New Mexico Rail Runner Express on April 7 will beef up Saturday service by adding two trains to both the northbound and southbound schedules, expanding its hours of operation.
The new schedule will allow northbound riders to arrive at the Santa Fe Depot about an hour earlier than the current schedule and catch a returning train more than two hours later in the evening, officials announced Monday.
The change will not affect Sunday and weekday schedules.
The expanded Saturday service is intended to make Rail Runner Express a more attractive travel option for visitors to Santa Fe and to boost ridership, said Augusta Meyers, spokeswoman for the Mid-Region Council of Governments, which manages the railroad.
The new schedule will expand the number of Saturday trains between Albuquerque and Santa Fe to five each direction, up from three. Key features of the new Saturday schedule are:
⋄ The first northbound train will leave Belen at 7:54 a.m. and arrive at the Santa Fe Depot at 10:16 a.m., or nearly an hour earlier than under the existing schedule. The earlier schedule is intended to allow people to spend more time at the farmer’s market and other Santa Fe events.
⋄ The final southbound train will depart the Santa Fe Depot at 9 p.m., terminating at Downtown Albuquerque at 10:32 p.m. Currently, the final southbound train on Saturday departs Santa Fe at 6:41 p.m. The change is intended to allow people to remain longer in Santa Fe on Saturday night.
Rail Runner curtailed its weekend service in November as a cost-cutting measure. Officials announced in February that Rail Runner will receive an additional $4.8 million in federal funding this year, allowing it to permanently restore Saturday service, Meyers said.
For complete schedule and ticket information, visit nmrailrunner.com.
— This article appeared on page C2 of the Albuquerque Journal