We had changed our watches to Mountain Time from Central Time while passing through the desert, and yet, after 19 hours on a train we had not yet managed to leave Texas. And remember I didn’t start in East Texas either, there is a section of Texas I hope to travel through on my last day.
The city of El Paso is the most western part of Texas. And through what feels like the middle of the city runs the border between the US and Mexico.
The city on the other side of this fence is not El Paso, it is Ciudad Juarez. The train stops in El Paso for about 40 minutes so we took the opportunity to leave the train and walk around a bit. The conductor warned us that we needed to be careful where we went, as getting into Mexico was easy, getting back out on the other hand not so. And the train was leaving at 1:47 on the dot, if we were the wrong side of the fence, the train would leave without us.
Juliana lives locally and makes burritos at home to sell at the platform when the train comes through. I stood in line to buy my lunch from her, $2 per burrito, one beef, one bean. In many ways not dissimilar to what happens along the train lines in Bihar, India when I travelled through there. Although as this time I was travelling by myself and am not quite as foreign as I was in Bihar, I left the train to buy my track-side food rather than relying on friend to assist me. I was also less concerned about the food quality than I had been buying street food in India. Juliana and her burritos are clearly known to the train staff, it was the conductor’s announcement which told us about this snack.
Munching on my burritos I wandered into the train station
The inside of the train station is still original in some places, like the floor
and well maintained in others, such as the mural and columns
It is a historic landmark within the city and the state of Texas and designed by the same architects responsible for the Union Station in Washington DC.
Travelling along the US/Mexican border after lunch we then crossed the Rio Grande (which isn’t so grand!)
and entered New Mexico. Again we were travelling along the US/Mexican border and frequently saw US Border Patrol trucks driving along the dirt tracks on the southern side of the train track. The other side of the Rio Grande the landscape resumed its desert nature, although less green and more desert like
The journey through New Mexico is relatively short and the stations in New Mexico are both ‘flag’ stations which means that the trains only stop if passengers want to join or leave the train. We stopped in Deming, and the ‘platform’ appears to be this small bit of concrete which looks more like a level crossing, and the only structure with an Amtrak logo on it is this shelter.
We crossed another state line shortly after Lordsburg into Arizona.