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Stuck in Lamy for Hours!

by Chris Guenzler

This trip, like the one to Portland, was just to get me closer toward my one millionth rail mile in late April. One trip on the Union Pacific was sufficient; as my next two long distance trips would be over the BNSF Railroad. Fast track equals fast rail miles for me. I worked that short week, coached at the All-City Santa Ana Intermediate Track Meet on Wednesday, and still had plenty of time to pack light for my trip to Lamy, New Mexico. On Friday, I drove to the Santa Ana train station, parked in the northeast parking lot, but detoured into the station before crossing the bridge to reach the east platform.

While I waited for my train to Los Angeles, Metrolink 610 came from Oceanside going to Los Angeles on what turned out to be a very cold and windy late February afternoon.

Surfliner 583 2/23/2007

The Surfliner train arrived in Santa Ana with Cab Car 6903, Coaches 6412 and 6414, Coach/Cafe 6303 and Pacific Business Class 6806 and Engine 461. I took a seat upstairs in the Cab Car.

At CP Lincoln, we waited for Surfliner 582. I enjoyed the realigned tracks north of Santiago Creek for the future double-tracking project. We made our way to Anaheim, known as the "Mouse's House" then onto Fullerton.

Later at DT Junction, we slowed for track work and I took a picture of the San Gabriel Mountains before we arrived on time at Los Angeles Union Passenger Terminal. I walked down, over and up to Track 12 just as Southwest Chief 4 backed into LAUPT. Southwest Chief 4 2/23/2007

The train backed into the station with Engines 68 and 45, Baggage 1255, Sleepers 32047, 32093 "Missouri" and 32076 "Delaware", Diner 38016, Lounge 33014, Coaches 34016 and 31042. I had Room 2 in the Delaware for this trip. I settled into my room, put "Queen I" on my CD player and made a 7:15 PM dinner reservation. At Fullerton, I stepped off for a minute to say hello to a few railfans who frequent the station to see the eastbound Southwest Chief go through. I went to the dining car and was seated with Carol and John going to Indiana. Then I was asked to come to my sleeping car's door. I saw Chris Parker and waved to him just as we departed. Back in the dining car, I enjoyed the Pork Chop and Delicious Chocolate Cake. Afterwards, I walked back to the coaches, finding two of my favorite people: Conductor Rosie and Car Attendant Gingi. The three of us caught up with each other until our fresh air stop at San Bernardino.

The San Bernardino Station during the fresh air stop there. We departed on time and enjoyed the crossing of Cajon Pass from my darkened room, listening to CD 1 of Led Zeppelin's "How the West Was Won." Just before Victorville, I made up my room and called it a night.

2/24/2007 I woke up east of Winslow after an excellent night's sleep. I went to the dining car and was seated with Martha and Freida, who are sisters traveling to Albuquerque. I ordered the French Toast and Sausage Patties. Back in my room, I read the Arizona Daily Sun and listened to CD 2 of the Led Zeppelin set as we headed toward New Mexico and CD 3 took me over the Continental Divide.

Looking back at the Red Mesas. Next up was Blue Oyster Cult's "Curse of the Hidden Mirror". At Suwanee, we were stopped by a westbound BNSF train before we crossed over to the south track and continued east. My next musical selection was Rush's "Vapor Trails". We arrived in Albuquerque 15 minutes early where I detrained into a cold and windy 36 degree afternoon. I called Lets Talk Trains, the internet radio show which airs from 10:00 AM to noon Pacific Time on Saturdays, or 24/7 in the archives. I learned that my westbound train was delayed by a dust storm and would not arrive until 7:30 tonight. There was no need to worry about making my connections in Lamy. I visited Coldstone Creamery and then talked to Gingi on the platform before returning to the warmth of the train. It was frigid with that strong north wind blowing. We left Albuquerque on time with U2's "Pop" on my CD player. We arrived in Lamy on time and I detrained.

Lamy 2/24/2007

The Southwest Chief left Lamy for points east and I learned that the westbound Southwest Chief had been stuck in Lamar waiting for a new crew. However, the crew had a major problem getting to their train because of the fact the roads had been closed from snow drifts and blowing snow.

I used the nice warm Lamy station as my headquarters for my extended stay.

I walked over to former Atlantic Coast Line diner "Talladega" which is now a part-time restaurant, for some soft drinks. I called home to let my loved ones know that I was alive and well, but delayed. Now is when I say "Remember, Every Trip is an Adventure!" Cheap Trick's "Music for Hangovers" was the first of my delay music which was followed by ABBA's "Rarities and Demos". I found out that the train had left La Junta 6 hours and 17 minutes late. Then I discovered that the train was recrewed at Las Vegas at 7:08 PM and was now scheduled to arrive in Lamy at 8:15 PM. If that happens, I still might get dinner. I talked with Sandy, the wonderful Amtrak agent and called Steve Grande of to discuss the trips so far. I went outside into the late afternoon light for a few pictures.

Looking west down the rails.

Looking east down the rails.

The ex Santa Fe wooden box car minus its trucks.

The Atlantic Coast Line Talladega now a restaurant. I went back inside to warm up before taking some more pictures.

Sunset in Lamy looking down the Santa Fe Southern tracks.

The old Lamy church as the sun set on this extremely cold and windy evening. Back in the warmth of the station, it was time for Queen's "Sheer Heart Attack." I finished reading Trains Magazine and switched to the new Passenger Train Journal. Besides reading, I did my Sudoku puzzles which really helps to pass the time on trains and during delays.

The Lamy Station at night. My next musical selection was Jethro Tull's "Broadsword and the Beast", followed by the "Benefit" CD.

At 8:10 PM, we finally saw a green signal.

I was bored, so the moon became my next photographic target.

