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La Plata and the trip home!

by Chris Guenzler


I got up and after breakfast learned the inn needed the van for drop offs this morning. I drove out to Cardy and waited for an eastbound.

BNSF 7683 East at Cardy at Helium Road. I went back to the Amtrak Station and visited with Bob Cox. His wife Amy was doing the drop offs so she would come here to pick up the van and Bob would let me use his van to catch the Southwest Chief at the bridge I wanted to catch it at this morning.

Amtrak's Southwest Chief Train 4 running right on time at the Missouri Highway 3 Bridge.

An Amish Buggy came by my location. I returned to the Amtrak Station, gave Bob his van key back and got the Depot Inn & Suite van and headed west to Elmer.

BNSF 5149 East at Elmer at the Route J grade crossing. From here I headed to Ethel. As I parked the van the crossing gates went down and I set up for my pictures.

BNSF 4240 East at Elmer at the MO Highway 147 grade crossing. I moved east to the next grade crossing and waited.

BNSF 4489 East at Elmer at the Emerald Road grade crossing. With very low gas in the van I headed back towards La Plata. I paused at the MO Highway 3 Bridge.

BNSF 7799 West.

Union Pacific 4734 West. From here I drove back into town to put 19.9 gallons of gas into the van. I next visited Trainparty and saw Bob and Ray Burns. I heard a whistle off to the west and went trackside.

BNSF 5249 East. I returned to my room at the Depot Inn & Suites and relaxed. I went to the Subway in Kirksville and bought back my dinner. I wrote about today and enjoyed a quiet evening in the Sportsman Suite.


After having breakfast in the lobby, I walked out to the Brown Street Bridge over the BNSF mainline.

A light set of BNSF power headed west.

BNSF 7596 East came through La Plata.

BNSF 7683 West came into La Plata. From here I cut through the Flower Garden and made my way to the Chris Guenzler Million Mile Lookout Point. I don't recommend you getting there this way.

UP 7789 West with UP 7867 as the DPU. I walked back to the Depot Inn & Suites and waited for the van to return. Amy pulled up and we switched places and I was off to railfan. I was driving to Ethel but on the way I had to stop to take the next picture.

This BNSF train at the Estate Road crossing.

I stopped at the Dolphin Road grade crossing for the BNSF 6610 West.

I went to the MO Highway 149 grade crossing in Ethel for the BNSF 7291 West. From here I headed east to the Estate Place grade crossing for my next picture.

UP 7741 West at the Estate Place grade crossing. From here I went back to Elmer.

UP 4364 West at the Route J grade crossing. From here I headed back to the Mo Highway 3 Bridge.

UP 8232 West at the Mo Highway 3 Bridge. After I waited over an hour for a train, a BNSF truck came down Track 1 and I had enough. West of the La Plata X-overs the BNSF was replacing a defective rail and had that track out of service. I saw Bob's van at the Gallery so I stopped by but it was only Amy and Kerri. I drove to Trainparty and visited with Bob before he left to Sedalia later this afternoon. I returned to the Sportsman Suite and relaxed the rest of the afternoon. I went to the Red Rooster for dinner before I returned to the Sportsman Suite for the night.


I got up, picked up my breakfast and got the van keys before driving out to the Chris Guenzler Million Mile Lookout Point on this snowy morning.

The deck of the Chris Guenzler Million Mile Lookout Point this morning.

BNSF 8272 West was the first train of the morning.

BNSF 7586 West was the next train to pass my photo location.

Next came UP 7807 West

Conrail NS 8330 was in the front power consist.

UP 7807 had DPU's UP 7390 and 4795.

An Amish Buggy crossed the Brown Street Bridge.

Later after the snow had stopped Amtrak's eastbound Southwest Chief running about an hour late stopped in La Plata. I returned to the Depot Inn & Suites Where after a nice hot shower I moved into Room A for the rest of the day. I listened to Lets Talk Trains live, did the chat room on Nathan's Web Site and called the show segment 5. I then relaxed in Room A until I walked over to the Red Rooster for dinner. After Dinner I relaxed until it was time for Maria to drive me down to catch my train home.

