If you've ever ridden a train in or out of Albuquerque, you've seen the sad state of the cramped, worn-out Amtrak station down on 1st Street. For a town with a proud history of locomotive repair, the largest Harvey House by the rails (the old Alvarado) and some spectacular railroad boom years, this station was pretty tragic.
The new Alvarado bloomed next door. And Amtrak was left out. The Alvarado Phase II popped up on the other side to house Greyhound. And Amtrak was left out. Until now. Amtrak has cozied into its new shared digs with Greyhound.
They have an expanded ticket counter, pleasant tile work all around the interior, much more seating and even a little cafe with cheap hot eats (heavy on the hamburger offerings). That's a big step up from the vending machines that previously fed waiting customers.
The old facility will be fixed up for crew use. Passengers and rail workers alike will get to enjoy the clean and spacious new station area. It should give a much improved impression to the travelers that step off at the long Albuquerque stop to stretch their legs and get a fleeting glimpse of our fair city.
I'm looking forward to taking a train ride that launches from the new station. As a huge rail fan in a city with a rich railroad history, I'm thrilled that Amtrak has finally gotten a little bit of respect here. Now, if we could only turn back time and get the original Alvarado back...