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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 for railfanning.
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 length.
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
Jane Wyman
Spencer Tracy
Kirk Douglas
Katharine Hepburn
Jackie Cooper
John Wayne

Amtrak, in a recent poorly conceived decision, decided to retire the five Pacific Parlour Cars that were well known and appreciated on the Coast Starlight.
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, New Mexico.
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 Bernalillo, NM.

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