Mister Trains has finally taken a round trip on New Mexico Rail Runner.
For this new commuter operation to which we have given a lot of bad lip service, quite a few things have been done right.
The trains are clean, neat, and new. We know they will wear as ridership increases, and we hope it does.
Train personnel are friendly and courteous. The fare structure is fair. We rode on a hot day, and the air conditioning and lighting was operating smoothly on the train voltage from the well-maintained motive power.
The train was on time at every station. For those stops of duration, the departures were on time as well. This may be the most important achievement.
Seating is in sets of four facing seats. Every other set has a table in between. This makes for a convenient club car atmosphere when trains are not full, but may be inconvenient for commuter crowds.
We couldn't see the destination signs in stations very well from the upper deck. The Toronto-style double-decks have three levels with ample space for bicycles and wheelchairs or other assists. There is no accomodation for handicap access to the upper levels.
We haven't ridden any other commuter operation that has such beautiful scenery (mostly south of Albuquerque) and such ugly, messy industrial areas (both north and south). The ugliness of post-industrial Albuquerque may be a turn-off for potential future riders.
Next time, what is not right.
© 2007 - C. A. Turek - firstname.lastname@example.org