Re: RS : Tucumcari

Bill Wasinger

I'm not gonna argue that much of Tucumcari, especially the downtown area, isn't what it once was, but to say the town has lost its reason to exist is a bit of an overstatement. What keeps that town going is Route 66 nostalgia and the old Rt 66 motels (especially the Blue Swallow) actually do great business during the spring, summer, and fall. Several restaurants along Rt 66 also do well and even the old TePee Curio shop draws in the tourists. It's nothing (in the summer time especially) to see hoards of people come through town on group or individual Route 66 tours. Lots of those are Europeans on motorcycles too. Beyond that, a lot of commercial options (hotels, travel centers/fast food and fast casual restaurants) have come along I-40 in the last 10 years that weren't there before. The latter don't do much for downtown, but they do provide jobs and revenue for residents. There's even a cheese factory in town (that does sell direct to the public and man is it good!)

As far as the museum goes, I'm guessing the number of railroad museums that exist because of volunteers and operate on a "call-first" far exceed those that have the resources to keep regular hours. Yea, it may not be convenient for everybody, but then again, how much do they charge you? 

A few years ago, we made a special trip to the Ft. Smith Trolley Museum when their website said they'd be open. It wasn't, no one answered or called back from the posted phone number, so we looked at the static displays and made the best of it, with the understanding that volunteers who run museums also have lives to live. Yea, we were disappointed, but we didn't dwell on it. 

The way I see it, we're lucky to have any volunteer run museums, especially in a restored/surviving depot like the one in Tucumcari. If you can get in to see it, great. If not, there's always next time. They're great to see but, for most of us, there's not much we haven't seen at these places. Not being able to see it because they don't have staff to keep it open all the time shouldn't ruin your day…


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On Thursday, June 27, 2019, 11:26:36 AM CDT, Stephen Taylor taylorstephenk@... [RailSpot] wrote:

Tucumcari was what I refer to as an Oasis city, or town.  It's main purpose was travelers, both on the RI-SP and US 66.  Travelers from both are now gone, and the town has lost its reason to exist.

Oases in Texas....Van Horn, Fort Stockton, Muleshoe, Hillsboro, Junction, Sanderson, Alpine, Perryton....perhaps others can add to this list. 

Nothing can compare to seeing the bright lights of Fort Stockton at 2 AM in the morning when you're driving across West Texas trying to get from Phoenix to Austin without stopping.  (Don't try it!)  Gasoline, coffee and restrooms.  A true oasis.

Stephen Taylor

On June 27, 2019 at 9:38 AM, "'Gerald Hook' gah333br@... [RailSpot]" wrote:


I managed to get to Tucumcari by about 16:15 on Tuesday (day before yesterday) and found the depot museum locked up.  A sign taped to the inside of the glass door said they were now open Wednesday thru Saturday, noon to 5 PM.


Their website shows same hours and open daily, except, closed Fridays and Sundays.


Tucumcari appears to be nearly deserted.  Downtown buildings are either abandoned or falling down.  The town is depilated and junky.  The only commercial activities of any consequences I found were at the truck stops on I-40.  One would think they’d bend over backwards to get travelers off the interstate and into town to spend a few bucks.


How ‘bout all of us who’ve found the place locked up on the days they’re supposedly open sent an email to the Tucumcari Chamber of Commerce and the New Mexico tourism department expressing our [1] disappointment in finding the museum closed during advertised the days and hours of operation and [2] waste of time leaving I-40 driving to and from the museum site?


Gerald Hook – Russellville, AR


From: RailSpot@... [mailto:RailSpot@...] On Behalf Of Earl Needham earl.kd5xb@... [RailSpot]
Sent: Wednesday, June 26, 2019 3:24 PM
To: Steve Goen
Cc: Railspot
Subject: Re: RS : Tucumcari


Got it.   From the looks of it, definitely call first.




On Wed, Jun 26, 2019, 1:51 PM Steve Goen <texaszephyr@...> wrote:

But Earl, this is just Wednesday.



On Jun 26, 2019, at 1:37 PM, Earl Needham earl.kd5xb@... [RailSpot] <RailSpot-noreply@...> wrote:


To whoever's asked -- I can't find the post - the RR museum in Tucumcari appears to be a "call before you go" item...  I just left there.  Signs say open Thursday - Saturday, 12-5, but from the looks of it, definitely call first.




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