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The Trip East for the Connect the Dots Rare Mileage Trip

Every trip is an adventure!

by Chris Guenzler

This trip began back in early November when I received an E-mail from Bart Jennings about his Connect the Dots Rare Mileage Trips. My great friend Randy Jackson from Albuquerque decided we should do the trips together and after some planning we decided we would meet in Albuquerque and ride to Albany. Besides Bart's Trip we would do a Reading and Blue Mountain Steam Trip on May 15 and the next day ride Danbury to Grand Central and visit the Danbury Railroad Museum. Randy took care of getting the hotels and rental car and I got us Baseball Tickets in Pittsburgh. The day to start the trip finally arrived and I did not ride a train that morning. Instead I did some chores before packing in the morning then relaxed until my Mother drove me down to the Santa Ana Train Station.

Surfliner 583 5/11/2010

The train came in early and I boarded Pacific Business Class for the trip to Los Angeles Union Passenger Terminal. The train stopped at Anaheim and Fullerton before it made a fast run to LAUPT. I surfed the web on the way to Union Station today. From there I walked over to Track 11 to wait for my train to Chicago.

Southwest Chief 4 5/11/2010

The Southwest Chief backed in at 6:10 PM and had a consist of Engines 188 and 185, Baggage 1237, Transition 39014, Sleepers 32060 and 32075 Connecticut, Diner 38027, Lounge 33027 with Coaches 34032, 31007 and 34082. My Sleeping Car Attendant was Hak To Hung for this trip. I got on-line piggybacking off the signal from my 583 Pacific Business Class Car next track over until it left for the yard. The train departed LAUPT at the new departure time of 6:55 PM on time and headed to Fullerton, our first stop on the way to Chicago on this train. I had a 7:30 PM Dinner Reservation and ate with James Linton of Carlsbad. I had the Steak with mashed potatoes along with Ice Cream for dessert. I put on some music as we made our way to Riverside and San Bernardino. I stayed up for the climb over Cajon Pass then made up my room and called it a night.


I woke up west of Winslow before James and I went to the Dining Car for breakfast. We were seated with a couple from Hemet going to Chicago before driving to very southern Illinois to see the wife's sister. I enjoyed French Toast and bacon this morning. After I freshened up, I read the USA Today before I put on my DVDs of the Milwaukee Road 261 by Richard Tubbesing right before Gallup. The engine is now owned by the Friends of the 261 and will be rebuilt. Donations are needed to make that happen. Go to to donate. Our car got the nick name of Siberia because the air conditioning vents in the rooms couldn't be closed.

I came up with my own solution to this problem.

Later a red mesa on the south side of the train as we ran towards Albuquerque which we arrived into at 11:12 AM. I met Randy Jackson on the platform and he is in Room 6 in the car in front of me. I managed to get on-line again and took care of a few problems in life. We left sunny but cool Albuquerque at 12:45 PM , the new time and headed for Lamy. At 1:15 PM Randy and I went to the Dining Car and were seated with a gentlemen who works for Ford in Detroit. I had the Beef Angus Burger and a Lemon Sorbet. We stayed at the table for the passage through Apache Canyon then met Train 4, the westbound Southwest Chief, at Canyoncito before we climbed over Glorieta Pass. I put on my DVD of the "Cass 2006 Railfan Weekend". After that program I met Randy in the Lounge Car with the maps and we went over the entire trip. The train stopped in Las Vegas before it left for Raton. I put on my Aerosmith Live DVD as the train rolled north.

Bridge Pillars of the former Southern Pacific Railroad at French, New Mexico.

The clouds over the divide between New Mexico and Colorado. The train ran to Raton, our next fresh air stop of the trip. The Southwest Chief climbed Raton and after the passing through the Raton entered a dark and cloudy Colorado. We descended to our next station stop of Trinidad. Randy and I had a 6:45 PM Dinner Reservation and on this trip we would be eating during the high speed running to La Junta. We were seated at the end table and our waiter was serving his third table of his new Amtrak career. I enjoyed a Steak and Vanilla Ice Cream for dessert. Just after we returned to our rooms, the train arrived into La Junta our next fresh air stop early. I got on-line again and cleaned out my E-mail once more then checked things on the web. The Southwest Chief departed La Junta on time and I made up my room before calling it a night.


