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Summer of Steam 2002 Part I Milwaukee Road 261 and UP 3985

by Chris Guenzler

I could not wait for this school year to get over. I saw Jethro Tull and the Young Dubliners at the Orange County Performing Arts Center taking my mother with me who really enjoyed the evening. I did the Orange County Railway Historical Society Show on June 3rd showing everything from the Maine Trip to the Milwaukee Road 261 trip to Duluth. Everything had been ticketed for months and all hotel reservations had been booked. All I had to do was to live up to departure day and start a most very interesting trip by finishing up the school year at McFadden with that case load of kids I worked with. My mother left for Europe and a bus tour three days before I did. So after I checked out of McFadden, I packed the bags and relaxed before starting the trip the next morning.

Surfliner 765 6/15/2002

Gil Terry drove me down to the Santa Ana Amtrak Station and I enjoyed the warm California morning waiting for the Surfliner which came in on time. Jeff McConnell, the conductor, took my ticket and I rode in the lower level of the Surfliner coach/baggage. It was an uneventful trip to Los Angeles where I detrained back into that bright California sunshine to wait for the Coast Starlight to back in. I watched 765 leave, 567 and the Southwest Chief arrive and 772 pull in where I said hello to Conductor Jim. About twenty minutes before departure, the Coast Starlight backed in.

Coast Starlight 14 6/15/2002

I was assigned to a half window seat on the Pacific Ocean side of the train for my northbound run to Portland. My main goal besides getting to the Empire Builder is to just sit back and relax. We left Los Angeles ten minutes late as I had a cup of Coca Cola to start off the trip and started reading Gasten Leroux, "Phantom of the Opera". I read for a bit, did some word fill in puzzles, had a lunch from the cafe car, listened to some music and enjoyed the scenery with a nap thrown in for good measure. We arrived early into San Luis Obispo which allowed for a nice long walk and for me to pick up a copy of the Tourist Magazine. We waited for a late southbound Starlight before we headed up Cuesta Grade finding a Union Pacific freight sitting in the siding at Chorro where we normally meet the southbound Starlight. As the train made the slow trek down the Salinas Valley, I had a steak and Turtle for dinner before returning to music at my seat and the "Phantom". Later I went to the lounge car to watch "Snow Dogs" and Jim Cary in the "Majestic" before I retired to my coach seat for the night.

6/16/2002 I awoke just as the Starlight passed Castle Crags and we came to a stop in the lower Dunsmuir Yard due to medical emergency in the sleeper. That drove the nail into the coffin of taking the Starlight all the way to Portland. Our train climbed the Cantara Loop and had a beautiful trip beneath Mt Shasta before they announced that I would be bused to meet the Empire Builder in Portland my only tight connection on the whole trip. I expected this to happen knowing how the Starlight runs and I had wondered about this in my last Izaak Walton Inn story. My advice if you have the time would be to give yourself an extra day so you could overnight in either Portland or Seattle in order to catch the Empire Builder the next day. Like I always say, "Every trip is an adventure!" The rest of the trip to Klamath Falls was uneventful. Lindsay my most wonderful coach attendant said that I was one of the nicest passengers that she had ever met. At Klamath Falls I detrained and headed to the bus.

The Bus 6/16/2002

This ride on a bus would be the means to an end. We left Klamath Falls about fifteen minutes after the Coast Starlight had left and headed north up US 97 stopping at a rest area south of Chemult. The bus went north of Chemult where it took Oregon Highway 58 over Cascade Summit. Oops! Willamette Pass on the highway. We dropped down the grade, seeing the snowsheds and passing under the Salt Creek Trestle, I wondered where the Coast Starlight was? The bus stopped at a McDonald's on Oakridge for lunch and they of course screwed up my plain order. Back on the road, we went north up Interstate 5 and took that highway into Portland. I was glad to have finally gotten my chance to ride over Highway 58. We arrived at Portland Union Station at 4:05 PM, thirty five minutes to spare before my next train.

