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The trip Home from Denver via Raton

My latest trip aboard the Southwest Chief

by Chris Guenzler

The Thruway Bus to Raton 7/14/2009

I was up at 4:00 AM and after showering, checked e-mail, corrected the stories and uploaded them with only 4 hours of sleep. I packed and went up to the La Quinta Inn lobby and they let me have breakfast. The taxi driver showed up on time but took a wrong turn and I got to see more of Denver. I arrived at Denver Union Station at 5:05 AM and after the guard checked on me, I decided a few pictures could be taken.

I went across the street for this picture of Denver Union Station.

The view towards Coors Field looked nice so I took that one. A man going to Las Vegas, NV sat down and passed the time with me until the Greyhound Thruway Bus showed up with two ladies going to Trinidad. Besides me, two other passengers for Raton boarded. After I had informed the passengers of Train 5, the California Zephyr had hit a car in Illinois and delayed our train by 6 hours at that point. The bus left Denver Union Station at 5:35 AM we left Denver on Interstate 25 heading south.

The view of the Joint Line south of Larkspur.

Pikes Peak was clear again today after my most excellent trip yesterday to the summit of that great mountain aboard the Pikes Peak Cog Railroad. The bus stopped at Colorado Springs and we got a fifteen minute break. Once we got going we ran to Pueblo where we take another 15 minute break with one more passenger boarding.

The bus and station at Pueblo before took off to Walensburg which we arrived into but only the driver got off. After a few minutes, we were off to Trinidad.

Two buttes south of Walensburg.

The Spanish Peaks.

Another interesting rock outcropping.

I saw two trains on the old Colorado & Southern. The second one had these DPU's on the rear end. The bus stopped at Trinidad for another 15 minute break and I visited the store there for some snacks. After that the bus headed to Raton.

The Wootton Curve on Raton Pass.

The bus pulled into the Weight Station before dropping down the grade to Raton, New Mexico where all got off.

Raton 7/14/2009

We were met by the Amtrak agent who let us store our luggage in her station trailer. I asked her since I was a Sleeping Car Passenger missing a meal if she could do anything for me. She said just get a receipt and she'll pay be back. I asked if there was a good place to get a steak and she said K-BOB'S Steakhouse about two miles down Second Street. I decided a good walk would be in order and took off.

Santa Fe Caboose 99140 and this signal.

I walked down the rest of the way to K-BOB'S Steakhouse and went in. I ordered the Campfire Top Sirloin and then saw something the caught my eye.

The Salad Wagon is a real wagon. The steak came and it was excellent hitting the spot. The assistant manager drove me back to the Amtrak station. It was time to take some pictures of the Raton Station.

The Raton Station.

The inside of the station.

The covered breezeway.

Views of the Raton Station.

The Pointless Arrow lives on in Raton.

First Avenue in Raton.

The back of the Amtrak Station Trailer in Raton.

The First Avenue Storefronts. I talked with another passenger first during a Thunderstorm and later during a major dust storm. The wind made the woooo sound that I really like and watched. After I went to the Raton Theater and learned that they do not show movies Monday or Tuesday I returned to the Amtrak Station.

The clouds made for some interesting watching on this afternoon. After I called Winston and he told me my Pikes Peak Story link on did not work, I walked up to the Raton Public Library and got on-line fixed the link and cleared my e-mail. Back to the station, the Amtrak agent returned and after I gave her the lunch recent and proper paperwork was filled out, I got my money back. I went out to the platform one tired train rider just waiting for his train to arrive.

Here is a view of myself waiting for the train taken by a Boy Scout.

More clouds of interest.

The Raton Sign on the hill above town.

The Boy Scouts were also waiting patiently.

The same bus and driver were now waiting for Train 4 which was running 34 minutes late out of Albuquerque.

Southwest Chief Train 4 came in at 6:01 PM with a private car on the rear end.

The Vista Canyon.

At 6:09 PM the Southwest Chief departed Raton for Chicago.

At 6:38 PM the Southwest Chief finally arrived to pick me up at Raton. The train had a consist of Engine 161 and 131, Baggage 1730, Transition 39022, Sleepers 32062 and 32064 Michigan, Diner 38084, Lounge 33026 and Coaches 34061, 34096 and 34013. I boarded the 32062 with Room 6 being mine for this trip with Anthony as my sleeping Car Attendant. I stored my luggage and went to the Dining Car and got seated right away. The train left Raton at 6:37 PM. I had the Braised Flat Iron Bordelaise for my dinner. After Dinner I put on the Canadian Railroad DVD and watched the sky.

The clouds in the western sky. I watched about an hour of the DVD and just before Las Vegas, New Mexico I made up my room and a tired Chris called it a night.

Click her for Part 2 of this story.