Facebook Page

Riding the Santa Fe Southern 11/13/2004

by Chris Guenzler

I decided after the Hot Dealing to Albuquerque Trip to take another trip this time to Lamy and the shuttle into Santa Fe to ride the Santa Fe Southern Railroad for the first time. I contacted the Santa Fe Southern and booked a one way trip from Santa Fe to Lamy. I booked a decent low Amtrak rate and then found a hotel that was within walking distance. With me then picking up the tickets all I had to do was wait until my day of departure. The morning that I was leaving on I decided to check sleeping car space each way. A call to Amtrak gave me rooms at a good rate both ways so before boarding in Santa Ana, I would have to exchange my tickets when I got to the station.

Surfliner 583 11/11/2004

My mother drove me down to the Santa Ana Amtrak Station. I exchanged my old tickets and paid for the ones with the rooms. Surfliner 583 pulled into Santa Ana with F69PH 450 leading 6801 Pacific Business Class, 6301 Coach/Cafe, Coaches 6403 and 6405 and Cab Car 6908. I boarded coach and was off on yet another rail adventure. I checked the construction of the new 2nd track bridge over Santiago Creek. The new bridge is for the future double tracking through my neighborhood between CP La Veta on the north and CP Lincoln on the south. As we neared Anaheim the southwest sky had beautiful reddish hues as the sun had set and another quick moving storm was entering the LA Basin. Darkness took hold quickly as the Surfliner neared Fullerton. As the Surfliner rolled to Los Angeles, I listened to Martin Barre of Jethro Tull fame latest solo project called "Stage Left". The American Orient Express was in the 8th Street Coach Yard. This is a train that I would like to ride someday. The Surfliner arrived into Los Angeles Union Passenger Terminal five minutes early to a great night time view of the downtown Los Angeles skyline.

Southwest Chief 4 The door rear view returns! 11/11/2004

I got to Track 12 right before the Southwest Chief backed into LAUPT. This train had P42DCs 62 and 61, Baggage 1734, Transition 39019, Sleepers 32060 and 32023, Diner 38043, Lounge 33019 and coached 31000 {ex smoking lounge = SL}, 31503 {SL} and 34092. I was greeted at the door of sleeper 32060 by Issac Champagne, a man with 30 years of Amtrak experience and made my way to Room 2 for my trip to Lamy. The conductor walked through the train collecting tickets prior to our on time departure of LAUPT. We left Los Angeles for the first time in years with no express or mail cars. After I enjoyed a great view looking back from the flyover across the Los Angeles River, I went to the dining car for a T-Bone Steak Dinner and an ice cream sundae for dessert. I dined with great two ladies making their first train trip together to Philadelphia and another fantastic woman from Malibu going to Lamy and onto Santa Fe. The four of us had a great time at dinner and I know none of us wanted it to end. I returned to my room, listened to some tunes then made up my bed for the night right after Riverside and slept soundly into Arizona.

11/12/2004 Waking up at Maine, AZ with no snow on the ground, I made my way to the dining car for French Toast and Link Sausage.

I went back to the rear door of the last coach for pictures that I have not been able to get for years due to the mail and express business.

The views are ever changing.

A different view of the Canyon Diablo with bridge and BNSF freight. I returned to my room for a Coca-Cola, USA Today and more tunes as the train made its way to Winslow and points east. At Adama, the dispatcher crossed the Chief over to the south track to get by BNSF 5497 West with a Joseph City coal train.

I returned to the rear door for more of eastern Arizona.

At Houck we passed two eastbound BNSF freights crossed back over to the north track then passed four more westbound. One word describes this BNSF dispatching, "Impressive!".

The Southwest Chief entered New Mexico and following a few more pictures I returned to my room as the train headed to Gallup.

East of Gallup a series of pictures of the New Mexico Red Mesas as seen from the rear door.

Later before Grants I returned to the rear door for a picture of the Grants Station.

At East Grants, another BNSF eastbound was passed.

Views of the black capped rock mesas and the lava flows east of Grants.

Further east at Suwannee, I returned to the rear door for a series of photos of our trek down the south track passing three more BNSF freights on the north track.

