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New Years Eve 2006 and Home on Amtrak 421

by Chris Guenzler

New Years Eve 2006 12/31/2006

After a great train ride on the Texas State Railroad, it was time to head back to Dallas. We returned toward Palestine but took Loop 256 to avoid town. We then connected with US 287 and then Texas 19 back to Athens, where we stopped at Arby's for dinner. After dinner, we went north on US 175 to Interstate 635 North, then Interstate 30 East. The directions said to get off at Chaha Road. Guess what, they changed the name of the road and it was not until we passed the hotel that we realized there was no way to exit the freeway. So, we had to cross Lake Ray Hubbard to the next exit and then double back. Once back to the Best Western Lakeview Inn, we checked in and I checked all the e-mail that I get when I am on a trip. After putting the bags in the room, we decided to go to Garland so I could finish riding DART light rail. We drove along the frontage road to Broadway and turned north. It became 1st Ave as we went into downtown Garland station. We found railroad tracks and off to the right was the end of the DART Blue Line.

Finishing up the DART Light Rail Line 12/31/2006

Chris and I parked across the street and as we made our way to the station, a Blue Line train came in from Dallas. We bought our tickets and boarded the train. A few minutes later, the train departed and headed to Dallas with a final stop at Ledbetter. This would be all new mileage as far as Cityplace in downtown Dallas. We made our first stop at Forest/Jupiter, picked up speed on the way to LBJ/Skillman and a few minutes later, made our White Rock station stop. The train then made its way to the junction with the Red Line to Parker Road before we stopped at Mockingbird. We next entered the tunnel under part of Dallas to reach Cityplace Station. This ended my new rail mileage until later this evening when we would be coming back north to Parker Road. We traveled the rest of the way through the tunnel, exiting in downtown Dallas. We stopped at Pearl, St. Paul, Akard, West End and Union Station, where we detrained. The area at Dallas Union Station is not the safest at night with the local homeless people around. The next Red Line train from Westmoreland could not come fast enough

Along the station walls, I photographed the drumheads of the various name trains that once served Dallas Union Station. The Red Line train arrived and we quickly boarded. We returned north via downtown Dallas and then went through the tunnel back to Mockingbird, and at the junction with the Blue Line, I started my new mileage out to Parker Road. The line is elevated over major streets like the Blue Line is from Garland. We stopped at Lovers Lane, Park Lane, Walnut Hill, Forest Lane, LBJ/Central, Spring Valley, Arapaho, Galatyn Park, Bush Turnpike, downtown Plano and we arrived at our last stop at Parker Road. I detrained here on my 49th birthday, having just completed riding every mile of the DART light rail system.

DART Red Line Train at Parker Road Station in Plano. 12/31/2006

I took a picture of Chris Parker at Parker Road Station in Plano. Chris found a newspaper so I read about the hanging of Saddam Hussein which made the return trip to Mockingbird seem much faster. We waited seven minutes at Mockingbird for a Blue Line train back to Garland. As we boarded, we found a train full of Dallas Stars fans who had watched the Dallas Stars lose to the San Jose Sharks 4-2. The trip back to Garland was fast and soon we were at the car driving back to the hotel. This time we exited Bass Pro Road from Interstate 30 East right to the hotel. It had been a great last day of 2006 and we called it a night.

New Years Day 2007 1/1/2007

Chris and I slept in until 8:00 AM before we went to a very poor continental breakfast. I made one last e-mail check.

Lake Roy Hubbard in front of the Best Western Lakeview Inn before we checked out. We drove I 30 West to I 630 North then Texas 79 out to Parker Road following the route of the light rail line we rode out here last night.

Taking Parker Road five miles east will bring you to a very famous television location - the Southfork Ranch made famous on the CBS Television show "Dallas", which was one of my favorites because of J.R. Ewing.

Near this same location, I posed a picture of Chris Parker in front of the town of Parker water tower. We next drove to Irving, Texas and found Rock Island Road which took us to the Trinity Rail Express shops.

The Trinity Rail Shop area.

TRE RDC 2010.

TRE 567.

TRE RDC 2005.

TRE RDC 2002.

TRE 568. From the TRE shops, we made our way to North Fort Worth and found the Fort Worth and Western Yard.

