Wheels Museum

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Wheels Museum

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This line was built by the El Paso and Northeastern Railroad (later the Southern Pacific Railroad) near the turn of the 20th Century in order to access coal deposits around Capitan, NM. As the EP&NE was building north through New Mexico, they swung east at Carrizozo and headed to Coalora, and ultimately extended beyond Coalora another 2 miles to nearby Capitan, to the southwest. Between Carrizozo and Coalora, the line utilized two switchbacks in order to cross Indian Divide, just south of Vera Cruz Mountain.

Due to the difficulty of mining the coal in the area, and the much more readily-accessible coal mines to the north at Dawson, NM, traffic on the line, while strong at first, decreased rapidly. Sources differ on when the line was abandoned. One reference claims abandonment of the line came in 1905, only 5 years after the line first opened. However, the line shows as active on a USGS topographical map published in 1937.

The right-of-way closely follows US 380 and crosses adjacent Salado Creek a number of times west of Capitan.

At Carrizozo, the EP&NE continued construction northward as the El Paso and Rock Island Railroad from the eastward turn to Capitan, ultimately reaching Santa Rosa, NM and a connection with Chicago, Rock Island & Pacific Railway.


New Lego exhibit at the Wheels Museum. View The New Mexico Lego Users Group has
partnered with WHEELS to have a beautiful Lego Train layout for children of all ages to enjoy. The exhibit will vary from season to season and we invite you to come see this new Lego train exhibit.

January 8, 15, 22, 29 – Sunday morning admission free from 9 am-1 pm at the Albuquerque Museum and the City’s International Balloon Museum.

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.

Febuary 16, 11 am. Bob Bovee Long Steel Rails concert. This program for all ages presents songs and stories about the famous trains, rail workers, hobos, train wrecks and train robbers. Call or email Leba Freed for reservations at (505) 243-6269 or leba4@aol.com.

March 17, Celebrate St. Patrick’s Day at WHEELS. Movie, tours, train ride and food celebration.

April 1, 1 pm. Doug Figgs and Badger. Back by popular demand. By reservations only (505) 243- 6269. Doug’s show was sold out last year, so call early! Donation: $10.00.

April 8, 11 am. “Historic Albuquerque” Ronn Perea will present old Albuquerque anecdotes including delightful stories about our beloved Alvarado Hotel and the politicians, actors and entertainers who stayed there. This is a free event but, of course, donations are always appreciated.

April 22, Wheels Museum Day trip to Rancho De Chimayo Restaurante, El Santuario de Chimayo and the Santa Fe Plaza. Call Leba or Janet at (505) 243-6269 for more information. The museum is a 501C3 non-profit community organization whose mission is to create a transportation museum at the downtown Albuquerque Steam Locomotive Repair Shops.

May 19-May 23, Train trip to the Grand Canyon. Only a few spaces left.Scheduled through Amtrak Vacations, call Leba or Janet at (505) 243-6269 for reservations and more information.