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The Trip to New York and the NRHS 2018 Convention

by Chris Guenzler

This year, I would not only be able to take the train back to the NRHS 2018 Convention in Cumberland, Maryland, but Robin Bowers and I would be able to ride both ways plus re-finish the Amtrak system again with a trip into Roanake with their new extension of service. We would take the Southwest Chief and Cardinal to Washington then Train 90 to New York City, stay there one night then ride it to Port Washington on the Long Island Railroad. We would ride Northeast Regional 171 from New York City to Roanake and finish the Amtrak system once again. Here we would spend the night then rent a car and visit the Virginia Transportation Museum and the O. Winston Link Museum before heading to the Chesapeake & Ohio Railway and Heritage Center in Clifton Forge then spend the rest of that day taking pictures of CSX freights and the Amtrak Cardinals.

The next day we would take the Durbin Rocket train, a new one for me, then get over to the Norfolk Southern mainline and photograph their Pocahontas District before staying at the Elkhorn Inn & Theater for that night. The following day we would visit the Tweetsie Railroad, Southeastern Narrow Gauge Museum in Newton, the North Carolina Transportation Museum and stay in Salisbury overnight. The next day would see us visit the Wilmington Railroad Museum then drive to Raleigh for a two-night stay and ride the Piedmont train from Raleigh to Charlotte and return. Next day we head back to Roanoke stopping at Crewe for the museum then turn in the rental car and stay one last night there.

The next day Robin and I will take Northeast Regional 176 to Wilmington and we would rent another car to tour the Wilmington Amtrak Shops then drive into New Jersey to Princeton Junction then to a motel for the night. The next morning we will visit Princeton Junction to photograph trains and to ride the Princeton Dinky Train before we drive to the New Jersey Transportation Museum then head to Harpers Ferry then Hagerstown for the night. The next day would be the Hagerstown Roundhouse and Hagerstown Railroad Park then the Walkerville and Southern, folowed by the National Capitol Trolley Museum, B&O Railroad Museum and the Baltimore Streetcar Museum before Havre de Grace then staying in Newark for the night. The next day we would visit Newton Square plus a few other things then West Chester Railroad and the Strasburg Railway and Pennslyvania Railroad Museum. The next morning would be turning in the car then taking Acela 2107 from Wilmington to Washington, DC and the Capitol Limited to Cumberland for six nights. The next morning we would get a rental car then drive to Cass for a trip up to Bald Knob. The next day the NRHS 2018 Convention starts with trips on the Cass Railroad and Salamander Trip Cass to Elkins, Western Maryland Trip, Potomac Eagle Trip and the Everett Railroad Trip. We would leave for home on the Capitol Limited and Southwest Chief before starting the next school year at Heninger. It should all be a fantastic trip.

In the meantime, my mother fell and spent time in the hospital before leaving there for a rest home since she could not be home by herself anymore. I was moved from 3.75 hours to 5.75 hours at work and would retire in about four years with a lot more money. I also saw the Ann Wilson, Paul Rodgers and Jeff Beck show at the 5 Point Amphitheater with Robin. There is a list of all my concerts I have seen on my IR Page on the web site.

7/22/2018 I got up the morning of the trip and after my morning rituals, drove down to the Santa Ana station and waited for Pacific Surfliner 562 to take me to Solana Beach. I returned on Pacific Surfliner 1567 to Santa Ana with my dear friend Conductor CJ so I had a chance to say my goodbye to her. I went home first then visited the rest home to see my mother one last time before leaving on this trip. My cell phone vanished yesterday, the ghost in my house, so I went to Verizon and got a newer model flip phone. I came home and charged it then said my goodbye to my dog Toby and put him outside until it was time to leave. I finished packing my back pack then Robin showed up and we moved his car in front of mine. Next Dr. Filipek and her husband Phil arrived to drive us to the station after I showed them my program called Engines that Pulled My Excursion trains. After that everyone went out to the Filipek car and I let Toby back in and said my goodbye to my very unique dog. I closed up the house and locked the door then helped load the car and we were off. We arrived at the station then Robin asked me to take his luggage via the Santa Ana Boulevard crossing to Track 1 where I waited in the shade. We were supposed to be on Pacific Surfliner 579 but a death on the rails changed all that as a late-running Pacific Surfliner 777 was due into Santa Ana at 579 time.

