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Back to the Depot Inn and Suites for New Year's

by Chris Guenzler

I had planned to go back to La Plata for New Years this year but I had to deal with a major loss in my lifeof someone who could never be replaced.

The Death of Bruce Guenzler my brother and fantastic Amtrak Ticket Agent 12/23/2010

Here is a picture of Bruce working baggage in Santa Ana in 1976. My brother Bruce passed away peacefully the morning of December 23, 2010 after battling cancer for 2.5 years. He started working for the Santa Fe Railroad after he did a work experience program with them his Senior Year at Santa Ana High School. He worked with Santa Fe until Amtrak starting hiring ticket agents when he joined Amtrak in early 1973. He worked Santa Ana, Fullerton, Oceanside, Glendale, Alhambra and LAUPT. In 1980 he moved to Pocatello where he lived and worked for 5.5 years. It was his move there that started my train riding career and booked all of my early Amtrak trips. In 1986 he moved to Davis and helped with getting that station restored. After that he worked the rest of his career at Sacramento as a ticket agent except for a brief period of being a manager. He will be missed by not only our family but all the people he had worked with throughout the years.

To say that my Christmas was indeed sad was the right move. I hosted the Lets Talk Trains Show on Christmas Morning then had an excellent Christmas Turkey Dinner and then had some quiet moments to myself before my brother Jon drove me down to the Santa Ana Train Station to start my trip back La Plata, Missouri and the Depot Inn & Suites.

Surfliner 583 12/25/2010

The train came into Santa Ana a few minutes late and I boarded the Pacific Business Class car lower level for my trip to LAUPT. The train made quick tracks to Anaheim and then onto Fullerton before the final sprint to LAUPT. The train arrived in a few minutes early and I walked down under and over to Track 12 where my train to get me to La Plata was waiting.

Southwest Chief 4 12/25/2010

I boarded Sleeping Car 1131 and had Room 11 on the lower level with Efren as my Sleeping Car Attendant. The consist of this train was Engines 68 and 55, Baggage 1234, Transition 39033, Sleeping Cars 32110 Tennessee and 32038, Diner 38068, Lounge 33015 and Coaches 34079, 34072, 31041 and 31010. The train left Los Angeles on time with me watching my "Jeff Beck Performing this Week... Live at Ronnie Scott's" DVD. I watched then took fresh air breaks at both Fullerton and San Bernardino. After that it was a CD of Asia "Omega" that took me up and over Cajon Pass. After that I made up my room and called it a night.

12/26/2010 I woke up at 7:15 AM east of Winslow and went straight to the Dining Car for a French Toast and bacon breakfast. I was seated with a couple from Chicago who are in an "S" gauge model railroad club and a lady going to Albuquerque. After breakfast I read the Arizona Daily Sun newspaper as the train made its way towards Gallup. I then put on my Motley Crue DVD " Motley Crue Lewd, Crued & Tattooed" that took me most of the way to Dalies. I relaxed the rest of the way to Albuquerque which we arrived into way early. My mood is sad still as doing that Lets Talk Train Show yesterday was one of the hardest things I have had to do in my life up to this point. It was good to get some fresh air in New Mexico's biggest city today which we pulled into at 10:35 AM {11:42 AM}, which I was told was a new early arrival record.

After a long stay in Albuquerque with me On-line for most of it, I decided to take a nap which I did until Las Vegas, New Mexico. From there I just enjoyed the views from my room until we arrived at sunset at Raton for a fresh air break. On the move again, I had a 5 PM Dinner Reservation and was seated with two ladies from outside of Erie, PA and a gentleman from Chicago who rode plenty of pre Amtrak trains. His favorite was the Great Northern Empire Builder with the B&O Capitol Limited a close second. I had an excellent steak along with vanilla ice cream for dessert. After dinner I took a refreshing shower while we were waiting on time in Trinidad before I put on my DVD of "Ladies and Gentlemen...The Rolling Stones" which took me to La Junta. After some fresh air and I tried getting on-line with no luck we left La Junta on time and headed for Kansas with me making up my room and calling it a night.

