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To the Nickel Plate 765 Trip

by Chris Guenzler

Dave Smetko asked me if I wanted to ride behind Nickel Plate 765 on July 25, 2015 from Youngstown to Ashtabula, Ohio and I said yes. Amtrak tickets were then purchased between Santa Ana and Chicago. I would then take Metra to Hanover Park and meet Dave late Thursday afternoon. We would drive to Ohio on Friday making a few stops to make it interesting, then ride the steam trip Saturday, all new mileage for me. We would take a picture of the Sunday trip before visiting the Hesston Steam Museum to ride their trains Sunday afternoon. I would stay one more night at Dave's house before returning to Chicago on Metra then home on Amtrak. It should be an excellent trip.

7/21/2015 I woke up and put a check in the credit union before gassing up my mother's car. I relaxed the rest of the day until it was time to head to the station for Pacific Surfliner 579. I used the elevator and bridge to get to track one and waited for my train. Dave Smetko called and we discussed the upcoming trip.

Pacific Surfliner 579 pulled into Santa Ana and I boarded the Business Class car and took a seat on the lower level. We stopped at Anaheim and Fullerton before making the final sprint to LAUPT. I was given a ride to the First Class lounge to wait for the boarding of the Southwest Chief. The Red Cap drove me to the elevator and I took it up to the lounge. I relaxed before being taken out to the Southwest Chief. I made my dinner reservation for 6:45 PM then relaxed until I was driven to the platform just before the train backed in.

Southwest Chief train 4 7/21/2015

This Southwest Chief had a consist of Engines 81 and 154, Baggage 1230, Transition 39033, Sleepers 32059 and 32076 Delaware, Diner 38050, Lounge 33007 and Coaches 34046, 34035, 31002 and 31017. I am in Room 13 of the Delaware and my attendant is Janette. I settled into my room and relaxed until departure time. The train left LAUPT on time and headed to the first stop of Fullerton. The train stopped for 25 minutes waiting for that Riverside to LAUPT Metrolink train. Why can't Metrolink use Track 3 in Fullerton for this train and not delay ours or have our train leave LAUPT thirty minutes later? I was called into the Dining Car just before Fullerton but seated on the station side so I could see my dear friend Chris Parker who came to see me off. I had the Flat Iron steak and the Tiramisu dessert cup. After that I put on a DVD of Santa Fe 3751 Steam Special plus Milwaukee Road 261 Steam Charter by Joe Harper. I took a fresh air break at San Bernardino. I watched the rest of this great DVD before I made up my bed for the night.

7/22/2015 This morning started like so many mornings on the train with me waiting for the Dining Car to open at 6:30 AM. I enjoyed French Toast and sausage patties with a couple returning to Ohio and a lady going to Chicago. That lasted from just east of Winslow into New Mexico. I took a fresh air break in Gallup before putting on Guns N' Roses Use your Illlusion II which would take me towards Albuquerque. I enjoyed a Coca-Cola as I watched this excellent show.

I am on the wrong side of the train for the red mesas of New Mexico on this trip.

The state is green because of all the monsoonal rains they have received.

The train had Norfolk Southern New York Central heritage unit in the consist. The BNSF mainline was really busy this morning as I head east across New Mexico.

I always enjoy watching the sky on all my trips. Nature is the most wonderful painter of all.

I am taking different pictures on this trip to make it more interesting for me.

Views looking east on this beautiful New Mexico morning.

The red mesas on the south side of our route. The train made it into Albuquerque at 11:10 AM and I took a fresh air break. We departed on time with me having a 12:30 PM lunch reservation. I had the Angus Beef Burger with vanilla ice cream for dessert and was seated with a couple from Toronto returning home fron Las Vegas and a lady going to Arlington, Virginia. After lunch I watched my Sunday River Production DVD of Union Pacific 844 in the beginning. We lost 15 minutes waiting on the westbound Southwest Chief. After the steam DVD was over, I put on my DVD of the Keith Emerson Band in Moscow, Russia that took me almost to Raton. Below are images of that trip.

Clouds on a beautiful afternoon.

The remains of Fort Union.

Two Antelopes out on the plains.