Pacific Surfliner 777 7/22/2018

The train arrived standing room only but since it came in the same time as 579, and since we were taking sleepers out of Los Angeles, they let us board and I took a seat on the floor of the cab car and Robin stood againist the wall the whole trip. Luckily it was only a fifty minute trip to Los Angeles so it was not too bad a way to start a trip. We stopped at Anaheim and Fullerton before the final sprint to LAUPT. We detrained after 36.0 rail miles both very happy to he here. A Red Cap took us to the elevator that took us to the Metropolitan Lounge. I enjoyed a glass of ice water and cookies while we waited and they announced that the Southwest Chief would be forty-five minutes late due to locomotive problems which they solved. So they had a Red Cap drive us out to the platform and we waited for the train to back into LAUPT this evening. A few minutes later and empty Pacific Surfliner train set returned to the yard and then our train backed into LAUPT.

Southwest Chief Train 4 7/22/2018

We boarded the 430 Car, room five, then walked to the front of the train. This train had Engines 195 and Heritage unit 822, Viewliner Baggage 61015, Transition Sleeper 39035, Sleeper 32072 "Arkansas", Sleeper 32098 "New Jersey", Diner 38061, Lounge 33043 and Coaches 31043, 34018 and 34024. Rashad was our Sleeping Car Attendant for the trip to Chicago.

The front of the Southwest Chief in Los Angeles.

Heritage unit 822. We returned aboard and we left LAUPT at 6:45 PM {6:10 PM} and we were off for Chicago. About thirty minutes later, we arrived into Fullerton and did a double spotting of the train as elevator construction was taking forever. We did see David Aten but not Chris Parker who were both here trying to see us off. We left Fullerton and at the Horseshoe Bend of the Santa Ana River of course a BNSF freight came and blocked our view.Thry came by and gave us an 8:00 PM dinner reservation and it started to get dark before we got into the dining car. I had the steak, with Robin having it also, and pudding for my dessert. The dinner rolls were the smallest rolls that I ever had on a train. I finished before San Bernardino and enjoyed the climb over Cajon as I finished up putting phone numbers in my new cell phone so I had a pretty good day. We took a fresh air break on a warm night in Barstow then made up the room and called it a night.

7/23/2018 I was up just east of Maine, Arizona and rode the lounge car until Flagstaff were I detrained for more cool fresh air. At 6:30 AM Robin and I went to the dining car and were seated with a couple who were on a Amtrak Vacation trip and really loving it. They were sad at the fact that next year this train may be broken up with a bus between Albuquerque and Dodge City. This is one reason we booked our trip this way as Robin was making his first Southwest Chief complete line trip. I had pancakes and pork sausage along with orange juice. I pointed out Canyon Diablo to all at our table plus the Meteor Crater. We returned to the room and I made it up then walked the whole length of the train and saw the Joeseph City power plant with an empty BNSF coal train getting ready to leave it.

Eastern Arizona and I put on my CD of Miley Cyrus' "Breakthrough". That would take me into New Mexico.

Welcome to New Mexico on this sunny Monday morning in July. The train's next stop at Gallup would be a fresh air break for me on this trip. After that I put on my new Rachel Flowers CD "Listen", the blind girl I saw play by herself and my friend Leonard's ELP Tribute Band at the Moose Lodge in Oceanside two weeks ago. She is as good as the late Keith Emerson playing keyboards.

Red mesas east of Gallup.

More red mesas for your fullfillment.

Still even more red mesas.

Even more red mesas. The train continued east and ran through Grants, New Mexico. Robin was really enjoying his first trip aboard the Southwest Chief. After Rachel was done, I listened to Alice Cooper's "Parnormal" CD which took me closer to Albuquerque. Next was "To The Power of 3" CD which was a band after Emerson, Lake & Powell. The train reached Dalies with an ETA of 12:35 PM {11:42 AM} so we will see. We got to the see quite a few old railroad grades as we made our way to Isleta. We arrived into Albuquerque at 12:35 PM.

