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Mexican Canyon Trestle Cloudcroft NM

July 2018

Yes, this railroad ends up in Russia. It starts out at 4,320 ft elevation in Alamogordo New Mexico and ends up at 9,076 ft in Russia.     Well, just to be clear that is Russia New Mexico.

Nice place to go for a hike - This trestle was one of several including an S Shaped trestle on the Cloud Climbing Rail Trail to Cloudcroft New Mexico. Unfortunately, the S shaped trestle has collapsed. The Mexican Canyon trestle pictured spans over 300 feet and is 130 feet above the canyon floor. The hike starts at the replica of the train depot.

In 1898 the Alamogordo and Sacramento Mountain Railway was built as a branch line for the El Paso and Northeastern Railway (EP&NE). The sawmills in Alamogordo needed lumber and this track brought it down the mountain tops so the EP&NE could reach the Chicago Rock Island and Pacific Railroad.

Late In 1900, the railroad reached Cloudcroft, New Mexico, where a lodge was built for summer tourists to enjoy the cool mountain air. Cloudcroft was laid out in several villages, so tourists might avoid associating too closely with loggers and railway workers. The railway was extended from Cloudcroft to the small community of Russia, New Mexico, in 1903; and several branches were built to reach timber for the Alamogordo Lumber Company.

This climb required numerous trestlesswitchbacks, and grades as steep as 6.4 percent. The work was supervised by Horace Sumner, whose experience in Colorado included construction of the Denver and Rio Grande Western Railroad and the Florence and Cripple Creek Railroad. The result has been described as a standard gauge railroad built to narrow gauge standards. It was one of the most spectacular railroads of the American west.

Summer excursions from El Paso were discontinued in 1930 and passenger and mail service ended in 1938. Freight service ended in 1947 and the line was dismantled through the summer of 1948, one half century after it had been built.