Wagon Mound, New Mexico.

Two more Antelopes out on the plains. I took fresh air break at Raton then went to the dining car and was seated with a lady from the mountain above Kingman and a gentleman from north of San Francisco. I had the Flat Iron steak and the Tiramisu dessert cup. I would relax the rest of the way to La Junta then make my bed for the night.

7/23/2015 The trip across Kansas went fine and I arose at 6:30 AM, went and had my usual breakfast of French Toast and sausage patties before the train was refueled at the BNSF fueling pads in Argentine Yard. From there we crossed into Missouri and stopped at Kansas City Union Station at 7:19 AM, five minutes early, where I took a fresh air break. The train left Kansas City on time and we headed to La Plata with me watching a pair of concerts as well as the landscape for new locations for future La Plata Railfan Events. We lost about ten minutes due to slow orders as we arrived in La Plata on track 2. It always seems funny to me to not get off the train here. The train departed and the bushes around the lookout point still need to be cut back. We headed to Fort Madison as I finished the second concert and had an 11:00 AM lunch reservation. I was seated with a couple going to New York City from Winslow as I enjoyed the Angus Beef Burger with vanilla ice cream for dessert. The train crossed the Mississippi River into Illinois during the meal. After lunch I put on my DVD of the Los Angeles Kings 2014 Stanley Cup Champions. That ended at Naperville and I relaxed the rest of the way into Chicago Union Station, arriving there at 3:02 PM {3:15 PM} or 13 minutes early.

Chicago 7/23/2015

I detrained and walked straight to the Metra ticket office to buy a roundtrip to Hanover Park then walked straight to the train and took the rear seat in the cab car, placing my luggage on the seat with me. Metra 2223 took me from Chicago Union Station to Hanover Park where Dave Smetko was waiting for me. He drove me to his house and I got the Tigger Room. We relaxed around the house until bedtime.

The Drive to Youngstown 7/24/2015

Dave got me up at 5:00 AM and I prepared for my day. We left his house and drove the toll road into Indiana where we stopped at an Oasis for a MacDonald's breakfast of Hot Cakes and sausage. We then drove into Ohio exiting at Exit 52 and drove southeast to our first stop of the trip on the old Wabash grade in Whitehouse.

Unknown caboose in Whitehouse along the Wabash Cannonball Trail. From here we went into Waterville.

The Waterville Wabash Railroad station. From here we went to Grand Rapids, Ohio.

Railroad display in Grand Rapids of the Toledo, Lake Erie & Western Railway.

Diesel engine 1 on display.

Detroit Edison Company 0-6-0 202.

Unknown reefer car.

C&O Caboose 3667.

Passenger car 108. From here we went to the new museum grounds on Saylor Lane.

PVTC box car unknown number.

Grand Trunk Railroad transfer caboose number unknown.

Nickel Plate Railroad caboose 466.

Track crew bunk car unknown. From here we drove to Fostoria Iron Triangle Rail Park.

Welcome to the Fostoria Iron Triangle Rail Park.

A CSX train was going by as we arrived here.

CSX 3092 East came through on the old B&O mainline.

Next a Norfolk Southern local came through on their line at Fostoria.

CSX 7866 East came through next.

Dave really was enjoying the Fostoria Iron Triangle Rail Park.

CSX 3148 East came through next.

CEFX SD-45 3119 came to interchange with the Norfolk Southern.

CSX 5264 West came through Fostoria.

Norfolk Southern 8431 West came through Fostoria. From here we went through the B&O Station.

The Fostoria B&O Station.

CSX 7345 East crossed the other Norfolk Southern crossing in Fostoria.

The C&O Station in Fostoria. From here we drove straight to Youngstown where we checked into the Travelodge, went to the boarding site, then went depot hunting.

The Erie Railroad Station on Commerce Street is now an office building.

The Pennsylvania Railroad station in Youngstown is a fireworks store on Mlk Boulevard.

Around the corner on Mahoning Street is the B&O Railroad station. From here we drove south to a Long Horn Steakhouse where I had a fantastic Top Sirloin. We returned to the Travelodge and I put my things on the charger before calling it a night.