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It will be so good to be home!

by Chris Guenzler

After a final picture of the Summerville NRHS Steam Train taken from the car, Chris and I headed back on Interstate 75 towards Knoxville. We stopped in Athens for gas and food just as a thunderstorm started. The sky gave us a pretty good light show this early part of the evening. We called Julie who could not access the Amtrak Computer System because it was down. A reservation agent only had that the train left Birmingham, Alabama forty five minutes late. We got on Interstate 40 but had a slower trip across the Great Smokey Mountains so we were behind schedule. Catching the train in Charlotte was now impossible if it was on time with us having no way to know. We tried Amtrak again trying to have them call Charlotte to let them know I would try to make the train in Salisbury. From Stateville we took US 70 straight into Salisbury. Chris Parker did an excellent job of driving and we pulled into the parking lot at 2:48 AM for a 2:49 departure. Chris Parker drove back to Charlotte after we said our good-byes and he drove off into the night. A group of passengers were waiting at the Salisbury Station and our excellent station keeper kept us well informed. I gave him my name and room number in case the conductor would call since I would not be boarding in Charlotte. The conductor called just before the train pulled in wanting to know if I was there.

The Norfolk Southern ran a pair of trains through Salisbury as I waited doing my Sudoku Puzzles out under a station light on a very warm night.

A peaceful night in Salisbury.

The Crescent 20 8/26/2007

The Crescent pulled into Salisbury at 4:13 AM with Engines 46 and 72, Baggage 1712, Viewliner Sleepers 62061 Prairie View and 62000 American View, Diner 8522, Lounge 28020 with Coaches 25089, 25044 and 25062. I boarded the Prairie View having Room 2 for the trip to Washington Union Station. I stowed my luggage and climbed into bed. During the night, the sink slammed down on my glasses breaking the frames. I slept until about 8 AM but work up really tired. I went to the Dining Car for breakfast of French Toast and Sausage Patties in Diner 8522.

View of Diner 8522. The train left Charlottesville at 8:32AM {7:20 AM}. I returned to my room to work on my stories and did that until I detrained at Washington Union Station. The Crescent arrived just under an hour late with Phase 1 of my trip home complete.

Washington Union Station 8/26/2007

A Red Cap saw my luggage and gave me a ride to Club Acela where I was checked in with my Red Cap request to help me out to the Capitol Limited later this afternoon. I looked for a place to get a new frame for my glasses and found one but they did not open until noon. I checked my e-mail on the Club Acela Computers and would use then later for story research. At noon I got my new frames and got $65 dollars for being the first costumer of the day. I called my mother and told her about last night. I spent my time there writing the NRHS Summerville Steam Trip from yesterday and completed that one just before I was taken out by the Red Cap to the Capitol Limited. Here are a few pictures I took before leaving.

Our sister Train 30, the Capitol Limited arrived into Washington Union Station to end its run.

Washington Union Station Tower.

Train 91, the Silver Star arrived from New York on its way to Miami.

Acela Expresses wait for their departure time from here to points north.

Capitol Limited 29 8/26/2007

The Capitol Limited had a consist of Engines 158 and 165, Baggage 1203, Transition 39037, Sleepers 32042 and 32001, Diner 38003, Lounge 38003 and Coaches 31028, 34165 and 34117. I had Room 6 in the 32001 with Brian Perry as my Sleeping Car Attendant.

The train left Washington Union Station on time and headed to our first stop of Rockville, Maryland. I was given a Five PM Dinner Reservation. Just after five I was seated at a table with Donna and Taylor from Valencia, CA and Bill heading home to Milwaukee. I had the Pork Chop and Chocolate Temptation Cake. During Dinner the train stopped at Harpers Ferry.

The Historic Martinsburg Roundhouse.

The Shop Building and Roundhouse at Martinsburg. I took a much needed shower before setting my room for the evening then calling it a good night before Cumberland as it had been a very long day.

