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What a way to start a trip home but a Great Dome Finish

by Chris Guenzler

After finishing the Midwest Central Railroad/60th annual Midwest Old Threshers Reunion story I did this morning, I called Winston to have him proof it like he does all of my other trip stories. I went to the Red Rooster for dinner having two grilled Chicken Breasts which were really good. Back at the Depot Inn & Suites I relaxed until Winston sent me the proofs and I fixed them before uploading them. I posted them on Trainorders and called Steve so he could post it up on Trainweb. Shelli then at 7:30 PM drove me down to the Amtrak Station and gave me three CD's of Black Sabbath, the Ozzy Years. I dropped my luggage off on the outside bench and went in and visited with Darrell the night time La Plata station care taker. We all went outside and waited for the train to arrive. While we waited an eastbound BNSF stack train blew through La Plata.

This is scene of my luggage I took at LAUPT after my Southwest Chief trip. A few minutes later we heard the Amtrak horn and knew the Southwest Chief was coming into La Plata.

Southwest Chief 3 9/05/2009

Tonight's Southwest Chief came in with a consist of Engines 22 and 18, Baggage 1216, Transition 39027, Sleepers 32013 and 32056, Diner 38062, Lounge 33046 with Coaches 34138, 34094 and 34135. I was ticketed for Room 22 in the Transition Car. I love to see a train come into a station except when it doesn't stop to pick up me as a Sleeping Car Passenger. The train finally stopped with Coach 34094 with the door open and the conductor standing there. I said "I have a ticket for the 430 Sleeper and why didn't you stop for me." No answer. I asked "Are you going to back the train up to board me?" "No, you can just walk through." I said "Seven Cars!". He said "Just get on and walk through the train to your room." As I boarded I said "This is no way to treat a sleeping car passenger!" and he stood there silent. I struggled up the stairs to the upper level and then had to be careful walking through the two coaches no hitting anyone with my luggage. My back then started hurting as I made it into the lounge car. This was a tough car to walk through but the next one was tougher, the Dining Car. Once I got halfway through, a coach attendant offered to help me with my luggage. We walked through the next two sleeping cars and finally I got to Room 22 in the 39027 Car. I thanked the attendant for helping me. I relaxed as the train finally left La Plata. At least it wasn't moving as I was walking through it. I heard that Conductor ask "Where is the passenger who just boarded?" I said "I'm in here.!" He said "He was sorry and didn't have a train manifest with him". I said "This is totally unacceptable manner to treat a Sleeping Car Passenger" and he just walked off without answering me. I closed the door to my open room and put on the first CD of Black Sabbath, the Ozzy Years, that I listened to while playing Solitaire on my lap top. Those heavy rifts started to make me feel better and that took me all the way to Kansas City where I called it a night as I made up my room.


I woke up tired and after getting dressed I went to the Dining Car for the worst dried out French Toast and sausage patties. After that poor meal I went back to bed until we were almost in La Junta. I got off and bought a ticket from Los Angeles to Santa Ana from Eugene, the El Paso/La Junta ticket agent who at one point worked in Santa Ana with the staff there. I returned to the train for the second CD of Black Sabbath, the Ozzy years, as the train left La Junta on time. I read the Pueblo Chieftain Sunday Edition as the train headed to Trinidad. I played my Solitaire listening to the heavy rifts of Black Sabbath.

Spanish Peaks before Trinidad.

Scenes before the Raton Tunnel.

Scene after the Raton Tunnel before our fresh air stop in Raton after I put on the third CD of Black Sabbath, the Ozzy Years.

The Southwest Chief at Raton. Later I put on my DVD of Paul McCarty "Back in the USA". We did not meet Train 4 at Canyoncito as it was running late but would at Lamy. The train passed through Apache Canyon and then went into the siding into Lamy. We had to do a double stop, the first for baggage/Sleeping Car Passengers and the second for the Coach Passengers. Our train pulled down to West Lamy and where at 2:32 PM the eastbound Southwest Chief came into Lamy at track speed. I put on my DVD of Dio "Holy Diver Live" which would take me to Albuquerque and beyond. We meet a New Mexico Railrunner Train at the Downtown Bernalillo Station. While we were waiting I was able to get on-line and clean out my E-mail and check things out on the Internet. The train then ran into Albuquerque and switched onto Track 3 like we did eastbound as they were still doing tie replacement on Track 1. I got off and visited the candy machine in the station then enjoyed the 81 degree sunshine. Near departure time I was back in my room watching more of the Dio DVD. With our train on Track 3 and was held to let the New Mexico Railrunner train head for Belen. We didn't depart until 5:13 PM so we wouldn't catch up to him. Had they let us leave at 4:45 PM our schedule departure time we would have been ahead of it and gone! At least they got the weeds off of the Track 3 platform next to the train. I headed to the Dining Car for my 5:15 PM Dinner Reservation and was seated with a couple from Syracuse, New York. I had the Braised Flat Iron Bordelaise and Vanilla Ice Cream. After dinner I put on a movie and watched a thunderstorm rain hit our dirty windows and later a great lightning show in the sky. The Red Mesas looked very good tonight.

Red Mesas on the way to Gallup.

Great clouds as the train headed into the setting sun. Once it got dark, I made up my room and called it a night.


I woke up just north of San Bernardino where I enjoyed a fresh air break. Once we left there, we ran to Riverside for an extended stop and then on to Fullerton before we made a final spring to Los Angeles.

The train on the Los Angeles River Flyover before we arrived into LAUPT at 7:57 AM {8:15 AM}.

The Southwest Chief at LAUPT. I walked over to Track 8 for a picture of low level Surfliner 566 with the Great Dome.

Surfliner 566 9/07/2009

I boarded Surfliner 566 storing my luggage in the luggage rack in the Amfleet Coach and headed for the top of the Great Dome.

The inside of the Great Dome. The train arrived into Fullerton.

The first time I took a picture of the Amtrak wheel Chair Lift being used in service at Fullerton. The train ran to Anaheim before stopping at the Metrolink Orange Station before we headed to Santa Ana where I detrained.

Views of Surfliner 566 leaving Santa Ana before I got picked up ending yet another interesting Amtrak trip.