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20th Century Train Club of Chicago visits La Plata and the trip home.



by Chris Guenzler



After that great trip on the Crab Orchard & Egyptian Trip Railroad I departed Marion stopping at an Arby's for as roast beef sandwich to go. I took Interstate 57 south to Illinois Highway 146 which took me west then south to the bridge across the Mississippi River and back into Missouri at Cape Girardeau. I took Interstate 55 north to Missouri Highway 72 west which took me to my next stop, a quick visit to the St. Louis Iron Mountain & Southern Railroad at Jackson, Missouri.





View of the St. Louis Iron Mountain & Southern Railroad.





Pennsylvania Railroad 5898A.





Missouri Pacific Caboose 12102.





Burlington Northern Caboose 10110.





St. Louis Iron Mountain & Southern Railroad 1345 Scott McDowella.





Ex Southern Railroad Caboose.





B&O Caboose 03754.





The former Crab Orchard & Egyptian Steam Engine Number 5 is dismantled.





Two more smaller diesel engines were also on hand here.





The caboose brings up the rear of their passenger train.





Another spare coach. One day I will have to come back and ride the St. Louis Iron Mountain & Southern Railroad. I left Jackson and made my way north back to Interstate 55 which I took north into St. Louis. There I took Interstate 270 around the west side of St. Louis to Interstate 70 which took me out to Missouri Highway 18 which I took north. I called Bob Cox and he got the slides this morning at 10:30 AM. In Wellsville I stopped the car to photograph what was in this town.





The Wellsville Wabash Station and a Missouri Pacific Caboose. Continuing on Missouri Highway 18 at the junction of US Highway 54 I turned west heading to Mexico, Missouri.





The sunset on the way to Mexico,



The Wabash Station in Mexico, Missouri.





The ex Gulf Mobile & Ohio Station now used by the Kansas City Southern Railroad in Mexico.





CSX motive power on the KCS Freight at Mexico. I drove Missouri Highway 22 west to US Highway 63 which returned me back to La Plata. I gassed up the van with $2.42 gas and returned to the Depot Inn & Suites. I checked in and received Room R for my one night stay and started to work on the Crab Orchard & Egyptian Trip story. At 7:40 PM I walked out to the front desk and picked up the keys to the fifteen passenger van I would be picking up the members of the 20th Century Train Club of Chicago tonight when they arrive into La Plata. I drove down to the La Plata Amtrak Station. A few minutes later Amy Cox arrived with the other van and we waited for the Southwest Chief to arrive. The Southwest Chief came into La Plata a few minutes early this evening and soon the 20th Century Train Club of Chicago members where boarding the two vans. We drove them to the Depot Inn & Suites, unloaded and then I parked the van. I returned the keys before I finished up the Crab Orchard & Egyptian Trip story and called Winston to proof it tonight. With that all done, it had been a great day in my life and I called it a night.

12/05/2009

Waking up refreshed at the Depot Inn & Suites I got some breakfast then back in my room fixed the corrections in the Crab Orchard & Egyptian story that Winston had sent before putting it up on my web site and posting it on Trainorders.com. I borrowed the golf cart and drove out to the Chris Guenzler Million Mile Lookout Point on a 17 degree early morning.





Right after I got there this colorful motive power consist of a BNSF, NS, KCS and CN engines pulling this mixed freight.







View of the work BNSF is doing at the base of the Chris Guenzler Million Mile Lookout Point to stabilize the bank of the fill.





The bad news of this trip is someone had defaced the great drawing of the steam engine Jeff Hartmann had drawn and was liked by everyone who saw it except for one stupid person.





Next a BNSF piggyback train came east through La Plata. I drove the golf cart back to the Depot Inn & Suites before I opened up the Exhibition of Amtrak History and the Model Railroad Exhibit so that the 20th Century Train Club of Chicago members could come out to see it whenever they wanted. I did a give one tour of it and he really enjoyed his visit. Now it was time to join the members of the 20th Century Train Club of Chicago on the Railfan Tour of La Plata given by Bob and Amy Cox. We loaded up the van and drove out through the Amish Countryside to Cardy, the ghost town along the BNSF mainline and parked at a grade crossing there for our first stop.





BNSF 4255 West with a DPU on the rear end.





The 20th Century Railroad Club of Chicago members watching the BNSF train pass by our photo location at Cardy





Union Pacific 4697 West Stack Train.





BNSF 4784 West Grain Train.





Ever wonder what that big pole is on the back of an Amish wagon?





BNSF 746 West Stack Train.





It is used for carrying rolled hay.





Amtrak Southwest Chief passing through Cardy running about twenty minutes late this morning. After that we headed to the La Plata Station for a bathroom break.





Union Pacific 7463 West passing the La Plata Station then it stopped trapping me on the wrong side. The signals had gone out and this train wasn't moving. A few minutes later Amy and her van arrived and we took the long way around via the hotel to get back to the Amtrak Station where I was reunited with Bob and his van.





BNSF 7317 East came by the La Plata Station. After that we all headed to the Red Rooster for lunch where I had a hamburger.







The 20th Century Railroad Club of Chicago members eating at the Red Rooster Restaurant in La Plata. I walked out to the Chris Guenzler Million Mile Lookout Point where I called Lets Talk Trains, the Internet Radio Program that I host every so often. Everyone soon joined me out at the Chris Guenzler Million Mile Lookout Point.