The Empire Builder 28/8 6/16/2002

I boarded and found a large window seat, very happy to be aboard for my trip to Minneapolis. It was a cloudy afternoon as the Empire Builder departed Portland on time and headed across the Columbia River to its first station stop in Vancouver, Washington. We went east into the Columbia River Gorge as I had a hot dog dinner and enjoyed the ever changing scenery. Mt Hood made an appearance and by Bingen-White Salmon it became clear and windy.

I detrained at Wishram for a windy picture session and fresh air break before we continued east along the Columbia River. The Builder paused at Pasco for another fresh air break before heading to Spokane.

The guy behind me got caught having his own liquor and then cursed on his cell phone all the way to Spokane.

6/17/2002 The Empire Builder arrived in Spokane with an hour and half to kill. I detrained to visit the station before returning to the train to sleep. I awoke just to the west of Whitefish and staked out a spot in the Sightseer Lounge Car for the crossing of Marias Pass. The Middle Fork of the Flathead River was above flood stage and the BNSF was far more active than back in April. The sky was clear and it was a glorious morning for our crossing of Marias Pass. At Essex I had a chance to talk to Larry, owner of the Izaak Walton Inn before I continued to point out sights to those in the lounge car. I returned to my seat after the Two Medicine Bridge for a brief nap. I got caught up on writing this story before listening to the Rolling Stones then Yes as the train crossed the High Plains to Havre. I enjoyed a Sirloin Steak Sandwich in the Dining Car off of the now standardized Amtrak national menu finishing right as we arrived at Havre for a windy overcast fresh air break with an ice cream. Heading east, we continued to fly by BNSF westbound trains and went by the four hour late westbound Empire Builder with a BNSF diesel on the point east of Glasgow, MT. I watched an afternoon showing of the "Time Machine" before having a steak dinner on the Empire Builder as it entered North Dakota. We made a fast trip to Minot which allowed a long fresh air stop and a trip to the bridge over the yard. I picked up some Empire Builder Route Guides for my Orange County Railway Historical Society Brethren. I returned aboard the train, did one final word fill in puzzle for the day prior to retiring for the evening.

6/18/2002 I woke up two miles short of Midway Station and we sat for forty minutes for access to Midway Station where we arrived fifteen minutes late ending an excellent trip on the Empire Builder.

Minneapolis 6/18/2002

Since I knew I could not check into the University Best Western until 1:00 PM, I decided to walk to the hotel where they let me store my bags. With time to kill, I walked to Harrison Street, home of the Milwaukee Road 261.

After the Twin Cities and Western and a BNSF local went through Minneapolis Junction, the Milwaukee Road 261 backed out of the shop building to start to make up its train set.

About noon, I was given a room and took a well deserved shower. I relaxed, got some more Coca-Cola and some Arby's roast beef sandwiches. Later, I mailed a letter, took a walk over to the small BNSF yard before relaxing for the rest of the evening in Minneapolis and a good night's sleep.

Milwaukee Road 261 to Lacrosse 6/19/2002

It was pouring rain when I woke up and after a continental breakfast, I checked out and waited for a taxi cab. I showed the driver the way to Harrison Street. The rain had stopped and I waited to board my old friendly coach the Nokomos {ACL/Central of Georgia}. I took a large window seat on the right side so I would have the view of the Mississippi River. The BNSF held back our departure until 9:00 AM before we would run down the ex Chicago, Burlington and Quincy {CB&Q} racetrack on this two day trip to Chicago.

