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Back to La Plata again!

by Chris Guenzler


Valentine Day 2010 continued after I posted the "Last Metrolink Train Runs" story, I relaxed working on my home computer before packing the bags once again. At 4:25 PM my mother drove me down to the Santa Ana Train Station and I took the elevators over to Track 1. Surfliner 583 had left San Diego thirteen minutes late and never made any of that up.

As I waited Surfliner 582 came and went through Santa Ana. About ten minutes later, I heard a horn and knew that my train was about to come into Santa Ana.

Surfliner 583 2/14/2010

Surfliner 583 came into Santa Ana with the CB&Q Silver Splendor on the rear and I boarded Pacific Business Class for the trip to Los Angeles. Lindsay is my wonderful Train Attendant for this trip on this late afternoon. We made the stops at Anaheim and then Fullerton where I briefly saw Steve Grande and his wife Barbara who had been aboard the Silver Splendor "Lunch by the Sea" trip. The train then made its final sprint to Los Angeles Union Passenger Station where we arrived about fifteen minutes late.

Southwest Chief 4 2/14/2010

I walked down, under and up to Track 11 and found the Southwest Chief with Henry Ford, an excellent Sleeping Car Attendant, standing at the door of Car 430. I stored my luggage in Room 4 before going back outside to get the consist of this train. It had Engines 117 and 159, Baggage 1753, Transition 39043, Sleepers 32071 Arizona and 32091 Minnesota, Diner 38004, Lounge 33020 and Coaches 34073 and 31033. I returned to Room 4 in the Minnesota and put on my Ozzy Osbourne CD "Ozmois" as we waited for the on time departure from LAUPT. Ozzy took me to Fullerton and then it was time for dinner. I was seated with a family going to Truth or Consequences, New Mexico for a visit. I enjoyed a steak and chocolate and peanut butter cake for dessert. After Dinner I put on my Queensryche DVD "Video Mindcrime" which took me up and over Cajon Pass. After that I made up my room and called it a night.


I was up at 7:10 AM and headed to the Dining Car being seated with a lady heading to Memphis and then New Orleans. I enjoyed French Toast and sausage patties. We made two stops in Winslow, one to drop off about fifteen deadheading BNSF train crews, before we made our passenger stop there. It is always good to see the Pony Express Private Car being kept at the present time in Winslow. I returned to my room and changed clothes before I read the USA Today as the train sped east towards New Mexico.

Two views in Arizona as we head east for New Mexico. I put on my DVD of "Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull".

Welcome to New Mexico on our way to our new stop of Gallup.

Views of rocks formations and the Red Mesas of New Mexico.

BNSF eastbound freight with the PEG Power Plant smoke stack in the view.

Mount Laguna.

Later snow adds to the scene.

Another mesa as we continue the drop towards the Rio Grande.

I always have liked these two mesas.

Looking down at the Rio Puerco River. The movie and extras lasted until past Dalies and I would relax until Albuquerque.

At Isleta, the BNSF train from Belen was waiting to follow us into town.

Two views of the Rio Grande River as we slowly followed a New Mexico Railrunner train into Albuquerque.

Isleta Lake Park before we ducked under Interstate 25. The train was fueled just west of the end of the station platform. This is a new policy having no fuel trucks on the station platforms.

So close but yet so far before we pulled into Albuquerque at 11:45 AM {12:12 PM}.

The Southwest Chief at rest at Albuquerque. I had a 12:15 PM Lunch Reservation and was seated with a gentleman going to Syracuse. I had an Angus steak Burger and Vanilla ice cream. The train left Albuquerque on time with me working on NRHS 2010 Convention plans having gotten us a room in Bethel, PA for two nights.

On the way to Lamy as I listened to my CD of Yes "Union". Our train crew got tested by the FRA.

The FRA Inspectors having come off of our engine with the Devil Spine ahead of our train.

The FRA Inspectors on the ground as we passed them.

They drove in a long way to do that test. Once we reached a green signal we would return to track speed and head to our next station stop of Lamy.

The Lamy Station. We departed Lamy and headed to Apache Canyon as I put on my Alice Cooper DVD "Live at Montreux 2005". We met Train 3 as we were leaving Lamy.

Climbing Glorieta Pass.

Our train has reached the Summit Switch at Glorieta topping the pass.

We will follow this ridge line down to the Pecos River.

Two more views of that ridge.

About to cross the Pecos River.

The Pecos River.

The Southwest Chief taking the "S" Curves at Chapple. We arrived into Las Vegas thirty minutes late.

The Las Vegas Santa Fe Station.

The former La Castaneda Harvey House in Las Vegas. The train then started on its sprint to Raton as the Alice DVD ended. I would now turn off the computer and relax a while.

Shoemaker Canyon.

High plains drifting.

An interesting sky as the train made its way to our next stop of Raton, New Mexico. I got called into the Dining Car as we arrived and was seated with a nice couple from Chino Hills who were going to Florida via Chicago and DC. I had another steak and Vanilla ice cream. The baked potato needed more cooking. After Dinner I returned to my room and put on my DVD of "John Cleese Personal Best" as the train neared Trinidad. That DVD took me almost to La Junta which we arrived into late. There I will try to get on-line. No luck and after a very quick station stop we left La Junta on time and I called it a night.


I woke up at the fueling racks in the BNSF Argentine Yard and went straight to the Dining Car for French Toast and sausage patties. We pulled into KC Early and I went outside to test the temperature. Back in the room I prepared for my day.

Downtown Kansas City. Here I got on line with limited success. I put on my Aerosmith CD of "Nine Lives" as today I feel like I have used up a few of mine over the years. We left Kansas City and now it should be straight to La Plata.

Power Plant leaving Kansas City.

Missouri River east of Congo.

Power Plant at Sibley.

The Missouri River from the BNSF Bridge at Sibley.

Another view of the Power Plant at Sibley. Next it was my Prince CD "The Hits 1".

The Coaling Tower at Marceline.

The Santa Fe Marceline Station now a Walt Disney Museum. I listened to music most of the way to La Plata before I packed up and was down stairs ready to detrain at La Plata when it arrived into town this morning at 9:51 AM.

La Plata 2/16/2010

The wonderful Bob Cox meets all passengers who get off at La Plata.

Bob Cox and the Conductor pass the time until departure. A lady wanted some snow for a women from Florida who had never seen any so I made a snowball and also give her an icicle.

The Depot Inn & Suites Van which picks you up and takes you to the Inn. I always call from Kansas City to give them a heads up on how the train is doing.

The first view of the rear of the Depot Inn & Suites when you get driven there.

The front of the Depot Inn & Suites.

The front counter at the Depot Inn & Suites is known as the Ticket Counter.

Click here for Part 2 of this story