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The Adirondack Rare Mileage Trips

Getting to Utica

by Chris Guenzler

I decided to do these trips in mid April and used my Guest Reward Points for coach both ways. It would be a trip both ways on the Southwest Chief and Lake Shore Limited to Utica, New York. Once there I would get a rental car for one day, railfan a bit then pick up my good friend Randy Jackson when he arrived on the westbound Lake Shore Limited. We would stay two nights at the Days Inn in Utica, then ride two days of rare mileage trips. After the second day I would pass my 1,300,000.0 Rail Mile 45.0 miles west of Utica on the Lakeshore Limited and come back home via the Southwest chief. After I did the National Train Day the next morning I got an E-mail from my excellent proofreader Winston Walker that his wife Sue had died peacefully late that night. My prayers went out to his family as did an E-Mail to them.

Surfliner 583 5/14/2011

I got up and packed before I hosted Let's Talk Trains. I then relaxed until my mother drove me to the Santa Ana Train Station where we parked and I went inside for some luggage tags and some bottles of Coca-Cola. She then drove me to the northeast corner of the parking lot where I said my goodbye to her and walked over to Track 1 to wait for my train to LAUPT. The train came in right on time and I took a seat in the Superliner Coach for the quick trip to LA. The train stopped in Anaheim and Fullerton before we arrived on Track 10 at LAUPT early. I walked over to a waiting Southwest Chief on Track 12.

Southwest Chief 5/14/2011

The train had Engines 45 and 130, Baggage 1715, Transition 39005, Sleepers 32016 and 32069, Diner 58065, Lounge 33033 with Coaches 34050, 34058 and 35004. I was assigned Seat 3 in the 35004 which is a Coach/Cafe. The train left LAUPT on time but got held at CP Soto for ten minutes. I complained to my Car Attendant about seating a passenger going all the way to Chicago in the worst seat on the train and he moved me back to Seat 51 which made me happy with the fold down table that Seat 3 lacked. We stopped at Fullerton and leaving I spotted Chris Parker who must have come down to see me off but didn't realize I was seated in the last coach. I caught up the story then watched "Johnny English" as the train headed to Riverside and San Bernardino. The movie finished up right before the train got to Summit. I then relaxed before calling it a night after Victorville.

5/15/2011 I woke up briefly at Williams Jct and Flagstaff then was up for good after Canyon Diablo. After the train stopped at Winslow I noticed that the Pony Express, one of my favorite private railroad cars, had been graffitied. I had to call Chris Parker to get owner's Stan Garner phone number who I called to let him know what happened to his unique car. I started reading my new Railpace Magazine before I put on "Pirates of the Caribbean The Curse of the Black Pearl" which took me to Dalies. At Gallup I checked in with Randy Jackson who I would be meeting Tuesday Night in Utica. The train arrived into Albuquerque early, almost as usual, at 11:10 AM. I got on-line via Herzog Data and cleared out the E mail before Surfing the Worldwide Web. The train left Albuquerque on time and headed to Lamy as I watched "Pirates of the Caribbean Dead Man's Chest". The train stopped at Lamy then climbed through Apache Canyon and over Glorieta Pass. At Fox we waited for the westbound Southwest Chief with Steve Grande aboard heading home from La Plata. Do not forget our Railfan Event in La Plata on July 17-20, 2011. Go to and it is either on the front page or in previous stories or the Let's Talk Trains Facebook Page. That movie took me all the way beyond Starvation Peak. The final movie of the trilogy thus far I watched was "Pirates of the Caribbean At World's End" which I started. The train made its way to Las Vegas and onto Raton where I took a fresh air break on a nice cool late Spring afternoon. The movie ended half way down Raton Pass on the Colorado side and then I had a 6 PM Dinner Reservation. I was seated with an older couple from northwest Ohio and I enjoyed a steak and baked potato which I paid for on this trip being a rare trip in coach and not the sleeper. At the start of dinner the train stopped in Trinidad then sped off for La Junta. After dinner I put on my Young Dubliner "Rocky Road to Dublin" CD which I enjoyed as we sped across the southeastern Colorado scenery. The next CD was Keith Richards "Main Offender" which took me the rest of the way to La Junta which we arrived into early this very late afternoon. I managed to get On-line in La Junta and answered Steve Grande's question about what was on the back of his train. I took a brief fresh air break at La Junta before we left there on time. I listened to some more music and once it got dark called it a night.

