Friday, November 9, 2018

The Dawson Branch

A tribute to "The Polly," in Mosquero, New Mexico.
The Polly was a passenger car hitched to the end of coal drags on the Dawson Line.
It was a slow way to get to Tucumcari, but people had an odd affection for the old car.

(Sixgun Siding) The Dawson Line (or Dawson Branch or Roy Branch), was a Southern Pacific Railroad line that went from Tucumcari, New Mexico to the coal mining town of Dawson, New Mexico. The line was built by the El Paso & Northeastern Railroad System which later became The El Paso & Southwestern Railroad, before being absorbed by the Southern Pacific.
Traffic, being mostly coal trains, was slow-going, and train crews were known to pack their rifles and fishing rods with them for diversion at sidings. As slow as it was, it gave Dawsonites the opportunity to travel anywhere a train went in the United States.
The town of Dawson, its mines, and railroad were abandoned in the early 1950's.

Sunday, November 4, 2018

The Rock Island Rail Trail

The Choctaw Rocket was a luxury train that once travelled
between Memphis, Tennessee and Tucumcari, New Mexico. 
Once upon a time, the Rock Island Railroad used to travel between Tucumcari and Amarillo. It shut down in the early 80’s, but the Right-of-Way (ROW) is still there.
If you look at Google Maps, in satellite mode, you can see where it parts from the existing Union Pacific tracks, just northeast of Tucumcari (northeast of the lake), not far from Route 54.
The right of way seems almost entirely intact from there to the tunnel under I-40, a distance of about 3 miles. The Tucumcari area could use some more hiking trails and the old ROW looks like just the spot.
There are several advantages to rail trails. For one, they combine history with outdoor recreation. Railroad lines are graded to be as flat as possible, meaning a large portion of the population can walk the trail with ease. They are already partially constructed. Trails, by law, can revert to railroad use, if need be. Rail trails have proved to be enormously popular throughout the country, not only providing recreation, but economic stimulus to local businesses.
For more information, check out the Rails-to-Trails Conservancy.

Highlights of the trail could include the Tucumcari Wildlife Management Area
and this tunnel.

Sunday, April 8, 2018

Tucumcari's Railroad Tunnel

(Sixgun Siding) There aren't many tunnels on the Southern Plains, but Tucumcari has one, just east of town. It was built to give the Chicago Rock Island & Pacific Railroad a way out of town, once Interstate Forty was built over its right of way. You can argue that it's an underpass, but the length of the thing, going under the road at an oblique angle, makes it more like a tunnel than not. Legend has it that the Rock Island went belly-up the day after the tunnel was opened and only one train ever officially used it.

Monday, June 5, 2017

Docents bring Belen’s Harvey House to life

Belen Harvey House Museum
(Albuquerque Journal) If you enjoy local history and you’re looking for something worthwhile to do in your spare time, the Belen Harvey House Museum might just be the place for you.
The local museum is in need of volunteers, especially docents – people to share the story and history of the Hub City, the Harvey House and the railroad.
Frances Zeller, the museum coordinator, and Julie Sanchez, the city’s library and museum director, said because so many more people are visiting the museum, the need for docents is increasing. Continued