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Chris Guenzler End of the Year Review 2015

I left you at home where I spent my New Years at home again. It felt funny being here but I needed a change in my life. It had been a great year in my life for most things, including Santa Ana Unified School District's Heninger Elementary School, working again with Mrs. Wright and the great kids in the third through fifth grades. In the Fall, I worked with the 4th through 6th graders in Special Education. This is a dream school with no troublemakers and kids who really want to learn. I am truly blessed.

Most importantly everyone in the Guenzler family is doing well. I pray that God keeps the rest of us all going strong in 2016. We did lose Ken Ruben, a friend and the official caller of Lets Talk Trains. We also lost Winston Walker, great friend and my proofreader for my web site.

Rock bands I saw this year were the Young Dubliners at the Lido Theater in Newport Beach with Chris Parker then Orianthi just me then Carl Palmer with Chris Parker, Robin Bowers and Caroline Bouilan at the Coach House and then saw Alice Cooper opening for Motley Crue at the Honda Center. Robin and I also went to the Segerstrom Concert Hall to see A Cirque Christmas. Thanks to Maureen at Jefferson once again, I saw plenty of Anaheim Duck games last season including the Washington Capitols and Pittsburgh Penguins at the Honda Center and the LA Kings playing the Penguins and Capitols at the Staples Center. This season {2015-2016} Robin and I saw the Florida Panthers verses the Anaheim Ducks and I saw the Pittsburgh Penguin verses the LA Kings at the Staples Center in December. I still love my ice hockey.

I still belong to the Orange County Railroad Historical Society and do many shows of my trips for them. I belong to the National Railway Historical Society and always attend their convention which was in Rutland, Vermont. 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 each one. I produced my fifth railroad calendar "The Chris Guenzler 2015 Railroad Calendar" via Vista Print. I also no longer host Lets Talk Trains with my last show being the first Saturday in January. The show had turned away from what the founder Richard Hamilton wanted so it was time to call it quits. I did host one more show about the NRHS 2015 Convention Trip.

Now for my 2015 trips and events.

The first rail trip of the year I wrote about was the Train Riders Group Trip to San Luis Obispo. I would do weekend Metrolink riding with the Coaster thrown in for good measure. Next was the Train Riders Group San Diego Trolley Trip. That was followed by a BNSF Needles Sub Trip with good friend Bill Compton. Next was the Final Winterail Trip to Stockton as next year they will be in Corvallis, Oregon. We decided to do this trip but Ken Ruben's death caused a slight problem. Robin made his first ever Winterail Trip with me and Chris Parker. We left Thursday and had eight BNSF trains. Friday after we switched out the rental car in Merced we went to the Turlock Western, Del Osso Farms where they ran a train for me. From there we went to Middle River and caught a pair of Amtrak trains. At the Winterail Friday Night Railfan Show I showed my "Trains in the life of Chris Guenzler 2014". The next day we did the final Winterail with Chris Parker leaving at the dinner break to get home for Ken Ruben's funeral at 10:00 AM Sunday morning. The next day Robin and I drove to Suisan-Fairfield for an Amtrak station picture and Capitol Train then went to Bahia for more Capitol Corridor trains and the eastbound California Zephyr and then stopped in Benicia at the former Southern Pacific station. The true highlight of this trip was a boat trip on Conductor Larry's Loose Caboose. We caught Capitol trains along the Carquinez Straits, boats passing under the lift bridge along with Capitol trains and the westbound California Zephyr. Next we went to the US Navy Mothball Fleet and will never get that close to them ever again. More trains including a pair of Union Pacific freights and the final Reno Fun Train of 2015. A long drive home ending a great Winterail trip. After that the next trip was to La Plata for the La Plata 2015 Spring Railfan Event. The Southwest Chief got me there 5 hours late and it was good to be back in my small town home. Jim Choiniere came this year to try to finish up Railfans Chasing Trains part 2 along with John Green. We all had a blast photographing trains in the Missouri countryside this year. It had been four years since Jim's last trip with me in La Plata. We dedicated the La Plata 2015 Spring Railfan Event to the memory of Winston Walker. The trip home went well and it was back to Heninger to finish up my school year there. I took a long weekend to do the motor car trip on the Big Trees & Pacific Railway and the Santa Cruz & Monterey Bay Railways with Chris Parker. On the way home we stopped off at the Pasadena Model Railroad Open House so I could include them in the story. I went to the new hiking trail at North Beach and took pictures from it on a Saturday and Sunday morning in early June.