5/16/2011 I woke up west of Topeka and enjoyed the early morning views until 6 AM when I went to the Lounge Car and got some Orange Juice to go along with the chocolate donuts I brought from home.

West of the BNSF Argentine Yard I took a picture of that switcher that had been here for years. The train was refueled in the BNSF Yard before we arrived into Kansas City on a nice cool morning. After I enjoyed the fresh air I got On-line here and answered another of Steve's questions about the double deck diner he saw. After I surfed the world wide web, I then got ready to watch Led Zeppelin "Live" for the next few hours. The train left Kansas City on time and headed to La Plata our next stop of the morning. I watched most of that first DVD now in the Bonus Section but had to pause it to deliver a banner to Bob Cox in La Plata. He passed off a Coca-Cola to me and soon we were on our way to Fort Madison. I am checking all my photograph locations for the first ever Railfan Event in La Plata. At Fort Madison I enjoyed the last fresh air break of this trip. The train left there on time but got stopped by a red signal at the approach to the Mississippi River Bridge.

Our conductor and a BNSF maintainer protecting the crossing.

The Fort Madison Station that has been elevated up to track height and the Santa Fe Steam Engine. The train finally moved 23 minutes later due to a bridge malfunction and soon we were off to Galesburg. Next before Stronghurst a dragging equipment detector stopped our train and our wonderful train crew had to make a trackside inspection. The train took the Cameron Connection but we came to a stop as we were now going to be right behind the California Zephyr for the rest of the trip into Chicago. The second Zep DVD Disc took me almost to Princeton. I put on my Keith Emerson Band CD for my next musical experience as the train next did Mendota and then headed towards Naperville.

After the KEB CD I put on my Selena Gomez & The Scene "A Year Without Rain" which took me to Naperville then some slow running before we arrived Chicago Union Station at 3:32 PM. Even with my sore lower rib it was still a great trip aboard the Southwest Chief.

Chicago 5/16/2011

I walked into the Chicago Metropolitan Lounge and after getting my pass using my Guest Reward Select Card I found my usual plug and set up my computer. I went and got a pair of Gold Coast Char Dogs, my favorite meal when I come to Chicago then checked the Internet while I killed the 4 hours until boarding my next train. I uploaded the story so far then relaxed waiting on Winston's proofing of it which he did. Later they gave me a ride out to my next train.

Lakershore Limited 48 5/16/2011

I was back in a long distance Amfleet Coach for the first time in years and I settled in for the night ahead. I had Pat from Rochester join me and the train left Chicago three minutes late. I enjoyed the scenes along the way to beyond Hammond-Whitning before I called it a night.

5/17/2011 I woke up officially just east of Cleveland on a dark cool cloudy morning. A three car walk forward to the Cafe Car got me some Orange Juice to go along with my chocolate donuts from home. Once the train got out of the yard limit we were sailing down the Lakeshore Route. I then put on my next movie "The Mummy Tomb of the Dragon Emperor" for my enjoyment this early morning. That DVD took me through the rest of Ohio, Pennsylvania, the stop in Erie, then I saw the GE Locomotive Plant, engines and their test track followed by the North East Railroad Museum before we reached the outskirts of Buffalo where it ended. Next I watched "Jeff Beck Performing This Week...Live at Ronnie Scott's" which took me to Buffalo where I paused the DVD for a fresh air break. The train stopped in Rochester during the DVD and I said goodbye to Pat on a cold dark rainy morning. After watching both of the DVD's bonus material, I switched to my Metallica "Death Magnetic" which took me onto Syracuse and beyond. At Syracuse I got another fresh air break. The train ran onto Utica where I detrained. I had called Enterprise Car Rental when we passed through Rome so they would be there close to when I get there. Talking with our excellent Conductor Bob Schmit who told me we would have to get by trackwork on one track and a broken rail on the other so we should be delayed into getting to Utica, which we were. I did get to listen to the whole Young Dubliner CD "Breathe" through the delay. At 1:42 we resumed our journey eastbound. I detrained at Utica ending a great trip on the Lakeshore Limited.