12/27/2010 Efren got me up 30 minutes from Kansas City and I headed to the Dining Car seated with a beautiful women who had just moved to Claremont, Ca and was headed to Kansas City. I had French Toast and bacon and finished before the train arrived early into KC. I got off to test the morning temperatures so I could be prepared for La Plata later this morning. The train left KC on time with me watching my Poison DVD "Poison Live Raw & Uncut" which took me to Carrollton before I put on my CD of "Miley Cyrus I Can't Be Tamed" as I caughtup on the story. In case you noticed the lack of pictures I was not really in the mood to take any and like I always say "Been here already and done it! The CD finished just past Ethel and then I relaxed the rest of the way to La Plata arriving there a few minutes early.

La Plata 12/27/2010

Brad picked me up and drove me to the Depot Inn & Suites for my nine night stay here. I got the key to Room Pthen got the van and headed out.

The frost on the tree outside the Depot Inn & Suites. I drove out to the Chris Guenzler Million Mile Lookout Point.

This train snuck up on me was the UP 8092 with mid train DPU UP 8216.

The old Wabash grade looked beautiful this late morning.

BNSF 5347 East came through La Plata.

BNSF 7326 East was next through La Plata.

A family visiting the Chris Guenzler Million Mile Lookout Point. I then went to see Shivam about getting my web page pictures back on which he fixed. I returned to my room and decided to check out my web page. All the links took me to my juno mail. I went back to Trainparty and Shivam then fixed this problem. With that I returned to the hotel and went later to the Red Rooster for a Smoked Hamburger. After that, I relaxed the rest of that evening.

12/28/2010 I woke up, grabbed a shower and then picked up breakfast to go. I headed out to the Chris Guenzler Million Mile Lookout Point. I checked e-mail and Trainorders finding out that a BNSF freight had derailed in Dodge City and the eastbound Southwest Chief would be 5 hours late. I called Bob Cox to let him know.

BNSF 7454 West with a tank car train.

BNSF 7553 East was the next train through La Plata.

BNSF 7263 West came next.

He was followed by the BNSF 4160 West.

A single Amish man in his buggy on Brown Street.

Here came a colorful BNSF westbound train with BNSF 4369, CSX 7644 and NS 9291.

UP 5254 West came into La Plata with DPU mid train UP 8414. I returned to the Depot Inn & Suites where I helped Brad put back up the display cases in the Exhibition of Amtrak History.


A five hour late Southwest Chief came through Ethel on the way to La Plata. From here I drove to the KFC in Macon and got my dinner to go before returning to La Plata. Later I got the keys to the Express Cars and I moved all of the stuff that had been stored there back into the Exhibition of Amtrak History Car. After I watched NCIS I returned and helped Bob and Karri sort things by train name and we started putting it all back together again. After that I called it a night.

12/29/2010 I got up and picked up some breakfast to take with me out to the Chris Guenzler Million Mile Lookout Point. I drove the van out and soon had things set up.

My usual set up at the Chris Guenzler Million Mile Lookout Point. I checked my E-mail then did my daily voting for the NHL Allstars as I waited for trains to arrive on a cold and damp morning. I was quiet until I heard the horn of Amtrak's Southwest Chief coming into La Plata this morning.

The Southwest Chief made its stop at La Plata then left meeting the BNSF 7328 West right in front of me.

BNSF 7622 West came through with 12 units on it.

Later a quiet and short BNSF westbound rolled by my location. I went back to my room and watched a Blue Oyster Cult DVD. I went to Pizza Hut and Wing Thing in Kirksville for some wings to go then watched Peter Frampton Live. Later a very poor Smoked Hamburger at the Red Rooster was had before I met Bob Cox and we worked the evening away on the Exhibition of Amtrak History. After that I called it a night.

12/30/2010 I woke up this morning to a temperature of 46 degrees and after breakfast headed to the Chris Guenzler Million Mile Lookout Point. The snow is gone after the warm rain last night. After the voting and e-mail thing, I started working on the story since I got here.

A low light shot of a BNSF eastbound stack train.

A few minutes later, a westbound BNSF piggyback train went through La Plata. I now waited for the Southwest Chief to arrive this morning.

Amtrak's Southwest Chief was right on time this morning at La Plata.

BNSF 5011 West came through La Plata next.

BNSF 7408 East came through La Plata.

Two warbonnet units had this BNSF westbound that snuck up on me this morning. I returned to the Depot Inn & Suites and showed my Winterail Program to Maria who enjoyed it. I then watched concert videos for the afternoon then got a phone call from Bob Cox about a unique train coming. I got the van and drove down to the grade crossing by the station and waited just a few minutes.

