One of the city’s lesser-known marvels is the Bataan Memorial Trainway, a train corridor than runs six blocks under Downtown El Paso streets.
The trainway, built from 1948-51, placed the tracks below street level, allowing for traffic to flow freely over them as the area had grown tremendously since Southern Pacific Railroad first arrived in the city in 1881. Eight different railroads ran through the city by the 1940s, and the voters in 1947 passed a bond issue to build the $5.5 million trainway, according to the El Paso History Alliance and the McKee Foundation.
It was named in honor of the prisoners of war and survivors of the Bataan Death March during World War II, and is designated as a Texas Historic Civil Engineering Landmark.
In 2013, under the city’s Public Art Program, sculptural, aesthetically pleasing fences were added to the concrete walls on several railroad overpasses to increase pedestrian safety but also allow walkers-by a view of the trainway below.
That brings us to this month’s Art Spot, with descriptions provided by the city’s Museum and Cultural Affairs Department.