The display in the La Plata Station.

Southwest Chief 3 3/20/2010

It was snowing when they got me down to the station and I went inside talking with Darrell as well as the other passengers boarding our twenty minute late train tonight. The warmth of the station was a welcome event in my life tonight. At 8:25 PM the Southwest Chief came into La Plata and the conductor had my sleeping car door open for me tonight. I had Room 9 in the New Jersey with Hak To Hung as my Sleeping Car Attendant. The train had a consist of Engines 112 and 50, Baggage 1132, Transition 39037, Sleepers 32006 and 32098 New Jersey, Diner 38004, Lounge 33041 with Coaches 34063, 34088 and 31007. After about twenty minutes I made my room for the night.


I woke up east of Dodge City and went to the Lounge Car to sit until the Diner opened up at 6:30 AM. I was seated with a lady going from Plymouth, Wisconsin to San Bernardino. I had French Toast and sausage patties but wasn't too hungry. I went back to bed until we were west of Lamar and shaved as well as putting on fresh clothes. We arrived late into La Junta and I detrained for pictures.

Now for something completely different, the outside of the Southwest Chief at La Junta. I managed to get On-Line for a few minutes to clean out my E-mail before the Southwest Chief left La Junta for the fast running to Trinidad. I read the Sunday Chieftain and Star Journal before I put on my DVD of "Public Enemies" to watch.

Views of the Spanish Peaks.

The peaks south of Trinidad before we arrived there. After climbing Raton Pass, I paused the DVD and I took a fresh air break at Raton. That movie lasted almost to Wagon Mound and I next put on the Marx Brothers DVD "Go West".

North of Las Vegas. At the "S" curves the DVD ended and I put on my DVD of "Guns N' Roses Use your Illusion World Tour 1992 in Tokyo" for the drop to the Pecos River and climb over Glorieta Pass.

The mountains to the north of Glorieta Pass. The train crossed Glorieta Pass and dropped down to Canyoncito where we took the siding for the eastbound Southwest Chief which held the mainline. The train dropped through Apache Canyon to our next stop at Lamy.

Mountains west of Lamy as we made our way to Albuquerque, our next fresh air break of the trip. I played Solitaire the rest of the way into town. We got into Albuquerque about forty minutes early so I picked up my eastbound tickets to get me to the Connect the Dots Rare Mileage Trip in May from the Amtrak Ticketing Machine in the station. I got on the Internet, cleared out my E-mail but couldn't upload any pictures. We left Albuquerque on time with me working on the May OCRHS Show and just as I finished the train went into emergency. The reason was a separated air hose and once it was reconnected and air test done we were slowly on our way to the next green signal. At 5:30 PM I had a Dinner Reservation and went to the diner for dinner. I was seated with a couple from Norfolk going to Los Angeles and later a women who boarded in La Junta going home to Burbank. I had the New York Strip Steak and Vanilla ice cream. After dinner it was my DVD of Motley Crue "Lewed, Crued & Tattooed Live".

I had never taken a picture of this mesa before west of Grants.

Smoke stack from the PEG Power Plant.

Red Mesas in the late afternoon light.

Beautiful! I watched the rest of the Crue DVD then did Sudoku Puzzles before calling it a night.


I was up after Colton Crossing and had my room made up. I was enjoying a Big Texas Cinnamon Roll as we made our Riverside stop. I was well rested this morning as the train made its way to Fullerton and on into Los Angeles Union Station arriving there at 8:04 AM ending another fantastic trip aboard the Southwest Chief.

Surfliner 566 3/22/2010

The train crew arrived late due to an extra long crew briefing this morning so I was mad but happy. You know Safety First! The train departed Los Angeles on time and sprinted its way to Fullerton before stopping in Anaheim and Orange before ending another fantastic trip to the Depot Inn & Suites, Silver Rails Gallery and railfanning around La Plata. My mother picked me up and I headed home for most of the day before going to our Train Travel Group Meeting tonight in Fullerton.