rail to trail to rail
Many rail trails are build on the right-of-way of retired train routes. The Santa Fe Rail Trail follows not only one but two active rail lines.
As mentioned before, the Rail Runner Express carries commuters and tourists between Albuquerque and Santa Fe. It runs alongside the rail trail and can be seen sliding past trail users on its journey back and forth. Then, it veers off to the west.
However, as you continue on the trail, you'll still be following an older looking railroad track. You are now following the route of the Santa Fe Southern Railway. It runs much less frequently than the Rail Runner Express.
Here's where the railroad buffs are going to fall in love with this rail corridor. In addition to riding to Santa Fe in a train, then traveling on a trail that parallels the tracks, you also have the opportunity to become intimately involved with the Santa Fe Southern Railway. This is the train that uses the tracks that follow the trail all the way to the end.
The SFSR train offers great railroad enthusiast packages that include the "Hot Shot Train" that runs on Wednesdays and Sundays and offers beautiful views of the desert from the comfort of a historic train. For the more adventurous, there's the "Friday Evening High Desert Highball" that offers a relaxing evening of great scenery, fun people, and complimentary snacks (as well as a cash bar onboard). And finally there's the Saturday night "Barbecue Dinner Train" that provides a wonderful dinner, scenery from the vintage coach cars, and live music.
There's even a triangular train trip that offers a tour of both Albuquerque and Santa Fe on three totally different types of trains including the SFSR, the Rail Runner Express, and the Amtrak train.