Facebook Page

The Trip to ride the Crab Orchard and Egyptian Railroad.

by Chris Guenzler

I decided I needed a trip to get away from the job searching, so I used my Guest Reward Points for a trip to La Plata. Coming there on Friday night would be the 20th Century Railroad Club of Chicago and I thought who better than me to show them the Chris Guenzler Million Mile Lookout Point. I learned in the days before the trip that the Crab Orchard and Egyptian Railroad would be running some trips which they haven't run in years. I wanted to do that trip the weekend before Christmas but we couldn't use Guest Reward Points to get back from there I learned the morning of this trip. I decided why not do the Crab Orchard and Egyptian Railroad trip this Friday which would allow me to be back into La Plata in plenty of time to help pick up the group from Chicago that evening. I called the Crab Orchard and Egyptian Railroad and got set up for that 10 AM Friday Trip and the wonderful Carole Walker of Belle Vista Travel got me a night in Nashville, Illinois at the Best Western so I was all set. I packed that afternoon and my mother drove me down to the Santa Ana Amtrak Station to start the trip.

Surfliner 583 12/1/2009

Surfliner 583 pulled into Santa Ana early and I boarded the Pacific Business Class for the trip to Los Angeles Union Station. The train stopped in Anaheim and Fullerton before making its final sprint to Los Angeles Union Station arriving there a few minutes early.

Southwest Chief 4 12/01/2009

The train backed into Track 12 as soon as got there with Engines 64 and 125, deadheading Amfleet Coach 81531, Baggage 1242, Transition 39044, Sleepers 32115 Washington and 32019, Diner 38050, Lounge 33033 and Coaches 34064, 31003 and 34014. I had Room 12 in the Washington with Fred Rodges as my Sleeping Car Attendant. The train left LAUPT on time and headed to Fullerton with me working on my Chris Guenzler Year 2009 Review. I had a 7:30 PM Dinner Reservation and Steak was back on the menu so I had one. After Dinner I put on my DVD of "Jethro Tull Live at Madison Square Garden 1978" as the train started up Cajon Pass. That took me up to Summit where I made up my room and called it a night aboard the Southwest Chief.


At 2:00 AM I realized that I had failed to pack the slides needed for the Silver Rails Gallery so I tossed and turned the rest of the night. I got out of bed at Winslow and went to the Dining Car for French Toast and sausage patties. I was seated with a couple heading to Maine. I called the Depot Inn & Suites and learned now I didn't have a room for Friday night. I called home and left a message about sending the slides to the Depot Inn & Suites. I talked to Bob Cox about things and its now a case of everything works out if you let it. I continued working on my Chris Guenzler Year 2009 Review as the train headed into New Mexico.

The Red Mesas of New Mexico. Later the train arrived into Albuquerque on a 50 degree day at 11:20 AM and I visited a store on Route 66. The Southwest Chief departed Albuquerque on time and minutes later I had finished the Chris Guenzler Year 2009 Review up to this point. If you want a copy of it E mail me with the title of the E mail being "Chris Guenzler Year 2009 Review" and I will send it to you. I put on my DVD of Jethro Tull "Never too old to Rock 'N Roll". That got cut short as the circuit breaker went out and my battery drained to 3% of its life left. I got ahold of Steve and he is working on my problems in La Plata for me as we passed Train 3 at Glorieta today as he was running late by about twenty minutes. After I got some battery power up to 50 % and seeing things working right again I put on my DVD of "ABBA In Concert" on a dark dreary late afternoon. I called Steve and he worked everything out so I have a room for Friday night and the hotel van to use for my driving trip. I had a 5 PM Dinner and had a most tasty steak and vanilla ice cream. I called my mother had overnight mailed the slides to Depot Inn & Suites in my name and they should arrive La Plata on Friday. I stepped off to the cold air at Raton before putting on my DVD of "Jeff Beck Performing this week..." which I enjoyed as we crossed over Raton Pass and out into the high plains.

A snowy Trinidad with the white flakes a falling. Jeff Beck took me almost to La Junta where I made up my room and called it a night.


The train was almost to Kansas City when I woke up and I quickly made my way to the Dining Car for my usual breakfast. Clear and cold was the nature of the morning here in KC and our train departed on time next stop La Plata. I watched my DVD of "Poison Live Raw & Uncut" to get my day off to a good start. That was followed by the Electric Light Orchestra "Out of the Blue: Live at Wembley" which I watched most of to just west of La Plata. The Southwest Chief arrived early into La Plata and I was dropped off on the Owensby Street Crossing as the engineer missed putting the Sleeper on the platform.

The Drive to Nashville 12/03/2009

I was picked up by the Depot Inn & Suites Van after handing something off to Bob Cox. At the Inn I used the Meeting Room to go and clean out 22 E mails I had received since 4 PM Tuesday. Maria gassed up the van for me and after I stopped at Trainweb/Trainparty to see Ray Burns who wasn't there, I heard the crossing gates and ran over for a quick picture.

