News & Reviews News Wire ‘Dragon’ train makes debut in New Mexico

‘Dragon’ train makes debut in New Mexico

By Thomas Scalf | December 6, 2021

| Last updated on April 1, 2024

Sky Railway, former Santa Fe Southern, runs first passenger trip

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Train with elaborate paint scheme and flatcar with giant Christmas packages in desert scenery
Sky Railway’s “Pablo the Dragon” Train, near Lamy, N.M., makes its first revenue run on Dec. 3, 2021. Thomas Scalf

LAMY, N.M. — It’s been over 18 months since George R.R. Martin, Catherine Oppenheimer,  Bill Banowsky, and several others bought the Santa Fe Southern Railroad and started the transformation to what is now Sky Railway.  Based in Lamy, the railroad has seen several owners since the Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe ended operations in 1992 on the 18-mile line between Lamy and Santa Fe.

Sky Railway operated its first excursion on Friday, Dec. 3. The “Pablo’s Magical Holiday” special departed Lamy for a 16-mile round trip with Santa Claus aboard the “Pablo the Dragon” Train, telling a story of  Santa helped Pablito save Christmas in New Mexico.  The train, with livery designed and painted by Santa Fe muralist Joerael Numina, crawled through the high desert outside of Lamy before returning where passengers could enjoy a winter elf village and cocoa and cookies.  While the paint scheme is controversial, a dragon train makes perfect sense to Martin, a Santa Fe resident who wrote the book on which the HBO series Game of Thrones was based, as well as writing parts of the TV series.

Asked about ticket sales, Sky Railway engineer Erich Brock says, “We were sold out!” There are many other adventure-themed rides planned, promising not just a ride on a train through the high desert of New Mexico, but entertainment featuring music, cocktails, history, and of course, a murder mystery. More information is available at the Sky Railway website.

Train under sunny sky
With the late afternoon sun blazing, Sky Railway “Pablo the Dragon” Train returns to Lamy, N.M., led by an EMD GP16 built in 1952. The locomotive sports new paint by Santa Fe muralist Joerael Numina. Thomas Scalf

9 thoughts on “‘Dragon’ train makes debut in New Mexico

  1. Did they retain trackage right over the NM Rail Runner tracks to Sante Fe?
    How close to Sante Fe do they go?

    1. This is the old ATSF branch from Lamy to Santa Fe. It is not the Rail Runner line from Albuquerque.

  2. The coach behind the engine is former LIRR for sure. The second I’m not sure. Maybe a P70? A long way from their former homes if a P70. Luv it.

  3. As huge fans of New Mexico and Santa Fe, we really like the color scheme. In most cases, it would be great to see revival of a historic livery. This is a tourist attraction and with the beauty of the desert, mountains and sky, it fits. May they be enormously successful and introduce many to the beauties of NM and of rail travel.

  4. More power to them. Rode this route about 20 years ago. Hope they can find some freight business to provide a base revenue for the operation.

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