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An Adventure Around Albuquerque 2/29-3/2/2008

Sandia Peak Tramway, Belen Harvey House and Belen Model Railroad

by Chris Guenzler

This trip started out to just get more Amtrak Rail Miles for my One Millionth Amtrak Mile coming on April 7th, 2008. This trip would be just a roundtrip to Albuquerque until I got an idea and contacted my friend Randy Jackson would lives there. We planned to ride the Sandia Peak Tramway during my layover there. I rode my nightly trips to San Diego plus one Metrolink 604 Trip to North Beach then a walk to San Clemente Pier and Surfliner 785 home to Santa Ana. This is one of my favorite afternoon trips I make. I worked all week at McFadden Intermediate and by Wednesday I could not wait for Friday afternoon to arrive. I got home, packed and relaxed before I drove down to the Santa Ana station but had to park on the second level of the parking structure. I visited the ticket counter and purchased a Business Class upgrade for my trip to LAUPT. The Metrolink signs were flashing that southbound trains were delayed by a police incident. I made my way to Track 1 and waited for my train to arrive on time.

Surfliner 583 2/29/2008

I boarded the Pacific Business Class car taking a seat on the lower level and put on my Quiet Riot DVD. The wonderful Gloria is my Business Class Attendant. When would we see our first southbound train?

I watched a Quiet Riot DVD with Randy Rhodes, one of my all time favorite guitarist.

Anaheim Stadium was waiting for Baseball Season to start for 2008. Before Fullerton Metrolink 604 went by. At Fullerton the next southbound Metrolink train passed followed by Surfliner 582 then a 91 line Metrolink Train. We only slowed at the Shooting Incident location before we made our final sprint into LAUPT. I walked around the end of the platforms from Track 10 to Track 12.

Southwest Chief 4 2/29/2008

This Southwest Chief had Engines 120 and 48, Baggage 1720, Sleepers 32037, 32025 and 32032, Diner 38021, Lounge 33046, Coaches 34041 and 34044 with dead heading Sleeper 32111 and Baggage 1160. I had Room 5 in the 330 Car with Fred as my Sleeping Car Attendant. I watched my DVD of Blue Oyster Cult at the Navy Pier in Chicago. I got an 8:00 PM Dinner Reservation before the Southwest Chief left LAUPT right on time. The shooting incident at Buena Park did not slow us down at all but there was still a large police presence when we went by.

Station scenes at Fullerton. Conductor Dave Arthur stopped by to see me and after we passed through Santa Ana Canyon we heard we would be stopped due to a BNSF Trespasser Incident. We stopped short of the Downtown Corona Metrolink Station at 7:55 and sat until 8:25 PM. I was enjoying dinner with Cathy heading to Chicago. I had the Flat Iron Steak with Chocolate Ice Cream for dessert. The Southwest Chief then took the South Track up Cajon Pass to Summit where I made up my room and called it a night.

3/1/2008 I awoke at Flagstaff and was in the Dining Car as the train left town. I had the Marketplace Special, the Belgium Waffle with sausage links, for breakfast. I sat with Rob going to Albuquerque and Pat along with Emil going to Chicago.

Buttes off to the north before we pulled into Winslow.

Leaving Winslow behind I put on my DVD of Jethro Tull "New Day Yesterday".

Chief Yellowhorse welcomes us to New Mexico.

Views before Gallup where I put on my Disc 1 of Fawlty Towers.

Views of the Red Mesas of New Mexico.

Later we would pass a BNSF freight with five different paint schemes: Ferromax, Norfolk Southern, Santa Fe, BN Green and BNSF. The Southwest Chief arrived early into Albuquerque at 11:47 AM {12:12 PM} and Randy Jackson was on the platform waiting for me to get off of the train. We walked out to his car then drove to our first destination of the day.

Sandia Peak Tramway 3/1/2008

We drove past the Sandia Peak Tramway sign and parked the car in the upper parking lot.

We walked into this building to buy our tickets for the World's Longest Tram Ride. Once tickets were purchased, we waited in line to have our tickets punched.

Our Tram came down into the station and once it was unloaded, all the waiting passengers boarded the Tram for the 15 minute trip up Sandia Peak.

The Base Station Sign at 6559 Feet Elevation.

The big wheels that pull the cables.

The Tram quickly gained elevation as it started the climb towards Sandia Peak.

Tower 1 on our trip.

Climbing away from Tower 1.

Passing the downhill Tram.

The downhill Tram nears Tower 1.

