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Southwestern Railroad - Round Trip to Rincon

Southwestern Railroad

Southwestern Railroad - Round Trip to Rincon

On Wednesday, March 10, 2004, I spent a full day on the Southwestern Railroad's Deming Subdivision, following their eastbound train from Deming to the BNSF interchange at Rincon, and then back west to Deming. At the time, Southwestern was making three weekly round trips -- usually on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays -- between Deming and Rincon. Sometimes, the operating schedule varies due to traffic fluctuations and other conditions, but Mon-Wed-Fri seems to be the prevailing pattern.

March 10, 2004 was a sunny, mild, typical spring day in southern New Mexico... a great day to follow and photograph "a round trip to Rincon".

Please click on any picture below to see a larger image.

  building train at Deming Southwestern GP30 # 28 leads the eastbound train preparing to depart Deming. Meanwhile, GP30 # 25, still in Phelps-Dodge gray, arrives from Hurley with a few more cars for Rincon.
  eastbound near Nutt, NM The train is out on the road now, and is photographed rolling through a desolate landscape east of Nutt, NM.
  eastbound approaching Hatch, NM After waiting for track machines to clear, the eastbound drifts downgrade toward Hatch, NM.
  eastbound approaching Rincon, NM The train passes a scrawny-looking cottonwood tree as it rolls through the Rio Grande valley between Hatch and Rincon.
  climbing upgrade west of Hatch, NM After delivering cars to and picking up from the BNSF at Rincon, the Southwestern is headed back west toward Deming. Their outbound train consisted of 36 cars, and it was slow going for the train as the two geeps struggled to get them up the hill out of the Rio Grande valley west of Hatch.
  almost over the top at Hockett The trailing locomotive, suffering from mechanical trouble, has shut down, leaving GP40-2 # 3000 to handle the 36-car train up the hill into Hockett. There are more ascending grades to the west, so at Hockett they'll reduce their train to a more manageable size, and pick up the balance of the cars on Friday's train.
  east of Nutt, NM Having reduced their train at Hockett, the westbound is making faster progress as it climbs toward the line's summit near Nutt. Beyond Nutt, it will be a downhill run most of the way back to Deming.
  westbound at Nutt, NM The shadows are getting longer as the westbound heads through Nutt, NM on its way back to Deming.
  in the cab Back in Deming, the train pauses at a grade crossing while the conductor lines a switch, allowing me to snap a quick photo of the engineer. His day is almost over, but I've got over three hours of driving to do before I'll be finished!

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