After a BNSF Freight pulled passed us at 9:15 AM, we slowly pulled forward onto the mainline at Minneapolis Junction starting down new trackage for me and headed east down the Midway Subdivision towards St Paul. We passed the grain elevators that I had walked to last night and passed through the intermodel yard on our way to Division Street in St Paul. Along this section we ran by the St Paul Saints Stadium on the north and later the Minnesota State Capital Building dome could be seen in downtown St Paul. The Milwaukee Road 261 steamed by the Minnesota Transportation Museum where part of their collection could be seen. Our train curved around St Paul down to the Mississippi River. The Milwaukee Road 261 passed beneath the Dayton Bluffs before both the Soo Line and Union Pacific yards. The train cruised east through Newport along the base of the bluffs with the Soo Line tracks along the river and we came down to river level at Dam and Lock 1 and at St Croix the Soo Line crossed the Mississippi River. The Milwaukee Road 261 ran to Burns where we crossed the St Croix River into Wisconsin. Our special train ran along the bluffs, sometimes right along the River or lakes off of it or by fields on the flood plain. Our steam train passed beneath Diamond Bluff, flew through Bay City where through the trees, the bluffs across the river in Minnesota could first be seen across the Father of Waters. Further on, Red Wing, MN famous for those shoes could be seen across the river. We crossed the Rush River before the Milwaukee Road 261 stopped to "Grease the Rods" at Pepin.

The Milwaukee Road 261 crossed the wide Chippewa River and ran to Nelson where we did a Photo Runby. Further south along the Mississippi River, we crossed the Buffalo River before our train passed Dam and Lock 2 at the town of Alma followed by the Dairyland Power Plant. The river curved away and we cut across some farmlands below the bluffs. I bought some safety eye glasses to protect my eyes from the coal cinders after we passed below Indian Head Rock, the face of the chief, then came Dam and Lock 3. The Milwaukee Road 261 came to a brief halt at Winona Jct before the train crossed the Trempealeau River then rode over a long causeway before we returned to the shore beneath the bluffs. As always, the Mississippi River is always off to my right. We passed Dam and Lock 4 at Trempealeau as the Milwaukee Road 261 easily pulled our consist at track speed as we crossed the Black River. Our route paralleled the old Chicago Northwestern right away, the Route of the 400 to Rochester, MN now the 400 Bike Trail. We crossed the farmlands before returning to the Ole Miss. At Sullivan, the Milwaukee Road 261 went under Interstate 90 before we came to a stop in Lacrosse. After a few minutes, we pulled across the Soo Line at Grand Crossing prior to backing into a yard track where we were unloaded.

Lacrosse 6/19/2002

I got on the first of the school buses with no luggage space underneath for the trip to the Day's Inn. The driver got lost on the way there, where I waited to check in. I walked over to the IGA Store for postcards before going and sitting in the hotel's sauna for twenty five minutes. I watched the "Waterboy" before I enjoyed a steak dinner. I took an early evening walk before watching U2 Live from Boston prior to calling it a night.

Milwaukee Road 261 to Chicago 6/20/2002

Up early and ready to go, I got offered a taxi cab ride down to the train which was a much easier way of getting my luggage to the train. I took the same seat in the Nokomos, had my breakfast, listened to music and read the newspaper until nearly departure time. The air conditioning was never turned on in the Nokomos so that they could conserve costs. It would have been nice if they would have told us this when we first boarded this morning. "If you want it on, you can buy us the fuel when we get to Chicago!" said one of the Milwaukee Road 261 crew members to me. I moved back two cars to the much cooler Minnehaha {ex LN}.

We jerked for a few minutes and finally got rolling out of our yard track and ten minutes later, we were out on the mainline. Our train crossed the Soo Line at Grand Crossing and headed out of Lacrosse, through Herrington with the Milwaukee Road 261 whistling freely before we returned to the water's edge. We passed Dam and Locks 8 before the Dairyland Power Cooperative-Genoa Station power plant. At Victory where the decisive battle of the Blackhawk Indian War was won, we crossed the Bad Axe River. Across the Mississippi River was now the State of Iowa as we continued south this morning. The train passed through Desoto named for the Spanish explorer who had discovered the Mississippi River which we were running beside. We next passed Dam and Lock 9 before the river bent away with us running below the ever present bluffs with farmlands out of my window. The Milwaukee Road 261 stopped at Prairie du Chien where the "Rods were Greased".

