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Onward to Charlotte to get near the NRHS 2007 Convention

by Chris Guenzler

Southwest Chief 4 8/14/2007

Late trains get later, with an ETA now from Julie of 12:22 PM of Train 4 into La Plata. I was driven down to the station from the Depot Inn & Suites.

A BNSF eastbound came through La Plata at 11:33 AM. A Coco-Cola and Sudoku Puzzles would pass the time until the train comes in plus any more freight trains.

The 11:43 AM BNSF eastbound came through La Plata next.

At 12:22 PM the Southwest Chief came into La Plata on Track Two then stopped after the short platform. We loaded from the ballast. I boarded Coach 34048 and was given a seat on the aisle where the electrical outlet for the car was located. That was the only two good things about this car, Amber who sat next to me and that outlet. The train left La Plata at 12:26 PM {9:57 AM}. I put on the Young "With All Due Respect, the Irish Sessions" was my first musical selection of this trip. I went to the wall trash at the end of the car to deposit a can but could not because someone had put the can in backwards in the Los Angeles 8th Street Yard. The next car, the same story. Next it was announced that the toilets were over flowing in this car and the car started to smell bad enough to give me a headache. The onboard crew could care less! We made our way to Fort Madison and for once I did not get off the train.

The train ran by Historic Fort Madison as the train waited for a barge to clear the Mississippi River Bridge. The train made it to Galesburg where just before Amber who was going to Princeton gave me her window seat so I could work on my story. The Southwest Chief was running late due to problems with the engines computers systems. They announced that we would be getting into Chicago Union Station at 5:30 PM and no good word about Chicago Connections. I watched Rush in Rio watching the first half. At Earlville the train crossed over, to let the westbound Southwest Chief go by before we backed up onto the mainline from whence we had come before we resumed our tardy trip. I called Amtrak about the lack of information about the Cardinal Connection and could not get any information from them either. The train sped east down the Raceway to Naperville with us all wondering what is going to happen to us. At Naperville I used the bathroom in the next car and found an Assistant Conductor who listened to my concern and offered to find out. He came back with no more information than we all already knew. I had one more idea that might get us some information. The nice lady in front of me I had her call Julie at Amtrak wanting train status for Train 50 at Dyer, Indiana, the first stop. Julie gave her the time it arrived but had no information on the train. That meant it had not left Chicago and must be holding for us. The Southwest Chief arrived into Chicago at 6:32 PM {3:20 PM}. I detrained and found a Red Cap who told me that Train 50, the Cardinal, was on Track 20. I headed over there.

The Cardinal 50 8/14/2007

At 7:02 PM the Cardinal left Chicago Union Station with me in Room 6 of the Viewliner Sleeper 62004, the Beech Grove. Kenneth is my Sleeping Car Attendant for this trip to Charlottesville. This train had a consist of Engine 88, Amfleet Coaches 25077, 25016 and 25051, Diner/Lounge 28012, Viewliner sleeper 62004 Beach View, Horizon 54555 and 54521. These last two cars are the Hoosier State and will be cut off once we arrive into Indianapolis. The Cardinal left Chicago late and ran right next to the Capitol Limited which left on time for a few miles. It became dark quickly because of the overcast skies. At Dolton we got stopped by Canadian National 2703 West entering the Union Pacific Yard there. I watched more of Rush in Rio then got a 8:45 PM Dinner Reservation. The Conductor gave me the consist of our train to copy before I was seated in the Dining Area with Bob and Jacob who are going to Hinton, West Virginia from Austin, Texas. This is Jacob's first train trip. I had the Short Rib and Chocolate Cake as we headed through the night. I returned to my room, wrote this part of the story before watching the rest of Rush DVD. I then made up my bed then called it a night.

8/15/2007 I awoke finding the train rolling down the old C&O in Kentucky running three hours late that suits me just fine.

I went the Dining area to have breakfast and went back to the room to get the camera for this view.

