Then-and-now slideshow of Albuquerque added to Central Avenue buses

Riders on Albuquerque Rapid Transit buses have a chance to glimpse at the city’s past with a slideshow of Central Avenue (aka Route 66) and other landmarks from many decades ago to the current day.

According to the Albuquerque Journal, the slides show Central Avenue when it was just a dirt road, then in the 1940s and ’50s when El Vado Court, Alamo Court and a slew of neon signs arrived.

The goals of the slideshows are to give people a sense of what Albuquerque was like and see if they can recognize landmarks in the city, Transit Department spokeswoman Megan Holcomb said.

The electronic presentations exist at 21 ART stations, including the Central and Unser Transit Center, Uptown Transit Center and all 19 stops on Central between Unser and Louisiana. While there’s an ART route that runs to Tramway, those stops don’t have the “platform infrastructure” to allow the displays, she said.

Here are a few images posted on ART’s Facebook page:

The then-and-now photos bring to mind Joe Sonderman’s “Route 66 Then and Now” book (Amazon link) that also pairs long-ago images with more modern ones. Russell Olsen’s “Route 66 Lost and Found” books (Amazon link) used a similar format, though those volumes are older and out of print.

The city’s project began in 2016, when it contacted the Albuquerque Historical Society and Historic Albuquerque and asked for material for slideshows on the buses.

They ended up with 99 slides, and the buses use about 60.

The city wants to display more slides in the future, particularly from Route 66 for the highway’s centennial in 2026.

Longtime Route 66 News readers probably remember the disruption that Albuquerque Rapid Transit construction caused for more than a year. Because of reduced traffic, several businesses along Central Avenue laid off staff or closed their doors permanently. The transit system also was beset by other problems, including defective electric buses.

(Old image of Route 66 in Albuquerque being displayed on Albuquerque Rapid Transit buses via City of Albuquerque)

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