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Back to the Conestoga Travel Time January 12, 2011

Posted by bobv451 in ghost towns, New Mexico, westerns.

Used to be a dangerous trip from Mesilla all the way up the aptly named Jornada del Muerto to Socorro or Santa Fe. Back in the day you could ride a horse over the 200 or so miles and if you really pushed it you could make it in five days. With the advent of modern technology we are back to that. The Leaf runs 75 miles before it needs 18 hours of recharging.

I rather like the graphene battery technology cutting recharge times to minutes but this is for cell phones, not autos. The technology has great potential, though.

The politicians (who probably own the right of way) have talked about a high speed train on the north-south route for decades but the RailRunner from Belen to Santa Fe is a $1bn money pit with another $400m necessary to upgrade the line in the next couple years. This serves almost 0.1% of the state’s population but everyone pays for it. But Union Pacific is talking about moving a $400m rail hub from El Paso a few miles west to Santa Theresa.

Politicos are falling all over themselves to give tax breaks for this rather than making a level playing field and business-friendly state tax structure for all sizes of business. Since 40% of all imports come through the port of Long Beach, trains and trucks need to get a huge amount of cargo moved throughout the country. Here we are! This new hub would be great for the state but it might just be a bargaining chip to get El Paso to repair and upgrade bridges. There’s nothing that says the railroad is serious yet since money’s not on the line and contracts aren’t signed. Only hopes have been raised.

When the railroad originally came from LA going south to San Antonio, TX, the people of Mesilla figured they could gouge the railroad on land right of way. On the other side of the swamp, the teeny town of Las Cruces said, “here’s your right of way and it’s all free.” Guess which town is big and subsumed the other?

Let’s let the Chinese put in maglev trains. They’ve got the money and technology we don’t.






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