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Andy Anderson Amtrak Journey: Sunset Limited
Leg Three - October 2nd - Sunset Limited
andy anderson train web sunset limited
The Sunset limited heads into Los Angeles station

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Onward to Los Angeles on the Sunset Limited

At 5:43a I feel a slight bump, and the Sunset Limited moves slowly out of the San Antonio station. As I mentioned in the previous segment, our first-class sleeper was removed from the Texas Eagle in the middle of the night and placed at the back of the Sunset Limited. During the trip up here my chair faced in the direction of travel; now I'm looking at where I've been. No big deal, actually I could switch over to the couch and face the other direction, but this is fine for now.

Lloyd is our car attendant, taking over from Michael in San Antonio. I've had Lloyd before and I know I'm in for an excellent trip. I've said this before, but a car attendant can make or brake a trip. I know that he will have fresh coffee going during the early-morning hours, and fruit juices and ice during the day. I relax, knowing that things are in very capable hands.


Breakfast meant a long walk through three coach cars with lots of sleeping passengers (all scrunched up in their seats), and through the sightseer/lounge car. I had an excellent meal and conversation with Kathy. She's going to Los Angeles for her birthday (she grew up there). Her husband, who's in the military, actually arranged the trip. She just got a new ipad, and just loves it... We talked about everything from Glenn Beck to Steven Cobert, and everything in between. We were both the first in the dining car, and by the time we left (almost an hour later) the joint was full, and the staff was needing our table. I take the loooong walk back to my room, and just about the time I get there we make a stop in Del Rio. Since it's a smoking stop, I get off the train to take a few photos. About three minutes later it's Allll Abbooaard, and we're back on the road.

As many times as I've traveled this route, this part of the country still amazes me. You can travel forever, and the only things you see are the scrub brush, the tracks, and an occasional dirt road. Then, out of the barren land pops up a community of two or three trailers. A wire off a lone telephone pole, links them to power, but that's about it.

As we travel further into West Texas, I see old telephone poles without any connecting wires. A barbwire fence follows the track. It looks likes the builder took old pieces of wood laying about, stuck them in the ground, and wrapped a piece of rusty wire around it. In many places they are leaning over, or completely fallen to the ground. The car attendant says that they are to prevent the wild animals from getting on the track; however, since in some stretches of track they are nonexistent, I really don't see what good they do.

Then about 40 miles outside of Del Rio, a small community pops up. There are paved roads, two school buses, and about twenty or thirty homes. In addition two large towers with microwave and satellite dishes bring in the details of the world. I see no stores, although there must be some, and I don't see the school; however, there are two school buses. It's possible that the school buses take the long drive to Del Rio every day, but if they do, I don't see the roads that would take them there. It's an interesting study; however, being on a moving train, I don't have the opportunity to find out more. Even Amtrak doesn't stop here... Interesting.

I will admit that this part of the journey into Los Angeles is a bit boring... At least in terms of what you see outside of your window. You can go for what seems forever, and not see anything but barren lands.

On and on the Sunset Limited travels. We pass several small towns and then, about 12:40p we make a stop in Alpine, Texas. Since we arrived a bit early, we spend about twenty minutes. When we arrived here I was eating lunch, and the guy sitting next to me started asking the car attendant for his bill. She took her time, and he kept pressing her to hurry up. Later, I saw him outside having a smoke. Since our next smoke stop was over two hours down the track, he ended lunch early to get his fix. I'm not a smoker, so I don't understand; however, if smoking is more important to you than eating... Maybe you've got a slight problem...

The rest of the day was uneventful. I sat in my room, and worked on my projects, and this journal. Around 3:00p I made a reservation for dinner for 5:30p, and then went back to work. Oh, by the way, I had a hamburger for lunch, and it was excellent.


I tried the 1/2 chicken dish with mash for dinner, and as usual everything was cooked to order. My dinner companions were from coach, headed to Palm Springs. They got on the train two stops before, and decided it wasn't worth it to get a sleeper for the short distance. We talked for awhile about nothing of importance (reminded me of taking to my ex-wife), and then I said my good-bye's and headed back home. I worked for a bit more, and thought I might watch a move, but decided against it. Around midnight I laid back on the bed and fell asleep to the gentle rocking of the train. Clickity Clack... Clickity Clack... Clickity Clack...

Headed Down the Tracks

When I woke up around 4:00a, we were just pulling out of Yuma, New Mexico. Yuma is the last stop in New Mexico, and ten minutes later we entered California, and began pointing Northward to Los Angeles. Since we're supposed to get into LA around 8:30a, breakfast was an abbreviated affair. It started at 5:00a, and went to 6:30a. I walked passed all the sleeping coach passengers and wound up being the first to arrive. While I ate, no one else came in, so I had the table all to myself. As I was leaving (around 5:25a), several more people began arriving.

With Los Angeles only 2 hours away, I head back to my room to do some packing. See you in LA.

Tragedy Strikes the Sunset Limited

At 7:05a, just outside of Colton, California, the Sunset Limited struck, and killed a pedestrian at a crossing. There has been talk that it might have been a suicide; however, I won't speculate on that until the facts are know. Currently we've been stopped for 2 hours, and the train is surrounded by police vehicles and yellow crime-scene tape. It reminds me of a CSI crime investigation; however, in a case like this, the police have to be thorough. This is what I know so far (it could all be gossip and rumors). At 7:05a when the Sunset Limited was at the crossing in Colton, California at marker 146, a male (I don't know if it was a man or boy) jumped in front of the train from a hiding place next to tracks and ended his life. The delay involves the police investigation, and it takes about three hours.

Oh, you're just going to love this... The conductor gets on the PA and makes the following announcement:

It has come to our attention that some of the passengers in the coach cars are smoking dope... Have you noticed that we are completely surrounded by the police? It this action is not stopped immediately, you will be turned over the local officials.

You can't make this stuff up.

On Our Way

At 11;32a I hear the whistle and we head north toward Ontario. We would have left about 30 minutes earlier; however, the crew went over their hours, and we had to wait until a new crew was transported to our train. We finally arrive at Los Angeles Union station at 1:08p. About 4 hours behind schedule.

Los Angeles Union Station

The station, as usual, is buzzing with people going about the business of travel. Some are getting on the many commuter trains that run on an hourly basis, some are getting on a long distance train, and some, like me, are exiting a train. I walk through the station and head for the main exit.

This station just begs to be photographed... It's a tribute to the art deco era. I'll shoot some photos when I return to pick up the Coast Starlight tomorrow. Right now a nice hotel room and a long hot shower sounds pretty good. I grab a taxi, and head to the Downtown Los Angeles Marriott. It's only about 2 miles from the station; however, I think I'll be lazy today and take the taxi. The ride is easy and 7 dollars later, I'm at the entrance.

Los Angeles Downtown Marriott

If you've read any of my journals or blogs, you know that I'm a big fan of Marriott properties. I go up to the Elite line, and check in, and since they're not all that full today, I get upgraded to a mini suite... SWEET!!!

After a nice hot shower, I head to the concierge lounge and pick up free grub. Tonight it's breaded shrimp with a salad. Bonnie (my wife) would kill me for eating fried food; but hey... I'm on vacation. After dinner, I go back to the room and try to watch a movie (Predators); however, I fall asleep. I wake up just as the last of the monsters are being eliminated, and they're rolling the credits.

Of course, now that I've had a nappy nap, I'm wide awake, so I spend the next few hours catching up on this blog, and at 2:30a hit the sack.

Tomorrow is another day, and the start of my journey on the Coast Starlight... Read On...



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Keep the faith... And keep traveling
Andy Anderson