Greetings everyone. 2011 has been a fantastic year for me. It included many new rail experiences. The family is fine and after ten more months of not working I'm back subbing at McFadden. It was like coming home. Concert wise I saw the Young Dubliners, Jethro Tull and Queensyche. Sports it was Hockey Games mostly at the Anaheim Ducks but a couple of Kings Games at Staples including seeing my Pittsburgh Penguins. My mother for an early Christmas present got me the NHL TV Package so I now I watch all the hockey I want. The perfect gift for me I must say. Sobriety was 5827 days on January 1st and ended with 6191 on my 54th Birthday on December 31, 2011. I will be home in my own bed for the first time in years after seeing an Anaheim Duck Game first thing in the evening.
I still belong to the Orange County Railroad Historical Society and do many shows of my trips for them. I belong to the National Railroad Historical Society and always attend their convention in Tacoma. I am a member of the Train Travel Group in Fullerton that meets the 4th Monday night of the month and sometimes we take trips together. I have good friends in each of these groups and I feel very lucky to be a member of in each one of these groups.
2011 started with me still at La Plata with 1,280,305.8 rail miles before coming home. I applied for more jobs and I visited the Railway & Locomotive Society Southern California Fairplex Pomona Railroad Display on 2/12/2011. Steve Grande and I rode the First Run of the Pacific Surfliner Express on 563 2/15/2011 and I had my First Encounter with Amtrak Heritage Engine 145 on 2/20/2011. Chris Parker, Dave Abbott and I did the Winterail 2011 Trip with UP 7400, The California Merci Car, the History Train and more. Later in March I went to the Fillmore Railfest 2011 and visited Travel Town in Los Angeles on the way home. I then had my First Encounter with Amtrak Heritage Engine 156. I then covered the PRS 75 Year Excursion Tehachapi and Palmdale Cutoff Trip. Next it was the Coast Starlight Detour over Altamont Pass and Tehachapi Loop. I then wrote a story about the new Quiet Zone in Orange, California. I chased the Santa Fe 3751 to San Bernardino Railroad Days then rode home behind her. It was on this trip that I took a fall and injured my two left lower ribs. I covered National Train Day Los Angeles 2011. I took the train roundtrip to Utica, New York for two days of the Adirondack Rare Mileage Trips. Back at home I rode the first revenue Metrolink Train to use Track 4 at Fullerton. I next flew to Kansas City for the Little Rock Express Kansas City to Jefferson City and then took the Missouri River Runner back to Kansas City. In early June I rode the Northern California 2011 Explorer up the Feather River Canyon and then north up the High Line to Klamath Falls. For the NRHS 2011 Convention in Tacoma, I flew to Portland then rented a car. The first day Bob Riskie and I rode the Sumpter Valley Railway and then I drove to Pasco to see the collection of the Washington State Railroads Historical Society. The next day I met Bob and Elizabeth in Yakima and we rode the Yakima Trolley before going to the Northern Pacific Railroad Museum in Toppenish. I shot Northern Pacific Train Stations on the way back to Pasco. The next day I took a leisurely drive west down the Columbia River Gorge along the BNSF mainline back to Portland where I returned the rental car before taking MAX to the Days Inn at 82nd Street. The next morning back on the Max to Portland Union Station where later that morning I took the NRHS SP 4449 Portland to Tacoma Trip. After picking up my Tickets for the NRHS Convention I took the Tacoma Streetcar back to the Tacoma Amtrak Station where I boarded the Cascade Talgo for Edmonds where Bob and Elizabeth were waiting for me. After a quick tour of the model railroad in the Edmonds' Station Baggage Room we headed to their house where I would be staying during the NRHS Tacoma Convention. The next morning Elizabeth and I did the NRHS Pacific Northwest Railway Museum Train trip and I took Elizabeth on the Remlinger Farm Train after that trip was done. The next day Bob, Elizabeth and I did the Stevens Pass and Beyond Trip getting the full Empire Builder coming out of the Cascade Tunnel and then visiting the Pioneer Village and Museum in Cashmere, Wa. We caught the Eastside Freight Train on the way back to Lynnwood. The next day we drove to Canada to see the Trolleys at the Fraser Valley Heritage Railway 151 before we rode all of the Burnaby Central Railway. The next morning Elizabeth and I drove to Tacoma for the NRHS SP 4449 Stampede Pass Trip on the old Northern Pacific Mainline. The next day Bob and Elizabeth dropped me off at Tacoma for the SP 4449 Tacoma to Portland Trip while they chased the SP 4449 to Portland. There they picked me up and took me to the Oregon Electric Railway Museum. After we had a last dinner together they dropped me off at the Portland Airport and I flew home.
