Chuga Chuga LbNA # 57516
|Placed Date||Apr 20 2011|
|Location||Harvey House, Belen, NM|
|Last Update||Sep 25 2015|
Chuga Chuga: Our 2 year old nephew, Vyncynt, is not just in love with trains. He is a full-fledged fanatic, complete with PJs, toys, videos, and bed. ”Chuga Chugas” is what he calls them. Our parents are even trying to learn the codes announced over a train scanner so they know when trains are arriving. If they hear of one, everybody sprints to the car to drive to the tracks with enough time for Vyncynt to watch it go by. The Belen Train Yard is a favorite place to watch several trains come in at once (without having to make a mad dash for the car). Our first stamp is placed for Vyncynt.
A Little History…The railroad arrived in New Mexico in 1879, when New Mexico was still a territory. A passenger train brought members of Colorado’s legislature to what is now Raton. A year later, track was built southward, essentially following the route known as the Santa Fe Trail.
Towns began to develop along the tracks: Gallup, Belen, and Carlsbad are among those that were built largely because of the railroad. The trains brought in goods from across the country and allowed for easier travel. Cattle became a lucrative business and men from Texas began bringing longhorns into the southern parts of New Mexico. The railroad allowed cattle to replace sheep as New Mexico’s primary ranching animal, causing a disruption to the way of life for many New Mexicans.
Other businesses were also inspired by the railroad. Fred Harvey set up Harvey Houses, which were hotels built next to train stations. Harvey Girls were brought in from the east coast to work in the hotels, giving girls more employment opportunities than they would have at home.
…Completed in 1908, the Belen train yard is one of the busiest in the west. As many as 100 trains per day travel through the yard from all four directions. An original Harvey House, built in 1910 is still standing next to the station in Belen. The Harvey House is now a museum and is listed on the National Registrar of Historic Places.
*Take exit 190 at the southern end of Belen
*head north (past Pizza Hut) to Reinken St.: make a right on Reinken
*head east until you reach 2nd St: make a right on 2nd (just before lg white bridge)
*make an immediate left on Dalies St and then a right on 1st street (Pete’s Restaurant should be on corner)
*Harvey House Museum is on your left
*Park in museum entrance on the south side of Harvey House
*From “Railroad Club” entrance, face south and head toward large yucca cactus in railroad tie planter. Box is hidden in the front far left corner in planter by chain link fence (under bottom yucca leaves). Rocks have been placed on top of the box. Be careful, yucca leaves are pointy and can be sharp. May need to use a stick.
Note: location is not crawling with people, but you will still need to try to be discrete when finding and replacing the box.