I got out of bed on a dark rainy morning at the BNSF Argentine Fueling Pads. I enjoyed my Big Texas Cinnamon Roll and Orange Juice on the way to Kansas City Union Station where I stepped off for a few minutes into a wet world. During the night we lost time due to trees along the tracks being blown down by Tornados so we left Kansas City at 8:27 AM {7:35 AM} a little late. I put on my CD of Metallica "Master of Puppets" as we made our way to the crossing of the Missouri River at Sibley. The next CD this morning was "The Very Best of Mick Jaggar" as we rolled on the way towards La Plata. I finally spotted the old Wabash Railroad grade that ran once to St Joseph before we reached Marceline. There were plenty of slow orders our along our route this morning. The next CD Deep Purple "Slaves and Masters" took me past La Plata. To me it feels really funny not to be getting off in La Plata and not going to the Depot Inn & Suites. I would be waving at La Plata this morning from the train. I did step off at La Plata and talk to Bob Cox for a few minutes. Back in the Sleeping Car I showed Hak the Chris Guenzler Million Mile Lookout Point and then Santa Fe Lake. I worked on the beginnings of the July OCRHS Show as the train headed to Iowa and our next fresh air stop at Fort Madison. Well that didn't happen as planned. We came to a stop at Argyle due to the west of Fort Madison water over the rails. All rail traffic was stopped and later it was announced that we would be moving by 2:00 PM. We had sat down to lunch with a very nice young lady who does film editing going to New York and a lady going to Chicago. I had the Angus Beef Burger and Vanilla Ice Cream. About 1:00 PM they opened the forward Sleeping Car door for a fresh air break.

Passengers enjoying the fresh air at Argyle. At 1:12 PM the Conductor said "All aboard!" so we all reboarded the train. I put on my CD of Alice Cooper "Dragontown" and hoped for the best I would not be sent there! I then started to play Solitaire on the computer. At 1:37 PM the Southwest Chief crossed over at Argyle and we were once again on our trip east at Track Speed. That didn't last long we came to another stop and the BNSF decided to run a freight train across it first to test the track before it would be our turn. I walked to the rear door as the train started slowly moving east.

Passing through West Fort Madison.

The offending stream causing the problems.

Crossing the bridge where the problem is.

Two views of workers before we pulled into Fort Madison, our next fresh air break.

The train left Fort Madison at 2:16 PM {12:00 PM} and headed to our next stop at Galesburg. I put on the Scorpions CD "Eye to Eye" as we continued eastbound.

The Southwest Chief took the Cameron Connection as this BNSF stack train waited to the old CB&Q before we arrived into Galesburg. From here we stopped in Princeton and Mendota before we reached Aurora and had to get through the afternoon BNSF dinkies rush. The train stopped in Naperville before we continued the final miles to Chicago Union Station arriving there at 6:33 PM {3:10 PM} ending another adventure aboard the Southwest Chief.

Chicago 5/13/2010

Randy and I walked to the Metropolitan Lounge where I left my luggage before heading up to the Food Court for a pair of Gold Coast Char Dogs for dinner.

Lakeshore Limited 48/448 5/13/2010

This Lake Shore Limited had a consist of Engines 196 and 48, Baggage 1703, Viewliner Sleeper 22021, Coaches 25021 and 82522, Dinette 53511, Coaches 25046, 25083, 25087 and 255114, Diner 8532 and Viewliner Sleepers 6208 Palisade View and 6202 Harbor View, Baggage 1757 with the Private Car Southern 1 800034. I settled into Room 3 in the 4811 Car with Melanie as my Sleeping Car Attendant. I started writing this story and relaxed until departure time. Melanie made up my room and I called it a night as soon as we left Chicago Union Station on time.