South of town at Crawford, we crossed the former Milwaukee Road Mainline now operated by the Wisconsin Southern. We crossed the Wisconsin River prior to returning to the flowing waters of the Old Miss. The river once more bent away as the Milwaukee Road 261 sped along south. The Milwaukee Road 261 raced through Bagley before returning to the estuaries and flew through both Glen Haven and Cassville. We went by both the Nelson Drewey Generating Station and the Mid American Power Station. There were plenty of westbound BNSF trains this morning but none were causing us any delay. We ran by Dam and Lock 11 prior to our train's entrance into Illinois. The Milwaukee Road 261 passed the Illinois Central Bridge leading to Dubuque, Iowa whose track immediately tunnels into the bluff on the Illinois side of the river before swinging around to run by us into East Dubuque with its ex CB&Q depot still standing. At East Cabin we ran on the rail of the Illinois Central for 12.5 miles to Portage where the Milwaukee Road 261 came to a stop to let a BNSF Z train to pass so we would not be blocking it when our train was serviced at Savanna. The cottonwood seeds were sure floating around in the air while we waited for that Z train to pass by us. On the move again, at Galena Jct, the IC tracks curved off to the east before we crossed the Galena River. The Milwaukee Road 261 ran by the Blanding Recreation Area were the Mississippi river curved away not returning until after the Milwaukee Road 261 and train had passed the Savanna Army Depot. We crossed the Apple River before we graced the diamond of the former Milwaukee Road now I&M Rail as we arrived in Savanna and turned east with our last glimpse of the Mississippi River for this steam trip. The Milwaukee Road 261 ran along the empty BNSF yard before we stopped for water and to "Grease the Rods" in front of the Savanna yard office.

We continued our trek east towards the Windy City of Chicago as we departed Savanna at 1:45 PM for the 143.7 miles to our destination all of which are new miles until Aurora. The Milwaukee Road 261 attacked the grade taking us out of the Mississippi River Valley. We crossed the Plum River then accelerated to 60 MPH as we traveled over the Illinois Farmlands. The Milwaukee Road 261 bridged the Rock Creek west of Milledgeville. At Carter we held the mainline for a BNSF local before we returned to our speedy pace only to have to stop at Stratford for both the BNSF 9292 west and the BNSF 6833 west. We took off again running through Oregon, IL and crossed the rolling Illinois countryside. The Milwaukee Road 261 crossed the Rock River on a double tress bridge. We met the BNSF 4681 west pulling into the siding at Chana and slowed until he had cleared the main. Our train picked up two main tracks at Flagg Center and I rode the vestibule through Rochelle getting pictures of the Milwaukee Road 261 curving over the ex CNW {UP} double track mainline and the Rochelle Railroad Park packed with people waiting for the Milwaukee Road 261 to blast by. We came to a stop at Steward Jct to change out our road foreman who had been with us from Lacrosse and to wait for another BNSF westbound freight.

During the stop, the Milwaukee Road 261 crew "Greased the Rods" one last time before we continued to cross the now flat Illinois countryside. We went through Sabonna, Waterman, Hinckley and Sugar Grove before the Milwaukee Road 261 reached the mainline used by Amtrak thus ending my new mileage. I shot pictures as we curved onto the Race Track and after a few minutes crossed the Fox River, the Comfort Inn I had stayed at last summer and the old Aurora Roundhouse with the Metra Station in the foreground. After we waited for a spot in the afternoon commuter rush, the Milwaukee Road 261 took off and it was announced that we would make a special stop at La Grange for anyone needing to get to the western suburbs. I rode the vestibule all the way down the Race Track waving to everyone standing at track side. I always get such a special feeling in me when I do that. I rode in the vestibule until it was time for the Milwaukee Road 261 to wye the train and to back into Chicago Union Station. They told us to walk back through the train to be able to get off as the Milwaukee Road 261 needed to stay outside of the Post Office Building. I was sitting in a Roomette as the Milwaukee Road 261 backed in and saw parts of Chicago Union Station that I had never seen as we came in along the track along the Chicago River. We detrained on the river side and had to walk behind the rear of the Cedar Rapids to reached the station. This was a fitting way to end an exciting two day trip behind the Milwaukee Road 261 and one I would never forget.

