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Rail Runner Prepares For Busy Weekend

VERY BUSY WEEKEND. THOUSANDS OF WINE FANS AND FANATICS ARE EXPECTED TO HOP ON THE COMMUTER TRAIN TO GET TO THE WINE FESTIVAL IN BERNALILLO. JEFF MAHER IS LIVE DOWNTOWN WITH SOME OF THE CHANGES THE RAIL RUNNER IS MAKING FOR THIS YEAR’S FESTIVAL. JEFF? FOR STARTERS, THE RAIL RUNNER WILL BE ADDING AN ADDITIONAL TRAIN CAR – JUST FOR THE FESTIVAL. OFFICIALS SAY IT’S NEEDED BECAUSE THEY’RE EXPECTING AN EVEN BIGGER CROWD THAN LAST YEAR. ‘don’t have to get in traffic, save gas, parking – real convenient’ JAMIE MORALES RIDES THE RAIL RUNNER TO GET TO SCHOOL FROM BELEN. BUT THIS WEEKEND, SHE’LL BE ONE OF THOUSANDS USING IT TO GET TO THE NEW MEXICO WINE FESTIVAL IN BERNALILLO. ‘it seems like something great and I can ride the train from Belen and it saves gas’ LAST YEAR – THE FESTIVAL, WHICH HAS BEEN DRAWING BIG CROWDS FOR THE PAST TWO DECADES, SAW A NEW RECORD – – – 28 THOUSAND PEOPLE ATTENDED THE EVENT OVER THREE DAYS. MORE THAN HALF OF THEM RODE THE RAIL RUNNER. ON THAT SATURDAY – THE RAIL RUNNER HAD 6- THOUSAND PASSENGERS. IT WAS THE SAME THE NEXT DAY. ON MONDAY – 4- THOUSAND PASSENGERS ‘I think the wine festival in particular has a lot of riders because it’s so direct – the rail runner’s connection to the wine festival’EVENT ORGANIZERS SAY THEY EXPECT A FIVE TO TEN PERCENT INCREASE THIS YEAR BECAUSE FEWER PEOPLE WILL BE TRAVELING OUT OF TOWN FOR THE LABOR DAY WEEKEND. ‘because we have a diesel truck, and it would cost about 150 dollars to fill it up and to get up there and back would be very expensive’ SOME RIDERS HOP ON THE TRAIN SO THEY CAN DRINK AT THE FESTIVAL – AND NOT WORRY ABOUT DRIVING. OTHERS SAY THEY’RE NOT GOING TO GET OUT OF CONTROL: ‘i’m going to meet up with some girlfriends in Albuquerque and we’re all going to drive together’ IF YOU PLAN ON TAKING THE RAIL RUNNER AND WANT TO AVOID LONG LINES THIS TIME AROUND – – THERE’S A WAY TO MAKE IT EASIER ON YOURSELF. BUY YOUR RAIL RUNNER TICKETS AND WINE FESTIVAL TICKETS ONLINE – – JUST LOG ONTO KOB-DOT-COM AND CLICK ON FOUR- LINKS. REPORTING LIVE DOWNTOWN. JEFF MAHER. EYEWITNESS

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