The NRHS 2015 Convention Trip plus

As the year went on I contacted everyone who would be going to be visit on the NRHS Convention Trip to Rutland, Vermont. Robin Bowers and I would be the two going this year as it did not work out for Elizabeth Alkire or Chris Parker to be joining us this year. So on June 12 Super Shuttle picked me up at 2:55 AM and drove me to LAX where I met Robin. We flew from LAX to Midway in Chicago then from Midway to Albany. It took over an hour to get our Hertz rental car, a hybrid and we were off. We found a steam engine in front of a house before we went to Chatham and found Union Station there. We drove south to Wassaic before checking into the Foothill Motel in Dover Plains for two nights.

We rode Metro North from Wassaic to Grand Central Station in New York City where I turned Robin loose on Manhattan. I took the subway to Penn Station then walked over to the PATH Station to take their train to Hoboken. I got my New Jersey Transit tickets before riding out to Hackettstown. From Dover to Hackettstown is one of the two pieces of New Jersey Transit and the other one that I needed was Summit to Gladstone. I rode back to Summit then waited for my electric train to Gladstone and when I arrived there I had finished all of New Jersey Transit. I returned to Grand Central and met Robin who had a great day in the Big Apple before we rode back to Wassaic. After dinner we returned to the Foothill Motel for the night.

That Saturday morning we drove to into Poughkeepsie to our first stop at the Walkway over the Hudson River. We were delayed for over an hour by a 10K and Marathon before we could go out onto the bridge for a view. After that we drove to Kingston to the New York Transit Museum for a closed view of equipment through their fence. We then drove to the Empire State Railway Museum and saw their equipment outside and the station building. Our next stop was the Delaware & Ulster Railroad which after we took pictures of all their equipment we rode the train from Arkville to Roxbury and return on a beautiful mid day afternoon day in the Catskill Mountains. Our next stop was in Mt. Tremper for the Catskill Mountain Esopus Scenic Train Trip. We then returned to Kingston for the Catskill Mountain KingstonLimited Train Trip which was a Chuggington Event. I was seated next to the Alco RS1 401 was seated behind the Alco RS-1 401 but never heard it with the loud blaring music and the kids marching around the open car. As I told Robin at least we got the mileage. After that, we drove to Rutland and checked into the Days Inn for our stay at the 2014 Rutland NRHS Convention. I performed my first duty of the convention attending the NRHS Trip safety meeting at the Rutland Holiday Inn to cover the next two day trips since I would be car hosting all trips at this convention.

The NRHS 2015 Rutland Convention

Sunday morning started off with the NRHS 2015 Rutland Convention Photo Freight with the Green Mountain RS1 405 as power. We did photo halts in three spots and six photo runby locations. After a great trip, Robin and I first went to Wilson Castle, then the Center Rutland Station, Rutland passenger car in town the went by the Vermont Railroad shop in Rutland. We then headed to North Dorsett we found the Rutland Railway station from Danby. We drove to Bennington finding the station there then went to North Bennington finding both the freighthouse and passenger station plus a statue that looked like Ken Ruben. We drove to Eagle Bridge, New York for the Boston & Maine station. North of here we found the two Battan Kill Railroad stations in Cambridge and Shushan, New York. In New York we found the Eagleville Covered Bridge and back in Vermont we found the Covered Bridge 852 on Covered Bridge Road. We then found the Arlington Rutland Station, the Manchester Rutland Freighthouse and the Wallingford Rutland Station before we returned to Rutland for dinner and the night.

On Monday morning we took the bus to the Rutland Amtrak station where we had our Safety Meeting then when Amtrak was ready we boarded the train for the trip to Saratoga Springs. Once there, I photographed the Ethan Allen Express heading to New York City. We then boarded the passengers onto the Saratoga & North Creek Railroad. This trip was new mileage for me from Saratoga Springs to Corinth, I then took a seat at a table in the belly of the full length Dome Car Matanuska now Canyon View. We did a photo runby at Corinth before we went north to North Creek where I went to the Martha Restaurant and had a good lunch with several of my NRHS friends. I photographed all the equipment in North Creek then we reboarded the train for the trip back to Saratoga Springs. We did a pair of Golf Course Photo Runbys on the return trip. With Amtrak running late I talked with Bart, Sarah, Mia and Greg and we had a great time talking together. The Amtrak official arrived and we had a quick meeting about loading our passengers. The Ethan Allen Express train 291 finally arrived and we loaded everyone onto the train. I got on-line and Amtrak's Internet connection allowed me to upload all the stories I had finished. We arrived in Rutland under an hour late and once we got all the passengers off the train, Bart and Sarah gave Robin and I a ride back to the Holiday Inn. We drove back to the Days Inn just in time to see the Chicago Blackhawks win the Stanley Cup.

