Rail Yards Market gives abandoned area new life

ALBUQUERQUE (KRQE) – City plans to bring the old Albuquerque Rail Yards to life are still years away, but there’s already a heartbeat.

Thanks to dozens of volunteers, a big part of the long abandoned property was packed with people Sunday for the first of many public markets.

For years, the Albuquerque Rail Yards have been a broken dilapidated ghost of what the property once was – a hub of industry and the heartbeat of the Barelas neighborhood.

On Sunday, the Rail Yards came back to life.

“It’s just been continuously people coming in,” said market volunteer Judy Gallegos. “It was just like a wave of people. They came and they came and they came.”

Dozens of volunteers like Gallegos made the Rail Yards Market a reality with food trucks, food and produce vendors, music, and arts and crafts.

It’s been decades since the Rail Yards saw so much activity.

“This is going to be a wonderful place for people to come out and just get a taste of Albuquerque,” said Karen Hammer.

Plans to bring the rest of the city-owned Rail Yards to life are still in the works.

City officials recently approved the site’s master plan with plans for housing, an amphitheater, new shopping, walking paths and a farmers market.

The renovations will take years, but for now, the market will be open every weekend for the next several months. And so far, things are looking good.

“We’ve had over 5,000 people in the building today and everybody’s very excited and thrilled. And we hope this will be the beginning of many years of success for the Rail Yards,” said Leba Freed of Wheels Museum.

“There’s anything that you could want here,” said Gallegos.

Gallegos says some people, like Mary Ramirez, came to soak in the history.

“My father-in-law worked at these yards many years ago,” Ramirez said.

Gallegos said, “They come up and they say, ‘My grandfather worked here, or my uncle,’ and sometimes it was whole families that worked here.”

The Rail Yards Market is scheduled to run from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sundays. Volunteers have collected enough funding to keep it going though Nov. 2.

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