Gene, Nathan and I pulled into the parking lot and were directed by a security guard as where to park. It was then time to start taking pictures.
Columbia Star Dinner Train F7A 1951, ex. Grand Traverse Dinner Train 1951, exx. Central States Rail Associates 1951, exxx. Wabash 1951, exxxx. Seattle and North Coast 102, exxxxx. Burlington Northern 684, nee Great Northern 464A built by Electro-Motive Division in 1953.Colt Railroad Brief History
The Water and Light Department of Columbia, Missouri also runs a short line railroad. In the early 1980's, Norfolk Southern decided that the spur of railroad leading into Columbia was too expensive to maintain. It was determined that the loss of railroad traffic into Columbia would have a negative impact on the economy and the industries here. So, the City of Columbia stepped in and bought the railroad in October 1987. Under the Water and Light Department,
the railroad has been an integral part of retaining business and attracting new industries to Columbia. Having the railroad also enables Water and Light to cost-effectively bring in the low-sulfur coal from Kentucky to burn at the City's power plant.
The Columbia Star Dinner Train Equipment
The Columbia Star Dinner Train is comprised of two locomotives and three cars. A locomotive is located on each end of the train so that the train may operate in either direction. Our F7 locomotives were built by the Electro-Motive Division of General Motors for the Great Northern. F7A 364A was built in October 1950 and F7A 464A being built in January 1953.
The dining cars were built by the Pullman Car Company in 1938 for the Southern Pacific Railroad as coach cars. Later they were converted to dining cars for dinner train service. Originally these cars served on the famous Southern Pacific train, named the "Daylight", running between Los Angeles and San Francisco. These cars are unique in that they are articulated, meaning that they share a set of trucks between the two car bodies. Our kitchen car is a former Chicago Burlington and Quincy baggage car. This car has been converted to a full kitchen in which we prepare all of our meals right onboard the train. The kitchen car is in the middle of the train so meals are served out of both ends of the car to the adjoining dining cars.
Here is a view of the whole Columbia Star Dinner Train ready to make the second run of its career.
Columbia Star Dinner Train F7A 1951.
Columbia Star Dinner Train table car 300, ex. Yreka Western 300, exx. Amtrak 7525, exxx. Southern Pacific 2456, nee Texas and New Orleans articulated coach 504 built by Pullman Standard in 1937.
Columbia Star Dinner Train table car 400, ex. Yreka Western 400, exx. Amtrak 7524, exxx. Southern Pacific 2455, nee Texas and New Orleans articulated coach 505 built by Pullman Standard in 1937.
Columbia Star Dinner Train kitchen car 200, ex. Grand Traverse Dinner Train, nee Canadian National baggage-express car 92xx built by National Steel Company.
Columbia Star Dinner Train table car 100, ex. Grand Traverse Dinner Train 100, exx. Yreka Western, exxx. Amtrak 7529, nee Southern Pacific articulated 2464 built by Pullman-Standard in 1941.
Columbia Star Dinner Train table car 500, ex. Grand Traverse Dinner Train 500, exx. Yreka Western, exxx. Amtrak 7528, nee Southern Pacific articulated coach 2463 built by Pullman-Standrd in 1941.
Columbia Star Dinner Train F7A 1950, ex. Grand Traverse Dinner Train 1950, exx. Central States Rail Associates 1950, exxx. Wabash 1950, exxxx. Seattle and North Coast 103, exxxxx. Burlington Northern 9726, exxxxxx. Burlington Northern 704, nee Great Northern 364A built by Electro-Motive Division in 1950..
The train was ready to leave for Centralia this evening.
A face I always love to see.
"All Aboard!" was called and one waited in a line to receive an envelope with a table assignment then you boarded the train and found your table. Mine had a present on it, a can of Coca-Cola that Bob Cox had arranged with the crew last night.
My tablemates were Gene Holmerud and Nathan Chidester.
Views of table cars 300 and 400, with the 400 having the restrooms on our end of the train.
Right on the mark of 7:00 PM, the train started to leave the boarding area.
Our cars were left under the security guard's watchful eyes.
We crossed Browns Station Road with people all waving at our train from their cars.
Future trackage for me to ride. Nathan and Gene enjoyed the shrimp in the glass on our table then the pizza slices that came next.
A siding with no cars.
The Columbia water tower as we headed northeast on this former Wabash Line.
The railfans were out taking pictures of this second run of the new dinner train service.
The empty table across from ours provided a clear view of the other side of the train.
The route was tree-lined with breaks which allowed us to see the central Missouri countryside.
The shadows played across that table across from us.
A pond with plenty of scum on top of it.
I love trees such as this one.
The train ran through Browns Station.
Views from the Columbia Star Dinner Train.
The Jethro Tull Song "Down At The End Of The Road" came to mind when as I took this picture.
The late afternoon light made this scene really special. Next the salads were brought to us.
Local people were out to watch the Dinner Train go through their neighbourhoods.
Rolled hay on a warm summer's evening.
Bee hives along our route.
More views from the Columbia Star Dinner Train.
Passing through Hallsville.
The Hallsville police were out watching us roll through their town.
More views on the way towards Centralia.
We would be able to watch the sun set this evening from the train.
Spring corn growing tall in the strong Missouri sun. The rolls came next and were very good!
The sun was slowly setting this evening.
That empty table view was very useful.
We were slowly losing the light as our main course was served, with me having the Columbia Star Prime Rib.
The lonely empty road.
More early evening views. The Prime Rib was excellent and the crew invited us to go to the vestibule.
Looking out of both sides of the Columbia Star Dinner Train as we neared Centralia.
One last field view before we arrived.
The train pulled up to the Centralia Yard Limited sign and stopped then the engine crew switched ends.
Two more views of Centralia. The owner/engineer stopped by our table for a quick visit before he went to the south engine to run us back to Columbia. On the way back we had a slice of a sweet lemon cake, which was excellent. Coffee was served to those who wanted it and the train made a quick trip back to Columbia, ending an excellent train ride, as well as an equally great dining experience aboard the Columbia Star Dinner Train. Thanks to the entire staff of the train for the good food and fantastic time.
We drove back to the Depot Inn & Suites in La Plata for the night.
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