WHEELS Museum Newsletter Summer 2021

Letter from the President
Leba Freed

Dear Friends,
Passion + Persistence + Partners + Progress = WHEELS. This has been the equation for WHEELS’ success for more than twenty-five years.

When I saw the Railyards property in 1994 I fell in love. We formed a 501c3 non-profit organization in 1999 and with the help of so many we now have a site on the Railyards, our seventh location. We have a fabulous team and exhibits worth about 4 million dollars. Download

New Mexico Railroads In The Land of Enchantment

By Adam Burns

Like the roadrunner, New Mexico is historically known for high-speed trains flying across the desert in a hurry to reach either Chicago or the West Coast.

In the last 100+ years this scene has changed little as successor railroads like the BNSF Railway and Union Pacific still speed across New Mexico on their way to far away destinations, with the only interruption in this chorus being fuel stops and inspections. More

Historians take readers through the turbulent times at ABQ’s locomotive repair shops


From about 1880 to 1955 – the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railway’s steam locomotive repair shops were a dominant industrial presence and driving economic force in Albuquerque.

A comprehensive history of the shops is told in the recently published book “Overhaul: A Social History of the Albuquerque Locomotive Repair Shops” by Albuquerque-based husband-and-wife historians Richard Flint and Shirley Cushing Flint. More

Richard Flint and Shirley Cushing Flint will give a talk about “Overhaul” at 9:30 a.m. on Saturday, July 17, 2021, at the Wheels Museum 1100 2nd St SW Albuquerque NM 87102. Admission is free but seating is limited. RSVP to (505) 243-6269 by July 14. Please leave your name and number. Attendees will be able to tour the museum.

New Mexico Historic Preservation Division State Plan Survey

May 12, 2021
Dear Friend of Preservation:
I am asking you to get involved in the future of historic preservation in New Mexico.  Every five years my office develops a state plan to identify current preservation challenges and successes. With your involvement, we will set goals through 2031 to guide preservationists working in New Mexico.
Part of the process is gathering as much public opinion as possible.  This year we are encouraging participation through a survey that takes about 5 minutes to complete.  We are asking our colleagues—preservation organizations and nonprofits, architects and archaeologists, firms, governments, state and national parks, Indian nations and Pueblos, consultants, students and university departments—to help us out.
If you could send the link to the online survey to people on your mailing list or post it on your website, or both, this would help us ensure the broad-based response we need to develop a preservation plan for New Mexico.

The survey is posted on the Historic Preservation Division’s website. The survey is available in English and en español.
We look forward to your involvement and encourage you to take the survey yourself. 
Jeff Pappas
State Historic Preservation Officer

Traveling the Rails in Grand Style

Traveling the Rails in Grand Style
Photographs and Supplemental Materials of the Fred Harvey Hotels, 1896-1945
University of Arizona, Special Collections

About the Collection
There are approximately 2,000 photographs depicting exterior and interior views of hotels, eating houses, railroad stations and news stands operated by Fred Harvey. States represented are Arkansas, Arizona, California, Colorado, Illinois, Kansas, Mississippi, Missouri, New Mexico, Ohio, Oklahoma, Tennessee and Texas. Other photographs document the Indian exhibits at the Panama-Pacific International Exhibition, 1915, and the Panama-California Exposition, 1915-1916. All photographs can be viewed through this online exhibit.

New Mexico

Copyright © 2000
University of Arizona, Special Collections

Danielle Casey, President of AED tours Wheels Museum.

Danielle Casey, President at Albuquerque Economic Development, tours Wheels Museum with Leba Freed. Did you know that the railroad was instrumental in the development of the Albuquerque region between 1880 and 1930? And that the historic facility is now home to the Wheels Museum and is a frequent location seen in tv and film? We learned about this and so much more in a tour this week with Wheels Museum President Leba Freed-Pierce! Check out this gem yourself at http://wheelsmuseum.orgGrant Taylor, ΦΒΣ,MBA,IOM Daniel Schmuck Albuquerque Economic Development

AED is a private, nonprofit organization whose mission is to recruit new employers and industry and help local companies grow to generate quality job opportunities for the Albuquerque metro area.

Triumphant Democracy: US Railroads

Copyright © 2012 Presidents and Fellows of Harvard College

Comparisons with railroad systems abroad underscore the particular circumstances under which the industry developed in America. In Europe, the rails connected existing towns and urban centers. In the United States, the industry helped to open the West, develop the country economically, and create a sense of national unity, while also displacing Native American peoples. More

NM Railroad Updates

Adrian Gurule
December 26, 2020

Just a few items to clarify on recent railroad posts here in the group. I myself am the President of a passenger rail advocacy group in NM and we are either involved directly with these railroads and or we know persons involved in the project.

ATSF 2926 (Steam Engine formerly in Coronado Park)
The steam engine is near completion and was scheduled to move under her own power (move under her own power is moving the locomotive without any assistance from a generator and or another locomotive) in early 2020. She was gonna have her pistons & rods reinstalled along with the boiler steamed up to make this happen. However due to COVID-19 and group restrictions, President of the New Mexico Steam Locomotive & Railroad Historical Society said he doesn’t want to fire up the engine until the whole team can enjoy the event. There is 20+ persons who work on it. That event is suspended until further notice. However once we move on from COVID -19. The steam engine will need to have her crews qualified to operate it on the mainline track which is owned by NMRX Railroad (Rail Runner) and leased by Amtrak & BNSF Railway. This will take a few months to a certain amount of weeks to have this happen. You will see the steam engine most likely operate north of Albuquerque due to little to no freight or passenger traffic. Once this is complete, ATSF 2926 will need to partner with Amtrak or BNSF to lease a locomotive to use behind the steam engine when they are pulling passenger cars.

