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Trainweb 10th Anniversary Party in La Plata Missouri

December 8 through 10, 2006
Copyright 2006 by Richard Elgenson

Our route took us through rural Missouri with occasional small towns and grain elevators along the railroad tracks.  The first train I spotted happened to be a Norfolk Southern.  NS run through power appears in Southern California regularly, mostly on the BNSF. 


Further on up the road, Chris suggested I photograph this barn.  Having to mail some important bills, we stopped in a small town to find a post office.  This NS autorack freight got to the crossing before us.



Our goal was to meet the TrainWeb crew in La Plata for a 6 PM dinner at the Red Rooster Restaruant.  Both Chris and I needed one last break which occured in Moberly, 31 miles south of La Plata.  At Hardee's Restaurant, I noticed a Moberly town map from the early 1900's which showed the town as a major division point on the Wabash Railroad, a long fallen flag.  The map showed a branch line going north which I assumed crossed the Santa Fe main line in La Plata, right near the Depot Inn and new TrainWeb office.  The map showed a large railroad yard in town.  Even though the rail yard has been downsized, it is still visible on Google Maps.  One interesting photograph showed the Wabash hospital in Moberly.  We got to La Plata and neither one of us actually knew where the Depot Inn and Red Rooster Restaurnat were.  While at LAX, Steve Grande had showed me La Plata on Google maps, so once we saw a sign for La Plata, we blundered our way first finding the Amtrak Station and TrainWeb building.  I remembered the Depot Inn was across the tracks from TrainWeb, so we crossed the railroad and soon found the Red Rooster Restaurant. 

La Plata is a nice small town of 1486 people, in northern Macon County with a population of 15,762.  We found about 20 people already there for the dinner sponsored by TrainWeb.  The post dinner party included waiting at the La Plata Amtark Station for other attendees for the December 9th TrainWeb grand opening dedication.  After three false starts with westbound BNSF freight trains, the westbound Southwest Chief finally arrived.  After returning to the Depot Inn, many of the TrainWeb associates gathered in a meeting room for socializing and more food and dessert.

December 9, 2006

The TrainWeb crew all stayed at the Depot Inn & Suites in La Plata Missouri which is run by Tom and Kelly Marshall.  They have gone to great lengths to outfit the hotel inside and outside with railroad memorabilia.  I was fascinated with the yellow speeder car, having had my first ride on a speeder in June 2006 on the McCloud Railway in Northern California.  The Depot Inn has real railroad equipment outside their front door.  The lobby, pool area, and interior hallway have more equipment, stock certificates, models and other memorabilia.  Of particular interest to me were the Penn Central stock certificates.  The book I have been reading, "The Men Who Loved Trains" by Rush Loving Jr., is about the creation of Conrail out of the egregious merger of the Pennsylvania Railroad and the New York Central System to the splitting up of Conrail between Norfolk Southern and CSX.  It is very interesting and also covers the creation of Amtrak.


Below left, the small building between the overhead railroad crossing device and the switch stand is the Train Party retail store.



After a continental breakfast on Saturday December 9th, the schedule called for train watching at the old Wabash overcrossing of the Santa Fe main line.  Tom Marshall, the owner of the Depot Inn drove a group of us up the abandoned Wabash right-of-way to the northerly embankment above the BNSF tracks.  It was very cold and windy as Tom told us the short version of how the Depot Inn and TrainWeb got together.  He also told us of their plan for a "rail resort" which would include a narrow guage railway connecting various parts of the resort.  Below left, from left to right, Richard Elgenson, Tom Johnson, Jonathon Ortiz, Chris Parker, Pat Moran and Tom Marshall.  I arranged for my camera to be on self timer, but chose 2 second delay instead of 10 second delay.  As a result, I showed off my Red Wing boots and warm hat.  In the future, the northerly embankment of the abandoned Wabash right-of-way will receive a heated and air conditioned building with railroad radio frequency reception  for train watching.  The TrainWeb building is about 600 feet away across the BNSF tracks.  The northerly abutment and retaining wall have been demolished, most likely for reading of BNSF signals in the distance.  Tom Marshall also said the 60 to 80 trains passed through La Plata every day.  While we were on the overlook, no train passed.  Everybody except for Chris Parker and I left with Tom.  Chris Guenzler and Carl Morrison were on the highway overpass just to the east, so we decided to join them.  As we walked over, Carl left to check out the Amish auction.


Below, the La Plata Amtrak Station is on the right side of the tracks with a red roof.  In the latter part of this report, interior and exterior photographs are presented.  The TrainWeb headquarters is a white building on the left side of the tower, also with a red roof.  It is partially obscurred by the remaining Wabash embankment on the left side of the tracks.


Lower left, one the way over to meet Chris Guenzler and Carl Morrison, we spotted our first Amish horse drawn buggy.  On the overpass, another passed us.  Still, no trains.


Chris Parker decided to go back to the Depot Inn, so Chris Guenzler and I walked over to the TrainWeb building for the festivities.

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