On Tuesday morning after the now usual NRHS Trip Safety Meeting on the train, I was assigned to the Rutland Combine 280. I took the seat by the door to the baggage area to control the flow of passengers going into the first class cars ahead of ours, the Macintyre and Dover Harbor. This trip will be new mileage from Rutland Amtrak to Howe Center then Smithville to Bellows Falls. We did Photo Runbys at Ludlow going east and at MP 45.92 coming back west plus I helped pass out lunches to our passengers.

On Wednesday I drove over to the Rutland Railroad Museum. Bart Jennings, Steve Barry and I had our usual NRHS Safety Meeting at the Rutland Railroad Museum. This is my first visit to this newest railroad museum which I toured and also saw their model railroad before the bus brought our group for this event. Once they arrived we all walked over to the old bridge that overlooks the Delaware & Hudson Railroad bridge over Otter Creek and photographed the Amtrak's Ethan Allen Express train 290 crossing that bridge. Next we went to the south end of the Center Rutland Railroad station to photograph the Vermont Rail Service Omya to Rutland train. Later we made another photo line to the north of the station to photograph the Vermont Rail Service Rutland to Omya freight train. At 10:15 AM I left to do my northern Vermont tour. Along US 4, I found the Lincoln Covered Bridge, Taftsville Covered Bridge and the Quechee Gorge Covered Bridge. I then took pictures of the Quechee Gorge before I went to the White River Junction station and saw the railroad display there. I drove north to Barre first finding the Montpelier and Barre Railroad station, the railroad display then caught the Washington County Railroad Granite District train with Natchez Railroad GP-38-2 2601 and Green Mountain Railroad GP-9 804. I then went to the Hope Cemetery to see the unique marble headstones then drove to the old Rock of Ages Visitor Center and saw the Barre & Chelsea 0-6-0T 6 on display here and former granite quarry at Graniteville, Vermont. On the return trip I found the Stockbridge Covered Bridge and in Rutland I found the former Rutland Railway Light and Power Company car barn. Robin did the Vermont Product and Parks Tour before we had dinner at the Ponderosa Steak House. We returned to the Days Inn for the night.

On Thursday, we went by the Vermont Railroad Rutland shops, I drove Robin over to Gookins Falls also known as Mead Falls so he could get pictures of it this morning. We then drove to Center Rutland to wait for Amtrak to photograph the train there. After the NRHS Safety meeting on the train, I went back to the Combine and flipped the seats and opened the windows for my passengers aboard the car. This trip would be new mileage from Center Rutland to Burlington. The train was then opened to the passengers to board and soon I had an almost full car. I collected tickets and soon the train was on the way to Burlington. The train stopped at Charlotte at the old commuter station for a photo runby of a Vermont Railroad freight.The train dropped off the Shelburne Museum passsengers for their tour of this unique museum on the way to Burlington. Once there I did the Vermont Railroad Roundhouse Tour. At Proctor on the return trip we stopped for a pair of photo runbys. We arrived back into Rutland and I swept the train for any lost items. We stopped at KFC to get dinner before returning to Days Inn for the night.

On Friday was the NRHS Trips Rutland to Omya and return. This trip would be a rare mileage trip from Rutland to the Omya processing plant on the remains of the original Clarendon & Pittsford Railroad near Florence, VT. My new mileage would be from Florence into the plant. After the NRHS Trip Safety Meeting on the train, we boarded the passengers and soon took tickets and I gave out Omya Rocks to each passenger. This was only the second passenger train to operate on this line in modern times. Half the passengers would ride the train to Omya and the rest would be bussed. At Omya, the bus passengers would make a photo line to get the train arriving and then they would board the train while the detraining passengers would make a photo line to catch the train leaving. This worked out really well and Bart planned it all perfectly. After this unique trip, Robin and I drove north and stopped first to photograph the Rutland to Omya Vermont Railroad train on the way to the Vermont Maple Museum where I picked up two bottle of the Maple syrup. We next stopped at the New Haven Junction Rutland station before we toured the Shelburne Muesum. We found five covered bridges those being the Spade Farm Old Hollow Covered Bridge, Cooley Covered Bridge, Gorham Covered Bridge, Depot Hill Covered Bridge and the Hammond Covered Bridge on the return to Rutland. Back in Rutland at the Vermont Railroad Shop we caught the Vermont Railroad Burlington to Rutland freight. We returned to the Days Inn to get ready for the NRHS Banquet which we both attended.

