IntroductionConstruction of the major railroads in New Mexico occurred during a 30-year period from 1880 to 1910. Maintaining and operating the track system required many people in the early years and was an important source of jobs in most parts of the state.
Railroad workers have had a variety of experiences and described their careers in different ways. Each perspective gives an insight into how attitudes, events, and technological changes affected the people who lived through them.
View imagery related to railroad workers.
Read one or all of the selections related to railroad workers.
ObjectivesTo explain and understand the complexity of the human experience and its impact on the past and present.
To demonstrate the ability to examine an aspect of history from the perspectives of the participants.
To interpret events and issues based upon the historical, social, and geographic context of the participants.
To analyze the evolution of particular historical and contemporary perspectives.
StandardsNM Public Education Department, SS, grades 9-12, I-A5, I-D3, I-D6, I-D7
Title: Atchison, Topeka, and Santa Fe Railway Standard Track Tools
Source(s): Santa Fe The Chief Way Reference Series System Standards: Volume 2
Author(s): Unknown (Artist); Unknown (Editor)
Description: System standard plans from November of 1910 describing the standard track tools for the Atchison, Topeka, and Santa Fe Railway.
Publisher: The Kachina Press
Publication Date: November 1978
Title: Anything Was Wrong With The Track We Had To Fix It
Author(s): Fidel Padilla (Author); Shawn Kelley (Oral Historian); William Penner (Editor)
Description: Fidel Padilla talks about working on the Scholle section gang for the Santa Fe Railway near Mountainair, New Mexico.
Collection(s): Abo Canyon Second Track Project Oral Histories
Title: The Scholle section gang at work in Abo Canyon
Author(s): Unknown (Photographer)
Publication Date: Unknown
Collection(s): Randy Dunson Personal Collection
Title: The First Hispanic Telegraph Operator
Author(s): Felix Gabaldon (Author); Shawn Kelley (Oral Historian); William Penner (Editor)
Description: Felix Gabaldon talks about being the first Hispanic to work in a depot on the Santa Fe Railway in eastern New Mexico.
Title: 1967 Map of AT&SF system in New Mexico
Author(s): Unknown (Author)
Description: Map showing Atchison, Topeka, and Santa Fe Railway lines and sidings in New Mexico. Adapted from a larger map showing the entire system.
Publication Date: 1967
Title: El Velador del Cañon de Abo
Author(s): Eliseo R. Sisneros (Author); Shawn Kelley (Oral Historian); William Penner (Editor)
Description: Eliseo R. Sisneros talks about working for the Santa Fe Railway in eastern New Mexico.
Title: Atchison, Topeka, and Santa Fe Railway Yard Crew In Vaughn, New Mexico
Author(s): Charlie Patterson (Photographer)
Description: Atchison, Topeka, and Santa Fe Railway yard crew in Vaughn, New Mexico. The crew is celebrating the retirement of Mr. Robertson in the front right.
Crew in back row from left to right are: Harold Thompson (3rd foreman), Ardith Craft (carman), Malcom Simpson (carman), Burwinkel (supervisor), Lupe Storey (carman), and Anastacio Rael (carman). Crew in front row from left to right are: Bill Patterson (carman), Eddie McDowell (carman), and Lewis Robertson (labor).
Publication Date: 1957
Title: Santa Fe Railway engineer driving a steam engine on the local Belen-Vaughn run
Author(s): Stan Kistler (Photographer)
Title: Life At the Sais Crusher
Author(s): Bill Huckabay (Author); Shawn Kelley (Oral Historian); William Penner (Editor)
Description: Bill Huckabay talks about life at the Sais Crusher where his father worked for the railroad overseeing quarry operations.
Title: Labor Crew At The Santa Fe Railway Quarry In Sais, New Mexico
Description: Labor crew sitting on a railroad car at the Atchison, Topeka, and Santa Fe Railway quarry and crusher in Sais, New Mexico. Crew from left to right are: David Bibanio, Lorenzo Moya, unknown, Loreto Molina, unknown, and unknown.
Publication Date: 1930
Title: Wherever The Work Took Us, That’s Where We Went
Author(s): Randy Dunson (Author); Shawn Kelley (Oral Historian); William Penner (Editor)
Description: Randy Dunson talks about growing up on the Belen Cutoff and the experiences his father, a track supervisor for the Santa Fe Railway in eastern New Mexico, had with Navajo work gangs.
Title: Randy Dunson and his mother outside their bunk car on the Belen Cutoff
Author(s): Unknown (Photographer)
Description: Hazel and Randy Dunson sitting on the steps of their bunk car located on a siding along the Belen Cutoff.
Publication Date: Circa 1960
Title: Replacing A Frog On The Yeso Section
Description: The Yeso section gang replaces a frog. J. H. McMillian, section foreman, is located at the front with his back turned to the camera.
Publication Date: Unknown Date
Title: Construction of the Belen Cutoff
Author(s): Southwest Crossroads Spotlight; William Penner
Description: A brief history of the construction of the Belen Cutoff and its effects.
Publication Date: 2009
Title: Teamster Packing a Mule in Abo Canyon
Description: Teamster packing a mule in front of a tent in Abo Canyon.
Publisher: Kansas State Historical Society
Publication Date: Circa 1903 to 1907
Collection(s): Kansas State Historical Society; Atchison, Topeka, and Santa Fe Railway Corporate Collections
Catalog Number: AT
Title: Pecos River Bridge Piers Under Construction
Description: Concrete piers, wood plank forms, and falsework being used to construct the Pecos River bridge.
Publication Date: Circa 1905 to 1906
Title: Settlement and Homesteading in East-Central New Mexico
Description: A brief history of settlement and homesteading in east-central New Mexico.
Title: Breaking Ground
Description: Breaking ground with a two-horse team near Broncho, New Mexico.
Collection(s): Dorothy Cole personal collection.
Title: Working With Mule Teams
Description: Men working with mule teams breaking ground along the Belen Cutoff near Mountainair, New Mexico. Railroad tracks and telegraph line are visible in right of frame.
Title: Scholle: A Portrait of a Railroad Community
Description: A brief history of Scholle, New Mexico, a railroad community on the Belen Cutoff.