Trains.com
You have 2 views remaining. Click here to learn about the Unlimited Membership!

Home / How To / Prototype Railroads / Santa Fe New Mexico branchline service

Santa Fe New Mexico branchline service

By Steve Sweeney, Trains.com Digital Editor | March 24, 2022

See these photos that will help inform and inspire a freelanced Ho scale model train layout.

Email Newsletter

Get the newest photos, videos, stories and more.

A lone diesel locomotive pauses in an arid landscaped rail yard.

Santa Fe New Mexico branchline service epitomizes a long-gone era of U.S. railroading — the kind where locals and shuttles move rural freight (and passengers) in unhurried ways.

Santa Fe New Mexico branchline train snakes through an arid landscape.
At sundown, a Santa Fe train of copper snakes through the curves of Santa Rita, New Mexico, enroute from Kennicott Copper's China Mine at Santa Rita to the smelter in Hurley. Trains operate round-the-clock. (August 25, 1972) R.T. Sharp photograph
Santa Fe New Mexico branchline train snakes through an arid landscape.
Black and white stripped locomotive paused at a switch.
Diesel switcher 2130 enters switch near Carlsbad, New Mexico, which is operated by remote control radio from the cab of the diesel. Antena and receiver can be seen at left. Santa Fe Railway photograph
Black and white stripped locomotive paused at a switch.
Short freight train winding through a wide river valley.
A Santa Fe supply train winds its way through Vermejo Canyon enroute to Kaiser Steel coal mining operations in York Canyon near Raton, New Mexico. Santa Fe Railway photograph
Short freight train winding through a wide river valley.
A lone diesel locomotive pauses in an arid landscaped rail yard.
Lamy, New Mexico, Dec. 24, 1974

Santa Fe GP35 with silver trucks switching on the Santa Fe branch in front of old, Spanish style church at Lamy, New Mexico. This gp35 just brought the Santa Fe local down to Lamy from Santa Fe and is awaiting Amtrak No. 4 before heading south (west) to Albuquerque. John C. Lucas photograph
A lone diesel locomotive pauses in an arid landscaped rail yard.
Black and white stripped locomotive at the head of a long freight train in an arid landscape.
With twelve full cattle cars, assorted freight in boxcars and gondolas, crew of 5 and three passengers, Santa Fe train 44 eases down-grade along the south rim of Socorro Mountain. Clint Morgan photograph
Black and white stripped locomotive at the head of a long freight train in an arid landscape.
Caboose next to wooden train station.
Santa Fe caboose No. 1580 remains parked near the Magdalena, New Mexico, station and acts as sleeping quarters for the engineer, fireman, and head brakeman. Clint Morgan photograph
Caboose next to wooden train station.
Black and white stripped locomotive moves along a grassed in track with freight train.
A Santa Fe diesel locomotive with zebra stripes ambles throught the arid New Mexico landscape. Clint Morgan photograph
Black and white stripped locomotive moves along a grassed in track with freight train.
Back-lit black and white stripped locomotive leads freight train through arid landscape.
Approaching Belen, New Mexico, in the glare of a warm afternoon February sun. Clint Morgan photograph
Back-lit black and white stripped locomotive leads freight train through arid landscape.
Silhouette of a man looking out the door of a passenger car.
View from the rear of Santa Fe combine 2317 as the train leaves mountains and begins the sharp descent toward Socorro, New Mexico. Clint Morgan photograph
Silhouette of a man looking out the door of a passenger car.

True, this photo gallery from the David P. Morgan Library collection offers dedicated copper-mine running. But there are no “hot-shots”, high-priority merchandise freights, or even an intermodal train to be had. But there are also no steam locomotives — only hard-working, barely stopping, always burbling – growling diesels — and zebra-stripers at that!

Whether moving copper or cattle, these images evoke the type of railroading once enjoyed by late MR Executive Editor Andy Sperandeo, a noted Santa Fe modeler.

So, join us for this scenic look at Santa Fe New Mexico branchline service.