The Belen Cutoff gave the AT&SF Railway a legitimate transcontinental freight line by eliminating the steep grades of Raton Pass. The Cutoff also transformed the eastern plains of New Mexico in the first half of the twentieth century, leading to New Mexico's most significant population increase as many homesteaders came to the region. This book tells that story by providing the perspectives of the AT&SF balanced by the experiences and narratives of railroad workers, homesteaders, and others. New research includes detailed consideration of internal railroad documents, local newspapers, and extensive oral-history interviews. As a result, this is the definitive account of the Belen Cutoff and provides a more complete and nuanced history of the region and the AT&SF Railway in New Mexico.