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To Winterail 2017 3/16/2017

by Chris Guenzler

I decided to do a Pre-Winterail Trip on the Albany & Eastern Railroad and would be the first trip I have ever done. I contacted the Albany & Eastern Railroad and worked with Rose to put together a trip from Lebanon to Sweethome on the old Oregon & Electric Railroad. I had Bart Jennings put it up on the Mileage Board then I put it up on, Altamont Press and the Railroad Forum. Vic Neves then put it up on the Winterail Homepage and tickets sales started to come in. I needed 60 pasasengers to break even and by the end of February I had made it thanks to myself and two other riders buying four extra tickets each. Bob and Elizabeth had planned to take Amtrak to Portland but mudslides forced them to drive and would pick us up at the Portland Airport instead of me renting a car this year. Chris Parker was having ear problems and would not know until the morning out the trip if he was coming. He E mailed me at 3:34 AM letting me know he wasn't coming. He had come to Winterail since 2006. At least I was ready to go!

3/16/17I got up at 4:30 AM, shaved then fixed my breakfast, checked the e-mail on the computer which is when I learned officially that Chris Parker was not coming. I also had to deal with more people wanting tickets. Why do people wait so long before a trip to try to get tickets. They are very lucky I am such a nice human being. My mother, who I awoke at 5:40, then drove me to John Wayne Airport where I went through TSA pre-check security without absolutely no problems. My number for boarding the plane was A2, so I got a good window seat and then had a gentleman with some very interesting tattoos sit next to me for the flight to San Jose.

Southwest Airline Flight 4852 3/16/2017

This would be a quick flight. We left on time heading straight to the runway and took off into a sky that surprisingly had no fog this morning. We flew north and had clear views until we got to about Gilroy where the clouds took over. We descended through these clouds and landed at San Jose where I had to go from Gate 25 to 19 which was not bad. I called Elizabeth to let her know that the pilot knew the way to San Jose and to find out where she was. She and Bob were in Olympia so our connection in Portland was looking quite promising. I had an interesting with a gate agent about hockey, alcoholism and other things until I was boarded, taking the same seat I had on the other plane.

Southwest Airline Flight 747 3/16/2017

This flight started out rather weird as we circled twice over the same region to gain height then went east over Altamont Pass before heading directly north toward Portland. I saw all the railroads in California and Mount Lassen, but not Mount Shasta as it was shrouded in clouds. Once in Oregon, I saw my favorite cinder cone and did have a view of Crater Lake before the clouds came over and stole it from me, then it was only the peaks with the sun peaking out from over them. We descended out of the clouds into Portland where once on the ground, I called Elizabeth to find out where they were so they could meet me down on the arrival level. Bob and Elizabeth pulled up and I loaded my stuff in the back seat of their car and we were off.

The Trip to Lebanon 3/16/2017

We left the airport and headed out to I-84 where we quickly all realized people in Oregon do not know how to drive in dry weather. The traffic was backed up as they were clearing an accident and then there was even a man standing in the middle of the freeway talking on his cell phone, probably wondering why he was there. We got by the accident site but the traffic continued to crawl. It was not until three miles later that we noticed there was a lane closed and a big truck that all these Oregonites had to gawk at. From here we made excellent time the rest of the way to Hillsboro, our first stop of this trip.

The Hillsboro Southern Pacfic station. We left Hillsboro and started toward Forest Grove, saw a great-looking railroad trestle and said that we wished we could photograph a train on it. It was at this time that we saw a local heading from Hillsboro to the end of the line at Stimson. We quickly stopped at the grade crossing on SW 345th Street to catch the train.

The train passed by our location with Willamette and Pacific GP39-2 2301 "Sheridan" as the power for the train. From here we went west on Oregon 8 to Forest Grove. After I remembered where the depot was on Google Earth, we found it and Elizabeth and I went to take pictures of it.

The Forest Grove Oregon Electric station. From here we drove south to Carlton.

The Southern Pacific Carlton station, now the Ken Wright Cellars Tasting Room winery.

The surprise wig-wag at Carlton.We next headed to McMinnville.

The McMinnville Southern Pacific station. From here we headed toward Perryvale Road south of Amity but we first stopped when we were on Bethel Road for our next pictures.

The Oregon Electric sub-station building, built in 1916, still stands on McCoy Lane off Bethel Road.

A surprise grain elevator in Oregon. I had never seen one in the Willamette Valley before. It seemed like a scene out of Kansas. Was I in the Wizard of Oz? We then drove to Perryvale Road where there was supposed to be a Southern Pacific depot but in reality there is not one. Sometimes all my good planning goes to waste. We then drove on over to Albany taking a very unique route where we actually went down a street called Parker. I called Chris Parker while we were on it but it went to voicemail. We took this unique route so we could cross the Willamette River where if we would have been able to use the closed ferry, we could have reached I-5, but with the ferry being closed, we had to get back to Highway 20 to reach Albany, which led us almost straight to the Amtrak station. We were able to see a couple of trains so sometimes luck is with us.

The Albany Amtrak station.

The southbound Coast Starlight Train 11 making its station stop at Albany.

A few minutes later Amtrak Cascades Talgo 508 which Julie said had a service disruption arrived. We drove to the other side of the yard to see what the Willamette and Pacific had in town.

W&P GP40P-2 3001 Wilsonville.

W&P slug 101.

W&P GP39-2 2313.

W&P GP9E 1801 in Southern Pacific colors. From Albany we drove on into Lebanon and when we came to the first grade crossing, the crossing gates were going on. So we quickly made a U-turn and went to a grade crossing and beat that train to it.

Albany and Eastern freight train with GP38-3 2001 pulling the train back from Sweethome, the destination of tomorrow's trip. From here we went over to the starting point of tomorrow's trip, the Lebanon Southern Pacific station with the Oregon Electric Burlington Northern signpost signifying this was once the Oregon and Electric's railroad to Sweethome.

Lebanon Southern Pacific station. Afterwards we drove to the railroad's headquarters on Industrial Way to see if anyone was there. We finally called the phone number and reached the operator who informed me they closed at 3:00.

Albany and Eastern B40-8 1841.

Albany and Eastern B40-8 1807 and SP (LLW) SD-9R 5399. From here we checked to the Shanico Inn where once in my room, I labelled all the pictures then Bob, Elizabeth and I went to the Appletree Restaurant and I had an excellent twelve ounce steak. It had been a great way to start off a Winterail weekend. Back at the room, Elizabeth typed the story for me while I dictated and we watched some Disney Channel while we did this for a few cheap laughs. Tomorrow, the first excursion I have ever put together in my life will finally happen. I can't wait.