SANTA FE, N.M. (KRQE) – A historic New Mexico railroad is making a comeback. It has been years since the Santa Fe Southern has run in the state capital, now a famous New Mexican hopes to transform the train into a tourist destination. “The Santa Fe Southern Railroad has been a part of Santa Fe for 140 years,” says Catherine Oppenheimer, Owner, Santa Fe Southern Railroad.
But recently the old locomotives on the 18-mile spur have remained idle on tracks covered in weeds. “Though it had fallen on hard times in the past decade, it was running very sporadically, sometimes not at all,” says George R.R. Martin, Owner, Santa Fe Southern Railroad.
Now, a group of business partners is hoping to breathe new life into the historic railroad. “Much of it’s coming from the scary imagination of George R.R. Martin,” says Bill Banowsky, owner of the Santa Fe Southern Railroad.
The trio is already investing in sprucing up the Railyards and bringing in businesses there. “We’re sitting right now in Violet Crown Cinema which is in the middle of the Railyards and across the tracks from us, we’re building Nuckolls Brewing Company,” Banowsky says.
Now they are hoping to connect the Railyards with the Santa Fe Southern Railroad. “It will be great fun connecting these two communities,” Banowsky said.
The owners say the locomotives, tracks, and bridges need some maintenance and upgrades. Once that’s complete, they hope to create an excursion train from the Railyards to Lamy year-round that will also have holiday themes and different attractions. “We may do escape cars. an escape room on rails where you have to find your way to get out of the car. We may do stargazing things,” Martin says.
They’re targeting next fall for a start date. “It has such a great legacy to it, it was important that someone step up and made sure that this continued,” Banowsky says.
The railroad was featured in a classic Breaking Bad episode back in 2012. The owners hope as they spruce it up, it will become a destination for filmmakers in New Mexico.