8/27/2007 I awoke at 7:35 AM and headed to the Dining Car for a breakfast of French Toast and Sausage Links. The train pulled right into Elkhart, Indiana right to the second on time. After breakfast I started on the Lookout Mountain Incline Railway Story before our early arrival into Chicago. Segment 2 on my trip home completed.

Chicago Union Station 8/27/2007

I walked the most direct path to the Metropolitan Lounge and after checking in I took a table by an electrical plug and started by finishing up the Incline Story. Next I did Ruby Falls before getting a pair of Char Dogs at Gold Coast. After my lunch I got all the pictures in for my Ruby Falls Story before I packed up and waited for the Red Cap to get me out to the Southwest Chief.

Southwest Chief 8/27/2007

The Southwest Chief had a consist of Engines 147 and 124, Baggage 1855, Transition 39045, Coaches 34017, 31044 and 34033, Lounge 33049, Diner 38058 along with Sleepers 32081 Illinois and 32031. I boarded the 32031 Room 4 with Tom as my Sleeping Car Attendant. The train left Chicago right on time as I caught up on this story from last night to now. I then wrote most of the Southeastern Railroad Museum Story before I took a break for an early dinner. I enjoyed Pork Shanks and a Chocolate Bundt Cake before I finished up the story. As we neared the Mississippi River it was time to take some pictures.

The mighty Mississippi River.

A look out the rear of the train.

Coming out onto the Mississippi River Bridge.

Out above the water!

The front of the train in Iowa.

A look back at the Mississippi River Bridge.

We pulled into Fort Madison for a fresh air stop.

An eastbound BNSF freight left Fort Madison.

A Canadian National unit laid over in Fort Madison. I finished up some small tasks before we arrived into La Plata. I waved at Tom, owner of the Depot Inn along with Cathy and her mother from our Train Travel Group who were staying there as we left La Plata. I then made up my room and called it a night.

8/28/2007 I woke up in western Kansas and headed to the Dining Car for my usual French Toast and Sausage Patties. I started working on the Stone Mountain Railroad story, took fresh air at La Junta and before Trinidad could not find the disc with the pictures I needed. I tore into every bag, box, case and everything else but had no luck.

I took this picture of the gravesite of the Outlaw Cruz Torres along the old Santa Fe Trail just below the Raton Tunnel on the north side of the pass. I looked down behind the table support and there was the missing disc. I took a fresh air stop at Raton just before I finished up that story. I had lunch at 11:30 AM of the Angus Beef Burger before I worked on the Southern Museum of Civil War and Locomotive History story which I finished after we crossed the Pecos River. Next I will tackle the Tennessee Valley Railroad Museum {TVRM} Story. I did the first half before dinner. We arrived into Albuquerque early so a Coldstone Creamery run was made on a dry 90 degree afternoon here in New Mexico. Coach 31010 was added to the rear of the train and we left Albuquerque at 5:12 PM {4:50 PM}. I relaxed until my dinner time of 5:45 PM and had the Seared Salmon. I finished up the TVRM Story after we had made a sudden stop and the train was then inspected when a car was found on the tracks. After an hour we were on the move west again as the sun had set and a tired Chris called it a night after a shower.

8/29/2007 I awoke after Victorville with the train now over two hours late but I didn't care. I had the usual breakfast crossing Cajon Pass and we took the North Track through the tunnels and Sullivan Curve. The train made its way down to San Bernardino and onto Riverside. The train then made its final sprint to Fullerton where I detrained at 8:55 AM. I hauled my bags to the elevator then went up and over the three track BNSF mainline. Down the south elevator and I found there was no longer a phone on that side. Stupid I thought as if someone had a heart attack you could not call for help in a timely manner. I borrowed a cell phone to call home to get picked up in Santa Ana when I got there. Surfliner 566 pulled into Fullerton a few minutes late at 9:03 AM. I detrained at Santa Ana on time to the heat but a lot less humidity as I waited for my mother to pick me up and take me home. It was good to finally be home again but it had been a fantastic trip with so many new things I had done!