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New cars in the works for Sandia Peak tram

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An original Sandia Peak tram car when the tramway was launched in 1966. COURTESY SANDIA PEAK TRAMWAY

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — The Sandia Peak tram will celebrate its 50th birthday next year with new tram cars — but you’ll have to wait until May to see what they look like.

The current cars, which have been in service since 1986, will be retired after traveling about 868,000 miles up and down the cables that lead to Sandia Crest.

It will be the third round of cars for the Sandia Peak Tramway, which began operations on May 7, 1966. Like the previous cars, the new ones will be built by CWA Constructions, a Swiss company.

The current cars weigh about 8,000 pounds each, and the Swiss manufacturer delivered them by ship to Houston and then by semi-truck to Albuquerque, communications director Debi Owen said.

The appearance of the tram cars has changed over the years, starting with both painted a bright-red.  In 1976, one of the cars was painted blue with a “76” on it to mark the nation’s bicentennial.

The blue color was retained, with a new design for both in 2004.

The color scheme will remain the same for the two newcomers, but Owen said all else will be kept under wraps until May.

‘As for the celebration, “We haven’t quite got everything finalized,” she said.

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