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Passenger Trains > A ride on the Railrunner


Date: 10/14/06 23:25
A ride on the Railrunner
Author: Evan_Werkema

Last Friday marked the end of free rides on the New Mexico Railrunner commuter service between (so far) Albuquerque and Bernalillo, NM. While I was in ABQ visiting mom last week, we took advantage of the free ride, and also got some lineside images. The trains had a fair number of folks, but my impression is that most of them were joyriders too. Be interesting to see what the ridership is like come Monday.

1. This is the northernmost stop on the Railrunner, Sandoval County/US 550 at the northern end of Bernalillo, one of three stations open at the time service was inaugurated. The three buses on the left met the train: a park and ride shuttle and two buses belonging to the Santa Ana Star casino on the nearby Santa Ana reservation.

2. The next station, not yet open, is downtown Bernalillo, seen out the rear window of the cab car. It's surprisingly close to the US 550 station, visible in the distance just this side of the overpass. Looks like they are rebuiding Bernalillo siding to the left of the main, a project which will doom a few semaphore signals.

3. The old west switch at Bernalillo and signal 8862. The colorlight in the distance dates from around 1984, when it replaced a cantilever-mounted semaphore protecting the end of the siding.








Date: 10/14/06 23:27
Re: A ride on the Railrunner
Author: AMW Engr

That station platform looks a little far away from the tracks.



Date: 10/14/06 23:37
Re: A ride on the Railrunner
Author: espeeboy

AMW Engr Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> That station platform looks a little far away from
> the tracks.


LOL yeah, this is the new FRA standard stay-behind-the-yellow line standard for passenger platform dummies.

Nice crisp clean pics Evan! So, since you are fresh back form your trip and I happen to be in the know after our strange coincidental bump-in as passengers on Car 4 of last night's San Jacko #715 I'd like to speak for everyone here in saying...

WELCOME EVAN INTO THE DIGITAL WORLD!!!

With the Winterail digi-conversion now complete and with you being a big photo poster in a few known railfan discussion boards (therez been a lot of slide scanning), it just makes perfect sense. Guess since Vic went Postal, I mean went Digital last year, it was only lined up in the stars that you'd be next. Tognetti did it recently so all we need to do is get Brahms, Johannessen, the Dorns and some of the other prehistoric locals into pixelation foaming...



Date: 10/14/06 23:39
Re: A ride on the Railrunner
Author: F40PHR231

I just don't get why these stations are being built so close to each other, reminds me of Chicago Metra's LaGrange and Stone Avenue stations, trains barely get moving before putting the brakes on for the station stop.



Date: 10/14/06 23:43
Re: A ride on the Railrunner
Author: smitty195

AMW Engr Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> That station platform looks a little far away from
> the tracks.

They had to change things after Mythbusters came through. LOL!

(Mythbusters will be on Wednesday night on Discovery Channel, New Mexico RailRunner used for myth of a train sucking a person off the platform)



Date: 10/14/06 23:49
Re: A ride on the Railrunner
Author: Evan_Werkema

4. Midday southbound (westbound) train 507 passes doomed intermediate semaphore 8882, one of four semaphores the Railrunner passes, all located between Bernalillo and Roy Rd.

5. The only westbound semaphores of the four is 8901, adjacent to the Sandia reservation. It's part of a staggered pair of intermediate semaphores; the eastbound signal is about a quarter mile further west.

6. The second station on the initial Railrunner route is Los Ranchos/Journal Center, situated between the Paseo Del Norte overpass and El Pueblo Rd. During the inaugural "free" period, the Railrunner only ran on weekdays; this Saturday train was one of a group of specials being run to ferry people to and from the hot air balloon fiesta that comes to Albuquerque every October.








Date: 10/15/06 00:34
Re: A ride on the Railrunner
Author: Evan_Werkema

espeeboy Wrote:

> Nice crisp clean pics Evan!

Not bad for a POS (or is that P&S) digicam.


> WELCOME EVAN INTO THE DIGITAL WORLD!!!

I ain't all digi yet...around 20 rolls of Provia were also spent on this trip.

Back to the Railrunner ride...

7. Double track through Albuquerque begins here at Hahn, between Montano and Griegos Rd. This is ABS and track warrant territory, and the northbound Railrunners get two lines' worth: Albuquerque to Hahn on track 2, then Hahn to MP 884 on the single main track. Since they can't clear the main at US 550, they have to copy a box 7 on the warrant for the southbound trip, not in effect until after their own arrival at MP 884. Once they are on their way southbound, they can clear their northbound warrant.

