Facebook Page

Heading home from the 2018 NRHS Convention 8/11/2018

by Chris Guenzler

We walked back from the Crabby Pig and got our luggage out of storage. I led the way having to take the tunnel under the CSX mainline due to a CSX stack train blocking the grade crossing. At the station I met three NRHS members, two going to Seattle and one going to Chicago to get home to Rockford. They took pictures of us before a CSX helper set came by us.

That CSX helper set came by the station.

That CSX stack train finally cleared the grade crossing. Soon I saw Robin, Elizabeth and Bob walking towards the station. They were introduced to my new friends and conversations were struck.

The CSX helper set went back to the yard.

The Capitol Limited came into the Cumberland station and first stop was for the engineer change. The conductor scanned everyone's tickets who were waiting to board the train in Cumberland. The second stop was for the first sleeper.

Capitol Limited 29 8/11/2018

We all were on the third stop and we had roomette 4 and the Alkires had Bedroom D. Our sleeping car attendant was Leroy. We all met in the lounge car for the ride over Sand Patch and beyond. Leroy made up the room and I called it quits after Connellsville and retired to the upper bunk for the last time on this trip.

8/11/2018 As the train was approaching Sandusky Bay about 4:00 AM, I was awakened to loud claps of thunder and a major lightning show with loud pouring rain. I got up, used the bathroom then rode the lounge car at a table for most of the rest of the trip to Chicago. At one point I changed my clothes and had my cookie that I bought last night. I got an orange juice from the first class lounge attendant then at Toledo, took some fresh air. After they ate breakfast, Bob and Elizabeth joined me at my table with Robin arriving later. We rode together all the way to Comiskey Park in Chicago where we returned to our room and packed it up. We all detrained and made our way to the Metropolitan Lounge in Chicago.

Chicago 8/11/2018

Bob decided to take METRA out to College Avenue and Robin would join him then keep going our to Elburn. I went to the Pennsylvania Room on the second floor of the lounge and then took Elizabeth up to join me there. So they headed out for the day.

The Pennsylvania Room on the second floor of Metropolitan Lounge in Chicago. After that I took Elizabeth first on a tour of Chicago Union Station then the Food Court before I bought us weekend passes for METRA and we would head to Aurora on a beautiful day. But first we stopped at Gold Coast for a pair of Char Dogs which I ate on the train trip.

The August METRA weekend pass for ten dollars. We walked out to Platform 2 and took a few pictures.

METRA F40M 179.

METRA train 1305 To Aurora.

Elizabeth on her first BNSF METRA line trip all the way to Aurora.

METRA F40PH 125 DuPage County.

METRA F40PHM-2 213 Village of Franklin Park.

METRA F40PHM-2 199.

METRA 200 F40PH 125.

METRA F40PHM-2 199

METRA F40PHM-2 200 Norman W. Muelner.

METRA train 1314.

METRA F40M 179.

The Aurora Roundhouse.

CB&Q caboose 13690.

METRA train 1314 ready to return us to Chicago.

METRA engines and trains waiting for Monday morning. We returned to Chicago and in the Metropolitan Lounge I updated my rail mileage on my computer. I then shut it all down and packed it up. Bob and Robin returned and we all waited for them to call our last long distance train of the trip. At 2:25 PM they call train 3 and were told to go out to the train. I said goodbye to Bob and Elizabeth beforeI walked out behind the red cap cart then passed him up when he stopped at the coaches. I boarded the sleeper New Mexico for the two night journey to home. Robin joined me a short time later.

