News Column

Railroad Days celebrate glory days at Las Cruces Railroad Museum

April 25, 2014

By S. Derrickson Moore, Las Cruces Sun-News, N.M.



April 25--LAS CRUCES -- All aboard, railroad fans.

It's time for a celebration of the glory days of a form of transportation that transformed the Wild West -- and our own home town -- at the seventh annual Las Cruces Railroad Days, today and Saturday. Today will be devoted to student tours, but the whole community is invited to join the fun from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday at the Las Cruces Railroad Museum, 351 N, Mesilla St.

Reenactors, tours, model railroads and visiting railroad historians from throughout the state will be among attractions at the event, which celebrates Las Cruces' "railroading past, present, and future," according to the museum's director, Garland Courts.

"The DoÑa Ana Modular Railroad Club will have their model train layouts running and staff will be on hand to answer questions relating to railroading's rich history. The Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railroad will be bringing equipment that will be available for viewing on Saturday. Inside the museum, we will have Harvey Girl reenactors from the Railroad and Transportation Museum of El Paso," Courts said. "Deming and Columbus museums will have booths set up with displays and artifacts from their railroading history and there will be some people from Albuquerque who will talk about the project to restore a 2929 steam engine."

Kids activities will also include some educational programs.

"We'll have some demonstrations to show kids the power of steam. We think of it as an old technology, but it's still being used today, in nuclear power plants, for instance. We'll have some people from the Las Cruces Museum of Nature & Science talking about the science of steam," Courts said.

The museum, housed in a restored 1910 Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe Depot, is currently featuring a special exhibit, "Romanticizing the Southwest: Santa Fe Advertisements, 1940-1959," which focuses on advertisements used to lure visitors to the Southwest.

In the model train room, three layouts include a hands-on layout designed and built by students during summer programs, a train table for small children and a large exhibit that focuses on railroading in the Southwest during the 1940s and 50s. The layout, which took two years to complete, include farms and mountains, a switching yard and a downtown area featuring some historic buildings. Also featured are display cases of model trains.

"We'll have a bunch of guys on hand to answer questions, show some models and hand out fliers about upcoming club events for those interested in model trains," said Mike Fifer, a member of Southern New Mexico N-Scalers.

No train rides will be available this year, Courts said, but tours of the museum's Centennial Caboose will be available. Built in the 1890s, the caboose is "believed to have worked the Chicago, Burlington and Quincy Railway line before being transferred to the Fort Worth and Denver Railway in the 1960s," according to the museum's website.

The caboose was privately owned by a Texas family for 40 years and was donated to the museum in 2010.

Regular museum hours are 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Thursday, Friday and Saturday. For information, visit museums.las-cruces.org or call 575-647-4480.

S. Derrickson Moore may be reached at 575-541-5450.

___

(c)2014 the Las Cruces Sun-News (Las Cruces, N.M.)

Visit the Las Cruces Sun-News (Las Cruces, N.M.) at www.lcsun-news.com

Distributed by MCT Information Services


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Source: Las Cruces Sun-News (NM)


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