On December 3, right here in New Mexico, we will be opening the Sky between Santa Fe and Lamy.
Sky Railway, to be precise.
That’s the new name of the old Santa Fe Southern, the historic short-haul railroad originally build by the Atchison, Topeka, and Santa Fe back in the nineteenth century. Largely moribund since 2012, the railway was acquired in 2020 by a group that included me, Bill Banowsky (founder of Magnolia Films and Violet Crown Cinemas), bestselling mystery author Douglas Preston, and five other prominent Santa Feans (Margaritas may have had something to do with our decision). We’ve been busy ever since restoring and refurbishing the cars, repairing the tracks and tressels, replacing old seats, fixing broken windows, even installing a new engine into one of our old locomotives. All of which took longer and cost more than we had originally anticipated… but hey, that’s pretty much always the case.
(I almost titled this post “I’ve been working on the railroad,” but my readers would have taken that the wrong way… and, anyway, it isn’t true. I am one of the owners. Mostly what I have been doing is throwing out ideas and writing checks. Sky’s employees, an energetic and enthusiastic crew, have been doing the work, all those things I mentioned up above and lots more besides. I have not driven a single spike, laid a single rail, reupholstered a seat, crawled under a coach to check the wheels, and I won’t be selling tickets or driving the trains either… though I do reserve the right to blow the whistle now and again. Nor have I been in the kitchen with Dinah. I have working, yes, yes… but not on the railroad. I have been writing WINDS OF WINTER, editing three new Wild Cards books, sitting down with some amazing screenwriters and showrunners to create three hundred and seventeen new GAME OF THRONES successor shows for HBO and HBO Max, and serving as executive producer on various other television and film projects in various stages of development, including DARK WINDS for AMC, JOKERTOWN for Peacock, ROADMARKS and WHO FEARS DEATH for HBO. Oh, and I was the executive producer on our (recently wrapped) short film of Howard Waldrop’s NIGHT OF THE COOTERS. So I have been working. Maybe too bloody hard, but that’s another tale for another blog post… though these days even finding the time to blog is hard).
But I digress. Let us get… ahem… back on track.
Santa Fe is the City Different, and we wanted Sky, the reborn Santa Fe Southern, to be the Railway Different. We had two big old diesel locomotives, so right off we decided we would run two trains: the Wolf and the Dragon. And to paint them, and give each its own character and a look unlike any other train in the country, we hired Santa Fe’s own JORAEL NUMINA, an amazingly gifted muralist and graffiti artist. You can check out Joerael’s own website at https://www.joerael.com/ He’s been climbing all over our trains for the best part of the last year, and we think he’s produced something extraordinary.
Our swanky new paint job is not the only thing that will set Sky Railway apart, however. It’s eighteen miles from Santa Fe to Lamy, a distance that we will cover in, oh, about an hour and a quarter at our blazing speed of fifteen miles an hour. It’s nice ride, and our passengers can just buy a ticket and look out the windows at the passing scenery… pretty much the way it was on the old Santa Fe Southern, and every other tourist railroad in the country, give or take a few. We’re planning to offer more than that, however. We’re planning murder and mayhem on some of our trains, and unless Hercule Poirot buys a ticket, the passengers will have to solve the mysteries themselves. Some of our trains may well be robbed; there are gangs of outlaws down by Lamy. Expect ghosts and zombies next Halloween, and maybe even a hanging. We will have jazz trains, country music trains, cocktail trains (we will offer our own unique cocktails), costume trains, circus trains…. There may be pirates. There may be gunslingers. There may be… most anything. Especially if Exodus Ensemble is involved. Which they will be. https://www.exodusensemble.com/
Most of that will be coming next year. This year, well, Christmas is on hand, and Sky is building a Christmas Village for the kids down in Lamy. Most of our trains will leave from there, at least through Christmas. There will be hot chocolate and bells. Santa Claus will be on hand, and maybe his friend Pablito the Purple Dragon. The trains start running DECEMBER 3.
To keep track of all we’re doing, check out Sky’s new website at:
And, yes… tickets are now on sale.
Write it down. DECEMBER 3. The Wolf will howl. The Dragon will roar.
Ride the Sky. Santa Fe’s adventure train.
Current Mood: accomplished