A Trip to Albuquerque – Jan 2002

Since I was on my way to Albuquerque for Jan 12-13, 2002, anyway, I thought I’d do a bit of railfanning while I was on the way. DRGW 3105 was assigned to the MPUAA and MAAPU (Pueblo-Alamosa manifests), so I decided to head up to Alamosa on Thursday night. I realized it was a bit of a long shot, but just on the off chance it was assigned to one of the two local trains I thought it would be worth the trip. I left Colorado Springs late Friday night, arriving in Alamosa just in time to sleep for about seven hours and wake up to catch the incoming train as it arrived in the pre-dawn hours. Sure enough, 0600h came and so did MPUAA-11. As it turned out, 3105 sat in Alamosa all day, but the fog and frost filling the San Luis Valley still made for an enjoyable morning with the Alamosa-Antonito local – even if the temperatures were hovering just below zero most of the time and it was being pulled by a pair of UP geeps.

I arrived in Albuquerque later on 11-Jan, and after checking into the hotel, I decided to head out again to search Belen for decent photo locations. In the process, I managed to catch some of the fast BNSF action moving in and out of this town. Z trains, mixeds, locals, coal drags – this place has everything. I still don’t know the place well enough to make suggestions, but I did manage a few decent photographs out of the experience.

On the morning of 12-Jan (before the wedding at 1600h), Union Pacific’s Olympic Torch Relay train would be coming east from Amarillo, TX, through Belen, NM, and into Albuquerque. I’d seen 2002 out on test runs in Iowa over Christmas, but I’d hoped to catch the full train at some point. With a little luck, good weather, and good timing, I managed to catch up with it just outside Belen and follow it in to Albuquerque, arriving back in town just in time to throw on some decent clothes and head off to my real reason for travelling.

Driving home on 13-Jan-2002, I followed the BNSF line from Albuquerque up to Trinidad, CO. I have to say it was busier than I’d ever seen the line – one mixed, one TOFC intermodal, and Amtrak, all in the same morning. At Trinidad, I took a side trip to check on the Trinidad Western – the line heading west to coal mines out of Trinidad – and found that recent commentary was right. The line was once again being operated to serve the recently reactivated coal mine near the end. By the time I reached Walsenburg and rejoined I-25, the light was failing, but I still managed to catch one more train. A fun, fast-paced glimpse at railroading in northern and central New Mexico.

There’s not a whole lot of dialog to go with this one – there’s just much to say except “found train, followed train.” I thought I’d just leave you to the photos. Enjoy!

Antonito Local – Jan 11, 2002

The UP Olympic Torch Train – Jan 12, 2002

Miscellaneous Trains Down and Back


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