I slept soundly and woke up as the train was coming into Cleveland where I went to the Dining Car. I was seated with a couple from Rochester and then Randy joined us in our Heritage Dining Car 8532. I enjoyed French Toast and bacon was we rolled down the ex New York Central Water Level Route east on this dark wet morning. Melanie made up my room then I relaxed heading down the railroad for Erie. On the way there I saw the Conneaut Railroad Museum we would be visiting Wednesday afternoon on this trip. The trip entered Pennsylvania and soon stopped at Erie. I saw The GE Locomotive Plant in Erie as we left town and headed for Buffalo.

Vineyards in Pennsylvania.

I liked this view. The train passed through North East, PA before it entered the state of New York.

View of Dining Car 8532 as I walked up to the Lounge Car to stretch my legs before returning to my room to listen to some more music.

Our train curving by a train with UP and ex Conrail power as the train headed for the Buffalo-Depew Station.

The old Buffalo Terminal Station before we did a fresh air break and crew change at the Buffalo-Depew Station. The train then headed for Rochester.

Upper New York scenery as we sped east.

A New York Central cement milepost marker.

Our next stop was Rochester.

The historic Erie Canal. Randy and I had a Noon Lunch Reservation so we went to the Dining Car when we were called. We were seated with a gentleman from New Jersey and enjoyed the Angus Beef Burger and Chocolate Ice Cream. After hearing horror stories about Dining Car Crews on the Lakeshore Limited, this crew is by far the best that I have ever had aboard this train. The train took an extended stop at Syracuse then backed out of the station west to the next crossover.

A view of Onondaga Lake during our back up move which was done due to CSX trackwork on the mainline we would have used. The train headed on east to Utica.

Former New York Central coaling towers at Minoa. I realized that this is my first eastbound Lakeshore Limited trip in a Viewliner Sleeper plus my first room on the south side of the train. I spotted a few things coming into Utica.

Pennsylvania Railroad Caboose 477594 at the Children's Museum.

New York Central 0-6-0 6721.

Also at the Children's Museum a passenger car and Alco train engine.

Adirondack Scenic Railroad City of Utica.

Adirondack Scenic Railroad 1500.

New York Central SW-1 7000.

Metro North FL-9 2031. The train left Utica for Schenectady. The train followed the Mohawk River east on its way there.

The Mohawk River east of Amsterdam, New York.

One more view of the Mohawk River before we reached Schenectady.

The train stopped at Schenectady and in this view is one of those New York Central cement milepost markers. From here it's just down the grade to the Hudson River.

The Hudson River just before the station at Albany-Rensselaer where we will detrain from this wonderful trip aboard the Lakeshore Limited. The train arrived into the Albany-Rensselaer at 3:26 PM {2:50 PM} but had to stay on until all the switching was done and we said our goodbye to this most wonderful train as we headed to find a taxi.

The Drive to Scranton 5/14/2010

Randy and I taxied out to the Albany Airport to pick up our Budget Rent a Car. We drove Interstate 87 south to Interstate 90 which was a Tollway. We took that to where it turned back into Interstate 88 but didn't have to pay any toll. We got off in Sidney and picked up Subway to go. We continued south to Exit 6 where we took New York Highway 79 south which became Penn Highway 92. We turned into Susquehanna and found the old Erie Station.

The Erie Railroad Station in Susquehanna.

Former New Jersey Transit Cars. From here we went north to Lansboro and soon found what we came here after, the Starrucca Viaduct.

Two views of the Starrucca Viaduct.

Two views up the road with the marker in the last picture.

The Starrucca Viaduct in three views.

The Starrucca Viaduct.

One more view of the Starrucca Viaduct.

The old Erie highway bridge in Lansboro. We headed back on Penn Highway 171 towards Interstate 81.

SR Tower on the way to Interstate 81. We took that highway south stopping at the Rest Area before we neared Scranton and took US Highway 6 east to the Days Inn for the night. Tomorrow the Reading Northern 425 steam trip but tonight a good night rest!