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Southwestern Railroad - Carlsbad Subdivision

Southwestern Railroad - Carlsbad, NM Southwestern Railroad Southwestern Railroad - Carlsbad, NM

Southwestern Railroad - Carlsbad Subdivision

Click here to skip the intro and go directly to the photos.

On Sunday, October 3, 2004, shortline Southwestern Railroad began operating the BNSF Carlsbad Subdivision (former ATSF, Clovis NM to Carlsbad, plus industrial spurs serving potash mines east of Carlsbad and east of Loving) under a lease agreement. Customers include potash mines near Carlsbad, a petroleum refinery in Artesia, and various feed mills and agricultural-related businesses south of Roswell and also in Portales.

The Carlsbad Subdivision is Southwestern's third railroad, and is operated separately from (and does not directly connect with) its other two, which are based out of Hurley, New Mexico and Perryton, Texas. SW's Carlsbad operations are based out of the old Santa Fe depot located east of downtown Carlsbad. There are two yards in Carlsbad: the old yard east of downtown, and La Huerta yard located several blocks north and east of downtown on the Carlsbad Industrial spur. If you're in the area, you're likely to find SW's locomotives at either location. Other places to check include the towns of Artesia, Roswell, and Portales.

Locomotives on SW's Carlsbad Subdivision at the time of its early October startup include: SW 3588, 3776, 3819, and 3910 (all SD40-2s, believed to be ex-UP) and GP40 3134 (unknown heritage). Locomotives SW 9710 and 9964 (GP40s, unknown heritage) and SW 2601 and 2602 (GP26s, most recently in service on the Cimarron Valley RR) are scheduled to arrive on the property in early November. BNSF locomotives continue to operate between Clovis and Carlsbad on the potash "drags" -- unit trains of hoppers loaded with potash which originate from Carlsbad -- and on occasional unit loaded grain trains destined to feed mills south of Roswell. A number of other BNSF locomotives were still on the Carlsbad Subdivision during the transitional period in October.

SW uses radio channel 18 (160.380 MHz).

SW's operations on the BNSF Carlsbad Sub began during the week of Sunday, October 3, 2004. I was on vacation in New Mexico that week, and spent part of the day of Friday, October 8 observing and photographing SW's operations. Please click any picture below to see a larger image.

  Southwestern RR at Roswell, NM Southwestern SD40-2 3776 leads an eastbound local departing Roswell, NM -- destined for Clovis -- on October 8, 2004.
  Southwestern RR at Acme, NM Southwestern's eastbound local climbs slowly upgrade, out of the Pecos River valley, near Acme, New Mexico on October 8, 2004. El Capitan Mountain looms in the background.
  Southwestern RR at Acme, NM Southwestern's eastbound local approaches Acme, NM on October 8, 2004.
 ; Southwestern RR at Campbell, NM Southwestern SD40-2s 3776 and 3558 lead the eastbound local through Campbell, NM on October 8, 2004.
  Transition at Carlsbad, NM Transition: Southwestern and BNSF SD40-2s congregate in Carlsbad, NM on the evening of October 8, 2004. During SW's first month of operation, BNSF locomotives were still present on the Carlsbad Sub while SW awaited the arrival of additional power.
  BNSF power still in Carlsbad A Southwestern crew uses a BNSF SD40-2 to switch La Huerta yard in Carlsbad on October 8, 2004.
  Southwestern RR 3819 Southwestern RR SD40-2 3819 at Carlsbad, NM. October 8, 2004.
  Southwestern RR 3134 Southwestern RR GP40 3134 at Carlsbad, NM. October 8, 2004.
  station sign, Elida, NM There are still some classic Santa Fe-style station signs in place on the Carlsbad Sub, such as this one at Elida, NM. Photographed October 8, 2004.
  station sign, Loving Jct., NM Station sign at Loving Jct., NM. October 8, 2004.

Southwestern Railroad - Hurley, NM
Southwestern Railroad - Deming Sub
Southwestern Railroad - Shattuck branch


Check out the "Carlsbad Mystery Alcos"

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