The sun came out from behind the clouds for these interesting pictures along the Ohio River.

The train stopped at Maysville and the bridge across the Ohio River. Kenneth made up my room while I enjoyed the French Toast and sausage patties. I returned to my room to change clothes and shave before I sat back and enjoyed the bonus daylight running along the route of the Cardinal. I put on the first disc of Led Zeppelin Live at the Albert Hall 1970. The train then ran to Russell, KY, a servicing stop for the Cardinal.

CSX power as we pulled into Russell.

CSX 2278 and 6929.

CSX 2770 and 6467.

The Beach View took on water thanks to this helpful CSX employee.

Leaving the Russell area we were passing a CSX coal train.

I walked down for a picture of the Cardinal during the crew changing stop at Huntington, West Virginia. I put on Aerosmith "Rocking the Joint" that has a flip side DVD which I watched next. I took a fresh air stop at Charleston, the Capitol of West Virginia. Next the trip to Charlotte Scenic Highlight, the New River Gorge.

The train ran by Kanawha Falls.

The train crossed the railroad bridge across the New River at Hawk's Nest.

Our train went by the Hawk's Nest sign.

Our train was running along the New River.

The world's longest steel span arch bridge over 1,700 feet long and 876 feet above the New River that carries Route 19 across the New River Gorge.

We ran by a CSX loaded coal train at Rush Run.

The train ran by the unique Depot at Thurmond, West Virginia.

After Prince, the train ran by Sandstone Falls. The train next stopped at Hinton with me in the Dining Area having Chicken Wings and Chips along with Chocolate Cake. The train passed through the Great Bend Tunnel before we stopped at Alderson. I put on John Cougar Mellencamp "Freedom Road".

The train arrived into White Sulphur Springs which is the station stop for the Greenbrier Inn. Next it was the Poxy Boggards "Liver Let Die" that took me down out of the mountains to Clifton Forge.

CSX at Clifton Forge. We took a fresh air break at Clifton Forge. I laid down for a while as tiredness hit me. The train was delayed by westbound Train 51, the Cardinal on the way to Staunton.

The train passed through the last tunnel of the route to Charlottesville, the Blue Ridge Tunnel. Our train then went into West Ivy Siding to wait for CSX 154 West. The Cardinal pulled into Charlottesville at 7:03 PM {2:47 PM}. I detrained and went to wait for the Crescent in the station. I went to Wing Thing next door to order dinner to bring back to the station. They were excellent. Now it was time to take some pictures of the Charlottesville station including the Cardinal door into the station, the Station Waiting Room, the Ticket Counter and the Crescent Track Door that I would exit to get to my next train.

The Cardinal door into the station.

The Station Waiting Room.

The Ticket Counter.

The Crescent Track Door that I would exit to get to my next train.

The Crescent 19 8/15/2007

The Crescent came into Charlottesville with Engines 181 and 138, Baggage 1242, Viewliner 62032 and 62048, Diner 8527, Lounge 28013 and Coaches 25089, 25068, 25102 and 25062 on time. I took a seat in Car 25068 and set up the computer for my new friend Vernon so we could watch "300". After the movie and Danville, I found two seats near the back of the car but could not sleep. I did Sudoku Puzzles for over an hour before we arrived into Charlotte early at 2:00 AM and I detrained. I waited only a few minutes before Chris Parker drove up in the rental car that we would be using over the next 10 days. We drove to the Days Inn for the rest of the night.

8/16/2007 Chris and I left the Days Inn heading towards the Spencer Shops this morning.

We caught a Norfolk Southern empty coal train which we followed north. We stopped for snacks at a gas station before heading to Salisbury to wait for the Piedmont.

The Salisbury Station.

The Piedmont arrived into Salisbury.

The Piedmont leaves Salisbury for Charlotte.

We drove over to the Salisbury Station and found a Timetable Board with train numbers from 1902. We then drove north to Spencer for our next train adventure of this trip.