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Throwback Thursday; Alamogordo and Sacramento Railroad (Cloud Climbing Railroad) on US 82

Back in 2012 I took a trip up US 82 from US 70/54 in Alamogordo which occupies much of the former right-of-way of the Alamogordo and Sacramento Railroad.


The A&S Railroad was a 32 mile spur of the El Paso and Northeast Railroad which was in operation from 1898 to 1947.  The A&S Railroad was primarily in service haul freight from the sawmills in Cloudcroft and Russia.  The A&S Railroad was known as the "Cloud Climber" due to it having a starting elevation at 4,320 feet above sea level and an ending elevation of 9,076 feet above sea level.  The A&S had grades as high as 6.4% and was generally considered to be an engineering marvel.  After freight service ended in 1947 the A&S rails were dismantled, only the Cloudcroft trestle remains in place to this day. 

Much of the former right-of-way of the A&S Railroad was used by US Route 82 when it was extended to Las Cruces in 1963.  The climb east into Cloudcroft from Alamogordo is fast but not as steep as might be suspect due to the low grades.  Cloudcroft at 8,600 feet above sea level is one of the highest all-year settlements in the United States.









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