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

by Chris Guenzler

Robin, myself, Bob and Elizabeth walked back from the Crabby Pig Restaurant in Cumberland, Maryland and retrieved our luggage from storage. I led the way and had 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 arrived in station and its 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 arose and 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 the 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 but would keep going the full length of the line 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 first took Elizabeth on a tour of Chicago Union Station and the Food Court before I bought us weekend passes for Metra and we would head to Aurora on a beautiful day. 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 Metra BNSF 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 at Aurora.

Metra F40M 179, the motive power of our train.

The Chicago, Burlington and Quincy roundhouse in Aurora. It dates from 1855 to 1865 and is the only standing full-stone roundhouse in the United States. It was listed individually on the National Register of Historic Places. The Roundhouse was an architectural ruin when Walter Payton and his partners renovated the building in 1996. On October 22, 1999, it was selected by the National Trust for Historic Preservation as one of the nation's top rehabilitated buildings. The Walter Payton Roundhouse Complex features America's Brewpub restaurant, a microbrewery, an outdoor courtyard for summer concerts, banquet facilities, a gift shop and the Walter Payton Museum. Many of the former employees of the Chicago, Burlington and Quincy are memorialized with commemorative bricks in the courtyard. Aurorans from many nationalities worked in these historic facilities, including Irish, German, Luxembourger, African, Romanian and Mexican.

Chicago, Burlington and Quincy caboose 13690 is actually Great Northern X105 built by International Car in 1966.

Metra train 1314 ready to return us to Chicago.

Metra engines and trains waiting for Monday morning. We returned to Chicago and back in the Metropolitan Lounge, I updated my rail mileage before Bob and Robin returned and we all waited for the announcement to board our last long-distance train of the trip. At 2:25 PM, they called Train 3 and directed to go out to the train. I said goodbye to Bob and Elizabeth before walking out behind the red cap cart then passed him when he stopped at the coaches. I boarded the sleeper "New Mexico" for the two-night journey to home and 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 departed Chicago on time and headed out down the triple speed raceway. Robin and I received 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 nineteen 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 were called to the dining car and I had the Signature Steak with 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 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 our penultimate 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 shaved and felt like a new man. We ran over several miles of slow tracks on the way to Lamar where I called myself in sick for the first day of the new school year, something that was planned with my school in advance. Robin arose and went 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 dome car "Moonlight Dome" built in 1947 built for the Chesapeake and Ohio Railroad. 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. As has happened on previous train trips, the toilets went out in our car and they would not be back in operation until Albuquerque. At noon we went to the dining car and I had an Angus burger which was very good then enjoyed my CD of the Young Dubliners "With All Due Respect {The Irish Sessions}". The train stopped at Las Vegas then took the Chappelle "S" curves, climbed and conquered Glorieta Pass, went through Canyoncito and met the eastbound Southwest Chief at Lamy, so 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 detrained for a few minutes then tried the Internet again and but it still did not work. I was not a happy Amtrak traveler at this time. The train departed on time and ran out to Dalies where they were 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 this evening and I played Klondike Solitaire which has been passing the miles. We neared Grants and the Internet started working for the first time on this trip. At Flagstaff I took a long fresh air break on a fantastic summer's evening then 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 pancakes and bacon meal of the trip as the train stopped in Barstow. After breakfast I put on my work clothes, the train stopped in Victorville then started the climb over Cajon Pass on a very beautiful early August morning with plenty of eastbound trains climbing the Pass. We stopped in San Bernardino then it was on to Riverside and the final sprint to Fullerton where 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 upstairs. The south Metrolink ticket machine was being fixed but luckily finished before we arived so Robin and I were able to buy our tickets for the short trip to Santa Ana. 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. However, when we arrived at my front door,e lock would not work. As I had been gone for over three weeks, I had completely locked the house. 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 entered through the den door. The locksmith had to drill it out and replace the lock with a key that I had. Robin then went home and I had to call in sick to work again. I ran a couple of errands and did some house chores before finishing this story.