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The Trip East to get to N&W 611 Trips 4/6/2016 and my 1,450,000 Rail Mile

plus a Trip on the DC Streetcar

by Chris Guenzler

After a great time at the La Plata 2016 Spring Railfan Event, I woke up and checked things online before John Green and I went to the closed Granma's Cafe on the La Plata Square then tried the Choo Choo Cafe which did not open until 8:00 AM. We went back to Room V and I showed him Winterail programs from this year and 2013, 2012 and 2011. We then went to Choo Choo Cafe at the La Plata Pharmacy for breakfast on a rainy morning. I returned to my room and watched two episodes of NCIS before checking out of the Depot Inn & Suites for this visit then drove the rental car back to the train station. I had one BNSF westbound grain train then the crossing gates went down and stayed that way for the reminder of my stay. I moved my bags out onto the platform, then heard the horn of an eastbound train and decided to photograph.

BNSF 4538 East came through La Plata slow but did not reset the crossing gates. Tom Anderson came down to see me off. It was good to talk with Tom before my train arrived one hour six minutes late.

The Southwest Chief 4 4/6/2016

The Southwest Chief arrived in La Plata and I was boarded into Superliner Coach 34031 for the short five-hour trip to Chicago. I will write this story but will not take pictures as I have documented this route many times now. I put on my DVD of Styx The Grand Illusion Pieces of Eight Live and was watching it as the train crossed the Des Moines River into Iowa. We stopped at Fort Madison after I found some really good places to photograph trains in Iowa for future La Plata Railfan events. After that we crossed the Mississippi River into the state of Illinois to our next stop at Galesburg. I had a lunch of Fully Cooked Buffalo Style Breast Chunk Fritters with Rib Meat and a bag of pretzels from the cafe car which did the trick. At Cameron, we left the rails of the old Santa Fe for those of the old CB&Q for the rest of the trip to Chicago. We got messed up by BNSF 5317 West that was on the crossover in front of us three miles east of Galesburg. It was at same point the Styx DVD finished. Next I put on Jeff Beck's video Beckology Vol 3 DVD disc 2 for most of the rest of the trip to Chicago. This DVD took me through Princeton and Mendota, then Naperville and into the Chicago city limits. Here I packed up the computer. It had been a very good trip aboard the Southwest Chief. We arrived into the cloudy and wet Windy City of Chicago at 4:08 PM and they got me there for my connection to the Capitol Limited train 30 this evening.

I made my way off of the train to the Metropolitian First Class Lounge. After I checked in and I got a 7:00 PM Dinner Reservation. I got on-line a checked a few things then relaxed until the boarding of my next train on this eastward trip.

Capitol Limited 30 4/6/2016

This version of the Capitol Limited had engines 43 and 821, Viewliner Baggage Car 61013, Transition 39036, Sleepers 32025 and 32054, Diner 37012, Lounge 33024 and Coaches 34058, 34080 and 31027. I was in Room 4 of the 32054 Sleeping Car with Larry as my Sleeping Car Attendant. We left Chicago on time and headed out into a rainy evening. At 7:00 PM they called both 7:00 and & 7:30 PM reservations to the Dining Car. The 37012 was one of the Diner Lite Cars Beech Grove rebuilt back into a standard diner at one end of the car. I was seated with a gentlemen going to Bristol, Tennessee, another going to Pennsylvania and a third going to Washington, DC. I had the steak and a chocolate mousse. I returned to my room and put on part one of the Jeff Beck Video Beckology Vol 3 DVD as the train rolled across Indiana. After that I made up my room for the night.

4/7/2016 I got up and went to the Dining Car for breakfast. Seated with my friend from last night, I enjoyed three pancakes and sausage. While I was out of my room, Larry made it up for day use. I got back as we were running along the Younghiogheny River.

The railroad bridge used to belong to the Wheeling & Lake Erie Railroad.

The Younghiogheny River.

CSX motive power at the CSX Connellsville yard.

I was once on that railroad bridge across the Younghiogheny River on the Southwest Pennsylvania Railroad Rare Mileage Trip using the B&O RDC from the B&O Railroad Museum which my good friend Bart Jennings put on for all of us who rode those great and unique trips.

Views along the Younghiogheny River as the train continued rolling east towards Sandpatch Summit. I got to see where the CSX had removed the tunnels so double stack trains could use the route. So far we have seen a CSX auto train and a CSX single stack train.

The Casselman River. The train went under the old Western Maryland Railroad Meyersdale Trestle which my good friend Chris Parker and I walked across back in the days of the New Philadelphia, Ohio NRHS Convention trip. We rolled by the old B&O Meyersdale station, new windmills are on the ridge to the right or south of the train. The train was closing in on Sandpatch Summit. We went under the old Western Maryland Railroad trestle then ran along the old grade which now a hiking trail. We went by where the old Sandpatch bridge was which has been replaced since Chris Parker's and my visit here. The train passed Sandpatch Summit then plunged into the Sandpatch Tunnel then descended the eastern grade of Sandpatch. Now I would just sit back and enjoy the ride down the grade to Cumberland.

The Narrows where Chris Parker and I rode the Western Maryland Scenic Railroad. We arrived into Cumberland and I detrained for a picture.

The Capitol Limited in Cumberland, we left here 24 minutes late.

Two pictures of RTD of Denver new electric railroad cars.

CSX SD-40-2 8226 at Cumberland. The train headed east to our next stop at Martinsburg.

A B&O postion light signal one of the few I have seen left on this railroad.

The Potomac River.