Chicago Layover 6/20/2002

We all walked into the station with Mark and I continuing to the Ogilvie Transportation Center for his train to Crystal Lake and mine to Kenosha. We bought our respective tickets and had dinner in the food court with me getting a great deal on Popeye Chicken since they were about to close for the day. After dinner, Mark boarded his train and I went inside the Metra waiting room and worked on this story to this point. I took Metra train 357 to Kenosha and walked to the Holiday Express for the night having completed two fabulous days with the Milwaukee Road 261. I went to bed thinking it was funny that last night I was on the far western side of Wisconsin and tonight I was on the far eastern side of Wisconsin. Would only I ever realize that?

6/21/2002 I was woken up by the loudest claps of thunder in my life and with lightning right outside my window. Since it was only 5:30 AM, I went back to sleep while the rain poured down outside. When the wakeup call came at 7:30 AM, I showered and found a news station with weather radar picture so now I knew where the rain was. I used Express Checkout and after a quick continental breakfast I walked to the Metra Station on a very windy and very cool morning. It was at least twenty five degrees cooler than when I arrived last night. I took Metra 330 back to Chicago reading the USA Today. I had a pair of Gold Coast Char Dogs before heading to the north waiting room to wait for the Empire Builder to take me back to Minneapolis.

Empire Builder 7 6/21/2002

I boarded the Empire Builder and while we were waiting for a late running Lake Shore Limited, I was interviewed by ABC News of Chicago and was allowed to share my views on Amtrak since it was announced today that Amtrak had not received its 200 million dollars loan it needs to continue running until September 30th. I gave my honest opinion on that subject starting out with, "How can the most prosperous county in the history of the world not be able to support its passenger service!" I was very well received by all who heard what I had to say.

The Empire Builder departed Chicago fifty minutes late after that late running train with its baggage arrived. We ran at a good pace to Milwaukee and were greeted by the private cars Silver Foot and St James Place. Our westbound train was delayed here by a Soo Line coal train. Number Eight slowed later at Cooney for a 101 car CP Rail Freight. East of Portage, I enjoyed a thunderstorm from the dry environment of the train. I felt sorry for anyone getting on or off the train at Portage during the downpour. The Builder next stopped at the beautiful Wisconsin Dell and after Tomah we went through the lone tunnel on this trip at Tunnel City, WI. We dropped down to Lacrosse and after the station stop we crossed the Mississippi River into Minnesota. The Builder made our stops at Winona and Red Wing where members of the Overland Chapter got off in order to get to their hotel earlier for tomorrow's Union Pacific 3985 trip that I will be riding with them as well. Here we also removed a drunk who had tried to open a side door to get off while we were still moving. He was handed over to the Red Wing Police. I napped for the rest of the trip into Minneapolis where I detrained to start my next rail adventure.

St Paul 6/22/2002 Everything works out if you let it!

Three of us going on the Union Pacific 3985 trip taxied to the Best Western where I had booked a room to stay the night at the Best Western in South St Paul. When it was my turn and I said my name, they said, "Another Camerail!" and I would be taken to another hotel for the night. I just wanted a bed at this point so I happily went and I was taken to the Country Inn for the night. I checked in and after a quick shower hopped into bed. About five hours later, the wakeup call came so I checked out before having a quick continental breakfast which was ready before I took the van back to the Best Western then the shuttle with the train crew to the Union Pacific 3985.

Union Pacific 3985 to Des Moines 6/22/2002

I photographed my old friend, the Union Pacific Challenger 3985, the world's largest operating steam engine before boarding another old friend, the Dome Coach Challenger which I had been assigned a window seat in the front of the car. This would be a rare mileage trip down the length of the former Rock Island "Spine Line" to Des Moines today and Kansas City tomorrow. All of this trip would be new mileage for me. When the Rock went bankrupt, the line was taken over by the Chicago Northwestern who was then merged into the Union Pacific System. This was the route of the Twin City Rocket which ran from Minneapolis to Des Moines in five hours, eight minutes and on to Kansas City in nine hours, twenty-three minutes, a 493 miles journey.

