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The Rail Runner: The Cheap, Efficient, Scenic Way to Get from Albuquerque to Santa Fe

December 17, 2013 at 3:19 PM | by | Comment (1)

Although the American West was largely built around railroad lines, few people travel the region by train any more. However, New Mexicoís Rail Runner train is hoping to change that. The train, which runs between the stateís two biggest cities, was intended for tourists but is now popular with commuters who live in one city and work in the other.

We hopped the Rail Runner for its regular route from Albuquerque to Santa Fe. The train itself is a bit of a challenge to find; although it picks up from the downtown ABQ bus and train depot, the sole Rail Runner track is outdoors, behind the building, and incredibly easy to miss. Thereís only one track and no ticket booths or machines, so your only options for a ticket are to buy one onboard or online and show a staff member your phone screen or a printout of the ticket. Rides are $9 each way.

Despite the lack of organization at the pickup spot, the train ride itself is a pleasure. Even at rush hour, itís never full, and comfy seats exist on three levels to provide a variety of perspectives.

Our recommendation is to opt for an upper level seat, where the windows are largest and provide the most scenic views of the New Mexican countryside. The least of what you'll see are horses, cows, and plenty of pretty mountains. During inclement weather (we rode the rails during a snowfall), even locals will advise you to take the Rail Runner, as itís usually safer than driving on the highway.

The trip takes about two hours one-way. For non-drivers, environmentalists, and/or money-savers, itís more than worth the ride.

[Photos: chief_huddleston & tracktwentynine]

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Yay, NM love on Jaunted.

So great to see my home state getting so much love here on Jaunted recently. I just wanted to point out that those who have purchased a return Rail Runner ticket can also avail of free bus travel in both Albuquerque and Santa Fe on the day of their travel. I love the Rail Runner!

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