Gallup, New Mexico, is the largest city along the BNSF
Gallup Subdivision between Flagstaff, Arizona, and Albuquerque.
Approximately 21,000 people call Gallup home, and it is predominantly made
up Native Americans from the Navajo, Hopi, and Zuni tribes.
The city was founded in 1881 as a railhead for the Atlantic and Pacific
Railroad, and named after David Gallup, a paymaster for the railroad.
Gallup is an Amtrak train station at 201 East Highway 66 in downtown Gallup,
New Mexico. It is the second busiest station in the state, with more than
16,000 boardings and alightings in 2014. The two-story station was built in
the Mission Revival style in 1918. Then one of a series of Santa Fe railroad
station hotels built across the southwestern and central United States by
the Fred Harvey Company was connected to the depot in 1923. The fabulous El
Navajo Hotel was designed by the master architect Mary Colter, blending
Pueblo Revival and Art Deco styles, and decorated using Navajo sand
paintings. The hotel was demolished in 1957 to widen Route 66. The depot
reopened later as an unstaffed Amtrak station.
The city renovated the building in 1996 to serve as the Gallup Cultural
Center to be operated by the Southwest Indian Foundation. In addition to a
passenger waiting area, it is also home to the Gallup Visitor Center, which
relocated to the station in 2004.
The Cultural Center houses a Storyteller Museum and Gallery of the Masters
showcasing Native American Arts & Culture; the Kiva Cinema; and a coffee
shop and a gift shop featuring jewelry, pottery, rugs and blankets, and
other pieces by local Acoma, Zuni, Navajo, Hopi and other Native American
artisans. The Museum includes exhibits on weaving, sandpainting,
silversmithing, trains, and Historic Route 66.
A statue of Navajo Chief Manuelito by Tim Washburn stands in a plaza front
of the Gallup Cultural Center. Next to the plaza is the "Navajo Code
Talker", a 12-foot bronze statue by famous Navajo/Ute sculptor Oreland Joe.
The Navajo Code Talkers played a major role during World War II because the
Japanese never cracked their language "code".
The station is unique in that a fence guards the platform from the rest of
the station. This is to prevent people getting onto BNSF's triple-tracked,
high-speed, very busy Southern Transcon main line. It also makes it useless
The Southern Transcon is a railroad corridor between Southern California and
Chicago, Illinois and serves as a BNSF Railway main line made up of 11 rail
lines between Southern California and Chicago. Completed in its current
alignment in 1908 by the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railway, when it
opened the Belen Cutoff in New Mexico and bypassed the steep grades of Raton
Pass, it now serves as a mostly double-tracked intermodal corridor.
The Transcon is one of the most heavily trafficked rail corridors in the
western United States. An average of almost 90 trains daily (over 100 trains
on peak days) passed over the section between Belen and Clovis, New Mexico
in 2006, each train typically 6000 to 8000 feet (1800 to 2400 meters) in
El Rancho Hotel, Gallup, New Mexico, is an historic hotel built by the
brother of film director D.W. Griffith. It opened in 1937 as a base for
movie productions. Employees were trained by the Fred Harvey Company. Famous
guests include: Ronald Reagan
Amtrak, in a recent poorly conceived decision, decided to retire the five
Pacific Parlour Cars that were well known and appreciated on the Coast
On February 17 and 18, 2018, these cars departed Los Angeles on the eastbound
Southwest Chief where we were fortunate to catch them in Albuquerque and Lamy,
Evan Stair, of the Friends of the Southwest Chief, writes:
"Pacific Parlor Car Significance
The Pacific Parlor Cars were originally purchased by the Santa Fe Railway in the
1950s for the Chicago-Kansas City-Los Angeles El Capitan. The El Capitan was the
first extra fare Hi-Level intercity coach passenger train.
Three types of cars were purchased. These included coaches, diners, and these
lounge cars. Eventually, the Hi-Level equipment spread out over the entire Santa
Fe passenger system. You would see Hi-Level coaches on trains such as the Texas
Chief and the San Francisco Chief.
Amtrak took over Santa Fe passenger operations in 1971. The Hi-Level cars
constituted a portion of the Santa Fe's payment for joining Amtrak. The Santa Fe
transferred other cars to Amtrak, but the Hi-Level cars were unique. In fact,
they inspired Amtrak to work with car manufacturers to design and build the
Superliners you see today.
The cars migrated to the Coast Starlight and were renamed the Pacific Parlor
Cars. These are the last first class lounge cars to run on any Amtrak passenger
train. They were unique to the Coast Starlight as their simply were not enough
of them to use on other routes.
Re-purposed, the Pacific Parlor Cars were intended to be only for sleeping car
passengers while the Superliner Sightseer Lounge was intended for coach
passengers. Amtrak CEO Richard Anderson believed these non-revenue cars were an
extravagant, non-standard expense the company could no longer afford. No doubt
Anderson's tenure at Delta Airlines has him cutting every possible amenity to
squeeze the last penny out of ever dollar.
It is a sad day as Amtrak continues to chase the impossible dream of
self-sufficiency. As it does so, even though Congress removed the for-profit
mandate from law in the 1990s, it makes train travel just a bit less enjoyable
in the US."
Railcars are often deadheaded on the Southwest Chief between Los Angeles and
Chicago. Here we see the Amtrak Surfliner Grover Beach on Amtrak 4, the
eastbound Southwest Chief on February 8, 2018, and the Point Buchon on Amtrak 3,
the westbound Southwest Chief on February 4, 2018. Both trains were shot in
Follow us on YouTube
Help our channel and webpage by becoming a Patron!