The Union Pacific 3985 left South St Paul at 8:05 AM, ran by industries and behind the backyards of the city in order to escape out into the Minnesota rolling farmlands with trees along property lines. The Union Pacific 3985 steamed through Rosemount and to the east of Farmington with a UP freight in the siding of the same name. The small creeks were all running high after all of the rain that they had. They had up to six inches of rain yesterday and the airports were closed for hours delaying people trying to get here to ride this trip. The Union Pacific 3985 picked up the pace through Castle Rock before slowing for Northfield, home of the Malt O Meal Plant. We crossed the Carrion River after passing through Dundas which we followed south. The Union Pacific 3985 steamed through Fairbuilt which had its Rock Island Depot still standing then made our way to Owatonna which had the nice lake of the same name just south of town.

We ran through Hope and Ellendale before the Union Pacific 3985 did a double Photo Runby in great light which allowed two different angles of our train. They were excellent Photo Runbys. We all reboarded the train.

We pulled into Albert Lea and stopped to service the engine. Most of the town came out to see the Union Pacific 3985. As we left town, we crossed the Milwaukee Road which had the depot still standing to the west. We continued our journey southward through the last of the southern Minnesota miles. We crossed into Iowa and passed through Northwood with its large grain elevators. We crossed the Rock River before passing through Kensett then Manly with its old roundhouse still standing and a Rock Island caboose on display. We crossed the Winnebago River and ran down to Mason City where the Union Pacific 3985 was completely serviced and we were allowed to get off into a very hot and humid afternoon. I talked briefly with Steve Lee and Bob Krieger of the UP Steam Crew before retreating to the coolness of the train.

The Union Pacific 3985 left Mason City at 1:30, crossing Willow Creek into Beartrap where we crossed the ex Milwaukee Road mainline now IMRL followed by crossing the Iowa Traction with their number 50, a Baldwin-Westinghouse 50 ton electric locomotive built in October of 1920. Outside of town the cornfields were working on reaching for the sky. The Best Western in Des Moines came aboard and passed out keys to us who were staying in their hotel that night. Our route headed due south crossing the West Fork of the Cedar River before we crossed the ex Chicago Northwestern {UP} and entered Brandon which still had its Rock Island depot plus a Rock caboose on display. More miles of cornfields took the Union Pacific 3985 to Mills where we crossed the Illinois Central where a tower still stands. We passed the Rock Island's Iowa Falls depot before crossing the Iowa River with its falls of the town's name. We went through Purina with the company's large plant located there before we had a CN freight come into town just as we were leaving from the west on the old IC. Our train went into the siding at Buckeye for a UP freight. The Union Pacific 3985 took us to Garden City, McCallsburg and Fernald where as all through the day most of the towns people came out to see the Union Pacific 3985 pass through their town. We went under the ex Chicago Northwestern line and at South Nevada met the Union Pacific 6473. We passed through the town of Nevada then went through Chicago Jct prior to steaming into Shipley before we crossed the South Skunk River. The Challenger rolled into Cambridge and came to a stop at Elkhart where this entire town came out to see the Union Pacific 3985. The Challenger took us into Des Moines by dropping into the Des Moines River Valley with a great view of the Iowa State Capital building. We pulled into the UP yard and the buses for the hotel were waiting there for us. More yellow school buses made my baggage a pain.

Des Moines 6/22/2002

At the hotel, my luggage went out the bus' window and it was much easier that way. I went straight to my room after shooting a picture of the Iowa State Capital across the Des Moines River out of another passenger's room. I went to the hotel's restaurant and had an excellent steak dinner with Robert who had been on several other excursion trips with me. I went in search of Iowa post cards in the closed downtown Des Moines. With luck on my side, I found some at the Hilton. With the Iowa post card problem taken care of, I took a different route back to the hotel. I went to the pool before relaxing in my room before calling it a night.