On Saturday the final trip of 2015 Rutland NRHS Convention was the NRHS Trip to Hoosic Junction. I parked at the Vermont Railway Building to board the train. This trip would new mileage for me. The train left at 10:00 AM for the last time for me from the Amtrak Rutland station and headed south. We stopped at the Stafford Pit for a photo runby at MP 40.2. Later the train arrived in North Bennington. We detrained passengers, most of whom would ride the train to Hoosic Jct, and a few who would wait for our return north out of North Bennington later this afternoon. We set everyone in one of three photo lines. While we were here the power ran around the train to push the train to Hoosic Junction. Once we arrived there, we headed north back to North Bennington to pick up any passengers before we returned to Rutland ending the 2015 Rutland NRHS Convention. A special thank you to Bart and Sarah Jennings for all of their hard work and planning to make this convention a major success. This was their final convention they would plan together. We returned stopped at KFC before a final night at the Days Inn.

The Post NRHS Trip

After the 2015 NRHS Convention we made the drive from Rutland, Vermont to Meredith, New Hampshire. In Vermont, we saw the Green Mountain Railroad East Clarendon station, then in New Hampshire we saw the Boston & Maine Newport station, the Andover Potter Place Railroad Station, the Boston, Concord & Montreal Railroad Freighthouse is also in Ashland, the Northfield's Historic Railroad Station with many cabooses and the Laconia Boston & Maine station. We found the Downers Covered Bridge in Vermont and in New Hampshire we found the two Sugar River Railroad Covered Bridges, the Corbin Covered Bridge, the Elleyville Bog Road Covered Bridge, the Keniston Covered Bridge and the Chance Creek Covered Walkway Bridge. We then arrived at the Winnipesaukee Scenic Railroad and after we took pictures of all of their equipment, we rode their Bike Week Service train along Lake Winnipesaukee on a very cloudy day to Wier's Beach and back. From here we drove to Ashland for their Boston & Maine station and freighthouse. Next we drove to Lincoln to see all of the Hobo Railroad equipment even though their running season has not started. Up the Daniel Webster Highway we went to the White Mountain Central Railroad at the Clark Trading Post and rode their train through a covered railroad bridge into the land of the Wolfman. After getting some pictures of the next train leaving we checked into the Parker Motel. Late in the afternoon we drove back to North Woodstock for a trip on the Cafe Lafayette Dinner train in its 25th year of operation. It was a shorter trip due to a washout but the food was great and I enjoyed a Top Sirloin and chocolate mousse for dessert.

It was a great way to end our first day in New Hampshire.

Monday started with us taking pictures of all the trains the Mount Washington Cog Railway would use today. Next we were given a complete shop tour before our trip up Mount Washington in a storm that limited any views. We reached the summit then walked higher to the sign and had our pictures taken there. On the trip down it cleared about a 1,000 feet from the bottom so we did some views of the Base Station below on our descent. From there we stopped at the Gorham Historical Society Museum taking pictures of the Grand Trunk Railroad station and all their equipment. Next we drove into Maine going into Phillips taking pictures of the Sandy River & Rangeley Lakes Railroad there before we drove to the Sandy River & Rangeley Lakes Railroad shops. We got a tour of their shops and photographed all their equipment. We then rode the entire railroad riding a Sandy River & Rangeley Lakes Railroad caboose and pulled by a gasoline replica of Forney steam locomotive number 4 and even did a photo runby with this unique two foot railroad. On the way to Intervale we found the Maine Covered Bridge 1007 north of Bethel, Maine and in that town found a covered walkway bridge. Back in New Hampshire we found the Jackson Covered Bridge. After that picture, I fell onto a rock and broke two of my fingers. They were just hanging from my finger. I pulled on them it reset it and it worked. It would be sore for a couple of days but I was ok! I drove us the the Perry Motel in Intervale for the night.

