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Santa Fe 3751 Westbound San Bernardino to LAUPT 4/13/2014

by Chris Guenzler

I returned a morning later than planned from St. Louis after the La Plata Spring Railfan Event and checked my e-mail before driving to the Red Roof Inn to pick up Elizabeth Alkire who came down from Lynnwood, Washington to ride Santa Fe 3751 from San Bernardino to LAUPT in the "Tioga Pass" private rail car with me. We took Interstate 5 north into a major tie up on that freeway so exited at Florence Boulevard, taking that west through Bell Gardens to the 710 Freeway which took us back to Interstate 5 to US 101 to Vignes Street and the parked in the MTA building parking lot. We walked up to Track 8B and the LA County Sheriffs only had one door open so they could check to see that everyone had a ticket. We took a seat at a table in the bicycle car and waited for departure at 12:10 PM on Metrolink train 362 to San Bernardino.

Elizabeth on Metrolink 362. The train made great time almost to San Bernardino.

BNSF PR30C 1323, ex. Progress Rail 3005, nee Canadian Pacific SD40-2 5647 built by Electro-Motive Division in 1972. It is one of two BNSF engines to wear Union Pacific colours, in anticipation of a sale to that company. But when Union Pacific refused buy the engines, they were sold to BSNF.

BNSF 129 and friends.

The intermodal yard.

BNSF 7757 and 6656 at San Bernardino.

Metrolink train 367 from Riverside on its way from San Bernardino then onto Los Angeles.

Metrolink train 362 with leased RBBX F59PH 18533 (ex. Larry's Truck and Electric 18533, nee GO Transit 533, built by Electro-Motive Division in 1988) at San Bernardino.

Santa Fe 3751 with Metrolink 894, Metrolink 208 "Stay Alert, Stay Alive, Stay off the Tracks", Amtrak Great Dome 10031, Amtrak Amfleet 82620, Santa Fe 1370 "Acoma" and "Tioga Pass".

Santa Fe 4-8-4 3751 built by Baldwin in 1927.

BNSF 3GS21C 1306 built by National Railway Equipment in 2014. We went inside the station, first getting our wrist bands for our trip on the "Tioga Pass" later today and then spent some time with my dear friend Chris Parker before returning outside to photograph "Tioga Pass".

The "Tioga Pass" built by Canadian National Railway in 1959. It was part of an order for 12 similar cars designed for railroad executives. Originally numbered 23 and later 93, "Tioga Pass" spent most of its life in Edmonton, Alberta. There it served the Vice President of the Mountain Region. Records show the car travelled all over Canada, providing some 30 years of faithful service. By the early 1990's, though, the car was largely redundant and seldom used. Like the passenger trains on which it used to hitch a ride, the automobile and airplane offered quicker and more convenient transportation in today's fast-paced corporate world.

In 1992 Canadian National decided to sell the car and a local businessman in Barstow, California named Rutherford P. "Rudy" Hayes bought it sight unseen because, as he put it, "I always just wanted one". In an epic trip, the car traveled from Edmonton to Barstow in January 1993. Through fierce cold and driving blizzards, the passengers stayed warm inside. Its new owner was like a proud father, pronouncing the car was all he ever thought it would be. Unfortunately, Rudy never got the chance to travel on his new car as he died of a heart attack only months after it was delivered. The car sat, forlorn and neglected in front of the Harvey House train station in Barstow for several years.

Aronco Leasing Company purchased the car in 1997 from the Hayes estate. A victim of benign neglect, numerous repairs and upgrades were needed before the car could be used again. Starting in 2002, the "Tioga Pass" has undergone the most extensive restoration since its construction. An exhaustive examination of all of the major mechanical components of the car was undertaken, including the wheels, suspension, couplers and airbrakes. This thorough examination allows the car to be considered as good as new. At the same time, a number of upgrades were made to allow the car to operate behind Amtrak trains, such as installation of heavy-duty power cabling and signal and communications wiring.

During the off-season in winter 2005, "Tioga Pass" saw its first significant redecorating in more than 20 years. The living room was completely redone in oak paneling and new furniture was installed. New carpeting and flooring was accompanied by fresh paint and a host of other interior decor changes. A new high-capacity diesel generator was installed along with miles of new wiring. Almost every trace of the original electrical system was removed in preparation for new equipment. A completely new air conditioning system, and upgrades to the heating, ventilation, lighting and plumbing rounded out the vast array of improvements.

Elizabeth on the rear platform of the car. We then boarded the car sitting on the couch.

BNSF 6873 West came through while we waited to depart.

Then BNSF 7740 East passed us.

BNSF 7396 West was next.

Bob Riskie and Chris Parker at San Bernardino.

BNSF 6954 West came through just as we were leaving.

At exactly 3:00 PM, Santa Fe 3751 started to leave San Bernardino for LAUPT.

We passed BNSF 1306 and waved to all those people on the ground watching us leave.

There were far less people on the Mount Vernon overpass this year.

In addition, far less people photographing us leaving San Bernardino.

The train started climbing the San Bernardino flyover.

The look back to San Bernardino.

Almost to the top of the flyover.

We then went down the west side of the flyover, after which I went back inside and sat on the couch just enjoying the ride. You could hear the whistle at all the crossings and I relaxed throughout the westbound trip.

We ran to Bassett then went into the siding there, letting Metrolink 366 pass by us on its way east then sat and waited for Metrolink 369 to go by us west. Once we received a green signal, we headed the rest of the way to LAUPT. Elizabeth and I detrained from the "Tioga Pass", two very happy people. We walked down to the front of the train for some final pictures of Santa Fe 3751.

Metrolink leased F59PH 18520 (ex. Larry's Truck and Electric 18520, nee GO Transit 520, built by Electro-Motive Division in 1988) at LAUPT.

Santa Fe 3751 and train at rest here.

One last view of Santa Fe 3751. After that we drove back down Interstate 5 to Santa Ana then went to The Habit where we got dinner for Elizabeth, myself and my mother. We got home and ate before watching the end of the Pittsburgh Penguins/Ottawa Senators game with the Penguins losing 3-2 in a shootout then watched some television before I drove Elizabeth back to the Red Roof Inn for the night. I returned home and had a good night's sleep before picking Elizabeth up at 6:00 AM and driving her to Orange County Airport. I came home, did some chores, decided to write this story and went to work at my job at Heninger Elementary School in Santa Ana.