NEW MEXICO (KRQE) – After a year of sitting idly on the tracks because of the pandemic, the New Mexico Rail Runner Express is about to start up again. Starting Monday, the train will be running on a limited schedule, and officials say they’re not expecting many people on board right away.
The Rail Runner will run on weekdays only. The train will have two options for the morning commute, a midday train, and then two more options for the evening rush hour. Each train will be limited to 25% capacity which is about 160 passengers per train. Rail Runner officials think there will be more than enough seats to go around.
“A lot of our commuters went from parts south like Belen, Los Lunas, and Albuquerque up to Santa Fe for state jobs. And of course, a lot of those jobs have not they haven’t called them back to work or they are still working from home or from other places. So it will probably be a gradual climb back. Plus we have to let everybody know hey we’re running again,” said Communications Manager Augusta Meyers.
The train system was shut down on March 17, 2020. Many other commuter trains around the country started running again last summer and fall. KRQE News 13 asked Rail Runner officials what took so long, they say state restrictions prohibited them from reopening any sooner. ” I think we have just been adhering to what the state has given us as far as what we are allowed to do. This is an asset of the state and we’ve been working with the governor’s office the entire time and now they feel it’s time to get some passenger service back,” said Meyers.
Officials say they have enhanced their cleaning protocols and will be disinfecting the train cars throughout the day. Passengers are required to wear masks at all times. During the time the Rail Runner was out of service, they were equipped with a federally mandated safety system that helps avoid derailments and collisions. For more information or to purchase online tickets, visit riometro.org.