On Tuesday morning we woke up to the remains of Tropical Storm Bill and it was pouring down rain for about five hours. Luckily for us we had no place to be on this early morning. Mid morning the rail let up and we drove into North Conway to the Conway Scenic Railroad. We shot most of their engines before we boarded the covered open air car with Robin and I being joined by NRHS members Greg Molloy and Don. We took this trip to Crawford Notch through first some more heavy rains then into the clouds. Highlights were crossing the Frankenstein and Crawford Trestles to the Notch where the weather was more favorable. Despite the weather it was an excellent trip. After the trip we took pictures of the rest of their equipment. We drove first south to Conway to get station pictures then south to Madison where we parked at the Silver Lake Railroad just as the speeder was returning. We talked to the operator and he gave us a three mile out ride down this old Boston & Maine Railroad. We had a brief rain shower and stopped for a posed photo out on their railroad. Once we returned we took pictures of their equipment. From here we drove into Maine first stopping at the new site of the Maine Narrow Gauge Museum in Grey Maine opening in 2017 and in Yarmouth at the Grand Trunk Railroad station before we headed to the Best Western Motel in Freeport for the next two nights.

On Wednesday we headed east on US 1 to Wiscasset and drove outside of town to the Wiscasset, Waterville & Farmington Railroad. We first toured the engine house and facilities before we boarded the 1925 Ford Railbus for the ride of the length of this Maine two foot gauge railroad. We stopped for posed pictures at several places on this unique railroad. Next stop was the Boothbay Railway Village where we got to tour all the grounds but no ride. We left there stopping at Warren, Thomaston and Rockland for Maine Central station pictures. We stopped at the Belfast and Moosehead Lake Railroad taking pictures of the City Point Depot and all of their equipment. We stopped at the Searsport Maine Central station and at the Buckport Bangor & Aroostook station. We then drove northwest to Bangor to our appointment at the Cole Land Transportation Museum where I got pictures of the final BL-2 locomotive I needed. This museum was excellent and has plenty of Maine history to see during a visit plus a covered bridge outside on the grounds. We drove through Augusta for a state capitol building picture then depots at the Gardiner and Bath Maine Central station before we returned to Freeport for the night.

On Thursday morning Robin and I drove to the Brunswick Amtrak station where we took pictures of the Maine Eastern passenger train before I turned over the rental car keys to him. He drove down to the Portland Amtrak station while I rode my first of the three missing pieces of Amtrak on my Downeaster Brunswick to Portland trip this morning. It was a good and quick ride. Robin was waiting for me in Portland then I drove us to the Maine Narrow Gauge Railroad Museum in Portland. We took pictures of all the equipment and I met a worker who had the keys to the kingdom and took me into a building with three steam engines inside. I then toured the inside of their museum before we took the train the whole length of their railroad along Casco Bay. You will not be able to do this trip after the 2016 season when they move to Grey, Maine. After that we headed southwest to our last stop in Maine in Kennebunkport and followed the signs to the Seashore Trolley Museum. I photographed most of their equipment with Robin and I getting rides on the streetcars Connecticut Company Open Air Trolley 303 and Boston Elevated Railroad 5821. What an excellent transportation museum they have here From Kennebunkport we drove to Lowell, Massachusetts to the National Streetcar Museum and rode Gamaco Trolley Company car 1602 the length of their tracks. We then drove to the Best Western Chelmsford Inn. We went out to eat at the Outback Steakhouse before calling it a night.

On Friday we drove to the Alewife Red Line Subway Station which we took to Park Street station where we boarded the Green Line to North Station. Robin would look around Boston today while I rode new mileage on the Boston T Commuter Trains. I first rode out to Rockport the most scenic of all the Boston T Commuter Trains line and then rode west out to Fitchburg. I took the Green Line back to the Red Line to get to South Station where I reconnected with Robin and then we rode the Friday night Cape Flyer from South Station to Hyannis and back with this trip being all new mileage as well. It was a great trip and we took the Red Line back to Alewife and then drove Massachusetts Highway 2 to Interstate 95 to the Interstate 90 Tollway then to MA Highway 9 to the Days Inn near Shrewsbury for the night.

On Saturday, we started off at the Grafton & Upton Railroad taking pictures of all of their power including their F7A 1501. Next stop was Webster for a railroad display there. From there we drove into Connecticut and then took a road east so Robin could get into Rhode Island. From the border we drove to Willimantic to visit the Connecticut Eastern Railroad Museum. We took pictures of everything they had and then were given a train ride down their track they operate over. Short on time now I took local roads to cut off the distance to our next stop in Essex and arrived seven minutes before our train left. We rode the Essex Steam Train then returned to photograph equipment before we caught the train leaving on its next trip. We then drove to our next stop at the Shore Line Trolley Museum. Here we toured the museum before riding the New Orleans Streetcar 850 and then took pictures of most of their trolleys before we returned to the front of their museum. Next sensing the weather was changing for the worst, I drove straight to Waterbury where we boarded the Metro North Train from Waterbury to Devon Transfer which was all new mileage. From Devon Transfer to Stamford was ridden on the Northeast Corridor. From Stamford to New Canaan was all new mileage and once there I had finished Metro North. On a now rainy evening we retraced our route back to Waterbury where it took all my greatest driving skill to drive through the construction zone to get us to the Waterbury Quality Inn and a good night's sleep.