The rail line that takes you to the Potomac Eagle Scenic Railroad which I highly recommed all readers of my stories to come here. I have been on it twice, once with Chris Parker on 7/15/2006 and the other during West Virginia Rail Festival 2010 on 6/27/2010 all the way from Romney to Petersburg, both excellent trips. We will travel through the Hannock Tunnel which when you pass through it you go into and out of three states. You will enter in West Virginia while inside you cross into Maryland then Pennsylvania turning back south into Maryland where you stay when exiting. The reason is Maryland has its slender neck of panhandle here. We then rolled the miles east to Martinsburg.

A Maryland scene right before Martinsburg. I saw a Winchester and Western freight train crossing over us before we arrived into Martinsburg.

The Martinsburg. Amtrak station building.

B&O Freight House. The train left Martinsburg at 11:32 AM {11:01 AM}. We headed east to Harpers Ferry, our next stop on this trip.

An old railroad passenger car at Harpers Ferry. We arrived at Harpers Ferry.

The Harpers Ferry station. We left Harpers Ferry at 11:58 AM {11:31 AM}/

The old B&O bridge across the Potomac River. Still used by CSX today.

The C&O Canal. The towpath is a bike trail that runs from Washington, DC to Pittsburgh. We ran slow to MP 39 where we crossed over before our next station stop of Rockville. We left at 12:47 PM {12:21 PM}. From here we ran into Washignton Union Station where we arrived at 1:15 PM {1:05 PM}.

The Capitol Limited in Washington, DC.

A Virginia Rail Express train was leaving for Broad Run. I went to Club Acela where I checked in, then stored \my luggage and headed out to find the brand new Washington Streetcar. I was pointed in the right direction and then followed the signs, passing the rental car offices and bus bays then down a driveway to H Street, crossing to the median where I found a waiting Washington Streetcar to ride.

The Washington Streetcar 4/7/2016

My first two pictures of the Washington Streetcar. It is a 2.2 mile streetcar line stops after Union Station east to 3rd Street/H Street, 5th Street/H Street, 8th/H Street, 13th Street/H Street, 15th Street/Benning Road, 19th Street/Benning Road and the last stop at Oklahoma Avenue/Benning Road. The DC Streetcars were built by United Streetcars.


After more than 50 years since streetcars last serviced the streets of Washington, DC, the District Department of Transportation (DDOT) is bringing them back. Launching in February 2016, DC Streetcar will facilitate travel for District residents, workers and visitors by complementing existing transit options and by creating neighborhood connections where they currently do not exist. helps passengers stay informed about service for the H Street/Benning Road line including trip planning tools, rider tips, and more.

The streetcar system in place today is rooted in a planning process that began several years ago to shape the future of transit in the city. The comprehensive District of Columbia Transit Improvements Alternatives Analysis studied gaps in transit and identified ways to better meet the needs of residents. Out of that, DDOT began focusing on expanding transit service with the DC Circulator, express Metrobus routes, and streetcar. Planning is underway for additional segments through the District.

My Trip aboard the DC Streetcar

The Map in the Streetcar of the present route.

The new car barn is being built.

The Streetcar that brought me out to the east end of the line at Oklahoma Avenue/Benning Road.

It leaves to go to where the operator will switch ends.

The Streetcar went to its layover spot.

You get a great show of the Washington Metro Subway from this station.

The new DC Streetcar Shop builing is well underway. About ten minutes later the DC Streetcar started heading back to the Oklahoma Avenue/Benning Road station.

My DC Streetcar returned to the Oklahoma Avenue/Benning Road station. Now sit back and take a ride looking backwards for most of the trip on the DC Streetcar including a 10 minute delay because of a fire truck and ambulance parking on the tracks doing a rescue of a person in a store.

This ends our trip on the DC Streetcars.

Two last views of the DC Streetcar. I walked back to Washington Union Station and got my bags out of storage at Club Acela. I cleaned out my E-mail before writing the DC Streetcar story. I then relaxed until it was time to be taken out to my last train of this trip east.

Crescent 20 4/7/2016

This version of the Crescent has engines 148 and 512, Viewliner Baggage 61017, Viewliner Sleepers 62005 and 62002, Diner 8531, Amfleet Coach 25113, Lounge 28024 and Amfleet Coaches 25029, 25123 and 25058. I am in Viewliner Sleeper 62002 with William Singeton as my Sleeping Car Attendant. He gave me a 6:45 dinner reservation which will be my second to last chance to eat in a Heritage Diner, this time for dinner in the 8531. This train will get me to Salisbury, North Carolina. We crossed the Potomac River and there were massive thunderheads to the east. I went to the dining car and was seated with Tim and Donna from Nashville going to Birmingham on this train. I had to wait one and hour twenty minutes to be served. That was an all-time new record for me in dining car. The only saving grace as far as I was concerned was the steak was one of the best that I ever had on Amtrak. I made my upstairs bunk and called it a night.

While I was sleeping during the night of April 7, 2016, I passed the 1,450,000th rail mile 1.6 miles north of Elma, Virginia at MP 137.2 aboard the Crescent.

4/8/2016 About ten minutes out of Salisbury, the conductor woke me up. I climbed out of the top bunk, put it away, then dressed with my bags all packed and ready to go. He carried my two bags and took me to the vestibule and we talked until he detrained me in Salisbury. I walked to the street and saw a taxi coming. He dropped off his fare then took me to the Econo Lodge where I paid my taxi fare. I checked in through a window then walked to Room 129 and went back to bed. It had mostly been a great trip on the Crescent and I was glad to be back in Salisbury.