Due to the Federal Railroad Administrations strict guidelines on operating a steam engine, a Diesel Powered locomotive is required to provide power to the passenger cars and also provide assistance to the steam engine if needed on steep grades. ATSF 2926 does not own her own passenger car fleet so she will need to partner with owners across the country who own their own private rail cars. These rail cars will need to be inspected by Amtrak or BNSF and the FRA before approved to operate with ATSF 2926. These passenger cars are transported by Amtrak at the end of their routes. So these passenger rail car owners will need to pay Amtrak to transport their rail cars to Albuquerque via the Southwest Chief. Once all that as been completed, ATSF 2926 will need to insure they have all proper insurance & liability papers in order with BNSF Railway, Amtrak & NMRX Railroad. Once all that is complete, the railroads will cut open operating windows for ATSF 2926 to operate through without causing service disruption for Rail Runner, Amtrak or BNSF trains.

ATSF 2926 will most likely operate north of Albuquerque due to little to no rail traffic. In 2009 BNSF railway (formerly Santa Fe Railroad) suspended all operations between Albuquerque, NM & Trinidad , CO due to little to no operating revenue and or customers left on the route. However they reserve the right under agreements with NMDOT (NMRX) and Amtrak to use the route again for freight if they deem necessary. Because of this ATSF 2926 will have an easier time operating without disrupting rail traffic. In regards to operating to Clovis, Gallup or Las Cruces that is gonna be on logistical nightmare which BNSF railway will have to throughly consider. BNSF has what is known as the Transcon route known as the “Super Rail Highway of the SW” that runs from Gallup > Belen > Vaughn > Clovis and those trains carry high priority goods which can’t be delayed. Anyone between Albuquerque & Raton your in luck.

SFS Railroad (Santa Fe Southern Railroad)
This line was formerly owned by Hollywood actor & railroad enthusiast “Michael Gross” who saved the line from abandonment by the ATSF (Santa Fe Railroad) in the early 90s. This later gave birth to the Santa Fe Southern Railroad which operated freight & tourist railroad operations on the former ATSF rail line between Santa Fe & Lamy, NM. Santa Fe Southern had a big customer within Santa Fe and that was the Santa Fe Brewery. They would use BNSF to haul their beer out by rail. But in the late 2000s they began to use Semi Truck. Business began to decline in Santa Fe for the SFS railroad. When Rail Runner came to town, the state purchased the ROW (Right of Way) from them in 2008 which is known as the El Dorado Subdivision on the NMRX railroad in railroad terminology. Rail Runner rebuilt the rail line in Santa Fe causing the rail yard near St Francis to have a bit of a change. This posed some issues for SFS and when rail runner opened in December 2008, they moved to a tourist railroad operation.

In late 2010 they suspended operations after the failed “ X-Train” company out of Las Vegas, NV failed and an Australian company failed to buy it for railroad testing. Before the recent purchase of the line by George Martin & his associates. The route was rated at 20 mph due to the rail being so aged, the railroad ties began to move with the trains movement and also weeds began to plague the route. The route still uses the wooden trestles by the ATSF still to this day. They had times were the route would have a broken rail causing service to be only from Lamy to Galisteo Basin and service to Santa Fe was suspended until the broken rail was fixed.

SFS railroad will also have to work with NMRX Railroad who is the owner of the rail lines and Amtrak along with BNSF who lease the lines as well in order to fix the route and bring it up to modernized methods of operation. The engines 07 & 93 will need to be over hauled and the passenger cars will need a good face lift. Then the new owners can look into acquiring new engines and passenger cars if need be. Now if they want to operate at high speeds they will have to work with NMRX railroad to install radio equipment along with trackside equipment from i25 to Lamy. At this time due to no dispatching takes place after i25 the train is rated at 20 mph. From Santa Fe depot to i25 SFS operates under the authority & protection of NMRX railroad which allows them to operate faster than 20 mph.

Not to damper anyone’s hopes for these railroads, just wanted to let y’all know what needs to happen before anyone can ride them. It’s easy to watch a news story and say “cool it will be operating by next year”

Things to do on a budget in Albuquerque, New Mexico

The Budget Traveler

17. November 2020.

Perched in the high desert of New Mexico, Albuquerque combines all the contemporary appeal of a modern urban city with plenty of remnants of its Spanish colonial past. For the former, the city’s bustling downtown district is where to head, while the Old Town, dotted as it is with historic adobe building and shops selling Native American handicrafts, is steeped in Spanish heritage.

Wheels Museum

Anyone with a penchant or curiosity about transport history should head to this fascinating museum, located on the site of the historic Santa Fe Railroad Shops in the city’s downtown district. More

Albuquerque Progress

Albuquerque Progress was published by Albuquerque National Bank from 1934 to 1965. During this period, the city’s population grew from approximately 30,000 to over 200,000 people. Albuquerque Progress was designed to record Albuquerque’s growth and to promote the city to potential investors and residents. The magazine’s black and white photos are often the best visual record we can locate individual structures at the time they were first built.

Santa Fe Shops Issue