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A Trip Home from the Mendota Railroad Museum

by Chris Guenzler

BNSF GP-39-2 2807 is really a GP-30 that was rebuilt. 4/23/2009

Eastbound California Zephyr passed through Mendota without stopping. With that I decided to go back into the museum to ask somewhere I could get an early dinner.

Over in town a block away I went to Johnny Ray's Classic Bar Grill where I enjoyed a Ribeye Steak for my dinner. After dinner I walked back to the station, got my luggage out of the office and waited for the westbound Southwest Chief.

The westbound California Zephyr then passed through Mendota without stopping. The crossing gate then started going down for two minutes then went up for just 15 seconds before going back down again. After ten minutes of watching this I walked over to the crossing control box and then called the BNSF Grade Crossing Phone Number to report this crossing malfunction.

A few more views around the museum.

A westbound BNSF coal train with a CSX unit in its consist.

A Gulf Mobile & Ohio Baggage Cart out in front of the station. The crossing gates finally stopped after an hour before the BNSF maintainer showed up in his truck and I walked over to tell him the problem I observed. He thanked me and got down to his job.

A few minutes late, the Westbound Southwest Chief came into Mendota and I boarded the Transition Sleeper with me in Room 22. This train had Engines 146 and 141, Baggage 1160, Transition 39021, Sleepers 32098 New Jersey and 32109 South Dakota, Diner 38016, Lounge 33029 and Coaches 34074, 31003 and 31000 with dead heading 34951 Redwood Grove Surfliner Superliner Coach and 7 BNSF Business Cars that came off the train at Argentine Yard in Kansas City. I put on my DVD of U2 Live.

The Railfan House in Galesburg that Tom Anderson and I visited on my overall Million Mile Trip going home.

The Galesburg Station.

Running along the Mississippi River.

Crossing the Mississippi River. I watched both of the U2 DVD's and looked at the Chris Guenzler Million Mile Lookout Point in La Plata but no one was there.


I had breakfast enjoying French Toast and sausage patties. After breakfast I watched the Rutles "All you need is cash!"

Exciting western Kansas scenery.

John Martin Reservoir State Park is about 35 miles east of La Junta, this massive lake was created by the damming of the Arkansas River in the 1930s. The length of the dam is 2.6 miles with a height of 118 feet.

John Martin Reservoir

Our train closed in on La Junta and arrived there early.

The front of our train waiting to head west.

Two view of the 34951 Coach on the rear of the train. The train departed La Junta on time and I walked back for my tour of the 34951.

There is now a table in the middle of the car.

Two electrical outlets at each seat.

No leg rest for the passengers in this car.

This end of the car was rebuilt by the shop forces at Beech Grove who did their wonderful job as usual.

The seats inside this Coach 34951. I returned to my room and put on my DVD of the Rolling Stones "Shine a Light".

Spanish Peak under the influence of clouds.

Closing in on Trinidad.

The old Colorado And Wyoming yard at Jensen just west of Trinidad.

Two views of Keith Richard in "Shine a Light".

The old Santa Fe Railroad sign for the Dick Wooten Ranch and the old Santa Fe Trail.

This road is where the old Santa Fe Trail was.

The old Santa Fe Railroad sign for Raton Tunnel, highest point on the Santa Fe Railroad.

I took a fresh air break at Raton getting this good photo of the former Santa Fe Station there. I had an 11:30 AM Lunch having an Angus Beef Burger with Vanilla Ice Cream. After lunch I watched my DVD of Frank Zappa "Apostrophe/Overnite Sensation".

Before Las Vegas, New Mexico this interesting piece of machinery.

The "S" curves near Blanchard. My next DVD to watch was Guns N' Roses "Live in Tokyo".

View climbing Glorieta Pass. We met the eastbound Southwest chief at Canyonito.

The Lamy Station.

The New Mexico Railrunner line to Santa Fe. Later at Bernalillo we met a northbound New Mexico Railrunner. We arrived into Albuquerque at 3:33 PM and I detrained for fresh air.

The rear of the Southwest Chief with the Surfliner Redwood Grove.

The Southwest Chief at rest.

The northbound New Mexico Railrunner Train. The Southwest Chief departed Albuquerque on time. I worked on the Orange County Railway Historical Society Program for June I will be showing on June 1st on the 5th Floor of the Santa Ana Train Station.

Crossing the Rio Grande River.

Big clouds on an interesting late afternoon.

Nearing Grants a fantastic electrical storm. At 6 PM I went into the Dining Car for a Flat Iron Steak, this one was fantastic along with Vanilla Ice Cream. After dinner I took a shower. The next DVD was the first half of the Scorpions "Live at Wacken Open Air 2007."

The Arizona Mesas.

The clouds became interesting as we neared Winslow with a "Hole in the Sky" being seen before it got really good before sunset. After Winslow I called it a night and made up my room to go to bed.


I woke up right before San Bernardino and went to the lounge car for a Big Chocolate Chip Cookie.

The train ran to Riverside where I shot a Utah Comet Car 302. The Train then ran on to Fullerton before making the final sprint to Los Angeles. The Southwest Chief arrived into LAUPT at 7:21 AM which was early but not early enough for me to catch Surfliner 564 which we passed pulling in. I detrained knowing I would have to wait for Surfliner 566 to get home.

The Disney Train was on display at LAUPT.

I walked over to Track 10 to wait to board Surfliner 566. That train gave a quick trip to Santa Ana.

I detrained at Santa Ana taking this picture of the Surfliner 566 leaving Santa Ana. My mother picked me up and soon I was back home from another exciting Amtrak Adventure to and from the Mendota Railroad Museum.