The two units have done a great job of pulling our 9 car train east. On the way to Dalies we passed three more eastbounds.

The Rio Grande River before we arrived into Albuquerque twenty five minutes early.

There I took a picture of our train as it was being serviced.

Due to the construction of a new bus station in the former Amtrak parking lot, Cheryl's Bus was on the platform right next to my sleeping car where I got more Coca-Cola. I walked across the street to Cold Stone for some ice cream which I enjoyed on a 53 degree afternoon. We departed Albuquerque late after a drug sniffing dog found something in a female passengers luggage in the baggage car. The passenger and bag were removed from our train and we left ABQ four minutes late. I relaxed in my room the rest of my trip to Lamy.

The Southwest Chief delivered me to Lamy about two minutes late and I went in front of the station for a picture of it.

The Lamy Station.

The Lamy Shuttle and trailer took me and my bags to my hotel in Santa Fe. The trip took over twenty minutes with the van driver dropping people off wherever they wanted like their homes or in my case the Territorial Inn. The driver also pointed out sights along the way and in Santa Fe so I got a feel for the place on my way to the Territorial Inn.

Santa Fe 11/12/2004

I checked into the Territorial Inn, a bed and breakfast just off the Plaza in Santa Fe.

I took a walk to photograph the New Mexico State Capitol Building which I did from both sides. After doing that, I walked down to the Santa Fe Southern Station and picked up my ticket for my ride tomorrow.

I returned to the hotel via the map I got from I followed some bogus directions given to me in search of the Bull Ring for dinner which took me back down by the State Capitol Building. Down there I learned it was located a block from my motel. Finding it I made a 5 PM dinner reservation before I caught up with the news on the TV. I walked back to the Bull Ring, seated by a window and served by Beverly. I caught up on the story just as the largest Filet of my life was placed before me. It was one of the best steaks that I have ever eaten. If you are ever in Santa Fe you must eat at the Bull Ring. I returned to the Territorial Inn for a quiet night of good rest.

11/13/2004 Sleeping in late, I enjoyed a breakfast at the Territorial Inn of homemade waffles and toast. I packed up, checked out and headed for the Santa Fe Southern Station.

Santa Fe Southern Railroad 11/13/2004

I walked down in a light snow storm to the Santa Fe Southern Station which is housed in the ex Santa Fe Railroad Depot.

The Atchison Topeka & Santa Fe Railway built into its namesake city in 1880. In 1992, this rail line became the Santa Fe Southern Railway preserving rail service between Santa Fe and Lamy. The railroad carries freight as well as passenger on the 18.1 mile route.

Here I found the train in front of the station in the car order below.

The Santa Fe Southern has two GP-18's 92 and 93. Cab rides are available on a limited basis. The 93 would pull our train today.

The Plaza Lamy was one of only six dome/lounge cars built for the AT&SF Super Chief that operated between Los Angeles and Chicago and was built in 1950. The 16 Dome seats provide one of the finest views from a train in all of New Mexico with a 360-degree view.

They have a 40-foot flat car used as an open air car 99 which is a great place to view the passing scenery.

The Central Railroad of New Jersey 1158 was built in 1922 by the Bethlehem Shipbuilding Company in Delaware. The 1158 is an elegant piece of history, apportioned with green velvet "walk-over" seats and mahogany paneling.

The vintage 300, a 1920's passenger combine came from the Kettle Moraine Railway in Wisconsin. This car features an open baggage area that can be used for a small band and dance area or provide an area for party/catering. This 1920's passenger coach has hi-backed seats making a very comfortable car to ride in.

The caboose built in 1946 and used on the AT&SF in livestock service. The caboose is equipped with a small work desk, toilet, stove, and seats 16 riders.

I went into the station to buy a few post cards and to wait for boarding time. I thought our train set was ready but then I heard that our train would be carrying some freight to Lamy making us a true mixed train. I went outside and the 93 went out into the yard to pick up a bulk head flat car NOKL 732588.

The engine returned to our train before it took the Plaza Lamy off and spotted it on a yard track. The 93 then went to pick up another bulk head this one TTPX 804139 before it retrieved yet another bulk head this one being BCOL 730251.