BNSF 7592 East was not the train we were waiting for. I saw Bob Cox so I moved the van over by Trainparty and joined him. We went inside for a minute then I went outside when I thought I heard a train coming.

BNSF 7560 West came through La Plata next. We waited and Ray Burns showed up to run the mail to the post office. We then waited out in what turned out to be a nice late afternoon here in La Plata. Soon we heard a horn, then the gates went down and here came an interesting train.

This was a very interesting train with BNSF 719, 721, 200, 1556 and the ARZC 3901. After that I drove to the KFC in Kirksville for dinner. I would relax the evening away before calling it a night.

12/31/2010 I woke up to what might be the first rainy morning on my birthday, in this case my 53rd. I had some chocolate donuts then did my voting for the NHL All Stars before I drove down to the Amtrak Station and visit with Bob Cox as we waited for the train.

BNSF 4798 East was my first train this rainy morning.

Bob's daughter Karri at the station this morning.

By the front of the station came the BNSF 7561 West.

BNSF 4796 East came through La Plata.

BNSF 7614 West came by the north side of the La Plata Station.

BNSF 4305 West from across from the La Plata Station.

The Southwest Chief pulled into La Plata a mere 40 minutes late this morning. I picked up Nathan and Erin off of the Sleepers and from the Coaches Lee Reisinger along with his wife. The train headed towards Chicago and I gave the quick tour of downtown La Plata before I took them all to the Depot Inn & Suites where they got their rooms. After watching most of Naked Gun: Police Squad before I headed out to the Chris Guenzler Million Mile Point. I was soon joined by some other visitors.

BNSF 4687 West came first through La Plata this afternoon.

Next the BNSF 7280 East came though La Plata.

BNSF 7598 West came under the Brown Street Bridge.

UP 7840 West came into La Plata.

BNSF 7887 East was next into La Plata.

BNSF 4018 West this sunny and very windy afternoon.

This afternoon's guests at the Chris Guenzler Million Mile Lookout Point.

Next the BNSF 4018 slowed way down then met the BNSF 4008.

BNSF 4008 East sped through La Plata heading for Chicago. The BNSF 4018 then crossed over at the La Plata Crossovers. I returned to the Depot Inn & Suites and met Nathan in the lobby. We talked with Sally before we headed to Room P and continued our conversation. At 5:30 we met and Bob Cox drove us up to Colton's Steak House in Kirksville for dinner. After waiting thirty minutes to get in, I had an excellent Top Sirloin for my birthday dinner. Back at the Depot Inn & Suites they had a birthday cake waiting for me

My birthday cake.

Me and my birthday cake. After Nine PM I drove Howard Miller and Me out to the Chris Guenzler Million Mile Lookout Point for out New Year Celebration.

The night time view from the Chris Guenzler Million Mile Lookout Point towards the La Plata Station.

The last train of 2010 was the BNSF westbound train.

It was then quiet just after midnight.

Our group at New Year's 2011.

The first train of 2011 was a BNSF eastbound at 12:03 AM. A westbound BNSF train came by at 12:06 AM. With that we returned to the Depot Inn & Suites on a 13 degree night and I called it a night.

1/1/1111 I got up and prepared myself for the day before meeting Nathan and Erin and we drove over to the Red Rooster where I had French Toast and crispy bacon. After that we returned to the hotel where I learned that the NHL Winter Classic was delayed until 7 PM tonight which meant it won't interfere with us doing the Lets Talk Trains Show at noon. At 10:30 Nathan and I drove out to the Chris Guenzler Million Mile Lookout Point where we would do the show. I voted for my NHL Allstars then we set up to do the show.

BNSF 7423 East came through La Plata first.

BNSF 7404 then came through next. After that Nathan and I did the two hour Lets Talk Trains Show insidethe nice and warm Chris Guenzler Million Mile Lookout Point. The show went well.

Erin took these pictures of Nathan and I doing the Lets Talk Train Show.

Amtrak Train 4 arrived into La Plata over three hours late today during one of our commercial breaks.

After the show BNSF 623 East came through La Plata. With that we returned to the Depot Inn & Suites for the rest of the afternoon. I went to the Red Rooster for a steak then I watched the NHL Winter Classic with the Washington Capitols defeating the Pittsburgh Penguins 3-1. I went to sleep with an early wake up call for a day of fun with trains.

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