An eastbound BNSF stack train passed through La Plata.





A westbound mixed BNSF freight passed our photo location next.





The 20th Century Railroad Club of Chicago members posed for this picture at the Chris Guenzler Million Mile Lookout Point. After that we drove out to Santa Fe Lake and caught a pair of trains there.





With the sun coming straight down the tracks I went for a going away shot of this eastbound BNSF train.





This BNSF westbound passing our location at Santa Fe Lake. We decided to move to another location further east but waited with no luck. We decided to move to the old bridge near Gibbs and as we did that a westbound train flew by out of picture taking range.





From the bridge at Gibbs, a future photo location I will be using. With no trains here we headed back to the Depot Inn & Suites. I checked things On-line before joining most of the group to go have dinner at the Santa Fe Restaurant on Ethel.





Sunset along US Highway 63 before we turned off onto the road to Elmer and then on to Ethel where we found the restaurant.





The sign for the Santa Fe Restaurant in Ethel, Missouri.





They have displays cases with railroad memorabilia inside of them including a Wabash Moberly Division Employee Timetable.





The wall behind the cash register.





The Restaurant Name and people are asked to sign the wall here. I used a ladder and Bob Cox used my camera without me knowing it and photographed me signing the wall.





I signed the wall at the Santa Fe Restaurant in Ethel, Missouri.





Bob Cox signing the wall at the Santa Fe Restaurant.





This is what we signed on the wall.





The 20th Century Railroad Club of Chicago members eating at the Santa Fe Restaurant. I had Chicken Strips and Fries and all the portions are large and all meals cost you nine dollars at this excellent restaurant. After dinner we all drove back to the Depot Inn & Suites where I checked my westbound train status, went On-line to check a few things before packing up my stuff. Bob, Amy and Kerry drove me down to the La Plata Amtrak Station and I said my goodbyes before the westbound Southwest Chief came into La Plata.

Southwest Chief 3 12/05/2009

The train had Engines 112, 42 and 204, Baggage 1162, Transition 39033, Sleepers 32054 and 32098 New Jersey, Diner 38057, Lounge 32026 with Coaches 34061 and 31043. I boarded the 32054 Sleeper having Room 7 for this trip with Cynthia as my Sleeping Car Attendant.





A nice touch in my room. The train headed out west across the Missouri countryside as I worked on today's pictures so they would be ready to be worked on in the story in the morning. After that I made up my room and called it a night.

12/06/2009

Dark and gloomy was the morning as I got up after Garden City and went to the Dining Car for breakfast. I had breakfast with a lady and a gentlemen who had ridden all the Amtrak routes except the Michigan Services and Oklahoma trains. I had French Toast and sausage patties before returning to my room working on this story. It was snowing lightly when we arrived into La Junta early.





The Southwest Chief at rest at La Junta. The train left La Junta on time and headed west out into the storm with me working on my story. My windows are horrible so few if any pictures will be coming from my room on this trip. The train stopped in Trinidad with about two inches of snow on the ground before it climbed Raton Pass. I put on my DVD of Asia "Fantasia".







Climbing Raton Pass.





After reaching the top of Raton Pass and crossing into the Raton Tunnel.





Descending the south side of Raton Pass to our next stop Raton where it was sunny but cold. The train left Raton on time. The Asia DVD lasted right until lunch was called and I had the Beef Angus Burger and Key Lime Pie. The train had signal problems and we lost over twenty minutes due to it during and after lunch. After lunch I put on my DVD of Queen + Paul Rodgers "Return of the Champions". The train left Las Vegas at 1:03 PM {12:38 PM}.





Later the former Santa Fe Glorieta Station now a US Post Office. Our train met the eastbound Southwest Chief here at Glorieta. The train then made its way to Lamy and the Queen + DVD lasted until New Mexico Railrunner territory. The Southwest Chief was making its way towards Albuquerque our next servicing stop of the trip. It was forty one degrees in Albuquerque so I didn't hang around outside long but got lucky and got On-line and took care of a few things including uploading this part of the story. The train left Albuquerque on time and headed out into the twilight of a very cool day. At 5:30 PM I went into the Dining Car and enjoyed another steak and vanilla ice cream. After dinner I visited the lounge car to get a cinnamon roll and the LSA remembered me from the Coast Starlight about four years ago so I gave her a new card. Back in my room over the PA came "Welcome back Chris G. Million Mile Man". I put on my DVD of Rainbow "Live in Munich 1977" which I really enjoyed. After that I made up my room and called it a night.

12/07/2009

I woke up to rain and a very busy Cajon Pass as the train made its way down to San Bernardino and then Riverside where we got delayed five minutes by a Metrolink Inland Empire Train. The train followed it through Santa Ana Canyon and on to Fullerton. From there the Southwest Chief made its final sprint to Los Angeles Union Station arriving there at 8:05 AM, five minutes early, ending another wonderful trip aboard the Southwest Chief. I waited for a late coming from the yard Surfliner 566. The crew got that train out of Los Angeles on time and returned me to Santa Ana where my mother was waiting with her van. It was great to meet the members of the 20th Century Train Club of Chicago and ride the Crab Orchard & Egyptian Railroad on this most wonderful trip.



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