On Sunday we drove to the Railroad of New England Museum and photographed all their equipment. From there we drove to East Windsor to the Connecticut Trolley Museum where we rode the line in two trolleys the Montreal Tramways 2600 and the New Orleans Public Service Car 836 and took pictures of most of their equipment.We then drove north into Massachusetts to Springfield where we found an Outback Steakhouse for lunch. We drove to the Amtrak station in Springfield where I then turned over the rental cars keys to Robin and he drove to Brattleboro to wait for me. I took the Vermonter for the missing miles I needed from Springfield north to just south of Brattleboro. It was scenic trip and it seemed like in no time I was in Brattleboro, Vermont. I drove us back into Massachusetts then west to Shelburne Falls our final stop on this part of our trip. Here we rode the beautiful Shelburne Falls & Colrain Street Railway combination passenger-baggage trolley car 10 on their section of tracks they operated over. We toured their museum before we saw the Bridge of Flowers which once carried the trolley over the river here in Shelburne Falls and then Shelburne Falls itself. We headed back to Albany to the Econolodge Center Motel in Albany. We put our luggage in the room after checking in, then drove back to the Albany Airport to return our great rental car. It was easier to turn it in than it was to get it in the first place. We taxied back to the motel for another short night.

Monday morning we taxied to the Albany-Rensselaer railroad station then Robin and I boarded Amtrak Empire Service train 232 to start our trip home from the NRHS 2015 Convention. We took this train south along the Hudson River seeing Banneman Castle on the way to Penn Station in New York City. Once there we boarded Northeast Regional train 95 to Newport News. We were pulled by one of Amtrak new electric locomotives 621 to Washington, DC. Once there a diesel was added to take us to Newport News where we boarded the Thruway Bus to Norfolk. We took the Tide Light Rail three stops then walked two blocks to Tazewell Hotel for two nights.

Tuesday morning, the last day of June, we went to the Brick House Cafe at the Crown Center for the best breakfast of the whole trip then we rode the whole Tide Light Rail Line before we found a surprise in Norfolk the Norfolk Southern Railroad Museum which was really well done. Robin and I went to Gator Sports Bar for our final meal of this whole trip together. We had one more train to take in the morning before we split up and went home different ways.

The Trip Home

On Wednesday morning we taxied back to the Norfolk Amtrak station where we boarded Northeast Regional 174 for my final piece of the Amtrak system. My new mileage lasted from the Norfolk Amtrak station to the CSX connection to their mainline at Petersburg. Robin took my picture when I completed the entire Amtrak system once again. Robin and I rode the rest of the way to Washington Union Station and went to Club Acela there. I said my goodbye to Robin who was off to see Washington, DC while I waited for my Cardinal to Chicago. The Red Cap helped me out to my Viewliner Sleeper and we left DC for the trip west. I had both lunch and dinner in my room as I worked on stories and enjoyed the New River Gorge. After a good night of sleep I woke up in scenic Indiana and arrived into Chicago 14 minutes early. I went to the Metropolitan Lounge where I worked on stories before I went up to Gold Coast for a pair of Char Dogs and a bottle of Coca-Cola for lunch.

I boarded the Southwest Chief in coach for the five hour trip to La Plata. I started writing the Shoreline Trolley Museum story and I pulled out my list of trolleys only to realize it was by date so I would have to scan the list each time I needed to find a trolley. Shirley decided to help me since four eyes are always better than two and we had a good time together doing it. It was amazing how much rain Northeast Missouri had gotten and there was plenty of flooding. We pulled into La Plata almost an hour late and Depot Inn & Suites Hotel to pick up me and the Rails and Trails guides. Once at the hotel, I was given the Pullman Suite where I uploaded the rest of the missing pictures then called Elizabeth to tell her she could proof the stories. I then called it a night. On July 3rd I was up early then had breakfast in the lobby. I got the golf cart keys then made my way with the computer out to the golf cart and drove out to the Chris Guenzler Million Mile Lookout Point where I worked on stories while photographing sixteen trains. I took the path back to the Depot Inn & Suites where I wrote two more stories this morning. Back in the Pullman Suite I wrote one more. Tom Anderson picked me up at 6:00 PM and we went to Colton's Steakhouse in Kirksville and I had a 12 ounce sirloin steak for my dinner. Back at the hotel, I put in corrections then took a sauna bath before calling it a night.

