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The Sunset Limited 1/421 1/2/2007

by Chris Guenzler

I woke up west of San Antonio with the train running about an hour late. This train had Engines 14 and 185, Baggage 1172, Transition 39005, Sleeper 32045, Diner 38018, Lounge 33047, Coaches 35002, 34016 and 34098, with Sleeper 32086 Louisiana. The 34098 and 32086 are the through cars from the Texas Eagle. I had breakfast with Sharon, traveling from New Orleans to her home in Culver City, California, and Hope, who was going from Atlanta to San Diego to take a cruise to Hawaii. I enjoyed French Toast and Sausage Patties about an hour from our fresh air stop at Del Rio. My sleeping car attendant from San Antonio to Los Angeles was Amtrak veteran Isaac Champaign, who I have had on the Southwest Chief and Coast Starlight over the years.

One of West Texas finest view, not! A few minutes later, we arrived in Del Rio for a fresh air stop. The train departed, still about an hour late.

I saw the Rio Grande River, which is the United States/Mexico border, as we continued west. We left the Rio Grande River until we would cross it west of El Paso in about 445 more miles.

We passed Amistad Dam and Lake.

West shore of Amistad Lake.

The passengers were enjoying the Sightseer Lounge Car this bright January morning.

The train was on the way to the Pecos River High Bridge.

I was enjoying my room despite the dirty window on the way to the Pecos River high bridge.

The view from my window. Is it not pretty bad?

We passed an old water tower just east of Pecos River.

The train crossed the Pecos River on the high bridge.

I saw an old bridge abutment to the north of our train.

The train ran through Eagle Nest Canyon just east of Langtry.

Our train ran through Langtry, which was the home of Judge Roy Bean, the first judge west of the Pecos River.

The train crossed this bridge west of Langtry.

There was a UP stack train at Pumpville.

The train crossed the bridge over Malvardo Canyon.

A few minutes later the train crossed another bridge.

There was an eastbound UP train was at Fedora.

We went through Sanderson without stopping.

The train ran by Emerson siding.

Our train flew by Longfellow siding.

The train went by Rosenfeld siding.

Our train ran by Maxon siding.

We reached Tesnus siding, which was full of gondola cars.

The train passed the empty Haymond siding.

Our train went by Warwick siding, which was full of empty stack cars.

The train ran through Marathon, Texas.

Our train reached Marathon siding, where a UP stack train in it.

The train ran by an empty Lenox siding

At Altuda siding there was a UP freight waited for us to clear.

The train ran slowly by Altuda siding.

There was another UP stack train here with two CSX locomotives on the rear.

Views between Altuda and Strobel.

We passed a UP freight at Strobel and headed straight to Alpine where our train crew canceled the fresh air stop to try and make up time.

It was here that I saw a very large gap in the mainline rail..

Our train departed Alpine en route to Paisano Pass, the highest point on the entire Sunset Route.

Alpine Jct.

We first came to Alpine Junction and found another eastbound UP freight in the siding.

The train climbed the grade and reached the west end of Paisano Pass at Paisano Junction and Paisano siding.

The train dropped down the grade to Marfa, home of the famous ghost lights.

Later just east of Quebec siding, there was an airship docked.

We continued on to Hot Wells siding.

The Sunset Limited has reached Sierra Blanca, where the former Texas and Pacific joins the SP Sunset route.

Next it started to snow!

There was an eastbound UP train at Lasca siding.

Our train crossed a bridge before Small siding.

At Small siding there yet another eastbound UP freight was waiting.

At Finlay siding, there was a westbound UP train.

There was CSX power on a work train at McNary siding.

I photographed an old water tank between McNary and Iser.

The train ran to Iser where a westbound UP train was in the siding.

Tornillo siding just east of El Paso.

The train continued toward Tornillo siding just east of El Paso where another UP freight waited for us.

I saw UP yard power at Alfalfa yard which is on the east side of El Paso.

The train has reached the Union Pacific El Paso Yard.

The Sunset Limited passed through Union Pacific's El Paso yard and ran by Tower 47, where the Carrizzo Subdivision from Tucumcari joins the Sunset Route.

Another view of the Tower 47 area. We had to wait for a UP eastbound to clear so we could reach El Paso Union Station.

The offending UP eastbound finally passed us in the trench under downtown.

The El Paso Skyline.

We saw the El Paso skyline as we exited the trench under downtown before we reached the station.

The Sunset Limited at rest at El Paso. I detrained to get a newspaper and a picture of the train and I met Kevin and his dad. Kevin reads my website so it is always interesting to meet one of my readers. We departed El Paso on time and at 6:30 PM, after we had entered New Mexico, I went to the dining car. I was seated with Jackie from Huntington Beach, heading home from Fort Worth, and William who works in Big Bend National Park and has climbed 64 mountain peaks, going to Tucson. I enjoyed a Pork Chop and chocolate cake. I took an after-dinner shower before enjoying an evening of music in my darkened room. Later, I made up my room for the night.

On to the final Day for this trip