They then backed down onto our waiting train and we were now set to be ready to board.

The Plaza Lamy sitting alone and not in use today. That was too bad as I really wanted a chance to ride in that car. At 10:40 AM they boarded the train with me sitting in the forward end of the Central of New Jersey 1158 for the trip to Lamy.

Santa Fe Southern Scenic Day Train 11/13/2004

After departing our conductor walked the train to inspect it before we left the station area.

The train curved onto the main track for Lamy. I would spend most of the trip out in the open car only coming inside to write and to warm up on a very cold and windy day with occasional snow falling lightly.

Ex Amtrak 4710 on a siding our train passed.

At Cerillos Road the SFS has a caboose with train information painted on it.

An interesting stone loader along our route.

Future SFS open cars? The train then made its way out of urban Santa Fe.

Our train made a nice small "S" curve.

More curves and the crossing of a dry arroyo.

We stopped at Premier Distributing to pick up three BNSF box cars 783434, 782454 and 720308. During the switching I purchased a Coca-Cola, chatted with some of our wonderful 32 passengers aboard.

I took a picture of almost everyone inside the car. Say "Santa Fe Southern!" The family in front of me had a little girl named Ary and a boy named Jacob who called Lamy - "Lamo." Who knows in the past there might have been a Lamo from Lamy?

Ducking under Interstate 25 and leaving Santa Fe for good.

The train curved along the hillsides and there were three snow covered peaks off to the west. The weather conditions are low clouds with occasional light snow that was blanketing the valley and blocking off the views of surrounding mountains.

The train crossed the Arroyo Hondo Trestle, highest on the entire railroad.

Our mixed train then came to a stop, so the view looking back. The reason we stopped were some sticking brakes on the passenger cars.

After restarting on the steep grade the view looking back. The train ran across the range lands with Juniper and Pinon Pines. We ran across a smaller wooden trestle between MP 12 and 11 on the straight track. There was another small trestle at MP 10 and curved one at MP 9.4.

Our caboose rode over the small curved trestle at MP 8.4. Around MP 7 we passed through the bedroom community of Santa Fe called El Dorado.

Crossing a grade crossing in El Dorado.

Curving across the trestle at MP 6.1 then across the straight trestle at MP 5.7. The train then left El Dorado and crossed another straight trestle at MP 3.8.

Curving near MP 3.0 with snow blowing from the northeast. This railroad really curves back and forth giving one plenty of chances to photograph the train.

Starting the descent into Lamy.

The train crossing the trestle at MP 2.2.

The rest of the descent into Lamy including the grade crossing of Highway 285.

The train pulled into Lamy and the end of my wonderful trip on the Santa Fe Southern.

A picture of the Lamy Station.

The SFS switching in Lamy.

The return trip ready to go.

Engine 93 waiting in Lamy. The return trip to Santa Fe would be the 93, caboose 95, Kettle Moraine Railway 300, Central of New Jersey 1158, open car 99, box cars MP 794796, TBOX 605062, SP 691785 and WP 67013. The mixed train left Lamy for Santa Fe at 3:07 PM with one less passenger than it had brought to Lamy.

Atlantic Coast Line "Talladega" a 1950 Pullman Diner is being restored as the Lamy Railroad Museum.

I called Julie at Amtrak when I got to Lamy and learned it was due into Lamy at 5:00 PM, over two hours late. The agent told me it would be only an hour and it was all weather related. The eastbound Southwest Chief was also running late but only an hour.

The eastbound Southwest Chief arrived into Lamy.

It had cleared off but was still a very cold afternoon outside with a strong wind blowing out of the northeast.

The sun setting made for a pair of interesting pictures. Darkness took complete hold and a Santa Fe Southern track inspector came down their line doing his job.

