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My First Encounter with Amtrak 145 2/20/2011

by Chris Guenzler

When I read on that one of the 40th Anniversary Amtrak heritage units, 145, was leading the Sunset Limited from New Orleans into Los Angeles and arriving Sunday morning, I thought it would be the perfect opportunity to see and take pictures of this unique locomotive. Out in Texas, on its way to Los Angeles, the engine was involved in a grade crossing accident but suffered only minor damage to its snowplow. When I checked late Saturday night, it was still on the point and upon checking Amtrak's website for the estimated arrival of the Sunset Limited, it was projected for an early 7:34 AM arrival.

My plan was to ride Pacific Surfliner 763 to Los Angeles, come back on Pacific Surfliner 768 and photograph Amtrak 145 in between trains. My train arrived in Santa Ana a few minutes early and I boarded the Surfliner cab car but sat in the Superliner coach right behind. It was a quick trip to Los Angeles and I took a few pictures along the way.

BNSF 3GS21C 1302, one of their new switchers, was at Commerce when we passed by this morning.

Amtrak B32-8WH 507 was at their 8th Street coach yards. We arrived early on Track 9 and I exited the cab car with my prey right across on Track 11.

My first two views of Amtrak P42DC 145.

The front of the locomotive where you can see the damaged snowplow on the left.

Two more views of the engine.

This is the first unit painted for Amtrak's 40th Birthday celebration on May 1, 2011. From here I walked the length of the train, finding the conductor who told me they would be reversing out of LAUPT in two minutes. I found two other photographers including Charles Freericks of Trainorders fame and we set up for pictures.

Here is Amtrak 145 reversing the Sunset Limited out of LAUPT this morning. Charles was going to get more pictures and I asked if I could come along and he said yes so we walked back to the parking garage to his car and drove over to the Cesar Chavez Avenue bridge across the Los Angeles River and set up. The Sunset had to wait for Metrolink 354 and Surfliner 768 and once they departed, the Sunset Limited reversed by Mission Tower and out to Main Street before it came forward to our photo location.

The Sunset Limited headed to Amtrak's 8th Street coach yard and Charles drove me back to the Gateway Entrance to LAUPT and I went down into the tunnel then up to a waiting Surfliner 768 where I chose a Surfliner coach for my trip back to Santa Ana.

Amtrak SW1000 795, ex. SOO Line 1212, exx. Milwaukee Road 1212, exxx. Milwaukee Road 707, nee Milwaukee Road SW1200 2028 built by Electro-Motive Division in 1954, at 8th Street.

Amtrak Pacific Parlor Car 33972 "Napa Valley", ex. Amtrak 9972, nee Santa Fe 577 built by Budd Company in 1956, also at 8th Street.

My last views of Amtrak 145. The Pacific Surfliner made another quick trip to Santa Ana, where I detrained a very happy railfan. A special thank you to Charles for his help with this story.