'Game of Thrones' author George RR Martin just bought a historic American railroad he wants to restore for sightseeing, film shoots, and even escape rooms on rails

Robert Alexander/Archive Photos/Getty ImagesThe historic train station in Lamy, New Mexico, serves as a daily stop for Amtrak’s Southwest Chief which runs between Los Angeles and Chicago. Passengers destined for Santa Fe detrain at the small station and take a shuttle bus to the nearby state capital. The station was built in 1909 by the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railway. It is one of seven New Mexico stations served by Amtrak. (Photo by )
  • George R.R. Martin and two co-investors have purchased an abandoned, 18-mile part of the Santa Fe railroad.
  • The author who wrote the novels HBO’s “Game of Thrones” series was based on says he wants to restore the line to its former glory for sightseeing, film shoots, and more.
  • The trio also acquired two locomotives, 10 train cars, and a historic station house currently used by Amtrak.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

The railroad station that serves Santa Fe, New Mexico isn’t completely abandoned, but it’s seen better days.

Twice daily, Amtrak’s Southwestern Chief rolls through on its journey from Chicago to Los Angeles via a town called Lamy, a full 18 miles from the New Mexico capital and historic town square. It’s a quintessential stop for American railfans young and old, as well as acclaimed author George R.R. Martin.

Along with two other investors, the “A Song of Ice and Fire” writer purchased a historic railroad spur connecting Lamy with Santa Fe that’s sat unused for decades ever since it met the same fate as many another American railroads following the invention of the Interstate Highway Station. By 2022, the trio hopes to restore sightseeing service, among other projects.

Lamy new Mexico amtrak station trainRobert Alexander/Archive Photos/Getty ImagesThe inside of Lamy station still has elements of yesteryear, including Santa Fe signage. Most of the railroad eventually became what is known today as BNSF, a Berkshire Hathaway company.

“There are a lot of opportunities for a new tourist attraction,” Martin, who’s also an investor in projects around Santa Fe’s railyards, told the Albuquerque Journal. “COVID has thrown a monkey wrench into our plan. We had hoped to get things up and running in 2021, but now it won’t be until 2022.”

In addition to tourist jaunts not unlike those that are incredible popular throughout the country, Martin said he wants to also use the trackage for film shoots, live-action murder mystery shows, and even escape rooms on rails. Perhaps more importantly, the 71-year-old said he wants to live out a childhood dream to blow a train whistle.

“Even though I’m an old guy, I’m a 13-year-old inside,” he told the paper.

Santa Fe train depot downtownRobert Alexander/Getty Images18 miles away, the tracks connect with Santa Fe’s historic train depot, where trains also run to Albuquerque. The area surrounding the station is a bustling arts district with a large farmers market.

No price was reported for the acquisition, which Martin made alongside local arts philanthropist Catherine Oppenheimer and arthouse theatre owner Bill Banowsky. According to the Journal, the trio also acquired 10 antique rail cars, two vintage locomotives, and the station house currently leased by Amtrak.

“It is going to take a lot of work, more than a few bucks, and a fair amount of time to get the railroad running again,” Martin said on his blog. “There are tracks and trestles to inspect and repair, old historic coaches to restore to their former splendor, a dead locomotive to bring back to life … But sooner or later, we do hope to have the old Lamy Line chuffing and puffing once again.”

1953 Santa Fe Railroad map new mexicoArchivesThis 1950’s era map shows Santa Fe railroad service throughout the southwest. The Santa Fe-Lamy branch is in the centre.

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