Southwest Chief 3 11/13/2004

At 5:28 PM the Southwest Chief arrived into Lamy with a BNSF unit on the point. I was met at the door by Joan, a 27 year Amtrak employee who had made a 6:45 PM dinner reservation for me. The train left Lamy at 5:28 PM with me in Room 5 of the 32110 sleeper. I took a walk getting most of the consist but knew I would have to wait to Albuquerque to get the rest. They called us into dinner early and I ordered a Twin Medallion of Beef. My table mates were headed to Flagstaff and told me that the BNSF unit was added to the point of the train in Newton. It seemed that the second Amtrak unit had a computer problem and would turn off. If you turned it back on, it would turn off. The train was restricted to 70 MPH because of the gearing on the freight unit not the usual 90 MPH Amtrak units can do. The Lamy agent lied to me that the delays were all weather related.

I excused myself and my waitress did not send my check down to the kitchen until I returned from my business on the ground at Albuquerque. I detrained and here is our consist. BNSF Dash 944CW 5292, P42DC's 38 and 142 {Dead}, Baggage 1213, Transition 39044, Sleepers 32110 Tennessee, and 32068, Diner 38039, Lounge 33003, Coaches 34032, 31529 {ex SL} and 34046 with Baggage 1232 and Expresstrak 74089. I stopped by Cheryl's Bus to buy a blanket for somebody's birthday that is really close. I returned to my table and a minute later here came my meal which was excellent. I enjoyed a chocolate mousse for dessert. We left ABQ at 7:16 PM {4:45 PM} the latest that I have ever left that fair city. Our new conductor announced that our 70 MPH would cause us to lose more time between stations. Listened to "ABBA - Rarities and Demos" as the Southwest Chief headed out into the night at a slower pace than normal. I called it a night before Gallup where a coach passenger had to be removed from the train by paramedics. I slept all the way into California.

11/14/2004 I woke up at 5:30 AM, dressed and went to the lounge car to enjoy the Needles Sub starting at Essex in the twilight of a new day. I pointed out the sights as far as Amboy Crater when they opened the dining car for breakfast. I enjoyed my usual French Toast and Sausage morning meal. The train took the westbound grade from Siberia to Ash Hill via Klondike on a beautiful clear November morning. I sat in my room enjoying the passing view of Ludlow, Pisgah Crater, Hector and Newberry Springs but from there on we were at restricted speed for a few miles that the crew did not announce. Our ETA for LAX was then changed from 10:45 to 11:45 AM so I guess Fullerton will be my deboarding location if all goes right. At East Daggett we stopped to let a BNSF freight with a few tanks as wide loads slowly went by us. Congestion was the word at East Barstow slowed our westbound progress even more. After 15 minutes we made our way on into Barstow where the Western America Railroad Museum was having a celebration this weekend. We departed Barstow at 8:26 AM {3:55 AM}.

Once on the Cajon Sub we ran at track speed of 70 MPH to Victorville where we switched crews as our Kingman to LA crew would die on the hours of service law within the hour. We left Victorville after a triple stop and new crew at 9:18 AM {4:31 AM}. The train passed through the Upper Mojave Narrows before climbing the east slope of Cajon Pass. A BNSF eastbound freight was in the new siding at Martinez just east of Summit and we passed two westbounds before we crossed over to the south track. Waiting at Summit for us was a UP eastbound stack train. It was a perfectly clear day giving me a great view looking down Cajon Pass. As we neared Kennebrook we came upon one yellow signal after another until after Verdemont. We reached San Bernardino and departed there at 10:38 AM {5:44 AM} after an eight minute station stop. We were not delayed at Colton Crossing and onto Riverside at 11:00 AM {6:03 AM} with the Santa Ana Winds blowing strong. Now we were in the final sprint to Fullerton. Who would win the race our train or Surfliner 572 to Fullerton? We arrived into Fullerton at 11:44 AM but there were no signs of 572 as we neared. Did we win? Yes, as I detrained the Fullerton agent told me that 572 was 30 minutes late. I took an easy walk over the pedestrian bridge to Track 2.

Surfliner 572 11/14/2004

After some pleasant conversation with my connecting passengers for Surfliner 572, the train pulled into Fullerton at 12:15 PM for my quick trip home to Santa Ana. A taxi cab ride home ended another interesting rail adventure to Lamy, Santa Fe and the Santa Fe Southern Railroad.