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Union Pacific 3985 Chase, La Plata and a Tornado in Belmont AZ but an all rail trip home!

by Chris Guenzler

10/04/2010 I got up at 6:00 AM at the Depot Inn & Suites and after my morning duties, I had my breakfast. I then got the keys to the van before I left and I drove into La Plata. I made a right on MO Highway 156 then turned onto Mo Route 3 and saw a train coming.

A BNSF eastbound came beneath my location and headed east into the morning sun. I then drove Mo Route 3 to US Highway 36 and drove west before turning south of MO 139 which took me through Sumner.

Never a train when you need one at BNSF bridge across the Grand River. From here I took Route D west and turned south on US Highway 65 which I took south into Carrollton.

I was surprised to find Southern Caboose X348 in north Carrollton before I went to find the old Santa Fe station in town.

The former Santa Fe Station in Carrollton. From here I took US Highway 65 south across the Missouri River and parked the van before I walked back out on the bridge.

I did not like this photo location so I drove down into Waverly by taking Main Street down to the park which the Union Pacific River Line runs through. I parked the van facing out so I could make a quick escape after the steam went through.

The Missouri River at Waverly. I walked to my photo location and introduced myself to the other rail fans who were there. We waited about thirty minutes when someone spotted the headlight coming down the tracks.

The Union Pacific 4-6-6-4 3985 ran through Waverly. I made my quick escape being the second car out and took US Highway 65 to MO 240/41 which I took to the bridge over the Union Pacific mainline east of Marshall. Here we learned that a large group of people thought the train was coming along the KCS Line so they weren't here along the Union Pacific mainline. I met a few more rail fans here and soon we saw the train coming again towards all of us.

The Union Pacific 3985 came into Marshall, Missouri. A local rail fan led me to Indian Foothill Park and there we found the UP 3985 being serviced.

The Union Pacific 3985 at Marshall being serviced. I headed back to MO 240/41 and went east on MO 41 to Lamine for my next pictures of the Union Pacific 3985. Again I met several new people including Steve Mitchell owner of Yard Goat Images who I had just bought some DVD's last week. Talk about a small world. There were 5 of us enjoying the very nice day when about five minutes before the train showed up we had about twenty people including the UP Special Agent.

The Union Pacific 3985 ran through Lamine heading to Jefferson City. I led the way to Interstate 70 which I sped east on to the first Boonville exit and took Business 70 in Boonville and turned north on US Highway 40 to Water Street and parked off of a driveway before I ran out onto the US 40 Bridge. The old MKT Bridge over the Missouri River would be in the background of my pictures here.

The Union Pacific 3985 gave us a smokey run through Boonville.

After the train passed through, I walked further north out onto the bridge for another picture of the MKT Bridge. Back to the van I went west on Water Street to High Street which I turned west on taking it west to what I was looking.

The Boonville MKT Station with a MKT Caboose out in front.

MKT Caboose 134.

The MKT Boonville Station.

One more view of the MKT Boonville Station. From here I went back to Interstate 70 east to Colombia where I found the KFC but no signs of the Colt Railroad. I then took US Highway 63 back to La Plata where I stopped to show Bob Cox my pictures before I gassed up the van before returning to the Depot Inn & Suites. Later I had a Porterhouse at the Red Rooster before relaxing the rest of the evening.

10/5/2010 I got up at 7:45 AM and went to the lobby for breakfast. I got the golf cart and first drove down to the Amtrak Station.

The La Plata Amtrak Station.

There are four new Santa Fe Emblems on the building now. From here I drove the golf cart to the south of the building and parked. I climbed up onto the former Wabash south bridge abutment.

The Chris Guenzler Million Mile Lookout Point sits across the BNSF mainline from my location. After I adjusted the tree branches for a port hole to see the tracks through the leaves, I was ready for a westbound.

BNSF 7276 West with an NS unit in its consist came by my location. I went back to the golf cart and saw a car at the Trainparty building. I parked north of the building and went inside to see if they had a ladder which they did. I took it outside and went behind the building where I lined it up with the ladder on the tower that would take me up to the first platform. I climbed up very carefully and once there sat down below the line of sight of the Trainweb Webcams that are there. I would now just sit and wait for some trains. Bob Cox was helpful with train locations while I was up there.

The first train was UP 7405 West a stack train with DPU 7754 on the rear end.

The pile of spikes was much shorter from the Sunday work that they did when they were picking them up.

My view from La Plata from way up here.

Next the BNSF 7557 West went through La Plata.

The UP 7684 West came through next with DPU 8481.

It's a long way down!

Next came the BNSF 7560 West with DPU's 7292 and 7416.

An Amish buggy crossing the BNSF mainline in La Plata.

Amtrak Southwest Chief this morning had the CB&Q California Zephyr Silver Solarium on the rear end this morning.I climbed carefully down and returned the ladder then visited with Shivam. I then drove over to Amtrak and thanked Bob Cox for his help with my little project. I returned to the Depot Inn & Suites and relaxed the rest of the afternoon. At 5:15 PM the Cox Family and I went to Ruby Tuesday in Kirksville where I had a Rib Eye Steak. Back at the Depot Inn & Suites I took one last Sauna Tube Bath then washed my hair. I packed up and at 7:45 PM Brock drove me down to the Amtrak Station to wait for the start of my trip home.

