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Santa Fe studying opening Rail Runner Zia Station

SANTA FE, N.M. — The Rail Runner Express is finally stopping at the Zia Station in Santa Fe, but passengers aren’t able to get on or off.

That’s because the Metropolitan Planning Organization, in conjunction with the city, the New Mexico Department of Transportation and Rio Metro Regional Transit District, is conducting “observational live train stop simulations” through Jan. 23, according to a media release from the city. The observations are part of ongoing testing in preparation to open the Zia Station full time, the release states.

The Zia Station, located at the intersection of St. Francis Drive and Zia Road, has never been a stop on the Rail Runner Express track, which runs from Santa Fe to Belen.

The state Department of Transportation, the Rail Runner’s operator, built a platform at Zia Station several years ago, but it currently sits locked behind a chain-link fence.

In 2011, the Santa Fe City Council approved a scaled-down version for the station amid concerns mostly from local residents that the station would create traffic back-ups.

This week’s observations at Zia Station should not impact the train schedule at other stops, because the train schedule already accounts for the train stopping at Zia Station, according to the release.

Meanwhile, the city’s Finance Committee tonight is considering a request to spend nearly $60,000 to develop a signal timing plan for Rodeo and Zia roads from Cerrillos Road to Yucca Street.