Sandy kept us all well informed. I went outside and waited for a headlight to show up in the darkness from the east as that cold wind continued to howl.

Southwest Chief 3 2/24/2007

A late train is always better than no train. I was tired as the Southwest Chief arrived at 8:50 PM. I boarded the train which had a consist of Engines 11 and 173, Baggage 1245, Transition 32045, Sleepers 32048 and 32068, Diner 38060, Lounge 33040 and Coaches 34109 and 34048. I boarded the 32068, a rebuilt sleeper and headed straight to the Dining Car as we left at 8:53 PM {2:24 PM}. The only thing they had left to eat was one baked chicken, which was decent. I then asked for a Chocolate Bundt Cake for dessert, but they were out of it as well. Paul Wilson was my sleeping car attendant for the trip home. I took a shower then called it a night before we reached Albuquerque at 9:53 PM and departed at 10:38 PM {4:45 PM}.

2/25/2007 I woke up just short of Needles and dressed.

I photographed the Needles station, El Garces, in the early morning light. We left at 6:34 AM {12:49 AM} and started our morning trip across the Mojave Desert. I went to the dining car and was seated with Bob, Jill and Celia, going from Ann Arbor, Michigan to Anaheim. I enjoyed French Toast and Sausage Patties.

As we traveled through the Colorado River valley with Arizona visible across the river.

The train climbed out of the valley to our first summit at Goffs.

As I enjoyed the mountains to the north, I visited with Conductor Rosie in the rear of the dining car.

There are interesting rock strata to be seen in this land that is usually traveled through at night.

Between Cadiz and Amboy.

Looking south at the same location.

I saw Amboy Crater and lava flows as we sped west towards Ash Hill.

Looking south a few minutes later.

The old volcanic crater east of Siberia. Now a trip over Ash hill.

Ash Hill is one of my favorite pieces of railroading.

At Ludlow, we crossed over to the south track with the train reaching the top of this grade just before Lavic.

A peak to the south as we climbed out of Ludlow.

Reaching the top of this grade just short of Lavic.

Looking south down another desert valley.

The train then ran by Pisgah Crater.

Our train crossed Hector Dry Lake.

The train went through Newberry Springs.

The train ran by the Coolwater Solar Collection System.

Our train reached Daggett, where the Union Pacific joins the BNSF for the trip over Cajon Pass.

The train ran by the Marine Corps Logistics Base just east of Barstow, had a pair of engines outside this morning.

I photographed Santa Fe FP45 95 which is part of the railroad museum there.

During a cold and windy fresh air stop at Barstow, my sleeping car was in front of the Casa Del Desierto, the former Harvey House. The train departed Barstow at 9:08 AM {3:39 AM} and I decided to listen to Jethro Tull's "Benefit" as we headed to Victorville, arriving at 9:48 AM {4:18 AM}.

The train ran through Upper Mojave Narrows.

The train went under the Frost Flyover as we started the climb over Cajon Pass.

The train crossed over at Lugo, passing the Joshua trees in the Summit Valley.

There was a westbound BNSF freight in the Summit hold track

An eastbound UP freight waited at the red signal for us to clear.

The train dropped from bright sunshine into dark clouds.

Our train took the 3% grade on the south track down Cajon Pass. I put on Young Dubliners' "With All Due Respect" as we headed for San Bernardino for another fresh air break.

I photographed the Metrolink fleet at rest waiting for the Monday morning commuter rush, which including a leased Sounder trainset.

The San Bernardino Station.

During the station stop, the checked baggage for the San Joaquin bus that would be connecting with the Coast Starlight in Northern California was removed from the train. We departed San Bernardino at 11:11 AM {5:32 AM}.

The train passed the Miller Honey caboose at Rana.

Our train went by the former Union Pacific station at Colton.

We crossed the former Southern Pacific Sunset Route at Cajon where I put on Guns N' Roses' "Appetite For Destruction". We departed Riverside at 11:29 AM {5:53 AM}.

The train went through Corona, it was possible to see the houses reaching the boundary of the Cleveland National Forest in the Santa Ana mountains.

The train crossed the Santa Ana River Bridge in Santa Ana Canyon.

Signal Bridge in the canyon.

The Santa Ana River in Santa Ana Canyon.

Our train was rounding the Horseshoe Bend in Santa Ana Canyon before we reached Fullerton.

I talked with my good and dear friend Chris Parker who came to see me. We departed Fullerton at 12:17 PM {6:34 AM} as the Southwest Chief made its final sprint into Los Angeles Union Passenger Terminal. Now we will see just how much padding there is in the schedule between Fullerton and Los Angeles. The Spice Girls' "Spiceworld" took me the rest of the way.

The train crossed the flyover over the Los Angeles River before arriving at 12:49 PM {8:15 AM}, or 4 hours and 34 minutes late. The padding in the schedule was just over an hour, making the train a little less late than it really was. This ended a very interesting trip aboard the Southwest Chief.

The Southwest Chief at final rest at LAUPT. I walked over to Track 7 to wait to for a Metrolink train home.

Metrolink 656 2/25/2007

Using my Amtrak Monthly Pass, I boarded this weekend Orange County Line train for home instead of waiting for Surfliner 578 at 2:00 PM. We departed on time at 1:30 PM and headed south.

I photographed a Union Pacific freight along the east bank of the Los Angeles River.

The Amtrak turntable with the Santa Fe 4-8-4 3751 under the tarp.

The Los Angeles River from the Flyover.

I saw a Railpower Green Goat at the BNSF Commerce fueling facility. We stopped at Norwalk, passed through the future Buena Park station, Fullerton, Anaheim, Orange and Santa Ana, where I detrained to end another very interesting trip.