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Off to the Museums

by Chris Guenzler

The next trip was supposed to be to the Amtrak Historical Society Convention to be held in Green Bay, Wisconsin. Trainweb since they host my web site and now that I am a member of their family wanted me to go and cover that event for them. Amtrak owed Trainweb a round trip sleeping car trip plus a corridor round trip which they used to get me to Milwaukee. I would rent a rental car to get me to Green Bay which is nowhere close to any Amtrak route past or present. The convention costs covered my hotel cost in Green Bay. A check of the baseball schedule produced a White Sox game in Chicago the day I would arrive there and Brewers day game in Milwaukee the day after the convention ended. I got a hotel room in Chicago the day I arrived and one in Milwaukee for after the game. It was all planned and ready to go with me looking forward to it.

That was until Trainweb got a letter saying that due to lack of interest with only 3 people signed up so this year's convention was then canceled. It was now time for a new plan. With the baseball games all set, I could still go to Green Bay and see the National Railroad Museum there. On Saturday the Illinois Railroad Museum was having Casey Jones Day and then I contacted the East Troy Trolley Museum who offered me a late Saturday afternoon visit. It would be a trip to these three new rail locations plus parts of Wisconsin that I have never visited before.

Surfliner 785 4/29/2003

My mother rushed me off to the Santa Ana train station before she was going to be picked up to go to the opera that night. After a couple of Metrolink trains departed including one with conductor Dave, Surfliner 785 pulled in early. I boarded on the lower level and Conductor Lisa Washington collected my ticket before I was off to the snack bar for a few boxes of Jelly Beans prior to reaching Anaheim. It was in no time that we arrived in Fullerton where I went to the Trainweb office and visited briefly with Shivam. I went out to the east end of the platform to take a few pictures of three Metrolink trains and two BNSF freights while I waited for my Southwest Chief.

Southwest Chief 4 4/29/2003

As the Chief pulled in I saw one of my all time favorite Amtrak conductors, Bryan Allen leaning out of the transition crew sleeping car. I was greeted by Chuck Jones, the 431 car sleeping car attendant who took my ticket and directed me to my room in the Louisiana Sleeping Car 32086, a Superliner II car. Once on the move, Chuck checked in with me before I went to the dining car for Beef Tenderloin off Menu 1 which was excellent along with ice cream. The only change in the normal route so far is the new shoo fly for the Placentia Trench Project and the new Metrolink North Main Corona stop. I started my musical selection with "Live Evil" by Black Sabbath during the Ronnie James Dio period of singing with the band after Ozzy Osbourne was fired. I enjoyed our trek up Cajon Pass and by the tunnels there I called it a night as I made up my bed and slept soundly my first night out.

4/30/2003 I woke up east of Canyon Diablo on a clear morning with high clouds. I went to the dining car for French Toast and Sausage then took a shower. All the toilets are out in our car as we made our way into New Mexico with me reading USA Today and listening to Uriah Heep "Live". Before Gallup I went to the lounge car for a cup of tea running into my dear old LSA friend Shirley Robinson. Sitting back watching the beautiful western New Mexico scenery in between getting up for a few pictures east of Gallup, Grants and near Dalies.

We crossed the Rio Grande River and arrived in Albuquerque where we had a medical emergency aboard and were met by the paramedics. I recorded our trains consist of: Engines 177,71, 80 & 97, Baggage 1701, Transition 39032, Sleepers Louisiana 32086 and 32042, Diner 38005, Lounge 33031, Smoking Coach 31520, Coaches 34095 and 34029, DH Smoking Coach 31540 with Express Cars 71023, 71030, 71169 & 71192, Express Track 74104, 74024, 74005, 74087 & 74083 and Road Railers 460123, 410019 & 462093. I learned that my sleeper 32086 have had these toilet problems for over a year. Los Angeles makes it work, it dies overnight then no toilets for the rest of its round trip to Washington, DC then back to Los Angeles. After thinking about that one, I walked across the street for a mint ice cream which I had chocolate chips added to. We left Albuquerque on time. We headed north to Lamy where I shot pictures of the depot before shooting pictures through Apache Canyon to Canyoncito where the westbound Southwest Chief was waiting in the siding for us. I went to the lounge car and watched the last half of "Harry Potter, Chamber of Secrets" before we arrived into Las Vegas where I got a picture of the old Harvey House. Chuck went through our sleepers passing out three kinds of pound cake. At 5:00 PM I had a dinner of Beef Tenderloin along with a Chocolate Pyramid dining with a nice couple from New Jersey. As we climbed Raton Pass on this trip I shot pictures on both the New Mexico and Colorado sides.

