The "outbound" trip of the 2002 convention was a two-day steam event, with the first day from Williams to Parker and the second day from Parker to Los Angeles. I rode the Sunday segment featuring rare mileage on the Peavine and running over the Arizona and California from Matthie to Parker. Bob chased the train to Parker then we caught it crossing into California the next day before returning to Scottsdale.
The BNSF Railway (formerly Santa Fe) reaches the Phoenix metropolitan area from the northern Arizona transcontinental mainline via the Phoenix Sub, a route commonly referred to as the Peavine. They interchange with the Arizona and California Railroad at Matthie which begins the A&C's Parker Subdivision. The A&C started in May 1991 and has gone through ownership changes through the years.
After breakfast and checking out of the hotel, I joined everyone else in boarding the consist of private cars. I was assigned to the "Clinchfield" coach again and eagerly anticipated this special 187.1 rail miles.
My ticket for the trip.
ATSF 3751 rounding a curve along the BNSF Peavine route.
Nearing Ash Fork.
The BNSF Ash Fork office. There used to be a station and the Harvey House Escalante Hotel here which closed in 1948 and rail service lasted until 1960 when the Santa Fe completed a bypass around Ash Fork. We had a short stop here before continuing the journey.
While I was enjoying the rare mileage, Bob was chasing the train and he caught the 3751 Canyon Special at Drake Bridge. Photo by Bob Alkire.
The steam excursion crosses Little Hell Gate Bridge. Photo by Bob Alkire.
Heading west at Paulden. This was the line re-location built in the 1960's to bypass the grades south of Prescott. Photo by Bob Alkire.
Going through Paulden, Arizona. Photos by Bob Alkire.
Bob caught the train coming through Congress.
Our train stopped at Matthie for servicing and the Arizona and California Railway pilot to board since we were now going on A&C trackage.
The rear of our train at Matthie.
Passenger cars of the 3751 Canyon Special on the large curve at Matthie, MP 135.
Underway again, now on the Arizona and California.
A photo runby at MP 44.8 (Wenden)
Even though it would be three years until we met, Chris Guenzler was on this excursion and this is his photograph of the photo runby here.
The car hosts of MKT 403 enjoying the views and scenery from one of the best seats in the house. We reboarded the train and continued west; glad to be out of the heat for the time being.
Bob and other railfans waited in the 110 degree heat at MP 55 in Hope to catch the steam train on the unique curve which replaced a tunnel. They were rewarded with these excellent pictures. After that, we headed to MP 100.2 east of Parker.
The reverse move for the first of three photo runbys here. It was here I really appreciated what proper photo line etiquette was and to this day, am always conscious of people behind me who may want to shoot over me. Even though I just had my camera, several people had videocameras and "Quiet on the set" was frequently heard, which everyone obeyed.
The first photo runby at MP 100.2 in 116 degree heat with 3751 finally smoking 'properly'.
Chris Guenzler caught this runby and dubbed it 'The Lawrence of Arabia Photo Runby' as we were in the sand dunes east of Parker. The train reversed for the second runby.
The second runby was just as spectacular as the first.
Chris Guenzler photographed the second runby from his location.
An unexpected third runby was done but I chose just to watch and listen this time while Chris caught the action. We all cheered and as we re-boarded the train, small bottles of water were handed out to all passengers.
Meanwhile, Bob and the other railfans were wondering what had happened to us since we were now late arriving in Parker. Here is the train entering Parker. The passengers detrained and headed to the buses which took them to the Blue Water Casino north of town for the night. Bob and I had dinner here and stayed at the Best Value Inn overnight.
After breakfast, we checked out of the motel and drove across the Colorado River into California and set up to catch Santa Fe 3751 entering its home state.
ATSF 3751 leads the train of private cars on the last day of the trip into California, bound for Los Angeles. From here, we went back across the river to the Arizona and California yard in Parker.
AZRC GP30 3003 (ex. Ohio Central 4220, exx. CSXT 4220, nee C&O 3026). Photo by Bob Alkire.
AZRC GP30 3001 (ex. Ohio Central 4201, exx. CSXT 4201, nee C&O 3001).
AZRC GP30 3002 (ex. Ohio Central 4217, exx. CSXT 4217, nee C&O 3023).
AZRC GP35 3503 (ex. Southern Pacific 6356, exx. SP 6624, nee SP 7727). Photo by Bob Alkire.
AZRC GP35 3501 (ex. Conrail 2262, exx. Penn Central 2262, nee Pennsylvania Railroad 2262.
Arizona and California crane. Photo by Bob Alkire.
Arizona and California fuel tank. Photo by Bob Alkire.
AZRC business car 58, ex ATSF 38, nee ATSF 58 built 1925. In the 1990's, the car was used by Coast Line General Manager Dal Fish and sold to the Arizona & California in 1998. It was then sold to the Western America Railroad Museum in Barstow in 2010.
Unknown passenger car in the yard at Parker. From here, Bob and I visited Parker City Hall to acquire a municipal pin but they gave me a nice pen instead. At Quartzsite, I struck gold as I came awy with several pins from various municipalities in the state as the receptionist had a collection of them herself. We stopped in Blythe, California for a pin then made the drive east back to Scottsdale.
This National Railway Historical Society convention, my first, had been everything I had thought it would be and more. I had (and still have) nothing but praise and admiration for the events, my experiences and what I learnt. This was a very influential convention and a turning point in my railfanning and train-riding encounters, as well as meeting new people.
|RETURN TO THE MAIN PAGE|