7/4/2015 After a restful stay at the Depot Inn & Suites I packed up in the Pullman Suite before I checked out and was driven to the La Plata Amtrak station where I waited for the eastbound Southwest Chief. I would be going east to Galesburg in coach, layover there until the California Zephyr to Sacramento picked me up in a sleeper. After a night at the Vagabond Inn, I would take San Joaquin 702 to Bakersfield, a bus to LAUPT, then a Pacific Surfliner home to Santa Ana. My train was scheduled for 11:18 AM but when I called it was now 11:48 AM. There was no one at the station this morning so I moved my luggage into the shade and waited, hoping for a few freight trains on this 4th of July with two coming through town. The Southwest Chief pulled in late, just short of two hours and soon I was in an aisle coach seat for my two stop trip to Galesburg where I detrained. I finished the Tide Trip story then got on-line with the free wifi but it would not let me upload any of my pictures and stories. After that I went outside, got a luggage cart and rolled it out to the gate by the track to wait for my now hour late California Zephyr. I sat on the luggage cart and hoped for some trains and got two of them. I boarded the California Zephyr and was in room 6 of the 632 car for the trip to Sacramento. I had dinner right after the train left Galesburg, I finished the Norfolk Southern Museum story as I travelled across Iowa then watched the DVD of Ronnie James Dio Holy Diver Live. I then made my bed and called it a night. After breakfast the train arrived into Denver just under an hour late. We left Denver but came to a stop just before Rocky with HEP problems. We then proceeded up the Front Range to the Moffat Tunnel. Once on the west side, we were now under slow orders due to the weather. We lost three more hours but made Ruby Canyon just in the last light of the day. The next day we made up time, pulling into Sacramento just under two hours late. One night at the Vagabond Inn before I took San Joaquin 702 to Bakersfield, the bus to LAUPT and took Pacific Surfliner 580 to Santa Ana bringing an end to this great trip 2014 NRHS Convention Trip.

The Rest of 2015

It was good to be back in my bed. On 7/11/2015 I was aboard the first Metrolink Train to use Postive Train Control over the entire route from Oceanside to Los Angeles. On 7/18/2015 I took Pacific Surfliner 579 to LAUPT then the Southwest Chief all the way to Chicago and Metra out to Hanover Park where I met Dave Smetko and went home to his house. Early the next morning we started the drive to Youngstown, Ohio. Once in Ohio, we stopped for an unknown caboose in Whitehouse along the Wabash Cannonball Trail. From here we went into Waterville for the former Wabash Railroad station. Next we went to Grand Rapids to the railroad display of the Toledo, Lake Erie & Western Railway. From here we went to the new museum grounds on Saylor Lane. We then went to the Fostoria Iron Triangle Rail Park where we took pictures of eight train movement on the rails of the CSX and Norfolk Southern railroads. We went to the Fostoria B&O Station and caught one more CSX train there. On the way out of town we stopped at the C&O Station in Fostoria. From here we drove straight to Youngstown where we checked into the Travelodge, went to the boarding site, then went depot hunting. We found the Erie Railroad Station on Commerce Street which is now is now an office building, the Pennsylvania Railroad station in Youngstown which is a fireworks store on MLK Boulevard and around the corner on Mahoning Street is the B&O Railroad station that houses the B&O Railroad Station Restuarant. From here we drove south to a Long Horn Steakhouse where I had a fantastic Top Sirloin. We returned to the Travelodge and I put my batteries on the charger before calling it a night. The next morning Dave and I drove to the boarding location in Youngstown and when I tried to take a picture no go because the camera battery was still on the charger in my bag back at the motel. With no camera I quickly realized that it would be my first mainline steam trip which I would enjoy without having to look through a camera. Dave and I boarded the Nickel Plate Road 765 Youngstown to Ashtabula Trip. It was a fantastic trip over all new mileage and then had Coca-Cola for lunch in the park in Ashtabula. The trip returned to Youngstown early and after the trip Dave and I drove with John Schmidt following to the Texas Roundhouse where I had a good steak dinner. Then we returned to the Travelodge for our final night in Youngstown.