8. Albuquerque has a number of rail-served industries, including a few on a long spur that takes off to the west just south of the I-25 overpass. BNSF 2365 waits patiently just off the spur, where it's been waiting since before our train left northbound. Santa Fe 4-8-4 2926 is being restored at a site just off this spur near 8th St.

9. The journey ends at Albuquerque's Alvarado Transportation Center. Railrunner uses the northernmost portion of the platform, where it interferes the least with Amtrak's Southwest Chief when the two are in the station simultaneously. The new transportation complex, whose architecture harks back to the style of the ATSF depot and Alvarado Harvey House that once occupied the site, includes easy connections to ABQ Ride and Greyhound buses. Amtrak doesn't have a part of the new complex; they are still using the decrepit former warehouse structure (one of the few remaining pieces of the original Alvarado), which they've been occupying since the original Albuquerque depot burned in 1993.








Date: 10/15/06 01:04
Re: A ride on the Railrunner
Author: Evan_Werkema

10. Here's what the Albuquerque station scene looked like in 1991 before the depot burned...

11. ...and here's the same scene today. The Western Union Telegraph office in the foreground is one constant...albeit with "Warning: Asbestos" signs plastered all over it.

12. Trainsets not in use are stored in what was once Santa Fe's coachyard geographic east of the station, under the Lead and Coal Ave. overpasses. From the looks of it, Railrunner rotates through several sets over the course of a day, using one set for the three morning round trips, another for the midday, and a third for the three evening roundtrips.








Date: 10/15/06 01:11
Re: A ride on the Railrunner
Author: BB

Nice pictures!!

The Railrunner scheme looks great and so do the painted overpasses in New Mexico.



Date: 10/15/06 02:02
Re: A ride on the Railrunner
Author: fjc

You can get up to speed faster than you'd expect with only 3 cars.

F40PHR231 Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> I just don't get why these stations are being
> built so close to each other, reminds me of
> Chicago Metra's LaGrange and Stone Avenue
> stations, trains barely get moving before putting
> the brakes on for the station stop.



Date: 10/15/06 02:48
Re: A ride on the Railrunner
Author: Jaanfo

F40PHR231 Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> I just don't get why these stations are being
> built so close to each other, reminds me of
> Chicago Metra's LaGrange and Stone Avenue
> stations, trains barely get moving before putting
> the brakes on for the station stop.


That depends on a lot of factors too... Passenger loads, terrain, locomotive power and age... considering that railrunner is two or three cars on flat terrain with a top speed of 79 MPH and 3600 horsepower locos, I'm sure getting up to 60 or so takes at most 1/2 mile. SD Coaster reaches about 63 in the three miles between Old Town and Downtown, they have older 3000 (and new 3200) horsepower locos hauling five cars and the terrain is hilly. In the three miles from Encinitas to Solana Beach we managed to hit 84 once... enjoyed the feeling then the engineer had to hit the brakes before we could get any higher. This was a while ago too.

Anyway, not to wander too far from topic, great photos and reporting of an up-and-coming commuter rail line! Sounds like Railrunner will succeed even if it doesn't ever get out to Santa Fe... but I'm wondering just how long until they start needing to lease some Sounder Cars to keep up with demand, probably a ways off still. ;)



Date: 10/15/06 07:47
Re: A ride on the Railrunner
Author: timharris

Order should have been placed recently for four more MP36's and 12 cars for use on the run to Santa Fe.

As far as the signals go, they have even placed a new holding signal north of Bernalillo that is not in service yet, on what is still BNSF track.

The siding at Bernalillo will be rebuilt next to the station platform.

The only thing that is holding up service south to Belen is lack of rail. Herzog needs about 4000 ft of 136 lb rail to get to the platform. The switch is in place but service will be in dark territory (59 mph).

In the last picture, construction will begin very shortly on a new wash rack and service building for the equipment. The new wash rack will be right in the center of your picture next to the equipment.

Tim Harris



Date: 10/15/06 10:34
Re: A ride on the Railrunner
Author: TopcoatSmith

F40PHR231 Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> I just don't get why these stations are being
> built so close to each other ...

That's how commuter operations generally work. If you have to drive more than X amount of miles to get to a station, you might be inclined not to take the train at all.


TCS - certainly not gonna take a bus ...