BNSF 7426 East. I left La Plata on US Highway 63 which I took south to Macon then turned east on US Highway 36 which I took across the Mississippi River into Illinois. I was on Interstate 72 for six miles and turned south on Illinois Highway 96. I crossed the Norfolk Southern tracks at Kinderhook and saw I had a westbound green signal. I pulled over and saw the NS train coming.

The Norfolk Southern train at Kinderhook. I continued south crossing over the KCS tracks at Pleasant Hill. South of Mozier Highway 98 turns east and runs into a T at Illinois Highway 100 in Kampsville. I turned left and then made a quick right onto Illinois Highway 108 and quickly saw nothing but water in front of me and no bridge across the river. I was about to travel across water on this trip aboard the Illinois River Ferry at Kampsville.

The Illinois River Ferry coming across from the east bank of the river.

Waiting to board the ferry across the Illinois River.

Illinois River once we left the dock.

Leaving the west dock at Kampsville.

The Illinois River from the ferry.

Once off of the ferry I continued east taking this view looking east down Illinois Highway 108. At Carrolton I crossed the KCS Line to East St Louis. At Carlinville I crossed the Union Pacific ex IC Line and saw the Amtrak Shelter there. At Carlinville I turned south on Illinois Highway 4 which I took south to Interstate 64. On the way there I crossed the old Illinois Terminal RR, the NS Line, another UP line and two CSXT lines. I turned east onto Interstate 64 and crossed the ex Southern Mainline I once rode across on the River Cities. I 64 took me to the Nashville, Illinois exit and soon I was checking into the Best Western U.S. Inn for the night. At the Little Nashville Restaurant next door I had a steak but the one last night on Amtrak was far better! I relaxed the rest of the evening.


I got up at 6:30 AM and got the corrections to my 2009 Chris Guenzler Review and after making the corrections I uploaded them. I checked out and found a sheet of ice on my car which took until I was driving east on Interstate 64 to get rid of. I took that road east to Illinois Highway 71 which I took south to Ashley to wait for Amtrak's northbound Saluki.

Running about ten minutes late Amtrak 390 the Saluki sailed through Ashley. I went east on Illinois Highway 51 to Interstate 57 which I took south to Marion exiting at Exit 54A and took Illinois Highway 13 into town to Market Street which I made a right on heading south to the CO&E Tracks and parked across from the station.

Crab Orchard & Egyptian Railroad Trip 12/04/2009

Crab Orchard & Egyptian Sw-1200 1161 was switching from the east end of the train to the west end.

The engine is now on the west end of the train ready to go.

Santa Fe High Level Coach 800857 Mesa Verde. This car is leased from the St. Louis Railcar Company.

Another view of our train at the Marion Station.

Crab Orchard & Egyptian Caboose 11 is one of five former EJ&E Cabooses still in existence and the only one on a working railroad.

A unique train order signal at Marion.

The Crab Orchard & Egyptian Station in Marion.

Another view of the Crab Orchard & Egyptian 1161 before the engineer and I would board the engine for the trip this morning.

Our conductor taking the tickets before the passengers climbed aboard the Crab Orchard & Egyptian train.

The passengers were aboard and we left Marion for our trip over the Crab Orchard & Egyptian Railroad.

We slowly pulled up to the Union Pacific Crossing before we got a green signal to proceed across.

The interchange track with the Union Pacific.

The Union Pacific Mainline in Marion.

The signal for the UP Crossing.

This tree had been cut down but later sprang back up leading to this interesting tree.

The approach signal to the UP Crossing.

Warren Oil.

Permatree Plant.

This Wig Wag Crossing Signal is one of two still in service in Illinois on an active railroad.

The Interstate 57 Bridge.

Interesting trees.

This bridge is for the BNSF line to Paducah.

The BNSF line to Paducah is on this fill.

The interchange track with the BNSF.

Our engineer A.R. "Rip" Jackson.

The railroad has had a problem with downed trees along their route.

A field waiting for Spring.

This gentleman has been chasing every train that has run during the railroad's operations.

The Brainbridge Cemetary.

The train crossed an unnamed creek.

We ran along fields waiting to be planted in the Spring.

Our route parts the trees.

Freight cars on a siding ahead of us.

The train took another curve on this railroad.

Cimco runaround track at a recycling plant that is just starting up operations.

The train came to another grade crossing guarded by crossbucks.

Our route climbed a short hill as we neared the end of our trip.

The train pulled into Ordill home of Southern Illinois Rail Car.

Our train has reached the west end of the railroad at Ordill.

Our train at Ordill.

The Crab Orchard & Egyptian Railroad Sw-1200 1161 ran around the train to be placed on the east end.

The train at Ordill ready to head back to Marion.

Crab Orchard & Egyptian Railroad Caboose 11.

Santa Fe 800857 Mesa Verde.

Our train started the trip back to Marion.

Views on the return trip.

The BNSF Bridge.

Another view of the Wig Wag Signal in Marion.

We got a green signal for the UP Crossing in Marion.

The Union Pacific crossing in Marion.

The train returned us to Marion ending a fantastic trip on the Crab Orchard and Egyptian Railroad. I thanked our engineer for the great trip and Kathy Crane for making this trip a success. On the platform was Bart Jennings who I visited with before starting the long trip via Jackson back to La Plata.