mountainous terrain and flat deserts. Today, there are just two New Mexico train rides available; the incredibly popular Cumbres & Toltec Scenic Railroad (located in the northwestern corner of the state) and the Santa Fe Southern Railway (not as popular as the C&TS but they also have a lot to offer guests) located in Santa Fe. Much of the Cumbres & Toltec Scenic's celebrity is simply the incredible scenery passengers are afforded as the railroad uses tracks once part of the venerable Denver & Rio Grande Western's mining branches in the region, which passed through both the South San Juan Mountains and the Brazos Mountains.

New Mexico has quite a storied history with railroads as legendary names like the Southern Pacific, Rock Island, Denver & Rio Grande Western, Colorado & Southern, and the Missouri Pacific all reached the state. Additionally, the iconic Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe Railway began life in the state's capital and became one of the most powerful railroads in the country (not to mention its fame by the general public). Despite the state's fascinating railroad heritage there isn't much in the way of train rides available although I would highly recommend taking a trip of the Cumbres & Toltec Scenic. In any event, to learn more about New Mexico train rides please read about each covered below.

Clovis Depot Model Train Museum

This small museum is based in Clovis and is housed inside the Santa Fe's beautifully restored, 1907 depot located here.  While the museum's title notes model trains it generally looks to tell the history of Santa Fe's service to the area and its main line through the region (notably the Belen Cutoff), which remains busy under current owner BNSF today.  Inside the building the museum houses several artifacts and displays.  Also, they currently operate 11 different layouts covering most of the popular model railroad scales (HO, O, N, etc.).   Finally, peruse their gift shop or just check out the train action right outside!

Cumbres & Toltec Scenic Railroad

The Cumbres & Toltec Scenic is another famous narrow-gauge tourist railroad in southwest Colorado and northwest New Mexico, like the Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad (except that it operates entirely in Colorado). The C&T is quite similar to the D&S in many ways, including the use of famous narrow-gauge steam locomotives that are native to the line (which were originally owned by the Denver & Rio Grande Western Railroad). Also like the D&S, the C&T operates through the gorgeous canyons and mountains located in the region. So, if you are ever in southwest Colorado I would strongly consider stopping by to see this historic and super scenic tourist railroad!  Even better, if you time, also stop by and see the nearby Durango & Silverton.

Santa Fe Southern Railway

The Santa Fe Southern Railway, currently no longer offering excursions, is based in Santa Fe on the former AT&SF branch line to Lamy with trains boarded from the restored mission-style depot on 410 South Guadalupe Street in Santa Fe.  For a few years this operation was mothballed and placed out of service.  It then came under new management, hoping to bring a much more upscale attraction to this operation such as fine dining, first-class accommodations, and other special events.  However, this project fell through and operations are again closed.




Toy Train Depot Foundation

This organization is based at the town of Alamogordo and is noted as New Mexico's very first train museum.  Their building is a preserved El Paso & Northeastern (Southern Pacific) depot built in 1899 that was originally from Torrance and later moved to Corona before it arrived at its current location.  Inside are several historic displays, artifacts and documents while they also offer rides on their "Alameda Park Narrow Gauge Railway," a 16-inch gauge miniature-scale train.  Finally, they were recently donated a caboose that is located nearby.  The museum is open on select days throughout the year.

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