Amtrak (800/872-7245, www.amtrak.com) runs the Southwest Chief daily between Chicago and Los Angeles, stopping in Lamy (18 miles from Santa Fe) and Albuquerque. Traveling by train, if you have the time to do it, is a rewarding experience, as you’ll get a great sense of New Mexico’s isolation—and of what a dramatic change the railroad made when it arrived in 1880.
Arriving in Albuquerque, you’re in the middle of downtown, but Lamy is little more than a depot and a café. Amtrak provides shuttle service to Santa Fe hotels, or you can connect with a tour run by Santa Fe Southern Railway (505/989-8600, www.sfsr.com), though the schedule varies significantly according to the day and the season. If you’re coming from Chicago, know that Amtrak pads its schedule heavily between Lamy and Albuquerque—so if the train is running behind, you’ll be late arriving in Lamy, but generally will still get to Albuquerque on schedule.
At press time, Albuquerque’s Rail Runner commuter-rail service was being extended to Santa Fe, with direct service between the cities’ downtowns set to start in late 2008. It should be a solid transit option by the time you read this. Check www.nmrailrunner.com for details.
© Zora O'Neill from Moon Santa Fe, Taos & Albuquerque, 2nd edition