George R.R. Martin Is Helping Save a Defunct New Mexico Railroad

The "Game of Thrones" author is a resident of Santa Fe.

Railroad cars at Sante Fe Southern Railway station, sunset.
Photo: Getty Images/Lonely Planet Images

George R.R. Martin is expanding his horizons — and no, we’re not talking about more books.

The Game of Thrones author, along with Violet Crown cinema owner Bill Banowsky and National Dance Institute of New Mexico co-founder Catherine Oppenheimer, has purchased a defunct railway system in New Mexico, the Associated Press (AP) reported.

The historic Santa Fe Southern Railroad spans 18-miles between Santa Fe and Lamy, according to the Santa Fe New Mexican.

“We want to breathe new life into this old train,” Banowsky told the Santa Fe New Mexican. “There’s something about train travel that brings you back to a time that we assume was a simpler, more community-based time, long before the internet, before air travel, even before television,” Oppenheimer added.

Martin himself is a recent Santa Fe resident and has contributed to many different community projects in the Santa Fe area, including running the Jean Cocteau Cinema, according to the AP. He did not give a comment on the railway deal.

According to the Santa Fe New Mexican, the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railway reached Lamy in 1879 and Santa Fe in 1880. The train was closed, except for passenger day-trip trains to Lamy, in 1991, the Santa Fe New Mexican reported. In 2012, these trains also stopped service.

The group — Martin, Oppenheimer, and Banowsky — have many plans for using the railway, including renting it out for TV and movie production or possibly “a super-fun train experience that builds in the history and culture and natural beauty of New Mexico,” said Oppenheimer.

The group hopes to open the railway sometime in 2022, according to the Santa Fe New Mexican, though the timing may change due to any unforeseen complications surrounding the coronavirus pandemic.

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