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New Mexico Rail Runner Phase II

Rail system connects commuters in New Mexico’s most populous areas.
  • New Mexico Rail Runner links Santa Fe and Albuquerque-Gannett Fleming

    New Mexico Rail Runner links Santa Fe and Albuquerque.

Mid-Region Council of Governments

Bernalillo County, New Mexico 

Our Role
Project Management, Preliminary Engineering Design, Geotechnical, Civil and Site Work, Cost Estimating, Scheduling.

18 miles
Construction Cost
$140 million
New Construction
5 years
  • Connects the two cities that house more than half of New Mexico’s population 
  • 84-minute travel time between Albuquerque and the Santa Fe terminus
  • Relieves projected congestion in the I-25 corridor during the next 20 years.

Named after the Greater Roadrunner, New Mexico’s state bird, the New Mexico Rail Runner offers commuters an economical alternative to driving and eases congestion along I-25, the only major highway connecting Santa Fe and Albuquerque, two of the state’s most populous areas. Completed in two phases, Phase I utilized existing track to connect Belen to Albuquerque, while Phase II called for the construction of 18 miles of track to link Albuquerque and Santa Fe. Completed in 2011 under the direction of the Mid-Region Council of Governments, the Phase II segment begins at the junction with the Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railway, passes through Waldo Canyon, and continues along the median of I-25 to a connection with the Santa Fe Southern Railway.

Gannett Fleming developed and evaluated alternative alignments as part of the environmental screening process to select the locally preferred alternative for the Rail Runner commuter system extension from Albuquerque to Santa Fe. The scope also included the preliminary design of an 80-mph, single track commuter rail line with passing sidings to allow for an 84-minute travel time between downtown Albuquerque and the terminus in Santa Fe.

What We Did

Our firm prepared the necessary design-build request for proposal (RFP) documents for Phase II of the New Mexico Rail Runner, a new 18-mile long segment. The RFP documents consisted of preliminary and conceptual drawings, a concept report, performance specifications, design criteria, technical provisions, a geotechnical data report, and preliminary drainage reports.  

We provided project management services, train performance models, horizontal and vertical track designs, bridge design, geotechnical assessments of alternatives, civil and site work, cost estimates and schedules, and a condition assessment of the Santa Fe Southern Railway.

Key Features

  • 3.3 percent grade to the top of escarpment at La Bajada Hill
  • Series of deep cuts and large fills that average 40-50 feet high through Waldo Canyon
  • Retaining structures within median of I-25 based on grade differential between commuter rail line and interstate travel lanes
  • 2,600 foot viaduct to fly over I-25 northbound lanes, frontage road, and Bonanza Creek
  • 280-foot cut-and-cover rigid-frame structure to cross underneath southbound lanes
  • Plans for future improvements along I-25
  • Major and minor arroyo crossings
  • Several cattle crossings across three ranches.

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