Smooth Running

This article describes the trials and tribulations of building a commuter rail system in New Mexico. It focuses on the experiences of Lawrence Rael, a former deputy secretary of transportation for the state and the guiding light of the project. He describes the difficulty of getting federal funding, which led him to seek only state and local monies for the first phase of Rail Runner Express, which runs from Belen to Bernalillo. After that segment was successfully built, federal money became available for the second phase, which runs from Bernalillo to Santa Fe. The author describes negotiations with Burlington Northern Santa Fe to purchase a portion of BNSF’s line, which in the end amounted to about $250,000 a mile for class four track which traverses three-quarters of New Mexico and runs into the heart of major population centers. Other challenges included negotiating to run the trains on rail that was located on Native American land; working with BNSF dispatch out of Fort Worth; aligning track down the middle of I-25 and into the historic town of Santa Fe.


  • English

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Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01147376
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Source Agency: UC Berkeley Transportation Library
  • Files: BTRIS, TRIS
  • Created Date: Dec 15 2009 5:25PM