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To the 2014 NRHS Convention Day 1 6/6/2014 Part 1

El Reno Heritage Express Trolley, Railroad Museum of Oklahoma and Curtis Hill

by Chris Guenzler

This year at the 2014 NRHS Convention I was assigned to be a car host on the train trips and a bus host on two of the trips. I planned an excellent trip to cover mostly new things. Chris Parker just could not make it this year but Bob and Elizabeth Alkire would meet me in Ottawa, Kansas on Sunday morning. I worked my new job at Heninger and finished my first Rewards Program with my kids. They all worked hard and became better readers because of it. Thank you to Vice Principal Meg Green and RSP Teacher Katie Wright for having the faith in me to lead this great reading program. I could not wait for this trip to start and with the Los Angeles Kings winning game one of the Stanley Cup Finals, I was ready to go.

The Trip Starts

I worked my job at Heninger Elementary School in Santa Ana, came home and Winston picked me up, taking me to John Wayne Airport where I went through security and waited for my flight to Houston.

United Airlines 1709 6/5/2014

The flight to Houston was smooth and I read my new Railfan & Railroad magazine before starting the new Trains Magazine, of which I read about half. We landed early and I had to take the Air Train from Terminal C to Terminal B then walked to Gate B76 where I did Sudoku puzzles as I waited for my flight to Oklahoma City. Then the switching gates game began so I went from Gate 76 on one side of Terminal B and was carded first to B88 then that was switched to Gate B85.

United Airlines 5279 6/5/2014

This flight was quick and I read almost all of the rest of Trains Magazine. Once I returned to earth at Will Rodgers Airport, I walked out to the Thrifty Car rental desk and picked up my rental car then drove to the Motel 6 in Norman.

6/6/2014 I awoke to the sounds of a thunderstorm so stayed at the motel a little longer than normal and after eating donuts, I headed to the Norman Amtrak station in heavy rain.

Two views of the Norman Santa Fe station built in 1909 and used by Amtrak's Heartland Flyer. The storm was finishing as I went with my umbrella to take pictures of Amtrak's Heartland Flyer train 821.

Train 821 arrived, did its station work and was then ready to depart for points south.

The Heartland Flyer departing Norman. I then took Interstate 35 to Interstate 420 to Interstate 40 west to Yukon for my next stop of the day.

Oklahoma Railway Company wooden interurban station. I saw a Union Pacific caboose across the tracks and decided to investigate.

The Yukon Best Railroad Museum.

Union Pacific caboose 25865 built by International Car in 1979. Next I headed west to El Reno, found the tracks the trolley used and followed it to the car shop.

The El Reno Rock Island station built in 1907 which is home to the Canadian County Historical Museum.

The tender from Rock Island 2-8-2 2636. The other side is lettered Rock Island.

Rock Island caboose 17209, also known as UP 24627, built by International Car in 1971 in El Reno. I went into the station and met my trolley crew.

They went out and started the trolley and about 15 minutes later, it began to move forward.

The building across the street from the El Reno Rock Island station.

The trolley came out of the shop building. Service is provided by a single double-ended car which was originally built by J.G. Brill in 1924. It started as car 60 of the Philadelphia & Western Railway, an electric interurban line which survives today as the Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority's route 100 (the Norristown High Speed Line).

It was the first of a group of eleven cars known among railfans as Strafford cars because they saw extensive use on the P&W's branch to Strafford. In 1931 it was rebuilt (along with its siblings) and re-numbered 165, and continued to operate on into the SEPTA era, finally being retired in 1986 at the age of 62. It was sold in 1991 to the Keokuk Junction Railway, which transported workers at the Keokuk Dam across the Mississippi River between Iowa and Illinois. After this line discontinued electric operation in the late 1990's, 165 was sold to El Reno, which had it converted from electric to propane power and re-numbered it to 145.

The group boarded the trolley for their trip today.

The first curve on the line.

Our operator for this trip. Now sit back and enjoy my trip aboard the El Reno Heritage Trolley.

In downtown we stopped to detrain our group who would get picked up later today.

The group as we left. Now back to the trip.

This completes our trip aboard the El Reno Heritage Trolley. I thanked the crew for a very nice ride this morning.

Three more views of the El Reno Heritage Trolley. I went into the station to buy a ticket.

My ticket.

My final view of the El Reno Rock Island station.

On the way back to my car, one last picture of the trolley. I still had two more things to photograph here.

I drove back to the trolley mural.

This is not Rock Island caboose 17145 but really Santa Fe 2181, built by the railroad in 1942. From here I drove north up US 81, stopping at KFC in Kingfisher before driving north to Enid and my next station.

The Enid Rock Island station built in 1928.

Click here for Part 2!