ROUNDHOUSE SITE, SOUTH OF DOWNTOWN--I had a message left on my machine last night from Mike Moye. (Mike and I are riding our bikes from Mexico to Canada one state per year. This summer we ended up at West Yellowstone, Montana.)
Anyway, Mike said he had been riding his bike across the tracks on Bridge Blvd. when he caught a glimpse of something new. He turned his bike around and went north a bit on the east side of the railroad tracks and saw the new RailRunner cars almost totally hidden from view. RailRunner is the name of the new commuter rail line that is going to run from Belen to Bernalillo.
Well, The Artist Ken Saville and I went down there first thing this morning to check it out. We were on the west side stuck behind a chain-link fence with the sun in our eyes, but we found an opening further north and drove between some buildings towards "Bombadier - Shipping and Receiving." Bombadier is the company that built the rail cars. We were following tire tracks in the dirt, but I wouldn't go so far as to call it a road exactly. Anyway I thought I better start shooting pictures immediately because I could just see us getting rousted at any moment.
We were standing right on the spot of the old roundhouse! The turntable was still there...and right next to it were the new rail cars. I parked and went up to the Bombadier trailer and knocked. Nobody home. So I started wandering around.
What beautiful cars! Whoever designed this paint scheme was brilliant. I love the way it flows from car to car. Anyway, looking inside, the entrance is large with a place for wheelchairs and bikes. A stairway leads to more seating up above. The seats on the main level are arranged facing each other next to a window. I didn't notice any tables.
There was another guy there wandering around as well. I waved to him. When he waved back I knew he didn't work for the railroad.
Eventually, a man did approach me. "Bob" told me I had to go...especially since I was definitely NOT wearing steel-toed shoes. Well, okay...I'm leaving...no problem.
He did give me a couple of additional pieces of information. The engines arrive next month. And the RailRunner is on schedule to begin service between Belen, Los Lunas, Albuquerque, and Bernalillo by December. You can bet I'll be on one of the first trains!.