Facebook Page

The Trip Home from the NRHS Convention with a stop in La Plata and my 1,350,000 Rail Mile

by Chris Guenzler

6/26/2012 After 12 hours of sleep at the Smetko's Home, I awoke at 8:32 AM prepared myself for the day, repacked and fixed breakfast. I checked the Internet before Dave's son Matthew took me to the Hanover Park station to catch my Metra Train back to Chicago starting part 1 of the trip to La Plata.

Metra Train 2211 came in, stopped then left Hanover Park. I then waited for my train to Chicago.

Metra Train 2232 came in, with me boarding, with a freight train blocking us at Bensenville delaying us.

Later we got stopped waiting to crossover by Metra Train 2215 and then the train took me to Chicago Union Station. Once there I put my stuff in the Metropolitan Lounge before going up to the food court and getting my Gold Coast Char Dogs for the trip. I visited the magazine shop on the food court level before returning to the lounge to wait for my train to La Plata. I met several NRHS members and passed the time talking with them. My conductor came and took my ticket and at 2:20 PM we walked out to the waiting train.

Southwest Chief 3 6/26/2012

I boarded the Coach 34013 and was assigned Seat 43 for the short trip to La Plata. I put on my Emerson Lake & Palmer "Live at Montreux 2007" DVD and waited for the on time departure. The train stopped at Naperville then headed out into the Illinois countryside. Next I watched the Railfan Chasing Trains Preview-2 "La Plata Mania" filmed last summer during our La Plata Railfan Event 2011. The full show will be available sometime in the near future for all of you. That lasted through Mendota and beyond with the next DVD being Jethro Tull "Live at Montreux 2003" and the train stopped in Princeton and Galesburg during this program. That lasted to the crossing of the Mississippi River and then I took a fresh air break at Fort Madison. Next stop, mine at La Plata and I checked out all my photo locations for tomorrow. We arrived into La Plata on time and I detrained.

La Plata 6/26/2012

Brock picked me up and took another passenger to the Depot Inn & Suites. I got the Pullman Suite, did my wash, got my rental car paperwork and drove to the KFC in Kirksville to get my dinner. I gassed up the rental car before returning to the Inn and drying my clothes. I took a sauna bath before calling it a night.

6/27/2012 I got up early, checked the Internet then had my breakfast before heading out to take pictures this morning. With a high heat warning just like last summer during the La Plata Railfan Event, I would only shoot pictures in the morning and get back inside during the heat of the day. This morning I would attempt to get pictures at those bridges I have never shot a train from in Northeast Missouri. I headed north up US 63 to State Highway F and left on State Highway V. A right on Missouri Highway 6 then north on Route J and a right on Missouri Highway 11. I went straight on Route K and left on Route M but found it closed with no detour due to bridge replacement. This delay would cost me. I returned south to Route K and went east to Colony to Route V which took me back to Route M which took me to Rutledge and I took a right on Route A but when I crossed the BNSF mainline I had to make a quick stop for a westbound train.

First came the Union Pacific 4509 West. I walked across the bridge and here came another train coming my way.

Union Pacific 8190 East just east of Rutledge. I took Route A to South Gorin then went east on Route U then a left on Route A into Wyaconda and just as I was about to enter town when a BNSF westbound directors special went flying by. Had I not had to detour, I would have caught that train as well. Bad luck starts my day. I took Route A north to US Highway 136 east to Kahoka then went north on Missouri Highway 81 to the bridge over the BNSF mainline and a brand new photo location for me. This road was closed last summer due to bridge replacement.

The views of the railroad from the Missouri Highway 81 Bridge.

BNSF 1069 West at the Missouri Highway 81 Bridge.

BNSF 5881 East at the Missouri Highway 81 Bridge.

BNSF 1098 West at the Missouri Highway 81 Bridge. From here I headed north on Missouri Highway 81 then right on Route C then a right on a road to another bridge that I had stopped at last summer on the way back from Trainfestival 2011 but had no trains. I hoped today would be different and it did not take long for a train to appear.

Me and my shadow.

BNSF 5200 East at the bridge just west of Revere.

BNSF 7482 West at the bridge just west of Revere. From here I went north to Route C and went right to the bridge over BNSF mainline in Revere and parked the car in the shade before walking out onto the bridge.

Me and my shadow.

BNSF 4384 East at Revere. From here I headed back to Missouri Highway 81 and then went west on US 136 then saw a train at the bridge over the BNSF mainline at Medill.

An unknown BNSF westbound train heads west out of Medill.

The westbound view from the Medill bridge. From here I went west to the newly paved Route BB taking that south and when it turns west I went straight down the dirt road over two hills to a bridge I had never been to.

Me and my shadow at this new bridge. The wind was really blowing here.

The views down the tracks from this bridge.

BNSF 4306 West at this bridge west of Medill.

Views of the bridge west of Medill.

The track inspector came and I knew nothing would be coming on that track. Amtrak left La Plata at 10:57 AM this morning and I knew it took 32 minutes to reach my location from La Plata. Today it took twice that long.

Amtrak Southwest Chief running now an hour and a half late. I returned to La Plata and went straight the Trainparty to visit Bob Cox. I then mailed a couple of things at the La Plata Post Office then returned to the Depot Inn & Suites. I went swimming in the pool then watched my DVD of Kangaroo Jack while I wrote this story. I watched NCIS then went to the Red Rooster for dinner. I returned to the room and relaxed for the night.

Click here for Part 2 of this story