Southwest Chief 3 10/5/2010

The train came into La Plata way to fast and my sleeper was four cars off the platform. The AC Conductor wanted me to walk through the train and I refused after I had hurt my back the last time they did that to me. I walked down the ballast to my sleeping car where Michael had the step box down from me. He led me to Room 10 for my trip west. The train left La Plata with Engines 144 and 114, Baggage 1234, Transition 39032, Sleepers 32025 and 32019, Diner 38028, Lounge 33029 with Coaches 34078, 34048 and 31002. I walked the train and found Richard Talmy who I showed him my UP 3985 pictures after he had commented on seeing it yesterday in Kansas City. I tried my new CD player which worked very well. After my CD was done, I made up my room and called it a night.

10/06/2010 After bouncing all the way across most of Kansas last night, I got up for a predawn breakfast. I had French Toast and bacon seated with two very nice ladies going from Michigan to Paso Robles. After I put the room back together, I put on my first CD of the day "Odyssey West". The train met a BNSF freight just east of the Lamar Station. After changing my clothes, I put on my "Two Rivers Junction " CD as the train made its way into La Junta, our first fresh air stop of the day. The train left La Junta at 8:49 AM {8:30 AM} and it headed to Trinidad. Since it was Fall I put on my Jethro Tull "Roots to Branches" CD. Next it was Jethro Tull "Songs from the Wood" which took me to Trinidad and beyond. We went through the Raton Tunnel then descended to Raton for another fresh air break. We left Raton and I put on my Chicago "If you leave me now!" CD as we headed to Las Vegas. Michael stopped by to tell me a rare tornado derailed cars on a freight train. Train 4 did get by it. I had lunch at noon with a couple and a lady from Indiana. I had the Angus Burger then returned to my room and relaxed. I went to the lounge and the cafe guy closed without making an announcement. I called Julie and learned that the eastbound is expected into Albuquerque at 1:40 PM or 1 hour 18 minutes late. The train stopped at Las Vegas and headed to Lamy. I called dear friend Carole Walker of Belle Vista Travels on the way to Lamy and had her check the Western Board and she found a post that had around 5:30 AM 20-25 cars where on the ground. There were 37 BNSF freight crews who were dying on the law. The tracks were expected to be reopened by midnight. I learned later it had been 4 tornados that had hit Belmont, AZ and the second one got the stack train. The train climbed up and over Glorieta Pass and dropped down through Apache Canyon to Lamy which we arrived early into. Conductor Nancy Wolfe stopped by my room to tell me they would be bussing from Winslow and I told her to get me a room on the train tomorrow which she did. She gave me my tickets back with my new room and car number hand written on it. I asked if I had to see the station agent and she said I would just have to walk aboard the sleeper tomorrow. Conductor Nancy Wolfe is one exceptional Amtrak worker and once again she proved it to me. I called Randy and Marie Jackson back to tell them I would be staying with them so I was now set. I left a message at home telling my mother of my new plan. We went by the eastbound Southwest Chief near Sandia before we arrived into Albuquerque and I detrained for 24 hours.

Albuquerque 10/6/2010

Randy and Marie picked me up and we went to the Texas Roundhouse for dinner. After that we went near the Balloon Festival with the balloons grounded due to high winds. We headed north on a road along the railroad tracks, saw a green signal with a headlight approaching from behind us. Randy stopped and I set up for pictures.

New Mexico Railrunner Train 522 for Santa Fe came by location. We made our way to their home in Rio Rancho. I checked things on the Internet before watching a few episodes of NCSI before calling it a night.

10/7/2010 Sleeping in late, I checked on things on the Internet then bought a Railrunner Day Pass. Randy and I had a nice visit over breakfast. I watched the weather Channel seeing the damage at Belmont, AZ by the four different tornados then watched ESPN Sport Center. We went down the hill to get gas at the Sam Club then went to Jason's Deli for an early lunch. They then took me to the US 550/Sandoval Railrunner Station then dropped me off. A big thank you to both Randy and Marie for taking care of me here during my visit. Now I waited for Railrunner Train 509 to show up.

The train came in twelve minutes late and I was off for Belen. As I had already written about this service I would get to relax on these trips. We ran by the on time backwards Southwest Chief with baggage car on the rear end as we neared downtown Albuquerque. It was the same train I had been on yesterday. I then read Xpress Magazine as the train headed for Belen.

The Los Lunes Santa Fe Station is in Daniel Fernandez Memorial Park in Los Lunes. I got off at Belen and stretched my legs for a few minutes and reboarded Train 514 for my trip back to Albuquerque. It was a relaxing trip back and I recharged my phone as we went north. Once back in Albuquerque, I bought a Coca-Cola and relaxed on the platform in the shade for my train for home. I saw my Sleeping Car Attendant Michael who would be deadheading home.

Railrunner 516 for Santa Fe comes out to its boarding location to load its passengers.

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