The Info List - Abo Canyon

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ABO CANYON (elevation 5771 ft.), also known as ABO PASS, is a mountain pass at the southern end of the Manzano Mountains of central New Mexico
New Mexico


* 1 History * 2 Railroad * 3 Highway * 4 Abo Pass Trail * 5 References * 6 External links


From pre-Columbian times, the pass provided the most direct trading route through the mountains between the plains Indians of the Estancia Valley to the east and the pueblo cultures of the middle valley of the Rio Grande
Rio Grande
to the west. The route these traders took led past Abo Pueblo
, dating from the 14th century, strategically located near a cluster of springs on the eastern slope of the pass. The old footpath is now the Abo Pass Trail Scenic Byway (see External Links below).

The Spanish arrived in the 16th century, and used the pass as a route between the Rio Grande
Rio Grande
valley and the three “salt missions” they constructed northeast of the pass, now ruins preserved as part of the Salinas Pueblo
Missions National Monument .


Construction of Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railway
Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railway
bridge across Abo Canyon, circa 1905-1908. Sand Canyon is in background. BNSF
priority train enters Abo Canyon
Abo Canyon
on the original AT&SF main. The new track through the canyon is on the left.

In the early 20th century, the Atchison Topeka and Santa Fe Railroad wished to find an alternative route to its existing mainline over Raton and Glorieta Passes, to avoid the gradients of up to 3.5% on these passes. The company surveyed a route through the Abo Canyon, which could be achieved with a gradient of no more than 1.25%. Known as the Belen Cutoff , the route was completed in 1908, connecting to the AT&SF system at Belen, New Mexico
New Mexico
and at Amarillo, Texas
Amarillo, Texas
. The Cutoff rapidly took on the bulk of the AT">

* ^ Myrick, David ‘’New Mexico’s Railroads: A Historical Survey’’, University of New Mexico
New Mexico
Press, 1990 * ^ Frailey, Fred W., "Birthplace of the Transcon," Trains Magazine, April 2007. * ^ Hardin, Paul "Railroading Abo Pass," El Defensor Chieftain Newspaper (Socorro, NM) December 3, 2011 * ^ Abo Pass Trail. New Mexico
New Mexico
Tourism Department. Retrieved August 10, 2014. * ^ Abo Pass Trail. New Mexico
New Mexico
Department of Transportation. Retrieved August 10, 2014. * ^ Abo Pass Trail - New Mexico
New Mexico
Scenic ">Coordinates : 34°26′08″N 106°27′32″W / 34.43556°N 106.45889°W / 34.