Locomotive stopping at Tucumcari depot

Thomas Garcia

A steam powered Union Pacific locomotive commissioned for the New Mexico’s Centennial celebration will stop Friday at the renovated Tucumcari Train Depot.

“For the past two years, this has been a challenging yet rewarding process,” said Mark Lake, director of Tucumcari MainStreet.

Tucumcari has the honor of being the first stop of the state’s Department of Cultural Affairs steam-driven train tour, which will cross the state to launch New Mexico’s commemoration of its 100 years of statehood.

Lake said Fired Up! is an event centered around welcoming the centennial train while debuting the renovated depot.

“Fired Up! will focus on art forms that use heat and flame,” Lake said.

Lake said along with the steam locomotive, a hot-air balloon, music, art and other booths and exhibits will highlight the event.

Lake said the project has involved an avalanche of details offset by the community’s enthusiasm.

“We have come a long way,” Lake said.

MainStreet was notified in March 2009 they would receive $1.4 million in state funding. The planning process started in late 2009 and construction began in the fall of 2010.

“The depot is Tucumcari MainStreet’s inaugural project in the organization’s efforts to restore downtown Tucumcari,” Lake said.

Lake said the original goal was to restore the depot to its original 1926 condition by June of 2011.

“We may have missed that mark, though we are nearing completion of the Phase I,” Lake said.

Phase one cost $1.7 million — $1.4 million in capital outlay money from the state and another $300,000 in federal funding.

Lake said Phase I includes restoration of the west end of the building and the original breezeway. He said the rafters in the roof were replaced and the building’s tiled roof was replaced from the same Chicago firm that manufactured the depot’s original tiles.

Additional restoration includes doors, windows, plumbing, electrical and a heating and air conditioning system.

“Mark has done a lot of work on this project,” said Doug Powers, interim city manager. “This is an important project in the restoration and revitalization of Tucumcari.”

Lake said at this point all of MainStreet’s attention is focused on securing funding for Phase II, which will focus on completing the plaza and working on creating a museum in the west end of the building.