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The Millionth Rail Mile Completed 4/27/2007

by Chris Guenzler

I woke up before our train had reached the BNSF Argentine Yard and after I had prepared myself for my big day, I went to the Dining Car from my last meal ever with Ken Levinson as my Dining Car Steward. French Toast and sausage started my day off right. The train went through the north side of the BNSF Argentine Yards to the fueling racks there. I finished up right before our early arrival into Kansas City.

The crossing at State Line Junction took us from Kansas into Missouri. We arrived into Kansas City Union Station where Andy Smith and I detrained then headed straight into the station. Inside we met Steve, who I had met on the Pacific Surfliner, is here to meet me. Steve is going to the BNSF Academy outside of Kansas City and is a reader of my web site. We all walked outside to see the railroad exhibits.

The Kansas City PCC Car on display to the north of the station.

Brand new Kansas City Southern locomotives on display outside.

Kansas City Southern F-7 34. We returned track side and I got Steve a T-shirt as he was going out to shoot our train crossing the bridge when I hit the Million Mile Rail Mark.

C.M. Me walking towards the front of the train.

The Southwest Chief at rest in Kansas City.

A Union Pacific freight passed through Kansas City during our layover. The train left Kansas City ten minutes late and my quest for the one million rail miles was almost over. Since I had ridden over this line less than three weeks ago at the backdoor of that train I knew where everything was for my big moment in my life. I went to the crew lounge in the Transition Sleeper to wait for the rest of the group to arrive.

The Video Crew setting up and getting ready for the big moment in a few minutes.

C.M. All of our group meet downstairs in the lounge area of the Transition Sleeper.

C.M. Anton had GPS on his computer and we found the Missouri River Bridge just east of Sibley, Missouri.

T.E. I checked out Anton's GPS.

The GPS Screen.

Everyone was checking their camera settings to be ready for the moment.

C.M. Winston Walker, my proof reader, relaxes for a few minutes before the big event.

L.B. Everyone is waiting for the bridge.

W.W. Everyone is getting ready as I crack jokes and tell of the landmarks before the Missouri River Bridge.

A signal bridge was my first marker as we passed by it.

W.W. Sound is checked by the video crew.

L.B. I announced the bridge and Larry gets his first picture.

L.B. He then gets a slightly better picture of the bridge.

Only I saw the Sibley Station.

The train then entered the signal track.

The train headed out onto the Missouri River Bridge.

C.M. The train is almost there.

The train has reached this spot!

L.B. We have reached the exact spot, MP 425.5 of BNSF Marceline Subdivision on the Missouri River Bridge east of Sibley, Missouri River Bridge exact time was 8:26 AM Central Daylight Time as I start to put on the Million Mile Hockey Jersey.

C.M. I started to put on the Million Mile Jersey.

L.B. Putting this jersey on with everyone watching me wasn't the easiest thing the I have done in my life.

T.E. Tony used my camera to catch me putting on my Million Mile Rail Jersey.

L.B. The Million Mile Rail Jersey is now on me and my finger starts up.

L.B. One Million Rail Miles achieved! Whistles were blown as the mark had been achieved.

W.W. Another view of the moment.

T.E. Celebration time with a can of Coca Cola.

C.M. Carl shows you the Missouri River from the bridge while everyone was still blowing whistles.

The Missouri River.

L.B. I stood up to show everyone the back of the Million Mile Rail Jersey.

C.M. Carl caught the train shadow as we proceeded off the bridge.

The train then curved off the bridge and we found a train waiting for us to pass. This was the reason that our train couldn't be stopped on the bridge for a few minutes.

T.E. Video making, cameras and the like would all be part of my next couple days. I had done it, I am the Million Mile Rail Man.

C.M. With the video going Richard Hamilton asked, "Chris Guenzler, you just made your one millionth mile! Where are you headed to?" I said, "The Depot Inn in La Plata because Disneyland is too expensive!"

Carl then handed me a phone and on the other end was Carol Walker, an excellent travel agent, who wanted to congratulate me on my one million rail miles.

Another view of the phone call.

C.M. I met Rudy from Woodbury, MN who had been wearing a Milwaukee Road 261 T-shirt and invited him to join the celebration and gave him one of the shirts we had to give away to people on the trip. I then just sat there for a minute and couldn't believe that I had reached one million rail miles but was glad to have all these friends with me to celebrate this fantastic event of my life. I then wearing my One Million Rail Mile Hockey Jersey decided to walk through the whole train to the rear door. The video guys were in hot pursuit of me while Barbara, Steve's wife was ahead passing out whistles to everyone on the train. Ken stopped me to congratulate me as did the rest of his Dining Car Staff and it was all noisy as I made my way through the coaches. The best questions of the morning were by a girl's soccer team going to Burlington, Iowa for a soccer tournament. I returned through the train to my sleeper before visiting Carl and Andy. For my arrival into La Plata, I had to put my bags into the first sleeper so that I could go to the coaches to be the last one off in La Plata. About ten minutes out, I walked back to the lower level of the second coach and sat down on a step box. The Southwest Chief arrived into La Plata at 10:03 AM and did a double stop. First all the luggage, passengers and cameras had to be off loaded and ready for my arrival. Tom and Jonathan had come down and asked how many people are out there? I opened the door and I saw a mob! The train then pulled the coaches to the platform. The conductor opened the door with Tom and Jonathan stepping off. Next a lady who thought it was a smoking stop was told by the conductor to get out of the way. I then stepped off of the Southwest Chief.

Special thanks to each of the photographers who let me use their pictures to add to this story

C.M. = Carl Morrison, W.W. = Winston Walker, L.B. = Larry Boerio and T.E. = Tony Escarcega

Click here for my arrival into La Plata!