6/23/2002 After the best night of sleep on this trip so far, I was the first one on the bus with my luggage piled on the front seat with me which meant getting on and off the school bus could not be easier. We bused down to the train finding the fuel truck hung up on the crossing with Steve Lee underneath telling the driver how to get the truck off so it could refuel the Challenger. I enjoyed my fellow passenger's company in the Dome while they got the truck to the engine and refueled the Union Pacific 3985.

Union Pacific 3985 to Kansas City 6/23/2002

Day two of our trip down the former Rock Island "Spine Line" behind the worlds largest operating steam locomotive started off riding the vestibule on my brother Jon's birthday. It seems that every year I am on a train on his birthday. The Union Pacific 3985 left Des Moines at 8:30 AM heading out of town by crossing the ex CNW, DMU and BN rail lines before we made our way to our crossing of the Des Moines River. We traveled south through the forests and rolling hills crossing the North River, passing through Carlisle where the pacers and chasers soon discovered that Iowa Highway 5 was closed. Our train crossed the Middle River, passed through Hartford, crossed the South River and at Beech the church services were held outside the church so the members could see the Union Pacific 3985 steam through their town. Just like yesterday, everyone was out to watch the Challenger steam through their town. At the old site of Purdy, Iowa, we did a pair of Photo Runbys complete with a steam tractor on the west side of the tracks. The local sheriff ran all of the locals out of the location and a special thanks to Butch the farmer for the use of his land as well as the Camerail members who prepared the site. It was an excellent set of Photo Runbys.

Our wonderful train proceeded south with me in the vestibule going through Williamson then on to Chariton which still has its Rock Island Station standing. It went under the BNSF mainline used by Amtrak's California Zephyr, crossed the Chariton River and south of there the terrain became less rolling. The Union Pacific 3985 steamed by Millerton and at Allerton, the ex Rock Island Line from Chicago came in. We now had also joined the former route of the Golden State, that joint Rock Island/Southern Pacific train. We entered the CTC mainline, leaving our track warrant line behind. We went through Lineville with all of the firework stands which are illegal in Missouri and crossed the state line into Missouri at South Lineville. The Challenger went through Princeton before entering Missouri's rolling hill countryside covered with forests. We crossed the Grand River prior to steaming through Tindall before we arrived at Trenton where the Union Pacific 3985 would be serviced.

Once we had left Trenton, I was up in the Dome for the rest of the trip starting with our trek through the forest of Missouri. The Union Pacific 3985 went through Lock Springs and at Polo the IRML {ex MILW} tracks joined making a joint double track the rest of the way to the drawbridge over the Missouri River. We went near Excelsior Springs and Liberty before going by the flood gates to Birmingham where we crossed the joint NS/BNSF tracks where my friend Bill Compton and I once shot pictures of trains at this important crossing. We crossed the Missouri River on a lift bridge passing the yard leads for Neff Yard{ex MP}. We went to Southwest Junction where we backed to Rock Creek Jct so we could take the Sheep Jump over the ex MP and KCS Tracks. The Union Pacific 3985 ran along the north side of downtown Kansas City, MO passing the ASB {Armor-Swift-Burlington} bridge to the West Bottoms. Our train crossed the Kansas River into Kansas before we backed into the old location of UP's Armstrong Yard where we all detrained ending an exciting adventure behind the Union Pacific 3985.

Kansas City 6/23/2002

With no taxis to be found, I asked a chaser if he could give Rocky and I a lift to the Amtrak Station which he and his friends happily did. They had been chasing both the Milwaukee Road 261 and the Union Pacific 3985. They offered to make a video of both trips. At Amtrak I purchased a room for the two night trip back to California and then stored my luggage. Rocky and I then toured Kansas City Union Station which had been restored then went outside to view Kansas City Southern {KCS} business train laying over between trips. The two of us took the Sky Walk to the Crown Center where we ate at the Crayola Cafe having an excellent grilled chicken. We went to the movies and saw "Juwanna Mann" which was a funny movie. We went back to the station, watched the trains go by, went over to the old Milwaukee Road freight house now a steak restaurant and saw the local switcher in a fenced in area along the mainline. Rocky and I returned to the depot, I picked up my luggage and worked on the story to that point while waiting for my westbound train back to California.