Southwest Chief 3 8/12/2018

Would this be my last journey on this train? We had Roomette 3 with Mike as our sleeping car attendant for this trip. The train had a consist of Engines P40s 2 and 165, baggage 61045, transition 39034, sleepers 32035 and 32117 Wisconsin, diner 38030, lounge 32003, coaches 34037, 31011 and 34004 with the private car Baltimore and Ohio Moonlight Dome on the rear. We left Chicago on time and headed out down the triple speed raceway. We got a 6:15 PM dinner reservation and Robin was enjoying hs new rail mileage to Galesburg that he did not get on the eastbound trip 19 days ago. We stopped in Naperville, Mendota and Princeton before we rolled down the final miles for Robin to Galesburg where his new rail mileage ended. At 6:15 PM we got called to the Dining Car and I had the Signature Steak and chocolate cake for dessert. As the the train rolled across northeast Missouri would that be my final trip aboard a through Southwest Chief. I hope Amtrak CEO Richard Anderson changes his mind about his bussing passengers from Dodge City to Albuquerque. The train did a double stop at La Plata and about Carrolton I made up the room and we called it our second last night of this unique trip.

8/13/2018 The last full day of this trip started at Garden City. I changed into fresh clothes then went to the dining car for a breakfast of pancakes and bacon. After that meal I went and shaved feeling like a new man. We ran over several miles of slow tracks on the way to Lamar where I called my self in sick for the first day of the new school year. I had planned this with my school in advance. Robin got up and he headed to the dining car for his breakfast. The train stopped in Lamar and I put on my DVD OF Alice Cooper Brutally Planet Live that took me to our crew change point at La Junta and a fresh air break.

The front and the rear end of this Southwest Chief at La Junta.

Baltimore and Ohio Moonlight Dome. I returned to the room and the train left La Junta for Trinidad. I put on my DVD of the ARMS' Concert in Madison Square Gardens in New York City on December 9, 1985. The toilets went out in our car as usual and we wouldnt be having them until Albuquerque. At noon we went to the dining car and I had an Angus burger which was very good. I took a shower after lunch and really felt like a new man. I tried to find those missing pictures but had no luck. I put on my CD of the Young Dubliners With All Due Respect {The Irish Sessions}. The train stopped at Las Vegas then did the Chappelle "S" curves, climbed and conquered Glorieta Pass went through Canyoncito, no train meet there and met the eastbound Southwest Chief at Lamy with our train and we took the siding to get to the station to do our station work. After that we rolled the miles to our next servicing stop of Albuquerque in an hour and ten minutes. Neither the internet nor the toilets were working which was a major problem for us. I got off for a few minutes then tried the Internet again and but it still did not work. Am I a happy a Amtrak traveler right now? No! The train left Albuquerque on time and ran out to Dalies where they are adding a new track for the BNSF mainline from Belen and we slowly made our way on to the mainline there. Robin and I had a 7:00 PM dinner reservation tonight. I was playing Klondike Solitaire which has been passing the miles along. We neared Grants and the Internet started working for the first time on this trip. I played Solitaire all the way to Flagstaff and took a long fresh air break on a fantastic summer evening. I made up the room for the final night of the trip and climbed into bed thinking what an incredible trip it had been.

8/14/2018 I was up at 5:00 AM and went to the Dining Car for my final meal of the trip pancakes and bacon as the train stopped in Barstow. After breakfast I got into my work pants, dressed then shaved for the last time on this trip. The train stopped in Victorville then started the climb over Cajon Pass on a very beautiful August early morning. There were plenty of trains climbing on the Cajon Pass heading east. The train stopped in San Bernardino then on to Riverside and made the final sprint to Fullerton and Robin and I detrained for the second to the last time.

Metrolink 600 8/14/2018

First the North Elevator was not working so we had to drag our luggage up the stairs and then they were working on the south Metrolink machine but finished so we bought our tickets. Three minutes later we boarded the Metrolink train for home. I called a taxi to meet us at the station and it was a quick three stop trip to Santa Ana and we taxied home, ending a great 2018 NRHS Convention Trip. That was until we got to the front door and the lock would not work. As I had been gone, I had locked up the house completely. With no way in and Robin's car keys inside I had to call a locksmith and after about an hour's work we finally got in through the den door. He had to drill it out and replaced the lock with a key that I had. Robin then went home and I had to call in sick to work again. I went to Target to pick up more blood pressure medicine and new batteries for the other doors that had failed, then cleaned the swimming pool and took my blood pressure, which was very good, then had a nap before finishing this story.