The train stopped in La Junta and I visited Safeway for some supplies. The train left La Junta on time, and headed out into the night with me asleep about thirty minutes later.

5/1/2003 Waking up in Kansas City, I had my now usual French Toast breakfast before returning to my room napping to La Plata. Following a shower, I went to the lounge car to enjoy an hour of the Missouri countryside turning into Iowa. We were stopped by freight train congestion approaching Fort Madison costing us forty minutes. I took a picture of the Santa Fe 2719 on display and of our train heading out onto the Mississippi River bridge. Later I photographed the Southwest Chief on the Cameron Connection as we left the former Santa Fe for the rails of the former Burlington Line for Chicago.

As the Chief sped to Chicago we encountered rain and the new schedule kept the Chief out of the Metra BNSF commuter rush. We wyed the train cutting of the rear end business before we arrived only twenty minutes late due to that BNSF Fort Madison mess.

Chicago 5/10/2003

I detrained for a Char Dog and since it was raining, a taxi cab to the now Rodeway Inn formerly the Quality Inn to wait to see if the White Sox game would be played due to the rainy weather. I decided to make the Green Line trek to the White Sox vs Oakland A's. I walked over to the CTA Clinton Green Line stop and walked to the east end which overlooked the ex CNW Station with three outbound trains ready to leave. My train came and I rode to Bronzeville ITC- 35 Street where I detrained for the four block walk to the ball park.

US Cellular Field Oakland A's vs the Chicago White Sox 5/1/2003

I asked at the first ticket window if the game was on and with a smile the ticket seller said "Yes!" realizing it was 44 degrees and falling and remembering Denver on Easter Sunday, I stopped by the White Sox Souvenir Trailer for a White Sox beanie. I entered, bought a program and headed up to my upper deck seat behind home plate. The ground crew was busy fixing the field as I got paper towels to dry my seat. I ate my two hot dogs and a Mountain Dew all for $4.25. I thought that was low until I realize it was one dollar hot dog night, oh well! Beyond the confines of the park, I watched Metra Rock Island Trains, Red Line Trains in the Expressway and my Green Line Trains off in the distance.

This was the all time coldest game thus far in my quest to complete visits to all of the major league ball parks. In the bottom on the first, Carlos Lee for Chicago singled in two runs. Top of the second Manual Tejeda hit a two run blast then another run was added. Bottom of that inning, Chicago tied the game. In the bottom of the third, Maggilo Ordanez hit a solo blast for Chicago giving them the lead. Later in the fourth and fifth the A's picked up runs but the White Sox got two more in their fourth and one in their fifth to put the game away before a paid attendance of 10,639 but I would say there was only a fifth of that in the ball park that extremely cold and damp night with a strong cold breeze blowing out of the northwest. I took the Green Line back to my hotel and called it a night.

Amtrak 329 5/2/2003

No hot water greeted this traveler and after I checked out I walked the empty streets of Chicago back to Union Station in the predawn hour. It was a breezy morning with the wind really blowing out of the north. I picked a USA Today and had a usual McDonald's breakfast before boarding the train for Milwaukee. We left on time with the 175 P-42 DC, 54525, 54535 & 54514 all red horizon seats, the 54521 green seats rebuilt and cabbage unit 99215. We left by all my usual landmarks like Lake Tower, A2 Tower and the Metra Milwaukee Lines shop before we went out into the northern suburbs. We made our stop at Glenview before crossing the EJ&E at Roundout prior to reaching Wisconsin with the countryside having a more rural forested atmosphere. The landscape then became rolling with farming as our southbound sister train passed by us on the fly. We stopped at Sturtevent with a Soo Line engine waiting for me to take its picture. All too soon we arrived at our final stop of Milwaukee. After a quick picture of our train, I went into the station to wait for Hertz to open up. I then got an idea so I walked to the grade crossing south of the station and shot a picture of our train heading back to Chicago.

On to Green Bay 5/2/2003

Once back at the station, the Hertz agent arrived and got me on my way forty five minutes before they even opened and I was quickly on my way. In my Chevy Cavalier I drove north on Interstate 43 to Green Bay with views of Lake Michigan off to the east in various locations. I took Highway 174 where my next destination came into view as I crossed the Fox River.

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