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Southern Pacific 4449 Excursion return to Portland 9/17/2006

by Chris Guenzler

Chris and I went to have a fantastic continental breakfast before we gathered our bags and headed to the hotel parking lot to wait for the shuttle bus to take us to the train.

Early risers like us waited in the cool morning air.

At 7:14 AM, the bus arrived and took us to the train.

After putting my stuff on our seats, I walked to the front of the train for the first of many pictures of Southern Pacific 4449 today.

I walked to the rear of our train for this picture.

When the train was getting ready to move forward I was ready for my picture of the Southern Pacific 4449.

I changed my location to a small loading dock for the short forward move.

The cab of the SP 4449.

To clean our coach windows, our car attendant held up several children who did an excellent job of cleaning them.

Southern Pacific 4449 to Portland 9/17/2006

The train was then loaded and we departed at 9:00 AM by backing down the siding to the mainline beyond the BNSF station. Once that switch was thrown, we pulled forward beginning our trip back to Portland.

I saw the Three Sisters Mountains in the distance west of Bend.

After passing through Prineville Junction, we crossed the Crooked River a few minutes later.

The Cascade Mountain Range loomed off to the west. We continued north passing freights at Opal City and Culver and it was announced that there would be a Photo Runby at the Willow Creek Trestle. A few minutes later we crossed over the trestle then came to a stop. We all unloaded and walked over to the canyon edge to set up for the Photo Runby.

The Willow Creek Trestle is a 970 foot long steel bridge which is 200 feet above the creek.

The Southern Pacific 4449 slowly backed the train onto the bridge.

The Southern Pacific 4449 paused for a static photo.

The static pose of Southern Pacific 4449 on the Willow Creek Trestle.

The Southern Pacific 4449 was high above the bottom of the canyon.

The static pose of the Southern Pacific 4449 and train on the Willow Creek Trestle.

The Southern Pacific 4449 then backed off the trestle before starting the photo runby.

The Willow Creek Trestle before the photo runby was about to begin.

The Photo Runby which was fantastic. Everyone was happy with their pictures as we all reboarded the train. Once on the move again, the Southern Pacific 4449 ran north through Madras and onto Gateway. I returned to the Pony Express to see the view on the other side of our crossing of the Deschutes River.

We rounded a sweeping curve which was the start of Trout Creek Canyon which would follow down grade to the Deschutes River Canyon.

This is the start of Trout Creek Canyon which we will follow down grade to the Deschutes River Canyon.

Looking to the rear of our train, I could see the canyon walls begin to increase as our route dropped.

The Southern Pacific 4449 descended the Trout Creek Canyon and crossed the 390 foot Trout Creek bridge.

This picture is right after we crossed the Trout Creek Bridge.

The 390 foot Trout Creek Bridge.

The train then reached the Deschutes River which we would run north along to the Columbia River. The Deschutes River is one of the very few rivers in the United States that runs North.

One of the many beautiful river views from our unique trip.

A rather rustic setting.

Every turn of the river brought another beautiful view.

Occasionally we saw birds along the river as well as interesting rock formations.

Interesting rock formations are found all along the Deschutes River Canyon.

The canyon got deeper and deeper as we continued north. A few minutes later, the train crossed the Deschutes River and I returned to my seat to relax. There I enjoyed the scenery and talked with several people about trains. Once the roads returned, watching the chasers proved to be an interesting pastime.

Perhaps the most interesting chaser was the one in a small airplane which flew by us and later had landed in a very small field. The photographer climbed up to the tracks to take his pictures at a unique location in the canyon. Later we saw him pass us again for the last time. We ran to Moody where Southern Pacific 4449 was serviced.

The train returned us to the Columbia River and we had to pass through Tunnel 1.

The Southern Pacific 4449 exited Tunnel 1 as we descended to the bridge that would take us across the river into Washington.

Taking a curve the BNSF Wishram Yard across the Columbia River come into view.

Looking back at Tunnel 1.

Across the river could be seen the BNSF Wishram yard where I saw two freight trains passing each other.

Running above Interstate 84 caused traffic to slow down as the drivers watched our train.

The Southern Pacific 4449 started across the bridge over the Columbia River.

A view of the Columbia River from the middle of the bridge.

Once across, the train curved off the bridge to the west and into Washington.

The look at the junction facing east.

The bridge the Southern Pacific 4449 had just crossed.

