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Home for Christmas aboard the Southwest Chief 12/19-21/2007

by Chris Guenzler

Back at the Kingsley Inn, the day guy was going off work and offered to drive me back to the train station. I got there, whipped out the computer and watched "The Young Dubliners Home Movies" while I waited for the Southwest Chief to arrive into Fort Madison on time according to "Julie".

The Southwest Chief 4 12/19/2007

The Southwest Chief pulled into Fort Madison on Track 3 with Engines 3 and 142, Baggage 1756, Sleepers 32115, 32071 and 32043, Diner 38050, Lounge 33001 and Coaches 34090, 34048 and 34024. Since there is no platform on Track 3 they had to do a triple stop with first the 331 then the 330 cars followed by the coaches. That meant that there was no fresh air stop at Fort Madison tonight, I settled into Room 11 of the 32043 with Miriam as my Sleeping Car Attendant before I put on my DVD of Jackie Chan in the "Tuxedo".

Right before our La Plata stop, I took a picture of the "Chris Guenzler Million Mile Lookout Point" before our double stop there. The movie finished after Marceline and I made up my room and called it a night.

12/20/2007 I was up at 6:45 AM CST.

I headed to this nicely decorated Dining Car for a breakfast of French Toast and Sausage Patties. I read two more chapters "Guiding Light, Jonathan Story" as the train sped across western Kansas. Next I put on the bonus disc of "Kissology", a live concert from 1988 at the Budakon Hall in Tokyo, Japan as we entered Colorado. That took me to Las Animas where I put on the bonus disc of Pirates of the Caribbean "At World's End". The train arrived in La Junta early and I detrained for some cold fresh air.

The Southwest Chief was at rest at La Junta.

Inside of the La Junta Station. I returned to the warmth of the Southwest Chief to read The Pueblo Chieftain before I put on the movie Pirates of the Caribbean "At World's End". The Southwest Chief left La Junta on time for Trinidad and beyond. The train arrived in Trinidad early and I noticed that the Santa Fe Station had been torn down to make way for Interstate 25 Freeway construction through town. The station is now just a platform and a temporary building. Our train now climbed up and over Raton Pass into New Mexico.

The State Line Marker coming into New Mexico and entering the Raton Tunnel.

The State Line Marker as we left Colorado. Our next stop Raton would be a fresh air stop.

The Raton Station.

Inside of the Raton Station. The Southwest Chief left Raton on time. The movie finished at Maxwell and I watched more of the bonus features before I went to lunch at 11:45 AM. I had the Build Your Own Burger and Chocolate Ice Cream. Back in the room I watched some of the Million Mile DVD as I found some of the same information that is in it in two parts. Our train met the eastbound Southwest Chief at Canyoncito as I put Asia "Fantasia" DVD on as we made our way through Apache Canyon to Lamy. That DVD took me into Albuquerque which we arrived early into. Randy Jackson came by for a visit and we tried to find wireless on the Albuquerque platform going from one end to the other with no luck. It is always good to catch up with Randy. I returned to my room to listen to Jethro Tull "Best of the Acoustic" CD as I caught up the story before I got back to my book.

The Southwest Chief left Albuquerque on time and passed by the old transfer table at the former Santa Fe Railroad Shop.

A minute later we passed through the BNSF yard and headed out of town.

A view south of town.

The train crossed of the Rio Grande River.

Our train was climbing to Dalies and points west during the night.

Once on the BNSF mainline, we passed a westbound freight.

At 5:28 PM I went in for dinner in the Diner. I ordered the Flat Iron Steak.

A picture of the Flat Iron Steak I ate. I was seated with a lady coming home from Kansas City and a couple visiting LA from Pittsburgh. For dessert I had a Peanut Butter-Chocolate Cake. I returned to my room and then took a refreshing shower. I went back to the room for some more Jethro Tull in my darkened room.

After that I watched "The Attack of the Phantoms" on the Kissology Disc 1. This was TV Movie "Kiss meets the Phantom of the Park".

Near the end of the movie we pulled into Winslow.

I stayed up for Flagstaff and got off but no Pro Amtrak from Trainorders to meet tonight. I made up my room and called it a night.

12/21/2007 I woke up at San Bernardino then headed to the Dining Car for French Toast and Sausage Patties seated with a young man from Phoenix heading home to Fresno. By Riverside I was back in my room enjoying Rainbow "Live in Munich 1977" as we headed to Fullerton then Los Angeles.

The train crossed the Flyover across the Los Angeles River.

There were plenty of engines on the turntable leads before we arrived into Los Angeles Union Station half an hour early ending another relaxing trip aboard the Southwest Chief.

The Southwest Chief has completed its run from Chicago to Los Angeles. I waited on the same platform for Surfliner 566.

Surfliner 566 12/21/2007

This Surfliner had engine 457, Pacific Business Class 6805, Coach/Cafe 6307, Coaches 6408 and 6412, Superliner Coach 31021 and Cab Car 6904. We left LAUPT on time and retraced my morning trip to Fullerton. After Fullerton we stopped at Anaheim before we arrived at Santa Ana ending a fantastic trip aboard Amtrak.

Santa Ana Train Station Holiday Season Display.

Every year Gary our Amtrak Head Agent puts up this outstanding Holiday Display.

I thanked Gary for another excellent Holiday Display in 2007 and then waited out in front for my mother to show up to pick me up finishing this excellent Amtrak adventure.