Training the Railrunner.

They say that at least fascist dictators make the trains run on time. Santa Fe exists as the polar opposite to this premise and in fact so does all of New Mexico. Thus, the new Railrunner Express between Santa Fe and Albuquerque that began running over the holidays quickly built a reputation that it may or may not get you anywhere as hinted at by the schedule. In fact, it was advised for a while that you bring a cooler and sleeping bag just in case because the hour-long trip might take half a day or so. The NM theme is "carpe maƱana," which is an excellent way to live unless you need to get somewhere on a train.

So we didn't even MENTION the Railrunner Express between Albuquerque and Santa Fe until we started to feel confident about its schedule, and until a few related aspects were finally addressed. Well, now we're mentioning it because a new shuttle bus has begun making rounds of Santa Fe's downtown--so train passengers have a convenient way to get around once they step off the Railrunner Express.

"The Santa Fe Pick-Up" is free for anyone who wants to ride; the 15-passenger vans that ran from the shiny new Santa Fe Railyard depot since December 17 have been supplemented with three new 14-passenger GMC buses (like airport parking shuttles). So the overcrowding that was a problem over the holidays should no longer be a problem. Theoretically.

Stops: Capitol/PERA building, Cathedral Basilica of St. Francis of Assisi, the Main Library, City Hall, the Santa Fe Community Convention Center and the Eldorado/Hilton. Stops are marked "Pick It Up Here." The entire route takes 18 minutes.

The shuttle will drop off passengers at other places along the route if the driver judges that it is safe to stop. New routes and stops may be added. The shuttles, which are synchronized with the arrivals and departures of trains, will run from 6:30 am to 6:30 pm Monday through Friday and 7:30 am to 4:30 pm on Saturday.