Amtrak in Raton, NM

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Raton New Mexico is a lovely small town just to the south of the border with Colorado. In the late 19th century, it was used by the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railway as the railroad's primary route through the mountains. The route over the pass required gradients of up to 3.5%, with a tunnel at the highest point at 7588 feet above sea level. The tunnel is entirely within New Mexico, with its northern portal only a few feet south of the Colorado border.
Raton has an Amtrak which occupies the former Atchison, Topeka, and Santa Fe Railway depot, built in 1903. Like many of the Santa Fe depots, the station was designed in the Mission Revival style.
The station is staffed during the summer season when tourism for the Philmont Scout Ranch is at its peak. During off-seasons, it is open at all train times, maintained by a caretaker. Passengers with layovers often visit the Old Pass Gallery, located on the station grounds in the restored 1910 Railway Express Agency building. A park on the north side of the station features a number of plaques describing the history of the railroad in Raton, as well as providing a nice area to sit and enjoy the scenery.
BNSF, which absorbed the Santa Fe railroad in 1996, and Amtrak continue to use this route. However, following completion of the Belen Cutoff in 1908, the majority of freight traffic was diverted over the Cutoff, which has gradients of no more than 1.25%. Amtrak's Southwest Chief passenger service between Chicago and Los Angeles, continues to use Raton Pass with one train daily in each direction.
 




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