Amtrak Heritage Unit 822.

Southwest Chief Train 4 at Albuquerque. We departed here at 1:10 PM {12:10 PM} and headed to our next stop of Lamy. Robin and I had a lunch reservation at 1:15 PM and were seated with two very interesting people. I enjoyed an Angus Beef Burger and chips while we stopped in the siding to let a southbound New Mexico Railrunner train pass. Good conversations were had, time flew by and soon we were on the final approach for Lamy.

A former Santa Fe Southern railroad display train.

Atlantic Coast Line "Talladega" built in 1950.

The Lamy station where we stopped and departed at 2:38PM {1:17 PM}. I put on my ELP Trilogy CD which I really enjoyed.

Apache Canyon on the way to Glorieta Pass. There was no Train 3 at Canyoncito so we climbed the rest of the way up Glorieta Pass, meeting Train 3, the Southwest Chief, at Rowe siding. We contiuned on our way toward Las Vegas and Robin and I walked to the rear of the train for a little bit of semaphore hunting.

The Blanchard "S" curves. Next the semaphores with Starvation Peak in the background of some of my pictures.

The remaining semaphores from Blanchard to MP 775. We arrived in Las Vegas and left 4:45 PM {3:03 PM} and headed to our next stop of Raton. I put on my Blackmore Knights CD of "Fires at Midnight". After that I did not feel very well so I told Robin that he would have dinner solo and I would take a nap. I do not know if everything happening in my life is causing this or am I just tired, so I put down the lower bunk and slept there until 6:30 PM then took the upper bunk and slept up there into the night.

7/24/2018 At 3:30 AM, I got up and took a shower then felt like my old self. I returned to the upper bunk until 6:25 AM then went to the dining car for a repeat of yesterday's breakfast which really hit the spot. I rode the lounge car from just after Newton to Holiday then awoke Robin so he could have breakfast. He joined me in the lounge car well before Topeka. After Holiday I updated the story then put on my CD of Jethro Tull "The String Quartets" to take me to Kansas City and beyond. Delays were causing our the train to have a hard time getting to the Argentine Fuel Pads this morning. We reversed 1.8 miles to CP Morris to access a track that would take us to the fuel racks.

Erman Corporation 65 ton switcher 2 built by General Electric for the United States Navy as USN 65-00055 in 1943 in an adjacent scrap yard. Once fuelling was complete, we headed into Missouri to our next servicing stop at Kansas City. The train arrived at 11:24 AM after we pulled by it and backed in 0.9 miles to add another coach, 31024, to our train. I took a prolonged fresh air break and saw my first Kansas City Streetcar on the bridge over the tracks.

A KCS bare table train was followed by BNSF grain train before departure. We left Kansas City at 12:40 PM {7:43 AM} and headed east toward La Plata. The two of us were seated in the dining car with two more very interesting passengers and I repeated yesterday's lunch. I showed Robin the train-related features outside of Kansas City plus the bridge at Sibley where I reached my million miles, which was before we knew each other. The train stopped on Bridge 405.7 for a few minutes before continuing east. After the train crossed over, we sped down the other mainline.

That CSX engine from that train above at NA Jct. We ran through Carrolton then Bosworth and Marceline. We found the remaining signal bridges and are making plans for a Spring La Plata Railfan Event.

The Santa Fe coaling tower in Marceline. Robin really liked finally getting to see the La Plata depot and the Chris Guenzler Million Mile Lookout Point as he has never been to La Plata before. The train left here at 3:00 PM {9:55 AM} and as I was showing Robin the various places around east of La Plata, the conductor stopped by with our information about Train 50. We would be detraining in Galesburg and be bussed to Train 50. Not a perfect solution, but one we are both happy with. The train crossed the Des Moines River into Iowa to our next station stop at Fort Madison, where it left at 4:36 PM {11:09 AM}. Next the Southwest Chief headed to the Mississippi River crossing.

