By 1871 there existed a transcontinental railroad across the United States, spanning the northern Great Plains, and soon plans were in place to run a rail line to the southwest, roughly along the route of the Santa Fe Trail.
Thus was commenced a new railway from Topeka, Kansas, to Santa Fe. (As early as 1863 the Atchison & Topeka Railroad added Santa Fe to its company name, when it decided that New Mexico’s capital city would be the southern destination of its rail line.)
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