I then had my encounters with Amtrak Heritage Engine 66 at Los Angeles Union Station. I then left for my summer trip to La Plata and that first afternoon there I did the Coal Mine Museum and Northeast Missouri Old Threshers Steam Engine. The next day I did Let's Talk Trains in the Pullman Suite due to Gene and Nathan being on a late eastbound Southwest Chief. Once they got into La Plata we left and headed south to the Moberly Historic Railway Museum and Roshwell Park Magic City Line Miniature Train which I wrote a story about both. After we visited Mexico, MO we all rode the second run of the Columbia Star Dinner Train. Silver Rails Railfest Day 1 started with a BBQ at the Chris Guenzler Million Mile Lookout Point and railfanning locally both east and west of La Plata with our new friends Bill Choiniere, Dannah Choiniere and Jim Choiniere of Railfans Chasing Trains. On the Railfest Day 2 we first went to west of Ethel and railfanned from the four bridges west of there before heading to Marceline for lunch. We caught more trains including a BNSF special on the way back. The final day of the Silver Rail Railfest we photographed east as far as Wyconda before we headed back. For my first hosting of a railfan event I was pleased just how well it all went. Bob and Elizabeth arrived into La Plata late on that afternoon. The next day Bob, Elizabeth, Nathan, Gene and I did the Railfanning Drive to Rock Island. Highlights were the bridges at Argyle, Iowa, the Media Trestle and the crossover at Cameron. We all checked into the Moline Motel 6 for our stay there. The next day I got onto the grounds of Train Festival 2011 Day 1 early, got pictures of all the equipment and the first people entering the grounds. We got Nickel Plate 765 doing it street running in Davenport then Nathan and I headed to Galesburg, caught the Train Festival 2011 special with two of the Amtrak Heritage units on the point before we picked up Bob Riskie. I then developed Stage 2 Heat Exhaustion and recovered back in my hotel room. The night photo session that night was cancelled but I did get some pictures before the next thunderstorm came into Rock Island. The next day we did Train Festival 2011 Day 2 The Chase of Nickel Plate Road 765 and that day I was careful with the high heat and humidity and got great pictures of the unique steam engine and trains. That night we did the Night Photo Session with just two set ups: the NKP 765 and Nebraska Zephyr train set. I had a nice night of photography and shared my tripod with Nathan. The next day was full with the Train Festival 2011 Day 3 The Iowa City Steam Trip to the Homestead Wye and then the Celebration Belle Dinner Cruise which was a blast along with a fantastic sunset. The final day of Train Festival 2011 Day 4 started with Nathan and I driving Bob Riskie to Princeton to catch the Carl Sandburg to Chicago on a very stormy morning. Nathan rested at the hotel while the rest of us caught the Nebraska Zephyr in Moline, the Canadian Pacific at their yard and then the Nickel Plate 765 doing its street running in Davenport with great amounts of steam. Now with Nathan we went back to the Train Festival Grounds before we drove to the Central Park Avenue grade crossing for the passing of the Iowa Interstate QJ 7081 which put on a great show. After a final dinner, Gene flew back to Phoenix and the rest of us stayed the final night in Moline. The next day we made the Drive back to La Plata, we drove straight to Edelstein Hill catching an eastbound at the top and then a westbound NS Train at the Houlihan's Curve. We then got both stations in Chillicothe before we stopped by the Wheels O' Time Museum featuring the Rock Island 4-6-2 886. We next found the Tazewell & Peoria Railroad GP10 3000 which came by the Train Shed and old Rock Island Station in Peoria before we found the original Rock Island Station. Later we found the Chicago and Illinois Midland RR Depot in Pekin, the CB&Q Station in Canton and the CB&Q Wooden Station in Bushnell on the way back to La Plata. That night I put Bob, Elizabeth and Nathan on the Southwest Chief. I relaxed two more days in La Plata before I came home in style with Amtrak Heritage Engine 184 on the point of my Southwest Chief. I got home and applied for more jobs. I made a trip to Escondido to find a Santa Fe Station and then wrote about Metrolink's New Bicycle Cars. I also did a trip to ride San Diego PCC Car 529 and covered the Operation Lifesaver Unit 457. I hosted Let's Talk Trains several more times and did my Chris Guenzler 2012 Railroad Calendar now available at the Silver Rails Gallery.
After that it took us to a raining Wednesday morning October 5, 2011. After I did a roundtrip to Solana Beach the phone rang and I was told to come to the district office, get finger printed and fill out a new W2 form with them. The phone rang again this time telling me I needed to take a typing test for another job. No jobs, now two jobs, when It rains it pours! The next day I took the typing test that I failed as I don't type but peck. I couldn't get finger printed as their machine was busted so that was rescheduled until Monday. For the other job I got my new W4 Form and then went and got my TB Test to be read Saturday afternoon. The next Monday I got finger printed. On Thursday October 20, 2011 I attended an orientation for my subbing job that I would be doing. I was told to call the system for a job on Monday after 4:30 PM but they started calling me Friday night and then Saturday morning but I couldn't take any of those jobs until I called in which I did later Saturday. Sunday night I got a call for my first job at one of my old schools McFadden on a 3.75 hour job for at least a week. I would take a train ride before driving down to McFadden to start my first day of work. The first trip I did after going back to work was the Silver Splendor Luncheon by the Sea Trip. We took one day off with Rob Riskie and Chris Parker to Chase the Union Pacific 844 from Yuma to Colton with me getting an excellent night shot in Yuma. Two days later we chased, along with Bill Compton, the Union Pacific 844 from West Colton to Yermo. That night I shot the Metrolink 2011 Holiday Toy Train Express at Tustin. My train riding continued before and after work. I used a Metrolink Weekend Pass on the Friday after Thanksgiving and did plenty of riding with it. In December I went south to San Diego to see the Amtrak 40th Anniversary Train in San Diego. The next weekend I went from Fullerton to LAUPT to see the Amtrak 40th Anniversary Train and Santa Fe 3751. Rail mileage as of December 31, 2011 was 1,332,102.4 rail miles, that's equal to over 55.50 times around the world!. I rode a grand total of 51,796.6 rail miles for the year 2011 . I worked at McFadden for the two months until Winter Break when my assignment was up and then enjoyed my first one in three years being employed. Next year I vwill see where I end up working?http://www.trainweb.org/chris/index.html
May you all have a great Holiday Season and may all your dreams come true. Until next year!