A line of Fort Worth and Western engines.

A leased engine NREX 2843.

FWWR engine 2009 Chilsom Trail.

FWWR engine 2003 General Worth. From here I decided to take Chris north to the Saginaw Railroad crossing. On the way there we caught up to a Union Pacific freight.

We photographed it coming and going at Northern Road on the former Rock Island, later Missouri-Kansas-Texas, now Union Pacific.

We drove around and decided to wait for trains at the old Saginaw Station.

The old Saginaw station which is now the town's Chamber of Commerce.

There is a former passenger car and caboose on display here.

Another view of the Saginaw Station.

A BNSF local, BNSF 6743 North, came up the former Fort Worth and Denver {BN} then waited to go north up the former Santa Fe once a southbound train came by.

That train was Amtrak 821, the Heartland Flyer coming from Oklahoma City to Fort Worth. Minutes later, the BNSF local took off north.

Next a Union Pacific northbound freight, UP 5653, crossed the BNSF diamond. We checked with Julie, Amtrak's automated telephone system, and learned that my Texas Eagle would be an hour late at Dallas.

We drove by the Amtrak station then went west of 7th Avenue west of downtown finding a Subway shop open on New Year's Day and had lunch. We returned to the station and Chris dropped me off to wait for my train while he headed to Dallas-Fort Worth airport to catch his flight later this afternoon. I waited inside until about the time the train was due and walked out to the south end of the platform. The Heartland Flyer had a consist of Engine 172, Hi-Level Coach 39957, Superliner Snack Coach {panic box} 35001, Hi-Level Coach 39940 and Cabbage 90229. About the time my train should have arrived, the eastbound Texas Eagle 22/422 backed into Fort Worth station.

This train had a consist of Engine 48, Transition 39043, Sleeper 32025, Coach 34010, Diner 38048, Lounge 33029 and Coaches 31025 and 34113. Train 22/422 left Fort Worth at 2:50 PM for Chicago, as I waited for Train 21/421 on this windy and cold, but sunny, afternoon.

I saw a UP freight headed toward Tower 55 which is under several freeway bridges.

Just as the Texas Eagle was backing into the station, BNSF 5038 south came by on their mainline.

Texas Eagle 21/421 1/1/2007

At 3:30 PM, my Texas Eagle passed Tower 55 before it backed into Fort Worth station with Engine 61, Sleepers 32041 and 32086 Louisiana, Coach 34098, Diner 38030, Lounge 33004 and Coaches 34037, 31010 and 31008, with private cars Evelyn Henry 800144 and Warren R. Henry 800148. The only clean cars on the train were the private cars. I learned over the next two days that this train set had been on the California Zephyr during last week's blizzard in Colorado. It had been in the Chicago yard and pulled out at the last minute without a trip through the washer. Where is Via Rail Canada when I need them? Via Rail would never send out a train set in this condition. I could not find my car number until my sleeping car attendant Tom Westfield cleaned the window with the car number in it. In my 970,000+ rail miles, I have never boarded an Amtrak train this dirty.

To show how dirty the Texas Eagle, a young railfan showed us all by writing "Wash Me! Shortly before departure I decided to walk the train and several pictures to show how dirty the windows were.

Scene outside of Fort Worth through the dirty window in the lounge car.

A scene out the other side of the lounge car.

A view out of the Dining Car window. We left Fort Worth at 3:40 PM {2:40 PM}. I received a 4:30 dinner reservation and relaxed in my room reading Wicked until dinner time. In the dining car, I was seated with Andrew and George going to San Antonio, and Kyle going to Palm Springs. I had turkey because the diner was out of several menu items. The Turkey was very good and the chocolate cake really hit the spot. I returned to my room to relax until it was announced that the train was approaching Crawford.

The blue-roofed Station Cafe is where President and First Lady Bush have their coffee when they are at their ranch two miles west of here. I took a fresh air stop at Temple before returning to my room for Poison's "A Decade of Poison" and Metallica's "Master of Puppets". I made up my room and called it a night at Austin. Later during the layover at San Antonio, I switched my bedding around to keep my feet pointing in the correct direction of travel.

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