EDITORS NOTE: Service has been suspended on the Railway as of Oct 1, 2014.
The Santa Fe Southern train is pulled by this circa-1950 diesel engine — Photo courtesy of Steve Collins
Board the train at the Santa Fe Railyard, just north of the water tower, and off you go out to Lamy, 18 miles south. Enjoy panoramic mountain vistas and high desert flora and fauna as you travel in either Turquoise or Diamond Class cars.
The Movaje, the Diamond Class lounge car — Photo courtesy of Steve Collins
Their “farm to train” menu concept means that food is sourced locally when possible. Signature brunch dishes on the new service include the New York Cheesecake Pancakes and vegetable frittatas (which change monthly). Their three-course dinners start with a salad. There are three entrée choices offered, including a vegetarian option. The dining service on the evening sunset/stargazing trains ends with dessert.
Both service levels have full bar cars, and the Diamond Class passengers receive a complimentary glass of red or white wine.
The Santa Fe Southern offers gluten-free and vegetarian options at all meals. They’ll try to accommodate other special dietary needs whenever possible with a week’s notice.
Brunch on the Santa fe Southern — Photo courtesy of Santa Fe Southern Railway
The diesel-electric locomotive engine is circa 1950. The Turquoise Class cars dating to the 1920s saw service with New Jersey Transit back in the day. One has the refurbished original seats, and the other has been repurposed with tables and chairs.
The Diamond Class cars, the Mohave Parlor Car and the Keystone Grill are both from the 1950s. The Mojave was used on the Acheson, Topeka & Santa Fe Railroad’s El Capitan and Super Chief trains running between Chicago and LA, from the 1930s to 1971. The latter, equipped with sleeping car accommodations, was dubbed "The Train of the Stars," as it often carried celebrities.
This 1920s former passenger was converted to the Turquoise Class dining cargo car — Photo courtesy of Steve Collins
The Keystone Grill started life as a parlor car on the Pennsylvania Railroad’s The Congressional, offering service from NYC to Washington, D.C. In the 1980s, Amtrak turned it into a buffet car offering booth seating for 32.
In warmer weather, one of the best ways to see the passing scenery is from the open flat-bed car. Besides great photo opportunities of the unimpeded views, it’s fun to feel the wind blowing through your hair. On a clear night, look up and see the stars.
Chef Tim looks on, as the cooks flame the dessert — Photo courtesy of Steve Collins
Trains run from Wednesday through Sunday. Brunch trains currently leave at 11:30 a.m. from Wednesday through Friday and at 11 a.m. on Saturday and Sunday. The sunset/stargazing run departs at 7:05 p.m. Wednesday to Friday and at 6:30 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday.
The Santa Fe Southern Railway plans to offer special holiday and event trains in the future. Advance reservations are recommended.
The cooks get the evening's salad course ready — Photo courtesy of Steve Collins