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Back to La Plata Part 3

by Chris Guenzler


I got up and grabbed a light breakfast before I drove out to the State Highway E Bridge over the BNSF mainline for this morning's picture taking.

The first train east was the BNSF 5420 East.

Next the on time eastbound Amtrak Southwest Chief heads for Chicago.

KCS 4014 East was racing the Amtrak but lost the race by the time it got to me.

The BNSF 7558 West came by my photo location. I returned to town and stopped by for a few minutes.

BNSF 4437 West passed the Chris Guenzler Million Mile Lookout Point. I returned to the Depot Inn & Suites.

This morning I will take you out to the Exhibition of Amtrak History and Model Railroad Display out in these two ex Amtrak Express Cars. First the Model Railroad.

Views of the Model Railroad Display.

Next we will go to the other car to see the Exhibition of Amtrak History.

Views of the Exhibition of Amtrak History. Next I drove through the deep snow out to the Chris Guenzler Million Mile Lookout Point.

The Chris Guenzler Million Mile Lookout Point.

Display Board and restrooms are outside. Now I will show you the features of the Chris Guenzler Million Mile Lookout Point.

There is an ATCS Monitor so you can see where the trains are while you wait.

There is a heater for those cold winter days.

Electrical plugs are provided and the Lookout has Wireless Internet. I write and upload stories when I work out here. A table and chairs are also provided.

You may sign the walls and this tells when this place got its name. Now let's go outside.

From the deck, the BNSF Railroad below and the Building across the tracks. Now I will show you some things in La Plata.

The Building from the town side of the tracks and visitors are always welcome.

The Silver Rails Event Center.

The Silver Rails Gallery and Show Off Photography Offices.

You can go out in the countryside north of town and see the Amish. I returned to the Depot Inn & Suites

Sunset at the Depot Inn & Suites. I then relaxed until I went to dinner with the Bob Cox and we went to Ruby Tuesday for dinner. After that I had a quiet evening before I called it a night.


I was up early and after checking things out on the Internet, I headed out on this 6 degrees above zero morning. I headed to the Missouri Route 158 grade crossing and parked. It did not take long and here came the first train of the morning. I set up but did not turn on the camera until the engine started by me. It was cold out so it took my brain a little longer to get things going this morning.

The unknown BNSF westbound went by my photo location.

This train had to DPU's on its rear end.

BNSF 6138 East came next.

Union Pacific 4824 West was my next train. From here I drove to the crossing by the station and it did not take long.

BNSF 5137 East at the Owensby Street grade crossing in La Plata.

Ferromex 4671 at La Plata. My next stop was the BNSF crossing at Banner Road.

BNSF 7253 East at Banner Road. Once I got the van turned around, I headed to the Archer Road grade crossing of the BNSF Railroad.

Crossbuck with a warning bell at Archer Road.

BNSF 7874 East at the Archer Road grade crossing.

The train crossing Archer Road. From here I drove over to Santa Fe Lake, parked the van and walked over to the lake.

A frozen Santa Fe Lake. From here I walked over to above the tracks and found my next photo location.

Amtrak Southwest Chief running on time and heading for Chicago.

BNSF 5239 East at the Cambridge Lane grade crossing.

Country scene from the grade crossing looking east down Cambridge Lane while I waited.

My last train at Cambridge Lane was the BNSF 4143 West. From here I returned to the Depot Inn & Suites before going to the Red Rooster for French Toast and sausage patties. On my way back I ran into Ray Burns who was going to the Bank of La Plata. I worked on the story then relaxed the rest of the afternoon. I later walked back to the Red Rooster for dinner and packed up. Amy Cox picked me up at 7:30 PM and took me back to the Amtrak Station to catch my train for home.

Rental Cars

If you need a rental car for your visit to La Plata, you can get one from Enterprise in Kirksville ten miles to the north. They will come down and get you and will normally let you leave the car in the Depot Inn & Suites parking lot. Their office number is: (660) 665-3396. I have used them several times and highly recommend them!

Southwest Chief 3 2/18/2010

The train came into La Plata early tonight and I boarded the 331 Car and had Room 5 for this trip with the most excellent Paul as my Sleeping Car Attendant. The train had a consist of Engines 83 and 75, Deadheading Horizon Coaches 54552 and 54500, Baggage 1242, Transition 39009, Sleepers 32006 and 32063, Diner 38055, Lounge 33034 with Coaches 34078 and 31000. I stayed up until past Marceline and then called it a night making up my room for sleep.


I was up at 6:30 AM and made my way into the Dining Car for my French Toast and sausage patties in the predawn light. Back in my room, I turned back into Day Use and put on my DVD of the Scorpions "Live at the Wacken Open Air 2006, a Night to Remember, a Journey through Time". I took a fresh air break in La Junta.

The Southwest Chief at La Junta.

Two views of Engine 83. We left La Junta five minutes late and headed to Trinidad. After the Scorpions DVD finished, I put on my DVD of Emerson, Lake & Palmer "Live at Montreux 1997". It was a very overcast morning not good for picture taking so I will hold off to see if it improves at some point today. The sun came out as we climbed Raton Pass and after ELP had finished I started putting my Winterail 2010 Friday Night Show together. I took fresh air at Raton before I continued to work on my program. I finished up before Lunch and was seated with a woman from Denver and a couple from near Effingham, Illinois whose husband works at a Live Steam Railroad south of there. I had the Angus Steak Burger and Vanilla ice cream for my dessert with this meal. I next put on my DVD of the Rolling Stones "Shine a Light" as the train heads to Lamy.

A view as we climbed Glorieta Pass from the east side of the summit. At Canyoncito we met the eastbound Southwest Chief as we took the siding before we dropped through Apache Canyon to Lamy. The train then headed to Albuquerque, our next servicing stop of this trip.

I had never noticed this rock formation before. The Stones DVD plus the bonus live songs took me all the way to northern Albuquerque and I relaxed until we arrived into town early this afternoon. I visited with Randy Jackson and his wife during our layover today before I returned to the train. We left Albuquerque on time with me watching an episode of Fawlty Towers. At 5:15 PM I went to the Dining Car and was seated with a gentleman going to Oceanside from Newton, Kansas, a lady going to Flagstaff from Lamy and the women from Denver again. I had the steak and Vanilla Ice cream for dessert. Back in my room I put on my DVD of Aerosmith "You Gotta Move". That DVD lasted until just be Winslow where I made up my room and called it a night.


I got out of bed at Riverside and Paul made up the room. I turned on the computer and got caught up on the story. I enjoyed my Prairie City "Morning Mini" Baker's Dozen Donut Holes along with a Coke to get me going this morning as the train made its way to Fullerton. I played some hands of Solitaire on the computer to kill time on my way to Los Angeles Union Passenger Station this wet southern California morning. By the time the train had reached Fullerton, we were back under mostly clear skies as the train made its final sprint into LAUPT arriving there at 7:11 AM {8:15 AM} ending another wonderful trip aboard the Southwest Chief.

Surfliner 564 2/20/2010

I boarded 564 and then forgot I had left my jacket in the closet of my room. I ran back down and over to the Southwest Chief got the jacket and returned to board 564 with less than one minute to spare. I am getting too old to do this stuff! The train left LAUPT on time and we were quickly on our way to Fullerton. This was followed by Anaheim before we arrived into Santa Ana on time ending another excellent trip aboard Amtrak. My mother picked me up and took me back home.