I took a picture of Mount Hood covered in clouds and one last photograph of Southern Pacific 4449 running along the north bank of the river. I went back to my seat and relaxed. Daylight Sales had merchandise for sale inside the Pony Express and I bought a Daylight jacket. I returned to my coach and talked to NRHS member Ed Graham, a car host at Buckeye Rails 2006, who was really enjoying the trip and Gary Miller and I talked about trains as we enjoyed the last miles coming into Vancouver.

The passengers enjoy car one, the Union Pacific Echo Canyon.

Here are passengers in our other heritage coach, the Santa Fe Tolani.

Besides Chris Parker and I, the only other Orange County Historical Society member on this trip was Bob Platfoot.

Inside the baggage car Pony Express, Chris Parker admired the Daylight jackets that were for sale.

Bob Riskie was really enjoying the view from the large baggage car doors.

Stan Garner, owner of the Pony Express which is based in Los Angeles and is available for charters.

Chris Parker and the other riders enjoyed the view from the open baggage door as we rolled west down the Columbia River Gorge.

Passengers enjoy the view on the north side of the train.

At the smaller baggage door more passengers can enjoy the view.

View inside of the Pony Express.

Daylight Sales had merchandise for sale inside the Pony Express and I bought a Daylight jacket.

Bob and other passengers enjoy the views along the north bank of the Columbia River.

Passengers enjoy the inside of the Amtrak Cafe Car.

I returned to my coach and talked to NRHS member Ed Graham, a car host at Buckeye Rails 2006, who was really enjoying the trip.

Gary Miller and I talked about trains as we enjoyed the last miles coming into Vancouver. I returned to the Pony Express and sat with Stan Garner as we watched the train progress on the GPS on his laptop.

We met the eastbound Empire Builder in the siding at Washougal.

The Southern Pacific 4449 approaching Camas before we made our station stop in Vancouver.

Our train then crossed the Columbia River back into Oregon with Mt. Hood still enveloped in clouds.

The train took the big curve after crossing the Willamette River and headed the final miles to Portland Union Station. I detrained and walked toward the engine where I thanked Doyle McCormack, the engineer of Southern Pacific 4449, for a great two-day trip.

I took two final pictures of Southern Pacific 4449, one of my favorite engines of all time. What a fantastic two day trip it had been riding behind Southern Pacific 4449. I will never forget it as long as I shall live!

Portland 9/17/2006

After saying our goodbyes to Southern Pacific 4449, Chris Parker and I walked over to the Chinatown MAX station. As soon as we had purchased our tickets, an airport train pulled into the station. I returned to 82nd Street and said goodbye to Chris Parker who had to catch a flight home to Los Angeles. I checked into the Days Inn before walking over to Elmers for a Prime Rib dinner. Later I returned to the hotel, checked sports scores and called home before I called it a night.

Alaska Airlines 408 9/18/2006

Up with the alarm clock at 5:50 AM on September 18th, I prepared myself for the trip home before I walked over to the 82nd Street MAX station. An airport train arrived within two minutes and I was on my way and talked with a gentlemen heading home to Albany, New York which made the trip go by really quickly. Once at Portland airport, I found an Alaska Airlines kiosk and printed my boarding pass for flight 408. Security took less than ten minutes and I waited at Gate C5 for my plane to board. At 7:15 AM, I boarded the 737-700 plane that would carry me home to Orange County Airport. I had good luck when I walked to that MAX station as it was now raining hard this early morning. We departed the gate at 7:50 AM, then taxied out for take-off which occurred this morning at 7:59. We climbed east through the clouds until we were above them seeing almost nothing of Oregon this morning. I started my trip home listening to Metallica "Master of Puppets". Once we neared California, the sky opened up below us finally giving me some views that I could take photographs of.

Mt Shasta from 39,000 feet at our cruising level.

Mt Lassen.

Lake Almanor with Mt Lassen behind.

Portola Railroad Museum and you can even see the balloon track used for their excursion's trains.

Norden on Donner Summit. The former Southern Pacific concrete snowsheds can be seen in this picture. I switched my music to Guns N' Roses "Appetite for Destruction".

BNSF Calwa Yard in Fresno. We continued south and after crossing over Malibu we started our descent and banking to make an "S" into Orange County Airport.

I saw McFadden Intermediate, where I work. We touched down early at 10:02 AM and taxied to Gate 10. I had to wait for my mother to arrive and we drove home, stopping by Main Photo to drop off my film.

Just in case you were wondering what I look like in that Daylight Jacket a picture for you. What a great trip it had been on the Southern Pacific 4449 to Bend and a special thank you to everyone that made it such a fantastic steam railroad trip.