Maggie Spencer and Martha Perez-Sanz | KRCC 
Amtrak’s Southwest Chief is a long distance passenger train that travels daily from Chicago to Los Angeles. Some riders travel the full route, others use it as their primary transportation between shorter distances. The train follows the historic Santa Fe Trail, one of the oldest commerce routes in the American West. Along the way, it passes through Southern Colorado—Lamar, LaJunta, and Trinidad—and then into Raton in Northern New Mexico. But the rails are aging, and the Southwest Chief could be diverted, bypassing Colorado and Northern New Mexico entirely.

Led by a diesel-electric engine, the Southwest Chief traverses the plains of Southern Colorado and crosses Raton Pass on the way to its final destination. Passengers fill the sleeping, coach, and dining cars, and the renowned lounge car. Some read, others nap, but most keep an eye on the scenery sliding by.

Conductor Gary Norris is a self-proclaimed history buff, and recognizes the history of the Santa Fe Trail. {….}

The Southwest Chief roughly 20 minutes east of Trinidad, Colorado. The Sangre de Cristo Range looms in the distance in this photo from July 2011. Credit Steve Wilson / Flickr – Creative Commons