The next morning Dave and I went depot hnting where we found the Erie Railroad station plus a steam engine, cabooses and other equipment. After breakfast we drove into Youngstown and set up on the Federal Way Bridge to catch Nickel Plate Railroad 765 Sunday departure to Ashtabula. About 9:10 AM we heard a horn and a few minutes later the train came into view. The engine put on a great show of steam as the Nickel Plate Road 765 left Youngstown for Ashtubula. Dave and I started heading back to Chicago with one more stop to make. We drove west across Ohio and into Indiana where we went to the Hesston Steam Museum and I finally rode all three gauges of trains they run. The funniest moment of this trip happened after we left there. We were coming up to the underpass of the South Shore Railroad. I said "Never a train when you need one!" and we looked to the east and here came the westbound on Sunday South Shore Railroad passenger train heading for Chicago. We returned to the Smetko residence where we had a fantastic steak dinner. The next morning Dave drove me back to the Metra station in Hanover Park on his way to work, and I took the next Metra train into Chicago. At Union Station I bought a round trip ticket to Milwaukee to kill my wait in Chicago. It was a nice trip and all too soon I was back in the Metropolitan Lounge in Union Station where after I uploaded the stories, I had a pair of Gold Coast Char Dogs for lunch. Later I boarded the Southwest Chief in the Texas sleeping car for my two night trip to Fullerton and then Pacific Surfliner 564 back to Santa Ana and a taxi home.

In August I took pictures of the Red Unit Circus Train in Irvine and San Matoe Point. Then my mother and I did a driving trip to Grover Beach where we stopped for dinner at the Rock & Roll Diner and onto Pismo Beach where we spent the first night. The next day we drove to Tunnel 5 1/2 north of King City where I photographed the Coast Starlight coming out of the tunnel. We drove to Hollister then on Highway 25 at the grade crossing I caught the San Benito Railroad LLC Railroad train before we drove into Gilroy to the Days Inn. We went to the Black Bear Diner for our dinner. We watched the television until it was bed time then called it a night. The next morning we drove to Watsonville where I photographed the former Southern Pacific station then went to Moss Landing and we did the Elkhorn Slough Safari Tour and this year I saw the Coast Starlight crossing the slough. After that my mother was not feeling well as I drove 101 south to CA Highway 198. This was a very interesting road to drive. It took us through Coalinga then once past Interstate 5 on the San Joaquin Valley floor, we went through Lemoore and through Hanford to CA Highway 43 south then along the BNSF mainline. Just south on Angiola the northbound low level San Joaquin 717 was the only train we even saw in 50 miles along the railroad. We took the Elmo Highway over the CA Highway 99 which we took into Bakersfield. We checked into the Clarion Inn and my mother stayed in the room while I went to the Hungry Hunter Steakhouse for a Top Sirlion which was excellent. I got an iced tea and chocolate mousse to go for my mother. The computer would not connect to the hotel's internet so all I could do was to label the pictures and play backgammon in the evening. I watched the Disney Channel before calling it a night. The next morning we drove home via Covina as my mother wanted to show me where she was born and the park she played in as a kid. In November me and three other members of the Fullerton Train Travel Group did an Oakland Circle Trip taking the Coast Starlight Business Class to Oakland and returning south down the San Joaquin Valley on the low level ex New Jersey Comet Cars rebuilt completely by my old friends at Beech Grove. The Veteran Cabbage Car showed up on our Pacific Surfliner trains. In December, I did another Train Travel Group Trip to San Diego to ride the trolley system again and we had no members show up for this trip so I just came home after I did the trip to the border and Old Town. We had the Fullerton Train Riders group Christmas Party and then relaxed over my Winter Break.

I relaxed for the rest of the month and on the last day of August I went to an all day inservice at Santa Ana High. Four days later, I was back at work at Heninger Elementary School working with grade 4-6 special education students.

All these stories can be found on my web site at My web site had its 257,638 hit on Christmas morning. Thank you to all who reads it.

My rail mileage was 1,404,101.0 on January 1, 2015 and on December 31, 2015 it was 1,440,356.8 or just 36,286.8 for the year 2015.

The year started with 7288 Days of Sobriety on January 1, 2015 and ended with 7652 on my 58th Birthday on December 31, 2015.

May each of you have the best holiday season ever and may next year be one of the best in your life. Take care of each and everyone of you, be safe and until next year, goodbye!

Chris Day 7652