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Amtrak to Ditch Depot Use

By Lloyd Jojola

Albuquerque Journal

Monday, April 22, 2002

Sun Tran buses should start using the Alvarado Transportation Center in a few weeks, culminating the project’s first phase and allowing the city to turn its attention to the next — a proposed joint-use depot for Greyhound and Amtrak.

But even before the design work begins, Amtrak appears to have abandoned the concept, which could result in the project being scaled back, according to a city transit official and a Greyhound executive.

“As you may be aware, Amtrak is going through some restructuring. They have indicated to Greyhound that at this time they are not interested in participating as a tenant in the joint-use depot,” said Bruce Rizzieri, acting director for the Transit Department. “So we’re re-evaluating what our options are in how to address that issue and how to proceed.”

An Amtrak spokesman in Chicago who was asked about the project referred the Journal to Greyhound.

Chris Ensenberger, vice president of real estate for Greyhound, said Amtrak notified the city by letter that it was no longer interested in the project.

“They just went silent all of a sudden, then we never heard from them again,” he said. “We were having joint meetings with the city and the city’s architect and all the different players.”

He also said, “We’re kind of disappointed because we really would like to move forward and because of Amtrak’s situation, it’s been kind of on hold.”

The original concept had Amtrak sharing roughly half of the facility, which would be located south of the existing transportation center at First and Central.

“So the question has to be determined: Do you go ahead and build it out as a ‘build it and they will come’ thing or do you go back to the drawing board and start over and just design an inter-city bus facility and plan them out of it,” Ensenberger said.

Rizzieri said “the size obviously would be scaled back because you wouldn’t have that one tenant in it.”

The depot could be designed for future expansion if Amtrak or another railroad carrier wanted to use the site.

A detailed design of the second phase has yet to start, Rizzieri said.

“We were just getting ready to begin the design process for this phase when I found out that Greyhound has said Amtrak said ‘no,’ ” he said. He said he learned of the decision late last year.

At this point, the cost or size of the second phase is not clear, although some local and federal funding has been identified.

Last year, city officials approved a lease agreement with Greyhound to operate a terminal at the center. It allows Greyhound to seek sublease agreements with Amtrak and other potential users of the depot, and the city would get a portion of the net revenue from subleases, according to previous news reports.

Under the agreement, Greyhound is to contribute $1 million to the construction of the transportation center and give the city its existing bus terminal.

“The value of our property plus the $1 million contribution was basically looked at prepaid rent for 40 years,” Ensenberger said.

If the project is reduced in size, the deal Greyhound has with the city might have to be modified, he said.


Railyard Worker Commemorative Plaques. Honor a loved one who worked on the railroad, honor a WHEELS volunteer or honor the WHEELS Museum. WHEELS is now selling plaques with name plates for $100.00 per name.  Keep the memory of these people alive in perpetuity with a gorgeous wooden plaque with brass name plate. Thank those who made our city and state successful, built the railroad, continue to work to preserve our history and create our future. The plaques will be displayed in the Community Room at WHEELS.

Contact Paulette Miller Weir who is graciously supporting the project and has volunteered to orchestrate this work. Her phone number is (505) 227-3270.  Please send checks for $100.00 per name and a few other words such as dates of birth or death or job held to WHEELS Museum, PO Box 95438 Albuquerque, NM 97199 or contact Ms. Miller Weir for any questions.  We can also accept credit cars payment by calling WHEELS-6269.

June 24, 10 - Noon, “LEGO Club Meeting”. See how LEGOS become vehicles, houses, bridges, animals and view amazing Lego displays. Learn how to build with Legos and meet Lego Masters. Space is limited.  Children are welcome, but must be accompanied by an adult. Call Leba at (505) 243-6269  or email to Leba4@aol.com.. Admission is free, donations are encouraged.

July 1, 1-2 pm, "Strings and Sings" Robin Howard in concert. “Strings and Sings” is a solo project of singer/songwriter Robin Howard. Robin covers all popular styles of music including Country, Classic Rock, Folk, Blues, and even original tunes. His music has earned him both praise and support from local musicians in Texas, New Mexico, and Colorado. RSVP:505-243-6269 or email to Leba4@aol.com. Fee: $ 10.00

Do you have a few hours each month to help the Wheels Museum? Volunteers are needed so the Museum can be open more; run the model railroad trains, also help needed with events, marketing, fund raising. Call Leba Freed at (505) 243-6269.