SUNSET LIMITED FLAG STOP “STATIONS” continued May 28th, 2007
PART 2: Deming, NM, PHOTOS and Commentary by Russ Jackson, RailPAC
In Part 1 we showed what passengers can expect at Benson, Arizona, and Lordsburg, New Mexico, when they choose those stations as their destination on Amtrak train #2, the Sunset Limited.
After departing Lordsburg, another hour later #2 arrives at Deming. To get to this “station” from town requires a circuitous trip through an underpass, a right turn, travel a few blocks, turn right again and re-cross all the tracks without any signs saying how to get there. When you do get “there” you find two cheap benches next to a green rail logo sign and NO Amtrak information in sight (this photo also appears on the front page of the June Western Rail Passenger Review). Behind the benches is a westbound one-way I-10 off-ramp.
Deming is the center of UP’s massive double-track project that will soon make the line between Tucson and El Paso a “speedway.” We assume the Sunsets load passengers at the road crossing, as there is NO platform of any kind. In 2004-05 Deming saw 704 rail passengers!
WHAT COULD HAVE BEEN at Deming? (Top) The historic SP era train station building stood at track-side in various configurations since its original construction in 1881. (Bottom) Now it has been fully restored and moved across Interstate 10 to a new location where it is a learning center annex! Attempts to keep it at track-side were unsuccessful.
OK, Amtrak, and you wonder why smaller cities and towns don’t provide more riders. You’re lucky that many do take the trains. Yes, it’s up to the towns to provide stations, so above is what you get for that hands-off policy. Where are your signs? Are these stations ADA compliant? It doesn’t look like it. Just think: Each 100 additional tickets sold among just these three towns each year could yield $150,000 in additional revenue at NO incremental cost.