Leaving Tower 1 in the distance.

Climbing towards Tower 2.

Tower 2 was on the next ridge.

Leaving Tower 2.

The views really open up the higher the Traim climbs.

Beautiful vistas abound aboard the Sandia Peak Tram.

It is a long way down.

Almost to the top of Sandia Peak.

The Tram has reached the summit of Sandia Peak. Randy and I got off to have a look around.

The views looking to the west.

Sandia Peak Elevation 10,378 Feet. We took the next Tram down with me taking pictures with my 35 MM Camera. Once at the bottom, I visited the Gift Shop before we went back out to the car. We then decided to drive down to Belen and see what we could see there. It was a quick trip down Interstate 25 and a few minutes later we were exiting the highway at Belen and drove into town parking at the Belen Harvey House. A BNSF westbound was headed out of Belen. Next another BNSF freight is switching around the Belen Yard.

A BNSF westbound headed out of Belen.

Next another BNSF freight is switching around the Belen Yard.

The Belen Station.

Belen Harvey House Museum 3/1/2008

The Belen Harvey House was built in 1910 at a cost of $25,000. Belen is at the junction of the four Santa Fe Routes that crossed here in New Mexico. On the north-south route, Harvey Houses were located at Raton, Las Vegas, Lamy, Santa Fe, Wallace, Albuquerque, San Marcial, Rincon and Deming. On the east-west route they were located at Clovis, Vaughan, Belen and Gallup. Now let us take a walk through this unique museum.

Belen Station Timetable Board and luggage.

Conductor's Uniform and Hats along with other things.

A Harvey Girl's Room.

The Harvey House Office.

Organ and Desk.

Map of New Mexico Harvey Houses.

Station Agents Office.

A fantastic looking desk.

A Quilt Show was taking place in the Dining Room.

Room Setting.

A unique collection of Harvey Girl's things.

More displays.

We next went upstairs to the second floor of the Harvey House.

Bathroom Fixtures.

New Mexico Mission Models.

Santa Fe Railroad Materials.

Upstairs Hallway.

From the roof, the BNSF freight still switching. We went back downstairs and signed the Guest Book before we visited the next attraction here in Belen.

Belen Model Railroad.

Now I will take you through this very interesting Belen Model Railroad that is housed in corner of the Harvey House Building.

After a very interesting model railroad display, we signed their Guest Book before we returned to the real world of trains.

Another colorful BNSF westbound leaves Belen for points west. Randy and I returned to the car and we drove over to the Belen Railrunner Station for a quick look. From there we followed the BNSF line back as far as Isleta before we jumped onto Interstate 25 for the trip back to Albuquerque. We got back to the Amtrak Station just after Train 3, the Southwest Chief, had arrived into Albuquerque early. Randy and I walked up to the train and I got the train's consist.

Southwest Chief 3 3/1/2008

The Southwest Chief standing proud at Albuquerque.

The Superliner windows got washed by hand on this trip.

Our train waits for a green signal for an on time departure today. This train had Engines 179 and 130, Baggage 1255, Transition 39006, Sleepers 32051 and 32039, Diner 38061, Lounge 33012 and Coaches 34077, 34010 and 34094. I was switched from my ticketed Sleeper 331 to the 330 with Ann Marie as my Sleeping Car Attendant. She is one of the best on the entire Amtrak system. I put on my Yes DVD as we left Albuquerque on time.

West of Dalies, a view of the countryside.

Soon the Red Mesas came into view. At 5:45 PM I was called in for dinner seated with Jean and Don headed to Flagstaff. I had the Flat Iron Steak but no Ice Cream as they were out of it. After dinner I had to go to the 331 Sleeper to take a hot shower as the 330 only had cold water. The rest of Yes and then some of the Jethro Tull DVD before I called it a night.

3/2/2008 I woke up at Colton running almost on time this trip. I just sat back and relaxed after my room had been made up. In the predawn light we stopped at Riverside then made our way to Fullerton. The Southwest Chief made its final sprint to LAUPT putting us in there early at 7:13 AM {8:15 AM}. I had seven minutes to go from Track 12 to Track 10 to catch my Surfliner home to Santa Ana.

Surfliner 564 3/2/2008

Using my March Monthly Pass Los Angles to San Diego for the first time, the train left LAUPT on time and headed out along the Los Angeles River.

Los Angeles Amtrak Servicing Facility. The train headed south to Fullerton, Anaheim before we arrived into Santa Ana three minutes early ending yet another Amtrak adventure.