Southwest Chief 3 6/23/2002

Due to construction work they had to double stop the Chief and I boarded the 330 Car, Room 12 downstairs. I was in bed and fast asleep before the Southwest Chief ever left Kansas City and then slept soundly into the Kansas night.

6/24/2002 Up early, I didn't know why so I rode the lounge car until Dodge City where I went to the dining car for a breakfast of pancakes. I showered while my room was being made up by Garry Keller, my excellent sleeping car attendant. I visited with Robert from the Union Pacific 3985 trip in the lounge car before I returned to my room where I listened to the Doobie Brothers as the train ran off the final Kansas miles into Colorado. The Southwest Chief arrived in La Junta twenty three minutes early and I went post card shopping as well as to count our 39 cars on this train. I read the Pueblo Chieftain as we departed La Junta on time. I took a nap before enjoying our 39 car train snaking up and down Raton Pass. I enjoyed a steak sandwich and Amtrak's problems were discussed at the table. Later we had a nice rain shower prior to the wonderful sight of our 39 car train rounding the curves at Chapple. The Chief crested Glorieta Pass and at Canyoncito we passed our eastbound 29 car counterpart consist. We pulled into Lamy and for once the Santa Fe Southern passenger train was in the station at the same time I was. The train had arrived early so I managed a couple of quick shots of a train I hope to ride one day. We arrived at Albuquerque almost an hour early so I picked up more post cards for my 50 State Post Card Wall in Room 29 at McFadden. I also picked up a USA Today before making a phone call. I escaped the heat to the coolness of my room and waited for our on time departure from New Mexico's largest city. They called us in to dinner and I had steak along with ice cream for dessert. I returned to my room for the red rock mesas and the smoke filled skies from the western wildfire breakout of 2002 viewed from my room as my music continued on. I went and watched Ocean Eleven again and they made an announcement that we did not hear about the derailment of 5 cars of a BNSF freight at Darling, AZ. We might be delayed waiting our turn 3 or 4 or 5 hours until it might be our turn to pass the derailment site. I made my bed at Winslow and went to sleep. We went through the derailment site as I slumbered and I woke up as we were leaving Flagstaff two and a half hours late before I fell back to sleep.

6/25/2002 Waking up in Needles, I enjoyed the twilight into daylight crossing of the Mojave Desert and Ash Hill. I had a French Toast breakfast that lasted from Ash Hill to Daggett. Connecting Coast Starlight passengers were taken off at Barstow to be bused to their train at Santa Barbara. I stepped off at Barstow for some fresh air while all of this was going on. The Southwest Chief crossed a UP stack train at Frost and made a fast trip over a very busy Cajon Pass with us passing ten BNSF freights in our journey across the divide. The train passed through the fire zone from earlier in the week below Summit. I picked up an LA Times at San Bernardino and read about Amtrak's current financial crisis needing 200 million dollars or shut down as early as tomorrow. We made the new stop for me at Riverside on the south platform there. Train 3 ran though Santa Ana Canyon before we arrived at Fullerton at 10:44 AM, four hours, six minutes late.

Surfliner 572 6/25/2002

I detrained and visited the offices of Trainweb on the second floor of the Fullerton Depot. Steve Grande pulled up my web site and found that my great web master Jeff Hartmann had been busy adding the rest of stories that I had written. He put, "New stories to my loyal reader, Chris Guenzler" under Trainweb's "What New". After we talked for a while, I took the pedestrian bridge over to the Track number 3 to work on my suntan while waiting for my Surfliner to Santa Ana. Conductor Lisa Washington took the last ticket of this very interesting trip. We arrived back in Santa Ana early and I walked home ending a fantastic trip behind two great steam locomotives, the Milwaukee Road 4-8-4 261 and Union Pacific 4-6-6-4 3985.