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Grand Opening of the Exhibition of Amtrak History and Silver Rails Event Center

by Chris Guenzler

This trip will be a unique one as I am flying one way to Kansas City from Ontario then will be driven to La Plata for one night stay at the Depot Inn & Suites. The next day Saturday will be the Grand Openings of the Exhibition of Amtrak History on the grounds of the Depot Inn and then later in downtown La Plata the Grand Opening of the Silver Rail Resort Event Center. I would return to the Depot Inn and have some dinner before being taken to the Amtrak La Plata Station to board the Southwest Chief to return me home Monday morning if all goes right. I worked most of the week at McFadden Intermediate after the trip to Oakland last weekend and was ready to return to La Plata once again.

2/22/2008 I got home from work and relaxed as I did my wash. After a good steak dinner I finished packing as I watched TV until it was time for me to drive down to the Santa Ana Amtrak Station where I would park me car until Monday morning. I walked inside the station to give Marti, my excellent night time Amtrak agent, my parking pass. I came back out to the parking lot finding the Van with Steve Grande and his wife Barbara. Steve helped me load my luggage and we pulled out of the parking lot and headed for the freeway. We took the I5 to the 57 Freeway to Interstate 10 to 4th Street in Ontario. We pulled into the Travelodge for the night. I listened to last week's 2nd segment of Lets Talk Trains, the Internet Radio Show before I called it a night.

To La Plata by Air and Car 2/23/2008

I was up early and at 7:30 AM the now four of us as Bob Carpenter joined our party last night flying in from San Jose. It was a very short drive and soon while the others checked their luggage for Kansas City I went through the Security Line with no problems. There were two Gate 210 where there were two doors apart from each other. I waited and did some Sukoku Puzzles. I saw a Union Pacific Stack Train pass west then checked the status of the westbound Sunset Limited. The rest of the group showed up along with Carole Walker who was joining us on this trip. Express Jet then announced the boarding of Flight 0012 to Kansas City and we lined up and went out the door. Going down the wet stairs since it had rained one had to be very careful. Those steps should have been swept off. We all headed out to the plane and passengers left their larger bags on a cart. Everyone had boarded and we all got comfortable for the flight to Kansas City. The Stewardess then announced that this plane was going to Colorado Springs. The first comment from someone was I thought this was a non stop flight to Kansas City. The Stewardess then asked how many of us were going to Kansas City and every passenger hand went up. She asked the Captain and soon we all were told that this was not our flight and we must leave. Everyone on the plane had to get off and go back into the terminal. I thought this was really funny and cracked a few jokes that made everyone laugh as we waited. The good news is that we saw the westbound Sunset Limited pass by the Ontario Airport. About forty minutes later, we boarded down a jet way to the right plane and left Ontario forty five minutes late. The clouds did not part until we were over the San Luis Valley and a trip highlight was seeing the DOT Test Track from the air. We landed at Kansas City forty five minutes late and got our group together. Steve and I took the rental car shuttle over to the Hertz Rental Car desk and got a twelve passenger Ford Van. Back at the airport, we picked up everyone including Barbara's parents who had flown into Kansas City from San Jose. Steve drove Interstate 29 south to Missouri 152 which we took east to Liberty. We turn north onto Interstate 35 which we took north to Cameron and exited onto US 36 East. We stopped at a Walmart at Chillicothe before continuing east to Macon where we turned north on US 63 to La Plata and we pulled into the Depot Inn and Suites.

La Plata 2/23/2008

I checked in getting Room J and then Carl Morrison, Bob Williams, Carole and I went over to the Red Rooster where I had a T Bone Steak. After dinner, I excused myself and went back to the Depot Inn and Suites where I got my cameras and headed out to the Amtrak rail car that is now the home to the Exhibition of Amtrak History for my first look.

Preview of the Exhibition of Amtrak History 2/23/2008

A view inside the car from last December before the work was started. I walked into the same car and could not believe what I was seeing. From that empty shell there is now a unique collection of Amtrak History.

Amtrak Working Together For Our Success.

Dinner Car Table and Gate F sign.

Los Angeles to Las Vegas Talgo arriving 1998, Not!

Amtrak California Zephyr 50 Timeless Years of Service.


Looking south down the rail car.

Cups, Post Cards, Safety Hard Hat and Operation Red Block.

Coffee Mugs from many name trains.

Operation Red Block and many other things in this case.

Glassware from many named trains.

Empire Builder near East Glacier Park taken by Chris Guenzler.

Various posters.

More posters.

Introducing the most scenic Ski lift via Amtrak.

Experience the Renaissance of the Coast Starlight.

Hats and T Shirts.

Amtrak San Diegan Clock, Empire Builder and Desert Wind

Lake Shore Limited Dining Car Menus.

Empire Builder Hat, Cardinal Hat and Surfliner stuff.

Auto Train and Talgo.

Hats, Sunset Limited and others.

Two cases of Coast Starlight materials.

Coast Starlight Poster.

America High Speed coming in 1999 with the Acela Trains.

Amtrak trains with Viewliner Sleepers.

Amtrak America serving over 500 Destinations.

National Timetables, Capitol Corridor and Sunset Limited.

Trainee Uniform and Twilight Shoreliner.

Amtrak Supervisor Uniform of Raphel Davis, Conductor Hat and Employee Ties.

Corridor Timetables, Wine Glasses and Post Cards.

Invest in the Guest Banner.

An Amtrak Display Cube.

Books, Station Stamps and Wine Glasses plus other things.

Amtrak Pioneer and Flash Lights.

Books and various Amtrak objects.

Other Amtrak Books.

San Joaquin Dinner Car Poster.

Student Advantage Poster.

We just made love, a First Class Journey aboard the Coast Starlight.

Acela Excellence Poster.

North America Rail Pass Poster.

Amtrak Mail and Express.

Another North America Rail Pass Poster.

Take a Scenic Trip by Train Poster.

Rail Res when Quality Meets Technology.

Other Amtrak Posters.

Sunset Limited, Acela and Buttons.

Try Our Car Instead Poster and Amtrak Service Policy and Procedures Manuel.

Amtrak Souvenir Blanket.

Amtrak Superliner Poster.

Two Amtrak Discover America Posters.

California Car and Amtrak Photo Albums.

Empire Builder, Amtrak Vacations and the Southwest Chief.

Amtrak Slides, National Timetable and Old Amtrak Pointless Arrow Symbol.

Silver Star.

Menu Service Guides and Crescent.

Amtrak Chef Jacket.

Lounge Car Menu Cards.

North America Rail Pass Posters.

Amtrak Books.

Passenger Train Annuals.

Cascade Talgo Service Hangers.

July 12, 1971 National Timetable.

The very first day of Amtrak Timetable May 1st, 1971. After that very interesting visit to the Exhibition of Amtrak History I returned to my room at the Depot Inn & Suites to work on this story. That was until the phone rang.

For Part 2 of this story Click Here