The Mississippi River. We made our final sprint to Galesburg, arriving there at 6:05 PM {12:08} and both detrained to find the bus.

The Chase Bus 7/24/2018

The bus was waiting and a total of seven passengers were aboard. We took Intertate 74 to Champaign where the bus was re-fuelled and had a dinner stop then it was back on Interstate 74 to Interstate 474 to Interstate 70, then to Indianapolis Union Station where the trip ended and we all happily debussed.

Cardinal 50 7/25/2018

All the passengers went inside Indianapolis Union Station and waited to board. The train arrived after midnight and we took the elevator up to trackside and boarded the Viewliner Sleeper. The train had a consist of Engine 69, Coaches 2, 5113, 25027 and 25087, Dinette 28000, Business Class 48189, Viewliner Sleeper 62022 and baggage 61051. Cliff was our sleeping car attendant. I made my lower bunk and Robin had to get a clean sheet before he made his upper bunk. With that, I climbed into bed and slept the rest of that night away. Right before the station stop of Huntington, West Virginia, I dressed and took a few minutes of fresh air before I went to the dinette for my breakfast on a rainy morning. I enjoyed Railroad French Toast and bacon with orange juice. I then rode the table section of business class then had a shower while the room was being made, took my blood pressure pills and got the camera and shot pictures while waiting for Robin to join me.

Hanging clouds hanging greeted me to West Virginia this morning.

After Charleston, the state capital of West Virginia, we followed the Kanawha River to the New River and that famous gorge Robin will be able to see for his first time later this morning.

Nearing Deepwater, West Virginia.

Hawk Nest Dam.

The New River. Due to tack work on the Hawk Nest Bridge on Track 1, we took the Track 2 route which is seldom done so both Robin and I had some pretty rare mileage today aboard the Cardinal. I was one happy railfan and train rider.

Track 1, the route I had always taken before.

The New River Arch Bridge that crosses the New River Gorge.

Waterfalls on the New River.

Rafters out on the New River on this morning.

Crossing the New River before we returned to our normal routing into Thurmond.

Thurmond Chesapeake and Ohio station.

The peaceful New River.

Homes relected in the waters of the New River.

Sandstone Falls.

We followed the Greenbrier River to White Sulphur Springs.

The entrance to the Greenbrier Resort Hotel. The train then climbed up to the Summit Tunnel and descended through Covington to our next station of Clifton Forge.

CSX 4656 West at Clifton Forge.

Another CSX train at Clifton Forge.

Clifton Forge Amtrak station.


Two pieces of the Chesapeake and Ohio Heritage Railroad Museum in Clifton Forge which we will be visiting again this Friday. The train continued east to Staunton, the next station stop on our route. On the way there I got a hot dog, Twix and ginger ale for lunch. The train arrived in Staunton twelve minutes early. During my fresh air break, it started to pour down rain and it was the first good rainfall of this trip and I would expect more to come. The train ran on time down to Charlottesville, where I detrained during the train crew change for one picture.

The Cardinal at rest at Charlottesville. The train ran down the Buckingham Branch to Orange then onto the old Southern Railway mainline north to Culpepper, Manasssas and then on to Alexandria. After that, it crossed the Potomac River and went through the Potomac Tunnel to the Cardinal's final stop of Washington, DC Union station, where Robin and I both detrained.

Washington 7/25/2018

We walked into Club Acela and checked to see if we could take an earlier train to New York City. They said to call Guest Rewards which we did and I used my points for Business Class on Train 186. The woman in Club Acela then printed our tickets and soon we were on our way out to the train on a rainy night.

Northeast Regional 186 7/25/2018

I boarded the train and called to see if we could get into the Hotel Pennsylvania and their answer was no! We got on and I came up with an idea - why not Newark, New Jersey and so we acquired a room at the Hotel Riveria. The train left on time and made it through the night and all too soon we arrived in Newark. We then taxied out to the Hotel Riveria for the night.