George R.R. Martin Joins Investor Group To Buy & Restore Sante Fe Southern Railroad
Game of Thrones author George R.R. Martin has joined a group of investors in buying the Santa Fe Southern Railroad. Included in with him is the Violet Crown cinema owner Bill Banowsky and the National Dance Institute of New Mexico co-founder Catherine Oppenheimer.
The three have come together to purchase the 18-mile spur line that connects the community of Lamy to Santa Fe. Trains stopped taking the trip to Lamy in 2012 and some residents were starting to find a way for the town to be directly connected to Santa Fe again.
Originally there was a plan to have a direct railroad from Lamy to Santa Fe in 1879, but railroad executives and engineers said that it would be too difficult to build a main track to the capital city because of steep grade in the mountainous area. That’s when the spur line was created.
Oppenheimer noted that the three did not want the railway to disappear or struggle even more than it already is. “There’s something about train travel that brings you back to a time that we assume was a simpler, more community-based time, long before the internet, before air travel, even before television,” she said. She added how the group planned to add, “a super-fun train experience that builds in the history and culture and natural beauty of New Mexico.”
These plans include repairing the railroad track and including a stop on the Amtrak line that goes from Chicago to Los Angeles and back. In addition to this, the trains on the railway are going to have an array of entertainment, arts and cultural events as well as direct passengers to events such as these at nearby stops.
The three hope to renew a deal with Amtrak in order to keep the Southwest Chief line stopping at Lamy. They also want to install a ticket agent at the site of the railway.
No one involved in the purchase has revealed how much it cost, but Oppenheimer said it would be “in the millions” to repair the track that connect to Lamy. Almost 20 train cars, which date back to the 1920s will be restored.