Date: 10/15/06 10:37
A question
Author: TopcoatSmith

I've seen in a few magazines what appears to be lettering along the rear of the carbody just above frame level. Is it lettering and if so what does it say ?


TCS - or not ...



Date: 10/15/06 14:22
Re: A ride on the Railrunner
Author: lurchdel

Saturday, October 14, 2006

Rail Runner Gets 200,000th Rider

[ABQ] Journal Staff Report
A forensic economist from Placitas holds the distinction of being the 200,000th person to ride the Rail Runner Express commuter train.
"I'm an economist, so economical travel works for me," Bill Patterson said in a statement. "Much of my work is Downtown, so I ride the train into Albuquerque every chance I can. I really like it."
The 49-year-old commuter boarded the train after its 8:45 a.m. arrival Downtown on Friday.
For his lofty place in history, he was given a bag of Rail Runner memorabilia, including a scale model of the train and a certificate to ride the train for free once the free period has ended.
"It's great to see more and more people like Bill discovering what a huge benefit public transportation can be for them," Lawrence Rael, executive director of the Mid-Region Council of Governments, said in a news release. "He's figured out that taking the train is a lot less stressful than fighting morning rush-hour traffic, not to mention cost-efficient and reliable."
The Rail Runner operates between Downtown Albuquerque and Bernalillo. Eventually, the entire first phase will run as far south as Belen. Plans call for the train to extend to Santa Fe.
For more information about the Rail Runner, go to www.nmrailrunner.com.



Date: 10/15/06 17:37
Re: A question
Author: Evan_Werkema

TopcoatSmith Wrote:

> I've seen in a few magazines what appears to be
> lettering along the rear of the carbody just above
> frame level. Is it lettering and if so what does
> it say ?

It says NMDOT/MRCOG, standing for New Mexico Department of Transportation/Middle Region Council of Governments.



Date: 10/15/06 17:58
Re: A question
Author: timharris

Evan_Werkema Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> TopcoatSmith Wrote:
>
> > I've seen in a few magazines what appears to be
> > lettering along the rear of the carbody just
> above
> > frame level. Is it lettering and if so what
> does
> > it say ?
>
> It says NMDOT/MRCOG, standing for New Mexico
> Department of Transportation/Middle Region Council
> of Governments.




Date: 10/15/06 18:05
Re: A ride on the Railrunner
Author: timharris

Evan_Werkema Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> espeeboy Wrote:
>
> > Nice crisp clean pics Evan!
>
> Not bad for a POS (or is that P&S) digicam.
>
>
> > WELCOME EVAN INTO THE DIGITAL WORLD!!!
>
> I ain't all digi yet...around 20 rolls of Provia
> were also spent on this trip.
>
> Back to the Railrunner ride...
>
> 7. Double track through Albuquerque begins here at
> Hahn, between Montano and Griegos Rd. This is ABS
> and track warrant territory, and the northbound
> Railrunners get two lines' worth: Albuquerque to
> Hahn on track 2, then Hahn to MP 884 on the single
> main track. Since they can't clear the main at US
> 550, they have to copy a box 7 on the warrant for
> the southbound trip, not in effect until after
> their own arrival at MP 884. Once they are on
> their way southbound, they can clear their
> northbound warrant.
>
> 8. Albuquerque has a number of rail-served
> industries, including a few on a long spur that
> takes off to the west just south of the I-25
> overpass. BNSF 2365 waits patiently just off the
> spur, where it's been waiting since before our
> train left northbound. Santa Fe 4-8-4 2926 is
> being restored at a site just off this spur near
> 8th St.
>
> 9. The journey ends at Albuquerque's Alvarado
> Transportation Center. Railrunner uses the
> northernmost portion of the platform, where it
> interferes the least with Amtrak's Southwest Chief
> when the two are in the station simultaneously.
> The new transportation complex, whose architecture
> harks back to the style of the ATSF depot and
> Alvarado Harvey House that once occupied the site,
> includes easy connections to ABQ Ride and
> Greyhound buses. Amtrak doesn't have a part of
> the new complex; they are still using the decrepit
> former warehouse structure (one of the few
> remaining pieces of the original Alvarado), which
> they've been occupying since the original
> Albuquerque depot burned in 1993.

As per Evan's comment of picture number 8, it is called the sawmill spur. NMDOT will probably apply to have the rail pulled up west of 8th street, the switch to serve the facility is east of 8th street so it should remain.

Tim Harris




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