Track repair dispute leaves NM train service in jeopardy

From - By: Stuart Dyson, KOB Eyewitness News 4  - Railroad tracks in lousy condition are threatening to bring passenger train service in northern New Mexico to a screeching halt. It's the Choo-Choo Blues and nobody wants to fix what's wrong. At times Amtrak's Southwest Chief has to slow down to ten miles an hour because of aging tracks in bad condition. Crews said most of the time, the famous train creeps along at a stately 45 miles per hour, about half of its peak cruising speed. "I think it's pretty ridiculous," said passenger Kate Decker as the Chief slowly hauled itself up through Raton Pass. "This is a really nice train ride. It's sad that they haven't kept up the lines. It would be a shame if they weren't able to use them." The State of New Mexico owns the tracks these days, part of the deal that brought us the Rail Runner commuter train, but it wants to give the 200 miles of rail line from Lamy to the Colorado border back to the BNSF railroad. The railroad doesn't want to pay back the nearly $5 million the state paid to acquire the tracks. Neither side wants to fix the tracks, at a price tag that could go as high as $100 million. Read more


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