Utica 5/17/2011

While waiting for Enterprise I walked over to the Children's Museum for a quick set of pictures.

Adirondack Railway RSC2 25 ex SAL 1531.

Santa Fe Fred Harvey Diner 1479. Enterprise came picking up David from Little Rock, Arkansas and I and we drove to their office in Yorkville where we got a VW Bug. From there our first stop was the Watchmen Tower that we spotted as we drove out to the Enterprise Office.

Two views of the Watchmen Tower. From here we drove over to the Susquehanna Railroad Shop area.

Susquehanna Railroad F45 3636.

Susquehanna Railroad SD-40 3020. From here we drove back to near the Utica Station.

Pennsylvania Railroad Caboose 477594.

New York Central 0-6-0 6721.

Boston & Maine Caboose C-127.

Adirondack Scenic Dining Car 800.

Adirondack Scenic 1500.

Union Pacific {CSX} 9469 East passing through Utica.

Adirondack Scenic 6076.

The markings on the Adirondack Scenic 6076.

Adirondack Scenic Train Set.

A unique passenger car. From here we went back into the Utica Station.

Views inside the Utica Station.

To the Trains.

Empire Service Train 281 at Utica.

Amtrak 715.

The Mohawk, Adirondack and Northern Engine Facility. After that David and I drove to the Days Inn and we both checked in. I had problems getting the pictures into the story but it got fixed. I took a well deserved shower and felt like a new man. I worked on the story until 5:10 PM when I met David in the lobby and we walked across the street to the Delmonico's Italian Steakhouse where we both had the sliced sirloin which was excellent. After dinner we walked back across the street to a gas station so I could get a Coca-Cola to keep me going the rest of the evening. At 8:30 PM I left for the Amtrak Utica Station to pick up Randy Jackson. That was before I called Randy to check up with him. As of 8:10 PM he was stuck in Albany due to the CSX Livingston Avenue Bridge swing bridge having issues. The only good news was that I got to watch all of NCIS. At 9:00 PM I went and visited with Dave and Cathy then bought Randy's one bag they had brought with them from when they dropped him off in Albany. After a nice visit I went back to my room and called Randy with the plan that I would get some sleep and he would call me 30 minutes out of Utica.

5/18/2011 I woke up at 2:00 AM and called him as he was still sitting in Albany waiting on a pilot engineer. I woke up again at 5:00 AM and learned that they had left Albany at 4:20 AM backing up the Post Road Connection and was about to get to Selkirk Yard at 5:08 AM. The plan is to drop off the pilot at Amsterdam then head west. Randy would call me when he got to Amsterdam which is an hour out. Since I really couldn't go back to sleep I got up, posted what was going on via and updated the story to this point. At 6:00 AM I walked over to MacDonald's for some Hot Cakes and Sausage. I walked to the Lobby for the USA Today and stopped by Dave's room to give him the latest update on Randy as a 7:15 AM arrival into Utica. I went to the Lobby at 7:00 AM and found David. We then drove back to the Amtrak Station to wait for the arrival of Randy Jackson but made a stop along the way.

Erie-Lackawanna Freight House in Utica.

CSX 5302 West. We then headed to Utica Union Station which was used by the New York Central, Delaware Lackawanna and Western Railroad and the New York Ontario and Western Railway.

View of Utica Union Station.

One of the Adirondack Scenic Railroad's F-Unit. It now was time for the Lakeshore Limited 49 to finally arrive into Utica this morning in daylight.

The Lakeshore Limited arriving into Utica with Randy Jackson aboard. We met and drove one guy to the Utica Inn before I drove Randy back to the Days Inn so he could get a shower. David and I took back the rental car after putting two gallons of gas in it and were then driven back to the Amtrak Utica Train Station for our trip for today.

Empire Service 280 arrived into Utica. Here I met Bart Jennings and it was time to go over the bridge and board the train.

Click here for Part 2 of this story