After an apparently successful revival during the summer, the Santa Fe Southern Railway, which takes tourists from the downtown rail depot to the rural village of Lamy, has once again suspended operations.
Customers who have booked upcoming trips have received calls and messages in the last week informing them that operations have been canceled for the foreseeable future.
A message on the railway’s website says in large red letters: “Service has been Temporarily Suspended.”
Calls to Santa Fe Southern Railway and to X Train Holdings Corporation, which was providing its luxury Club X services on the Santa Fe Southern Railway since July, were not returned by Monday evening.
In an email to a ticket holder, a customer service representative said that “all operations on the Santa Fe Southern Railway have been suspended.” The representative wrote that the company is unsure when the train will start running again. The email also stated that the company is processing refunds.
Sandra Lujan said that in mid-September she reserved seats for her children and grandchildren on Christmas Eve. But on Friday she received a call stating that there would be no train that day, and that she would receive a refund within five days.
Lujan said when the Santa Fe Southern Railroad temporarily stopped offering rides in 2013, she was disappointed.
“When it came back I was so excited,” she said. “It was going to be a very special Christmas.” It will be good to see her family, she added, but the visit won’t be the same without the train ride.
In 2013 the Santa Fe Southern Railway suspended service after two decades. But earlier this year it signed a deal with X Train Holdings, which is part of Las Vegas Railway Express Inc., to bring new luxury train service to Santa Fe. X Train announced that it would provide “the capital necessary to bring the track and equipment operational.”
X Train made national headlines when it announced plans for high-speed rail service between Los Angeles and Las Vegas, Nev., but it never materialized.
Since July, the scenic train has been running from Santa Fe to Lamy twice daily, Wednesday through Sunday. Tickets on the brunch trains were $89 while dinner trips were $159. Santa Fe Southern also began offering murder mystery-themed rides.
In a late August interview with the Las Vegas Review-Journal, Penny White, president and chief operations officer of X Train Holdings, said the New Mexico train had been “wildly popular in the company’s first month of operations.” She also told the publication that the train had plans to operate once-a-day during the winter months.
A report on CNN Money’s website dated Sept. 2 said that X Train had sold more than 1,000 tickets and surpassed its projected revenue since July 2014. The report said the company had booked many company Christmas parties and holiday train rides catering to families. It said it planned to have carol singing and opportunities for children to have their pictures taken with Santa. That release also stated that the train would be running in December.
The Santa Fe Southern Railway’s trains are still parked in the Santa Fe Railyard. On Monday, some electrical equipment hummed on one of the cabs, but the cars were deserted.
Contact Chris Quintana at 986-3093 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter at @CQuintanaSF.